NORTHWEST Seaport Alliance (NWSA) chief
executive officer John Wolfe expects second-quarter volumes will be soft
as the "unprecedented disruption" to the global supply chain continues
and container shipping lines scrap more sailings.
"Total container volumes in March were
down 21 per cent year on year," Mr Wolfe said. "That brings our
year-to-date first-quarter decline to 15.4 per cent."
The NWSA, which operates the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington,
said it handled 264,133 TEU port rotation will be in March. Full imports
in March declined 28.2 per cent, while full exports decreased 8.6 per
cent year on year.
Mr Wolfe said container shipping lines cancelled 32 sailings during the first quarter, including 19 in March alone.
The NWSA handled 788,882 TEU between January 1 and March 31, a 15.4 per
cent decline from the same period last year. Full imports and exports
decreased 19.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, American Shipper
"That's driven by the situation in the United States with the closure of
many businesses and the consumer market demand being down over last
year as a result of the economy being shut down," he said.
"With the anticipation that we will slowly open up the economy in the
second quarter of this year, which of course is uncertain, we expect the
third and fourth quarters will be stronger quarters in terms of total
"We'll wait and see what happens in the second quarter. That is our best
forecast: that the third and fourth quarter could be much stronger," Mr
Wolfe continued. "We're hopeful that 2021 will be a much more robust
year for us in terms of total cargo volumes and job creation and
economic activity through the gateway."
The Port of Los Angeles, North America's busiest container port, reported a year on year March volume drop of 30.9 per cent.
The port said it moved 449,568 TEU in March. That's the lowest amount of
monthly cargo moved through the port since February 2009.
March imports dropped by 25.9 per cent to 220,255 TEU compared to the
previous year. Exports decreased 23.8 per cent to 121,146 TEU. Empty
containers fell 44.5 per cent to 108,168 TEU.
The Port of Long Beach also continued to feel the economic effects of
Covid-19 in March, with more cancelled sailings and a decline in cargo
containers shipped through the nation's second-busiest seaport.
Terminal operators and dockworkers moved 517,663 TEU last month, a 6.4
per cent decline compared to March 2019. Imports were down five per cent
to 234,570 TEU, while exports rose 10.7 per cent to 145,442 TEU. Empty
containers shipped overseas dropped 21 per cent to 137,652 TEU.
The coronavirus was blamed for 19 blanked sailings to Long Beach during
the opening quarter of 2020. That contributed to a 6.9 per cent decline
in cargo shipments compared to the first three months of 2019, port
officials said.@FAXTEXT The Port of Oakland reported that global trade
weakened by the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a year-on-year 10.3 per
cent container import decline in March.
The return of empty containers to Asia was down 23 per cent, the port said.
In other March year on year figures, the number of ships calling Oakland
decreased 10.6 per cent, loaded container volume at the port declined
7.4 per cent and export container volume dipped five per cent.
Port Houston, the largest container port on the US Gulf coast, said
container activity began slowing in late March as expected due to the
Port Houston in March handled a total of 248,280 TEU, a drop of 11 per
cent compared to March 2019, when 280,721 TEU were recorded. For January
through March, however, the port handled 773,087 TEU, compared to
694,167 TEU for the same period last year. That is an increase of 11 per
cent for the first quarter.
The port said it had seven voided sailings in March.
The Jacksonville, Florida, port saw a 21 per cent drop in
roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro port rotation will be shipments year on year in
JAXPORT also reported an eight per cent drop in container volume in March.
The South Carolina Ports Authority said in a press release that it
remains positive about the long-term outlook, although March year on
year volumes were down and the SCPA will not meet the fiscal year
Loaded imports totalled 76,019 TEU, an 18.1 per cent drop from the
92,875 TEU recorded in March 2019. Loaded exports were down six per
cent, from 77,704 TEU in March 2019 to 73,077 TEU this year. Empties
shipped were down 16.1 per cent from 43,534 TEU to 36,536 TEU.
The SCPA said 1.82 million TEU had moved across the port of Charleston's
Wando Welch and north Charleston container terminals thus far in fiscal
year 2020, from July through March, up two per cent from the same
period a year ago.
"Vehicle and breakbulk volumes were strong in March," the SCPA said,
citing the movement of 24,755 vehicles in March and 174,095 vehicles
thus far in fiscal year 2020, up 27 per cent from a year prior.
In the breakbulk segment, the SCPA handled 73,342 pier tons in March for
a total of 541,661 pier tons in the fiscal year to date, up 23 per cent
year on year. For March, breakbulk was up 29.3 per cent from the 56,733
pier tons handled in 2019.
The SCPA has revised its container outlook for fiscal year 2020, which
runs from the beginning of July 2019 to the end of June 2020, to 1.345
million pier containers. Total 2019 fiscal year volume was 1.364 million