Port of Los Angeles marks best July on record, anticipate cargo downturn from August

Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles said today it handled an estimated 935,345 TEU in July, 2.5% above the previous record set in 2019, while expectations for softer August throughput prevailed amid retailer order slowdowns and factory cuts in China.

“Another outstanding month at the port of Los Angeles,” said port Executive Director Gene Seroka in a briefing Aug. 17. “Even with the current rail challenges, our marine terminals are more fluid than last year.”

July loaded imports reached an estimated 485,472 TEUs, up 3.4% against the same month last year.

At the same time, loaded exports jumped 13% to 103,497 TEU during July, while empty exports climbed 5% to 346,376 TEU as ocean carriers looked to rapidly evacuate empty containers to Asian loading regions for transport back to North America.

Speaking on the strong performance, Seroka said “retail, wholesale, and manufacturing [are] remaining strong … simply put, unprecedented.”

However, noting bolstered inventories among key US importers, Seroka noted that August volumes are expected to edge downward as import appetite slides.

“Imports will begin to ease somewhat,” he said. “Some retailers are showing they have strong inventories.”

Port of Oakland sees large drop

Further up the US Pacific Coast, the Port of Oakland said Aug. 17 it registered a 28% decrease in year-on-year container throughput during July, after it handled 116,898 loaded containers during the month.

Loaded imports slid 26.7% to 69,463 TEUs, while exports plummeted nearly 31% to 47,166 TEUs.

“The Port was closed nearly a week last month due to the trucker protests voicing concern over AB5,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes in a statement Aug. 17. “This congestion reduced our overall July volume.”

Overall market sentiment holds that demand will continue to taper off through year-end, which has been reflected in sliding spot freight rates.

“Additionally, rates charged to ship containers from Asia to the US continued to decline pointing to a possible decrease in demand for imports,” the port said.

Platts Container Rate 13 – North Asia-to-West Coast North America – fell to $5,850/FEU Aug. 17, down 17.6% on the month.

Source: Spglobal.com

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