October volumes at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were down, to varying, degrees, according to data respectively issued by each port late last week.
POLA reported that total volume for the month, at 770,189 TEU (twenty-foot equivalents), was off 19.1% annually, facing a difficult annual comparison to October 2018’s record month, which was a month in which cargo owners were moving cargo at an unprecedented pace in advance of planned tariffs that were eventually delayed.
POLA imports fell 19.1% annually to 392,768 TEU, and exports were off 19.3% to 140,332 TEU, with the latter falling for the 12th consecutive month. Empty containers, at 237,088 TEU, were off 19%. On a year-to-date basis through September, POLA volumes are off 1.75% to 6.8 million TEU.
On a year-to-date basis through October, total POLA volume at 7,861,964 is up 1.8% annually.
“With 25% fewer ship calls, 12 consecutive months of declining exports and now decreasing imports, we’re beginning to feel the far-reaching effects of the U.S.-China trade war on American exporters and manufacturers,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka in a statement. “We expect soft volumes in the months ahead and with the holiday season upon us, less cargo means fewer jobs for American workers. We need a negotiated settlement and the tariffs lifted.”
Total POLB volume, at 688,425 TEU, were off 2.4% annually. Even with the decline, this marked the second highest-volume for October over the port’s 108 years of operations.
POLB imports dropped 7.4% to 337,062 TEU, and exports rose 9.8% to 131,635 TEU. Empty containers were off 0.8% to 219,728 TEU.
Through the first ten months of 2019, total POLB volume, at 6,366,787 TEU, is off 5.4% annually.
“As the trade war lingers, these tariffs continue to impact the U.S. economy and have created uncertainty for the business of importers and exporters,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, in a statement. “We are hopeful for a prompt resolution of the tariff situation between the U.S. and China. In the meantime, we are moving forward with capital improvements that should bring long-term growth.”
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