Varying Cargo Volumes
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc across the globe. Importers and exporters are scrambling as some industries are booming while others are really struggling. It has been a mixed bag in terms of cargo volumes received last month. In May of 2020 the Port of Oakland and the Port of Los Angeles reported significant drops in cargo volumes while the Port of Long Beach reported significant growth. Oakland reported this month that the loaded box volume is projected to continue to decline as it did last month. Los Angeles moved 29.8% less in May than it did a year ago. To date, overall cargo volumes have decreased 18.7% compared to last year’s numbers. Keep in mind that May 2019 set a pretty high bar as it was the busiest month in the Port of Los Angeles’ 114-year history. The decline seems really drastic for the month of May but this is in large part because of the great month they had a year ago. In turn, the Port of Long Beach has received a shift of some services from the Port of Los Angeles and they have seen a 10% increase in their normal business traffic. The Port of Long Beach moved 628,205 TEUs last month which is a 9.5% increase from May 2019. Imports grew 7.6% to 312,590 TEUs while exports increased 11.6% to 134,556 TEUs. Though the Port of Long Beach has seen impactful growth Los Angeles’ Port Executive Director Gene Seroka says that, “any notion of economic recovery in the shipping industry is a little bit too early to discuss.” Overall, this year the cargo statistics show a 7.8% decrease compared to the same time period just a year ago. Until we see consistent growth in the majority of Ports, we cannot assume that the U.S. economy is beginning to recover.