Overall cargo volume dropped at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles last month as concern over the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the shipping industry, according to figures released Tuesday.
The Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second busiest port, moved 538,428 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, down 9.8% compared to February 2019. Imports dropped 17.9%, while exports increased 19.3%. Empty containers sent overseas decreased 12.8%.
Officials on Tuesday said the coronavirus has caused further disruption to the supply chain with an increase in canceled sailings and a reduction in cargo.
“With the extended factory closures and slowdown of goods movement in China and other Asian countries in February due to Lunar New Year and COVID-19, we are seeing shipping lines needing to cancel some sailings,” Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach said in a statement. “Once the virus is contained, we may see a surge of cargo, and our terminals, labor and supply chain will be ready to handle it.”
The Port of Los Angeles moved 544,037 TEUs in February, a 22.9% decrease compared to last year.
“Along with the economic effects of reduced trade due to the health situation, we also have the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Long Beach,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal said in a statement. “The port will continue to monitor the outbreak internationally, and work with our stakeholders to keep our crucial link in the supply chain open and operating.”
— City News Service contributed to this report
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