By Karen Robes Meeks
With growing coronavirus concerns prompting nearly two dozen canceled sailings in the first quarter of 2020, container volumes fell 6.4 percent in March at the Port of Long Beach, according to the figures released Tuesday.
Long Beach handled 517,663 TEUs, down 6.4 percent from March 2019, while imports dipped 5 percent to 234,570 TEUs and empty containers fell 21 percent to 137,652 TEUs.
Meanwhile, exports rose 10.7 percent to 145,442 TEUs when compare to the same period a year ago.
“The coronavirus is delivering a shock to the supply chain that continues to ripple across the national economy,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “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.”
While it continues to operate, the port is minimizing COVID-19 risk exposure with more frequent and intense cleaning efforts on the docks, port offices and other common areas.
“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.”