Cargo volume declined at the Port of Long Beach in February due to fewer ship calls amid the outbreak of the coronavirus and lingering effects of the trade dispute with China.
Terminal operators and dockworkers moved 538,428 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, down 9.8% compared to February 2019. Imports dropped 17.9% to 248,592 TEUs, while exports increased 19.3% to 125,559 TEUs. Empty containers sent overseas decreased by 12.8% to 164,277 TEUs.
Although a Phase 1 preliminary trade agreement was signed in January by the United States and China, about $370 billion in Chinese goods remain under the increased tariffs.
The coronavirus has caused further disruption to the supply chain with an increase in canceled sailings and a reduction in cargo moving through the nation’s second-busiest port.
“With the extended factory closures and the 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,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “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.”
“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. We hope for the swift recovery of these individuals,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal. “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.”
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