SAN PEDRO, Calif., and CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Port of Los Angeles and South Carolina Ports reported improved container traffic in July.
The Port of Los Angeles, which has the nation’s largest container volume, moved 856,389 twenty-foot-equivalent units in July, the busiest month thus far of 2020. It was also the second-best July in the Port’s history, trailing July 2019 by 6.1%.
“Fewer canceled sailings and 11 additional ‘ad hoc’ or unscheduled ship calls helped drive both imports and exports higher than recent months but still short of last July’s all-time record,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Preliminary data for August indicates solid volumes as retailers continue restocking inventories and preparing for the year-end holiday season.”
July loaded imports decreased 4.3% to 456,029 TEUs compared with the previous year. Loaded exports dropped 21.7% to 126,354 TEUs. Empty containers declined 0.1% to 274,007 TEUs. In total, July volumes totaled 856,389 TEUs.
Seven months into 2020, overall volumes are 4,618,278 TEUs, a decline of 15.3% compared with 2019.
In South Carolina, the S.C. Ports Authority is seeing signs of a moderate recovery beginning to emerge at the start of its fiscal year 2021 amid the ongoing global pandemic.
S.C. Ports handled 176,974 TEUs at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in July. S.C. Ports moved 99,431 pier containers, which measures boxes of any size, in July. Pier containers are up 12% from June, showing a positive trend for the first month of fiscal year 2021, but volumes remain down year-over-year.
Five scheduled blank sailings – when a vessel does not arrive during its scheduled time or is rescheduled – remain. The remaining blank sailings, which are coming from Northern Europe, will make a total of 70 this year.
Although exports and imports were down overall, S.C. Ports saw an uptick in Asian imports in July, pointing to a positive economic trend.
“We are encouraged by some signs of an initial rebound in our container and automotive volumes, as well as an increase in imports and a decline in blank sailings,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “However, a more substantial recovery is dependent on the duration and intensity of the economic impacts from the pandemic, and ultimately, on a vaccine. We are hopeful for a stronger rebound throughout fiscal year 2021.”
The Port handled 71,053 pier tons in July, up 13% year-over-year. Inland Port Greer reported 10,832 rail moves last month, while Inland Port Dillon had 2,778 rail moves.
S.C. Ports reported the highest July on record for vehicles handled. S.C. Ports moved 25,128 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in July, a 47% increase year-over-year. This shows strength in the ro-ro sector for S.C. Ports, and signifies a return to normalcy at automotive plants throughout South Carolina and the Southeast.