Port of Los Angeles Cargo Volumes Down 17% in First Half 2020

Mike Schuler
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July 16, 2020

MSC Isabella at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles

More than 776,000 fewer twenty-foot equivalent cargo containers moved across the docks at the Port of Los Angeles in the first half of 2020 compared to last year due to combined impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the on-going Trade War with China.

The port’s executive director Gene Seroka announced the June and first half 2020 numbers in a wide-ranging mid-year update.

In June, the Port of Los Angeles moved 691,475 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), a 9.6% decrease compared to last year’s record-setting June. Six months into 2020, overall cargo volumes have decreased 17.1%, or 776,750 TEU, compared to 2019.

June loaded imports decreased 6.8% to 369,189 TEUs compared to the previous year. Loaded exports dropped 21.3% to 109,586 TEUs. Empty containers declined 7.2% to 212,701 TEUs.

“Given the circumstances of an unresolved trade war and an ongoing pandemic, our June and mid-year cargo volumes are in line with our forecasting,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

During Wednesday’s virtual news conference, Seroka praised the Federal Maritime Commission and Federal Maritime Commissioner Rebecca Dye for suggestions to further improve cargo fluidity in the San Pedro Bay as the port looks to rebound.

“Our focus now is on enhancing the Port’s competitiveness with infrastructure, technology and operational efficiencies as we help get Americans back to work and drive economic recovery.”

The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Port of Los Angeles is the United States’ leading seaport, facilitating $276 billion in trade during 2019.

The Port of Long Beach, LA’s neighbor at the San Pedro Bay port complex, reported a similar 11% decline in cargo volumes in June, having moved 602,180 TEU. Overall, the Port of Long Beach moved 3,433,035 TEUs in the first half of 2020, down 6.9% from 1H 2019.

Check out Seroka’s mid-year review below:

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