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Long Beach container imports fall on year in August, Los Angeles rises

Container imports into the port of Los Angeles in July rose year on year, while imports to Long Beach fell, as they have done for the past three months, port data showed.

Loaded imports to Los Angeles Port rose 4.05% year on year to 437,613 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), while falling from 476,438 TEUs in July.

Imports to Long Beach fell 5.9% to 322,780 TEUs, despite rising 3.0% from 313,350 TEUs in July.

The prolonged drop in Long Beach imports has offset the rise in Los Angeles, lowering the total imports in August to 760,393 TEUs, from 789,788 TEUs in July 2019 and 763,602 TEUs in August 2018, a 3.72% and 0.42% decrease, respectively.

Total exports from the ports fell 3.81% year on year to 271,259 TEUs.

Port of Los Angeles data (TEUs)
Location Aug-19 Aug-18 Change
Loaded imports 437,613 420,573 4.05%
Loaded exports 146,284 162,465 -9.96%
Total loaded 583,897 583,038 0.15%
Total empty 277,183 243,599 13.79%
Total 861,000 826,638 4.17%
Souce: Port of Los Angeles

New tariffs announced on August 1 weighed further on sentiment, pressuring imports volumes coming into both ports.

With those tariffs taking effect on September 1, carriers were more reluctant to ship cargo as they tried to avoid being caught by tariffs should their imports arrive into the US with a significant delay.

Over the summer months, markets saw a rate rise, as peak demand seasons was on an horizon, but with the supply glut still remaining on trans-Pacific lanes, Platts Container Rate 13 North Asia to West Coast North America fell $425/FEU to $1,225/FEU on August 30. PCR5 North Asia to East Coast North America fell $500/FEU to $2,350/FEU over the same period.

“The slowing demand is nothing new but the fact that it is still slowing is quite shocking,” an NVOCC source said. “Trade tariffs are dominating much more than IMO 2020 still in the market.”
Source: Platts

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