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Port of Los Angeles celebrates record May throughput while volumes drop at Long Beach
The Port of Long Beach

Port of Los Angeles celebrates record May throughput while volumes drop at Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach suffered a 16.6% drop in volumes in May 2019 compared to 2018, while the neighbouring Port of Los Angeles had its busiest May in its 112-year history.

Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach, attributed the fall in throughput to a variety of factors which are combining to impact international trade.

Cordero said: “One year into the trade war, escalating tariffs have pushed retailers to order goods early, warehouses are brimming with inventory as a result, and in response, ocean carriers are manging their vessels to deal with reduced demand.

“We are hopeful Washington and Beijing can resolve their differences before we see long-term changes to the supply chain that impact jobs in both nations.”

A total of 573,623 teu moved through the port in May as imports fell 19.5% to 290,568 teu and exports declined 15.3% to 120,577 teu.

Empty containers sent overseas dipped 11.7% to 162,479 teu and, calendar year to date, Long Beach has handled over 3m teu – 6% less containers than the same point in 2018.

The Port of Los Angeles, however, has seen a 5.2% rise in volumes in the same period and has recorded a 7.8% year-on-year increase in volumes for May 2019, handling a total 828,662 teu.

Previously, the port’s strongest May volumes occurred in 2017 with 796,217.

Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said: “I am extremely pleased with another record month of throughput and grateful to our supply chain stakeholders, terminal operators and unparalleled labour force for their performance.”

May imports increased 5.5% to 427,789 teu although exports fell slightly by 0.8% to 167,357 teu. Empty containers increased 20% to 233,515 teu.

Seroka added:  “As we prepare for our traditional peak shipping season in the months ahead, we’re closely monitoring global trade tensions that have created heightened unpredictability.”