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Inbound containers at US west coast ports down 8pc in June: PMSA

PACIFIC Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), which represents shipping lines and marine terminals, says that the big five US west coast ports saw an 8 per cent drop in inbound loads in June, compared to the same month in 2019, but by margins much 'less ghastly' than May's collapse of 15 per cent

02 August 2020 - 19:00

PACIFIC Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), which represents shipping lines and marine terminals, says that the big five US west coast ports saw an 8 per cent drop in inbound loads in June, compared to the same month in 2019, but by margins much 'less ghastly' than May's collapse of 15 per cent.

But PMSA said the 1.9 per cent increase at the port of Oakland was 'pretty much all the good news' for US west coast ports.



Together, the two San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handled 8 per cent fewer loaded inbound TEU than they had a year earlier. Long Beach saw 9.3 per cent decline in inbound TEU, while neighbouring Los Angeles was down 6.8 per cent.



PMSA said the story was even more dismal farther to the north, where the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma saw their combined imports fall by 15.1 per cent year on year from June 2019.



The results for exports were even worse as outbound loads through the big five USWC container ports were off by 13.3 per cent from a year earlier. Los Angeles saw a 21.3 per cent decline, Long Beach was down 12.2 per cent, Oakland fell 5.7 per cent and the NWSA dropped 8 per cent.



In its report, the PMSA also drew attention to the loss of the Asian market, saying the May figures on containerised imports arriving at US mainland ports from east Asia were 'not encouraging' for US west coast port officials.



The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach saw their combined share of containerised import tonnage from east Asia decline to 42 per cent from 44.4 per cent a year earlier. At the same time, their collective share of containerised import value slipped to 50.1 per cent from 51.6 per cent,' PMSA said.



Regarding exports, it said the San Pedro Bay ports' share of containerised export tonnage to east Asia slid to 32.1 per cent from 36.3 per cent a year earlier, while their combined share of the value of those containerised imports dropped to 40.5 per cent from 43.5 per cent.



Oakland experienced 'sizable' year-on-year upticks in both its import tonnage and value tonnage shares, while the two NWSA ports saw their shares of US containerised export tonnage rise even though their share of the value of those shipments dipped slightly.



While awaiting June figures from US east coast ports, the PMSA said Long Beach remained the nation's container port with the highest throughput for the month of May with total throughput of 628,205 TEU, while Los Angeles had 581,665 TEU, and the Port of New York-New Jersey placed third with 537,412 TEU.



Long Beach was also the country's busiest container port in May with 446,146 loaded TEU, outdistancing the 410,705 loaded TEU handled by Los Angeles and the 361,456 TEU at PNYNJ.



Still, the year-to-date totals for the first five months of the year show Los Angeles retaining its number one standing, with 3.07 million TEU in total, followed by PNYNJ in second at 2.85 million TEU, and Long Beach in third with 2.83 million TEU, reports London's Lloyd's Loading List.


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