Port of LA and Long Beach accounts for about 40 percent of all container cargo entering the United States each year. The port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, has been impacted by an increase in empty containers. While on August, the port of Long Beach surpassed its twin port with cargo volumes less than 1,000 TEUs off its monthly record, the LB port reported.
Despite this achievement, shippers have come to rely on East Coast ports more due to concerns about labor issues on the West Coast at ports including LA and Long Beach. The Port of New York recently became the nation’s busiest port, surpassing the traffic at the California ports.
According to data from the National Retail Foundation, imports at the nation’s major container ports are expected to fall to their lowest level in nearly two years by the end of 2022 even though retail sales continue to grow.
With massive congestion at the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach earlier this year, many importers ordered early for the holiday season. Blank sailing results in fewer vessels and equipment on the market to meet demand. 87,000 empty containers are lingering at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, this was identified by The Harbor Trucking Association, including near-dock depots for empties, as well as sitting at trucker yards or other sites across Southern California.
Other data points which signal a decrease in orders are the outbound tender rejections. The higher percentage of rejections indicates tighter capacity; the lower percentage shows looser capacity.
The rows of empty containers take up important land capacity at the port and restrict trade fluidity. With port delays increasing, logistics companies are keeping an eye on air as an alternative to ensure deliveries.
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