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Container Volumes Continue to Slide at the Port of Long Beach

Container Volumes Continue to Slide at the Port of Long Beach
Fewer cargo containers moved through the Port of Long Beach in April as economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact global trade.

The Port of Long Beach today reported container volumes of 519,730 TEU last month, down 17.3% from April 2019, the port’s busiest April on record. Imports slid 20.2% to 253,540 TEUs, while exports also declined 17.2% to 102,502 TEUs. Empty containers headed overseas decreased 12.2% to 163,688 TEUs.

This brings the port’s total during the first four months of 2020 to 2.2 million, down 9.5% from the same period in 2019.

The Port of Long Beach is the nation’s second busiest port behind the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, which last week reported it handled 15.5% fewer containers in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year.

“We look forward to a recovery stage and rebounding cargo shipments as the nation contemplates relaxing shelter-in-place orders, people return to work and consumer demand rises – however it will not be in the short term,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “In the meantime, we continue to collaborate with importers, exporters, terminal operators and labor to develop a recovery plan while ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of goods moving through the Port of Long Beach.”

Blanked Sailings

While manufacturing in China appears to be rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic, demand in the United States continues to be below normal due to the pandemic.

The Port of Long Beach said that while it had only one canceled sailing in April, there are more to come. The San Pedro Bay port complex is expected to have 48 canceled vessel voyages between April 1 through June 30, including 16 that are scheduled for the Port of Long Beach. The two ports – Long Beach and Los Angeles – reported 10 blank sailings during the same period in 2019.

The figures come on the heels of 61 canceled sailings for the San Pedro Bay ports during the first quarter of 2020 caused by a manufacturing slowdown during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in China, nearly double from 31 blank sailings a year earlier, the Port of Long Beach said.

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