The Port of Los Angeles managed to handle 623,234 TEU in March, signalling a weak start to the year as West Coast labour negotiations are still ongoing.
During the first quarter of 2023, the port processed 1,837,094 TEU, reflecting a 32 per cent decrease from the previous year’s first quarter when the Port of Los Angeles achieved its best Q1 performance ever.
“Economic conditions slowed global trade considerably in the first quarter; however, we are beginning to see some signs of improvement, including nine consecutive months of inflation declines,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.
“While March cargo volume was lower than last year at this time, early data and monthly growth indicates a moderate increase in Q3.”
March loaded imports reached 319,962 TEU, down 35 per cent compared to the previous year.
Loaded exports came in at 98,276 TEU, a decline of 12 per cent compared to last year.
Empty containers landed at 204,996 TEU, a 42 per cent year-over-year decline.
READ: Port of Los Angeles comes in shy of 10 million TEU
At the same time, there are escalating fears of port labour disruptions due to the ongoing negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
Negotiations have been ongoing for 11 months, while the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach experienced cargo operations halts during the 6 April night shift and the day shift on 7 April, leading to widespread concern.
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Seroka said: “There’s no bigger priority right now than this contract agreement. This contract is the biggest thing on our industry’s collective plate.”
He added that there are no contingency plans for an extended shutdown, but communication with the Biden administration has been frequent.
The Port of Los Angeles recently entered into separate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Port of Tokyo and the Port of Yokohama to work on sustainability and environmentalism at the ports.