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Traffic update

A sunny and cloudy May in California

by Port News Editorial Staff

Californian ports closed the month of May with mixed results in terms of total container volumes.

Los Angeles port handled 581,665 TEUs, down 29.8% compared to the same month in 2019. In the first five months of the year, volumes fell by 18.6% on an annual basis. The causes of this downturn are to be found mainly in the increase in blank sailings, i.e. the cancellation of numerous services along the transpacific trade artfully operated by shipping lines to contain freight rates.

Both imported (306 thousand TEUs, -28.4% compared to 2019) and exported goods (104.382 TEUs, -37.6%) were down, while empty containers fell by 26.8% to 170 thousand TEUs.

On the other hand, the nearby port of Long Beach recorded a notable increase in its monthly container traffic, that in May was up by 9.5% compared to the same month last year, touching quota 628,205 TEUs. Import volumes increased by 7.6% (312 thousand TEUs) while export volumes were up by 11.6%, to 134.556 TEUs. Exported empty containers also rose by 11.4%, to 181.060 TEUs. In the first five months of the year, a total of 2,830.855 TEUs were handled (-5.9% on an annual basis).

According to Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the US port, the results are mainly due to the work done by the Business Recovery Task Force set up internally by the Port Authority to facilitate a constant dialogue between customers, industrial partners and government agencies even in coronavirus times.

The port of Oakland, north of San Pedro Bay, instead, registered a 12.7% drop in container volumes in May (exports down by 10.7% and imports down by 14.6%). In the first five months, the port handled 440 thousand TEUs of imported goods (-7.1%).

Translation by Giles Foster

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