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In the wake of news of cargo declines at mega-ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, comes word that California’s third largest ocean cargo gateway – Oakland – expects further container throughput decreases.
And it does not appear to get better in the near future, spokesmen told LM:
“Some decline is expected in next few months as Oakland has been notified of 15 cancelled sailings in May-June,” says the port’s director communications, Mike Zampa. “That’s about 10 to 15 percent of the total voyages scheduled in that period.”
Port of Oakland loaded container volume declined 7.4 percent in March from 2019 totals, according to data released today. The port said the cargo decrease resulted from a coronavirus pandemic that has weakened global trade.
According to the port, March containerized import volume dropped 10.3 percent from March 2019. Export loads were off 5 percent. The return of empty containers to origins in Asia decreased 23 percent. Total volume – which combines all three measures – declined 11 percent.
The worldwide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 has slowed containerized freight transport, the port said. As evidence, the port pointed to the following:
Ports up and down the U.S. West Coast reported reduced cargo volume in March.
The number of ships calling in Oakland last month declined 10.6 percent from March 2019.
The port said it’s fully operational despite a shelter-in-place order mandated by Alameda County. The port and supply chain partners have been declared critical infrastructure in the coronavirus fight.
As reported in LM, the Port of Los Angeles moved 449,568 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in March, a 30.9% decrease compared to last year. For the first quarter of 2020, volumes have decreased 18.5% compared to 2019. It was the lowest amount of monthly cargo moving through the Port since February 2009.
“We’ve had two serious shocks to our supply chain system. First the trade war between the U.S. and China and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles. “With U.S. retailers and cargo owners scaling back orders, volumes are soft even though factories in China are beginning to produce more. Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain.”
Meanwhile, The Port of Long Beach continued to feel the economic effects of COVID-19 in March with more canceled sailings and a decline in cargo containers shipped through the nation’s second-busiest seaport.
Terminal operators and dockworkers moved 517,663 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, a 6.4% decline compared to March 2019. Imports were down 5% to 234,570 TEUs, while exports increased 10.7% to 145,442 TEUs. Empty containers shipped overseas dropped 21% to 137,652 TEUs.
Overseas health concerns over the coronavirus caused 19 canceled sailings to the Port of Long Beach during the opening quarter of 2020, which contributed to a 6.9% decline in cargo shipments compared to the first three months of 2019.
“The coronavirus is delivering a shock to the supply chain that continues to ripple across the national economy,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “We’re definitely seeing a reduction in the flow of cargo at San Pedro Bay, but the ports remain open and operating, and we are maintaining business continuity.”
This article first appeared on www.logisticsmgmt.com
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