LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Port of Los Angeles Wednesday reported serious declines in its first-quarter cargo volume compared to last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the lowest numbers its seen in more than a decade.
For the first quarter of 2020, cargo volumes decreased 18.5 percent compared to 2019.
The port reported 449,568 twenty-foot-equivalent units were moved in March, a 30.9 percent decrease compared to March of last year. 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.
In late-March, the port reported it was operating at 80 percent of normal business.
“With U.S. retailers and cargo owners scaling back orders, volumes are soft even though factories in China are beginning to produce more,” he said. “Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain.”
The Port of Los Angeles remains open, with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it serves as the temporary home port of the Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy.
Imports for the month of March decreased 25.9 percent to 220,255 TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 23.8 percent to 121,146 TEUs. Empty containers declined 44.5 percent to 108,168 TEUs.
Port officials said they are in regular contact with terminal operators, longshore unions and other supply chain stakeholders to make sure they are receiving necessary cleaning supplies to keep their work areas safe from the virus.
Current and historical data of the port’s activity can be found online here.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)