The Port of Long Beach had an 11.1% year-on-year drop in container volumes for June due to a lower demand for goods and cancelled sailings related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total volume for June 2020 was 602,180 teu with imports declining by 9.3% to 300,714 teu and exports down 12.2% to 117,538.
Decreased consumer spending and ongoing health concerns led to economic uncertainty for the first half of 2020 which, in turn, resulted in a 6.9% less containers handled compared to 2019 for a total of 3.4m teu.
Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said: “Cancelled sailings continued to rise at a rapid rate in the second quarter as ocean carriers adjusted their voyages to a decline in demand for imports during the national COVID-19 outbreak.
“The economic challenges may persist for some time, but the Port of Long Beach continues to invest in infrastructure projects that will meet the needs of our customers.”
Combined, Long Beach and Los Angeles (the San Pedro Bay ports complex) had 41 cancelled sailings in the first half of 2019. – This year, it was 104.
Cancelled sailings are projected to significantly recede as the traditional holiday peak shipping season ramps up during the third quarter.
The San Pedro Bay ports anticipate five cancelled voyages over the next three months, one of which was scheduled for the Port of Long Beach. No blank sailings were reported by both ports during the same period last year.
Despite the overall cargo declines in June, the Port of Long Beach achieved a ‘triple crown’ last month when three separate terminals and the ILWU workforce reached new levels for each terminal’s ship-to-shore cargo moves.
Bonnie Lowenthal, Long Beach Harbour commission president, said: “Our overall cargo numbers may be down, but records continue to be broken thanks to the hard work and collaboration of terminal operators and dockworkers.
“The economy recovery is going to take some time but we are optimistic for the future of the port and our partnerships with labour and the entire goods movement industry.”