A rise in import cargo and empty box exports drove a 12.7% increase in container volume at Los Angeles in March.
The Port of Los Angeles handled 650,977 TEU in March, an increase of 12.7% percent compared to 2018. March 2019 imports increased 12.4% to 297,187 TEU, exports were down 2.9% to 194,866 TEU and empty boxes increased 30.2% to 194,866 TEU.
The result for March 2019 is a reversal from March 2018, when volume plummeted 29% compared to March 2017 - mostly due to the timing of the lunar new year. Over Q1 2019, LA handled 2.2M TEU, up 4.6% on Q1 2018.
"Despite global trade uncertainties, we experienced strong first quarter growth,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “I commend our supply chain stakeholders who have processed record amounts of cargo in recent months and we anticipate greater efficiency improvement with the Port Optimizer that was rolled out in the first quarter. Retailers are forecasting an uptick in summer consumer demand and we are ready for those boxes.”
The increase in volume is not all good news, however. Speaking at TOC Asia in Singapore this week ONE Global Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Nixon said the imbalance between loaded imports and exports in the US market is getting worse. Today one in every two containers leaving the US is empty, and this is a major cost to the whole supply chain, he added.
Against the backdrop of the US - China trade and tariff battle and a slowing economy in China, China’s imports fell in March for the fourth straight month.