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US West Coast ports see volumes slip, citing tariffs

US West Coast ports see volumes slip, citing tariffs
Pier B at the Port of Long Beach

Container volumes dropped in November at the biggest ports on the US West Coast, as the effects of tariffs continue to impact US trade.

The Port of Los Angeles handled 728,918 teu last month, representing a 12% decrease compared to last year. After 11 months of 2019, total volumes are down 0.4%.

Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said: “As we expected, 2019 winds down with volumes weakening, due largely to the US-China trade war which continues to negatively impact American consumers, manufacturers and US supply chain jobs.

“Although we anticipate tariffs will linger well into 2020, we will continue to aggressively invest in our physical and digital infrastructure through this economic cycle.”

Imports were down by 12% in November while exports fell by 9% – the 13th consecutive monthly decline of exports – and empty containers slipped by 15%.

Meanwhile, container volumes dropped by 3.5% at the Port of Long Beach, with 599,985 teu handled.

Imports dropped 8% and empty containers fell by 2% although exports actually increased by 7%.

Over the first 11 months of 2019, volumes are down 5% when compared to the previous year.

Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, stated: “The effects of these tariffs are being felt by everyone, from American manufacturers and farmers to the consumers who purchase goods moving through our port complex.

“As we wait for a resolution to this protracted trade war, the port will remain competitive by delivering exceptional customer service and moving ahead with capital improvement projects that will allow us to grow well into the future.”