Port of Los Angeles Sees Huge Cargo Drop of 43%

The Port of Los Angeles handled 487,846 TEUs in February, a stunning 43% drop from the monthly record set in February 2022 and the worst February since 2009.

“February’s declines were exacerbated by an overall slowdown in global trade, extended Lunar New Year holiday closures in Asia, overcrowded warehouses and a shift away from West Coast ports,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “While we expect more cargo to be moved through our docks in March, volume is likely to remain lower than average in the first half of 2023.

The figures paint a clear picture of the slowdown in container shipping following the pandemic-related surge in freight, which began to ease last summer. In February 2023, loaded imports reached 249,407 TEU, down 41% YoY, while loaded exports reached 82,404 TEU, down 14% YoY. Empty containers landed at 156,035 TEU, down 54% year-on-year.

“We’re taking advantage of this lull in volume to focus on new data and infrastructure initiatives to improve efficiency in preparation for increased throughput,” added Seroka.

Two months into 2023, the total container volume stands at 1,213,860 TEU compared to 1,723,360 TEU in 2022, a decrease of 30%.

The Port of Los Angeles was the busiest container port in the US for the 23rd consecutive year in 2022, handling 9.9 million TEUs, the second-highest year on record after 10.7 million TEUs in 2021.

February volume was 10% below February 2020 levels but 7.7% above March 2020, the slowest month since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking further back, last month was the worst February for the Port of Los Angeles since 2009, when the port handled 413,910 TEUs.

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