In his media briefing on December 14th, Gene Seroka executive director Port of Los Angeles reported that November cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles declined to 639,344 TEUs in November 2022 compared to 811,460 TEUs in November 2021.
Seroka blamed a slowing economy and continued uncertainty over the contract talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) that has driven some West Coast cargoes to U.S. East Coast ports.
Seroka expressed the hope that a ILWU contract would be finalized in early 2023.
He said the Port of Los Angeles has also experienced a high number of cancelled or “blank sailings” and he reported 13 blank sailings in November and 11 blank sailings projected for December.
Import volumes declined in November to 307,080 TEUs down from 403,444 TEUs in November 2021. Exports rose slightly in November to 90,116 TEUs compared to 82,741 TEUs in November 2021.
Jeremy Nixon, One Network
Seroka introduced his guest, Jeremy Nixon, CEO, Ocean Network Express who spoke from Singapore.
Nixon expressed the hope that ocean container “spot rates are bottoming out” and that spot rates would begin to rise in 2023.
However, Nixon warned that Chinese New Year is early this year - January 21st -and that factories are likely to stay closed for 4 weeks instead of the usual 2 weeks. This means that Trans-Pacific volumes will be low in early 2023.
Nixon is predicting “a soft January, February and March” with a possible pick up in April or May of 2023.
Nixon said some producers are moving operations out of China and noted that Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and India “are all booming.”
However, the current slowdown in trade with China will not last and that “China will bounce back.”
Port of Long Beach
Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach reported that cargo volumes moving through the Port softened in November amid reduced orders from retailers, full warehouses, vessel transfers between the San Pedro Bay ports to “seaports along the East and Gulf coasts.”
The Port of Long Beach saw volumes of 588,742 TEUs moved in November “down 21% from November 2021. Imports slid 28.4% to 259,442 TEUs, while exports increased 13.8% to 124,988 TEUs. Empty containers moving through the Port decreased 25.2% to 204,313 TEUs.”
“While some import volume has shifted to other gateways, we are confident that a good portion of it will return to the San Pedro Bay,” said Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero.
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