Contrasting fortunes of California's two major ports sees the Port of Long Beach (POLB) increase its volumes, through the success of its Business Recovery Task Force while its in neighbour at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) has seen a significant year-on-year decline during one of the toughest months in recent history.
As the Covid-19 consequences and the diminishing effects of the trade war between the US and China continued to challenge the other major Californian ports the POLB achieved a year-on-year increase in May container volumes.
America's second busiest port handled 628,205TEU last month, which translates to 9.5% growth compared to May 2019 volumes.
Mario Cordero, POLB executive director, said the improved figures were helped by the internal Business Recovery Task Force, “Which is setting the path for efficient cargo movement and growth.”
According to the POLB, manufacturing in China continues to rebound from the effects of the global pandemic, while demand for furniture, digital products and home improvement goods is increasing in the US.
“This is the gradual growth we have anticipated as the US starts to rebound from the devastating economic impacts of Covid-19 and the trade war with China,” said Long Beach harbour commission president, Bonnie Lowenthal.
In addition, earlier this week, longshore workers at Total Terminals International set a North American record for the highest volume of container movements during a single call, while working the MSC Sveva, and workers transferring 17,080 containers – the equivalent of 30,744TEU.
The other part of the San Pedro Bay port complex, Port of Los Angeles, suffered its biggest ever decline of 29.8% in May container volumes, compared to the same period last year.
“The surge in cancelled sailings due to Covid-19 and the trade war, along with shifts in liner services, all contributed to significantly softer volumes,” commented the executive director of the port, Gene Seroka.
Although 581,665TEU seems a disappointing number for the busiest US container port, Seroka has forecast an “uptick in cargo compared to previous months” as the economy in the US is gradually recovering and blank sailings are expected to decrease.
Similarly, the port of Oakland has reported a decline of 12.7% in its May box volumes, compared to the same month of 2019. Port of Oakland acting maritime director, Delphine Prevost, expected the latest performance of the port, claiming that "Ocean carriers have been reducing the number of vessels in service in anticipation of expected declines in import demand.”
According to port’s data, Oakland saw full imports of 73,423TEU, full exports of 69,720TEU, empty imports of 17,008TEU and empty exports of 25,444TEU.
“It’s created challenges for exporters who are seeing less predictable vessel schedules and facing issues with finding capacity for their exports,” added Prevost.