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Coronavirus Whallops Cargo At Port Of Los Angeles, LAX, JFK, O’Hare

Port of Los Angeles imports from China fell to their lowest monthly total in 11 years, according to U.S. data released Thursday, data that for the first time begins to reveal the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The 41.58% decline at the nation’s top-ranked port, while steep, was not as steep as those registered at LAX and JFK in February, when compared to January. The two airports saw their imports from China drop more than 50%.

The loss at the Port of Los Angeles is more significant because of the sheer scope of its trade with China.

It accounted for $5.3 billion of Chinese merchandise in February, a month that was book-ended by the end of the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the focus on the coronavirus that started in Wuhan.

That $5.3 billion total is 23.24% of all imports from China. LAX accounted for 3.09% and JFK for 1.75%.

What the declines measure is the shuttering of manufacturing in Wuhan — the “supply side.”

Expect to see the impact of the decline on the “demand side” — U.S. buyers — in coming months, as orders dry up due to an economy buckling under the weight of more than 10 million people applying for unemployment in the last two weeks, according to data released Thursday.

Among the nation’s top 15 gateways for Chinese imports, gateways which accounted for more than 82% of all imports from China, another two registered declines in excess of 40% — Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Anchorage International Airport, down 42.61 and 41.19%, respectively.

Overall U.S. imports from China fell 31.45% between January and February. They fell about the same percentage, 31.27%, when comparing February 2020 with February 2019.

When compared to the same month one year ago, only one “port,” Anchorage International Airport, saw its imports from China decline more than 50% though four — the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Tacoma, the Port of Washington and JFK — fell more than 40% when compared to the same month, one years ago.

For Los Angeles International Airport, the February 2020 total was the lowest in 11 years — dating back to the same month in 2009, February, when the Port of Los Angeles also last had a total lower than that recorded this February.

I couldn’t find a lower total for either Kennedy International Airport or Archorage International, and I checked all the way back to early 2007.

For O’Hare, the trade total was last below the February 2020 total in February of 2013.

O’Hare saw the value of its trade slip $1.71 billion in February. That decline was second only the $3.77 billion decline at the Port of Los Angeles.

Four of the top imports into the Port of Los Angeles fell more than 50% when compared to the previous month: children’s wheeled bicycles and toys; computers; seats; and cell phones and related equipment.

When you compare the February 2020 totals to the February 2019 totals, computers and the category for computer monitors and TVs. Their losses are larger because both products are finding alternatives to production, whether in Southeast Asia or Mexico, in part related to the China trade war.
Source: Forbes

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