Nation’s Ports Show Signs of Recovery as Imports Surge



Dan Ronan | Transport Topics

The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest seaport, hit an all-time record in August, processing 12% more volume that totaled 961,833 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs).

The increase was driven by imports, which eclipsed 500,000 TEUs for the first time.

“In May we saw our lowest container volumes in more than a decade,” said Gene Seroka, executive director at the Port of Los Angeles. “Since then, there has been a significant replenishment of warehouse inventories. Coupled with retailers planning for consumer holiday spending, it has created a surge of imports.”

The overall gain is up from 861,080 TEUs in August last year.

However, the coronavirus pandemic that struck the United States in March — just behind scheduled factory closures in China for New Year’s celebrations — caused an 11.7% drop in year-to-date cargo volume.

By segment, August loaded imports increased 18% to 516,286 TEUs from last year. Loaded exports decreased 10.2% to 131,429 TEUs. Empty containers increased 13.3% to 314,118 TEUs.

Neighboring Port of Long Beach also had a record-breaking August, processing 725,610 TEUs, a 9.3% increase compared with 663,993 TEUs a year ago.

But port officials are cautious.

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