April Cargo Volumes Down at LA, Long Beach Ports

Containerized cargo at the LA-Long Beach port complex. File photo.

The Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports saw cargo volumes drop by double-digits last month, according to newly released data.

Los Angeles saw overall cargo numbers fall 22% last month compared to April 2021, the second busiest April in port history, the port announced May 18.

Los Angeles moved 688,110 TEUs last month, with imports down 25% to 343,689 TEUs and loaded exports down 12% to 88,202 TEUs. Empty containers also dropped 23% to 256,220 TEUs year over year, according to the port.

“A cooling global economy, warehouses laden with aging inventory and prolonged West Coast labor negotiations have all contributed to a slowdown in trade,” POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “If economic conditions improve and we get a labor deal in place, that will help improve volume (in) the second half of the year.”

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, volumes fell 20.1% to 656,049 TEUs last month from April 2022, the busiest April in port history. Imports fell 21.8% to 313,444 TEUs, while exports had a slight 0.6% uptick to 122,663 TEUs. Empties also fell 26.2% to 219,943 TEUs, data show.

“The unprecedented consumer demand we saw at the height of COVID-19 has diminished and cargo flows are now closer to pre-pandemic levels,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “We expect slow growth in the second half of 2023, as retailers continue to clear surplus inventory from their warehouses.”

By Karen Robes Meeks