Imports into U.S. ports down by around a fifth in April

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Imports into U.S. ports down by around a fifth in April

Container imports into the West Coast dropped 22% year-on-year in April, while volumes on the East Coast declined by 20%, according to a recent container report by shipping expert John D. McCown.

Los Angeles recorded the biggest decline last month, down 25%, while the eastern Port of Charlston’s imports fell by 28%.

This comes as the Pacific ports have continued to be burdened by ongoing labor negotiations, thus shifting inbound volume to East and Gulf coast ports.

“If economic conditions improve and we get a labor deal in place, that will definitely help drive our volume,” Gene Seroka, executive director at the Port of Los Angeles, told The Load Star.

The executive also said that the port is currently working at 70% capacity and quoted the unstable state of the global economy as well as the labor issues as the main causes for the drop.

According to the report, this April was the eight lowest volume month since the pandemic first began to affect container volumes in March 2020.

Related articles: Labor negotiations at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports continue

The figures still represent an improvement over the previous month, which showed a record 32% decline in imports.

In a May 2 column by McCown, the executive stated that, however grim the latest numbers may seem, the situation could soon be reversed as both inbound and outbound volumes are expected to rise.

“Reasonable estimates show we will need additional terminal capacity in 25 years equal to 5.4 times the biggest U.S. port’s current volume and in 50 years that will be equal to 16.1 times that port’s current volume,” McCown said in his article.

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