LA port heading for busiest year on record
THE Port of Los Angeles is on track to have the busiest year in its history, with between 10.7 million and 10.8 million TEU moved by year’s end.
Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said “that would eclipse our best mark in history, by about 13 per cent”.
The port’s previous record was in 2018, which also until this year held the record for most imports. In 2021, the port moved 5.5 million imported TEU, also 13 per cent better than the record set in 2018, according to media reports..
While imports have increased, which Mr Seroka attributes to “sustained and unmatched demand from American consumers,” exports decreased last month by 37 per cent compared to the previous November, with only 82,298 exported TEU moved.
“In fact, we’ll finish this year at about 1.2 million TEU in exports, our lowest output since 2005,” he said.
Mr Seroka attributed the decline in exports to the Donald Trump administration’s trade policy and China’s retaliatory tariffs. He added that the strength of the US dollar makes American goods less competitive compared with other trading nations.
Along with an increase in imports, the port also moved 11 per cent more empty containers in November compared to the same month the previous year.
So far in 2021, the port moved 43 per cent more empties than in the first 11 months last year.
Overall, the port’s 2021 cargo volume, from January through November, is tracking 19 per cent better than the same period of 2020. During those first 11 months of 2021, the port moved 9.891 million TEU, compared to 8.334 million during the first 11 months of 2020.
Over recent months, the port has been working to reduce the backlog of ships waiting to enter the San Pedro Port Complex.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced early this week that a “Container Excess Dwell Fee” on companies whose containers linger at marine terminals will be delayed again, now scheduling it to take effect if necessary on December 20.
The fee, which was announced October 25, has been delayed due to progress in reducing the number of port containers at the terminal, with the ports reporting last Monday a 47 per cent decline in aging cargo on the docks, up from the 37 per cent decline announced the previous week. Over the next week, port officials will monitor and reassess the fee’s implementation.
“I’m pleased with the progress and as I told the Harbour Commission when it approved the plan, I hope we don’t have to administer any fees,” Mr Seroka said.