Port of Los Angeles sees softer trading to start the year

The Port of Los Angeles moved 726,014 TEUs in January, down 16% from the record set in January 2022, the port announced on Thursday.

“We expect weaker global trade throughout the first quarter, especially compared to the record start last year,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “Many factories in Asia have had extended Lunar New Year closures, retailers continue to offer discounts on products to clear inventory, and inflationary economic concerns remain at heart for Americans. With capacity at our docks today, we are poised to unlock new value and services in the Port of Los Angeles.”

Imports loaded in January 2023 reached 372,040 TEU, down 13% compared to the same month last year, but the busiest month for imports since August 2022 and up 5% compared to December.

Loaded exports totaled 102,723 TEU, up 2.5% year-on-year. Empty containers landed at 251,251 TEU, down 26% year-on-year.

The Port of Long Beach next door fared worse in January, moving 573,772 TEUs in January, down 28.4% from January 2022. Imports, in particular, fell by 32.3% year-on-year.

The National Retail Federation expects containerized imports to soften for at least the first half of the year as retailers remain cautious about the economy.

Descartes Systems, meanwhile, reports that total US container imports fell below pre-pandemic levels in January for the first time since the COVID-19 crisis began.

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