Port of Los Angeles: COVID-19 Crisis Hits Supply Chain Hard as March Cargo Falls 30.9%

Photo: Port of LA/facebook

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, the company said in its release.

“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, Port officials are in regular contact with terminal operators, longshore unions, and other supply chain stakeholders to make sure that stakeholders are able to obtain the necessary supplies they need for a safe and clean work environment.

March imports decreased 25.9% to 220,255 TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 23.8% to 121,146 TEUs. Empty containers declined 44.5% to 108,168 TEUs. In total, March volumes totaled 449,568 TEUs.

The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic and serves as the temporary homeport of the Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs in the five-county Southern California region.

In his latest video message, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka underscores that while Port operations are smooth, cargo volume has declined in 30.9% in March and 18.5% during the first quarter of the year. Looking at the next quarter, production in China is ramping up slightly, but U.S. orders are not – the current demand has decreased. “The loss of work is a hardship for many here around the Port, and our families,” said Seroka. “We will recover as a nation and when that day comes, we will be ready.” Seroka also discussed his role in Logistics Victory Los Angeles (LovLA), a new City program matching available medical supplies with the health care providers in need of them to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The LoVLA effort is being led by Seroka, who is also serving as the City’s Chief Logistics Officer during this crisis.


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