Coronavirus Slows Trade in March at the Port of Long Beach
Pandemic contributes to cargo reduction and canceled sailings
The Port of Long Beach continued to feel the economic effects of COVID-19 in March with more canceled sailings and a decline in cargo containers shipped through the nation’s second-busiest seaport.
Terminal operators and dockworkers moved 517,663 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, a 6.4% decline compared to March 2019. Imports were down 5% to 234,570 TEUs, while exports increased 10.7% to 145,442 TEUs. Empty containers shipped overseas dropped 21% to 137,652 TEUs.
Overseas health concerns over the coronavirus caused 19 canceled sailings to the Port of Long Beach during the opening quarter of 2020, which contributed to a 6.9% decline in cargo shipments compared to the first three months of 2019.
“The coronavirus is delivering a shock to the supply chain that continues to ripple across the national economy,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “We’re definitely seeing a reduction in the flow of cargo at San Pedro Bay, but the ports remain open and operating, and we are maintaining business continuity.”
The frequency and intensity of cleaning efforts have been increased on the docks, at Port offices and other common areas, in order to maintain the health and safety of dockworkers, truckers, terminal operators and others.
“The health and well-being of our entire workforce, our stakeholders and our community remain a top priority as we balance our duty to keep goods moving through this vital link in the national supply chain,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal. “In the face of new challenges, the Port of Long Beach continues to adapt to the needs of our customers and consumers.”
For detailed cargo numbers, visit polb.com/statistics.