Tariffs Take Toll on Port of Los Angeles October Volumes

evergreen terminal port of la
File Photo: Port of Los Angeles

Tariffs are taking their toll at the United States’ busiest container port, with container counts and the number ship calls falling sharply last month.

The Port of Los Angeles reported Thursday it moved a 770,189 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in October, a 19.1% decrease compared to 2018’s record-breaking October.

Through the first ten months of 2019, total volumes have increased 1.8% compared compared to 2018, which was the busiest year ever at America’s top port.

“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. “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.”

In October 2018, cargo owners were importing cargo at a record pace to get ahead of expected tariffs. This October, however, imports saw a decrease of 19.1% to 392,768 TEUs compared to the previous year.

Exports have been particularly hard hit by the Trade War. Exports declined 19.3% to 140,332 TEUs last month, marking the 12th consecutive monthly decline of exports. Empty containers also declined 19% to 237,088 TEUs. Combined, October volumes were 770,189 TEUs. 

In September, the Port of Los Angeles was among six U.S. west coast ports to call on President Trump to settle the U.S.-China Trade War, warning that failure to do so will cause irredeemable economic harm to employers, workers and U.S. residents.