Date: Thursday, July 13, 2023
The Port of Los Angeles saw cargo volumes rise for the fourth straight month in June as US trade patterns return to pre-pandemic patterns.
The maritime gateway moved 833,035 units in June, the most since July last year, and about 70% more than in February, which was the lowest since the start of the pandemic, it said Wednesday.
Volumes at the biggest West Coast port operation are recovering after they plunged in part as US importers diverted shipments to East and Gulf facilities during labor contract talks that dragged on for more than a year.
Major ports like Los Angeles and other key links in global supply chains are almost fully free of pandemic congestion and the shipping disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. While so-called normal operations are hard to pin down, comparisons to 2019 offer more clarity about the health of global trade without the shocks of the past three years.
For the first half of this year, the port has handled 4.1 million units, 24% less than a year earlier. Through the first half of 2019, volume totaled 4.54 million.
“Although we will likely see cargo ease in July, I’m optimistic that the second half of 2023 will show improved performance compared to the first six months,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka told reporters.
The dockworkers’ International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents ocean carriers and terminal operators, announced a tentative contract agreement on June 14, with the help of acting US Labor Secretary Julie Su.
“About 15% of our cargo left during these negotiations, really starting last August,” Seroka said. “History has shown that some of it will stick to those East and Gulf Coast ports. So our job now is to be absolutely relentless and going after every pound of freight possible.”
The port processed 435,285 20-foot-equivalent units of imports in June, 2% less than a year earlier, while exports increased 15% to 108,072 units. Empty containers fell 14% to 289,679 units.
Seroka said the port averaged 54 million attempted cyber intrusions per month in the first half of the year.
In June alone, “we stopped more than 60 million cyber-intrusion attempts here,” he said.
Cyber threats are not uncommon to the wider maritime shipping and logistics industries. Last week, Japan’s biggest maritime port was crippled by an alleged Russian cyberattack, disrupting cargo as operators rushed to prevent a wider delay in shipments.
In January, a cyberattack on a Norwegian shipping services firm ensnared about 70 companies and 1,000 ships.