August Imports Up, Exports Down at U.S. West Coast Ports: PMSA

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association has released its latest West Coast Trade Report. Image via PMSA.

The nation’s two busiest seaports, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, saw gains in imported cargo in August, up 1.4% from the same time a year ago and by 17.5% from the pre-pandemic level of August 2019, according to Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s latest West Coast Trade Report.

“What’s worth noting is that, through the first eight months of this year, the two ports handled

1,270,524 more inbound loaded TEUs than they had in the comparable period in 2019, before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19,” according to the report.

The Port of Oakland also saw an increase in imports in August, rising 1.6% from August 2020 and 10.8% from August 2019. Imports at these three California seaports rose 1.4% from last August and jumped 16.8% from August 2019, according to data. At the Northwest Seaport Alliance, comprising the maritime operations of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, imports in August increased 3.3% from last year, but dipped slightly by 0.7% from August 2019.

Exports for August on the West Coast was less robust, with the ports of Hueneme and Vancouver barely bucking the trend, according to the report. Exports at Los Angeles and Long Beach fell 14.3% in August from a year ago and dropped 18.6% from August 2019. Oakland and the NWSA ports all showed declines in exports, according to the report. In the first eight months of 2021, U.S. West Coasts combined moved 494,927 fewer exported TEUs than they did two years ago, data show.

In August, the five biggest U.S. West Coast seaports processed 57.7% of all loaded imports from Asia, down 1.9% from the same time last year, but up 0.7% from two years ago, according to the PMSA.

Overall, U.S. West Coast ports moved 58.6% from imported goods from Asia.

For exports heading to Asia in August, all USWC ports combined moved 53.8%, a 2.6% drop from August 2020 and a 4.7% drop from 58.5% in August 2019.

By Karen Robes Meeks