The Port of Los Angeles Wednesday reported significant declines in its first-quarter cargo volume compared to last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first quarter of 2020, cargo volumes decreased 18.5% compared to 2019 — the lowest amount of monthly cargo moving through the port since February 2009.
The port reported 449,568 twenty-foot-equivalent units were moved in March, a 30.9% decrease compared to March of last year.
“We’ve had two serious shocks to our supply chain system. First, the trade war between the U.S. and China, and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
“With U.S. retailers and cargo owners scaling back orders, volumes are soft even though factories in China are beginning to produce more,” he said. “Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain.”
The Port of Los Angeles remains open, with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it serves as the temporary home port of the Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy.
Imports for the month of March decreased 25.9% to 220,255 TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 23.8% to 121,146 TEUs. Empty containers declined 44.5% to 108,168 TEUs.
Port officials said they are in regular contact with terminal operators, longshore unions and other supply chain stakeholders to make sure they are receiving necessary cleaning supplies to keep their work areas safe from the virus.
Current and historical data of the port’s activity can be found online at www.portoflosangeles.org/business/statistics/container-statistics.