Volumes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach deteriorated even further, with no rebound expected until the second quarter of next year — possibly even the second half.

The Port of Los Angeles had 11 “blanked” sailings in December 13 in November, following 20 in October. “We haven’t seen numbers like those since the start of the pandemic,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka during a press conference.

Jeremy Nixon, CEO of shipping line Ocean Network Express (ONE), told the press conference his company has been blanking about 20% of its sailings since October and expects to take out about half its capacity around Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated in 2023 on Jan. 22.

Los Angeles reported total November throughput of 639,344 TEU’s, down 21% year on year. Empty containers came in at 242,148 TEUs, exports at 90,116 TEUs.

Both Seroka and Nixon pointed to the continued absence of a West Coast port labor contract as a key culprit. The previous contract expired on July 1, pushing volumes to East and Gulf Coast ports. “Once that last remaining question mark is taken off the table, we’ll hopefully see more cargo coming back to the West Coast from this East Coast ad-hoc routing,” said Nixon.

At the neighboring Port of Long Beach, total November throughput came in at 588,742 TEUs, down 21% y/y. Empties totaled 204,313 TEUs and exports totaled 124,988 TEUs.

Long Beach’s containerized imports fell to 259,442 TEUs, down 28% y/y and 12% compared to October. Imports this November were 11.5% below imports in November 2019, pre-pandemic.

(Freight Waves)