Tariffs are taking their toll at the Port of Los Angeles, United States’ busiest container port, with container counts and vessel calls dropping sharply in October and exports of American goods being in decline for 12 consecutive months.
On Thursday, November 7, The Port of Los Angeles announced that it moved 770,189 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in October, a 19.1% to 392,768 TEUs decrease compared to 2018’s record-breaking October. Total volumes have increased 1.8% compared to last year, which was the busiest year ever at America’s top port.
The Port of Los Angeles further announced that in October 2018, cargo owners were importing cargo at a record pace to get ahead of expected tariffs.
Exports registered a decline of 19.3% to 140,332 TEUs last month, marking the 12th consecutive monthly decline. In addition to this, empty containers dropped 19% to 237,088 TEUs.
Gene Seroka, the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles said that
With 25% fewer ship calls, 12 consecutive months of declining exports and now decreasing imports, we’re beginning to feel the far-reaching effects of the U.S.-China trade war on American exporters and manufacturers.
It is further expected that soft volumes in the months ahead and with the holiday season approaching, fewer cargo translates to fewer jobs for American workers. The Executive Director further called for a negotiated settlement and the removal of the tariffs.
Moreover, in September the Port of Los Angeles managed less containers of imported goods, following the ongoing trade war between the US and China, as the US sanctions affected the port given that it is the busiest one for ocean trade with China, as Reuters reported.
The new US tariffs were imposed on the 1st of September, when China followed, imposing a 5% tariff on US crude for the first time.
In late September, six of the largest ports of US West Coast sent a letter to US President Donald Trump alerting about the impacts of the trade war between the US and China, adding that the escalating tension will affect ports’ economies, workers, residents and international partnerships.