“The cargo continues to move at a record speed and may not slow down any time soon,” said Mario Cardera, executive director of Long Beach Port.

The most lively April in history was recorded in the port of San Pedro Bay, California. Its neighbor, the port of Los Angeles, was the second busiest April in its history, despite the fact that cargo volumes decreased compared to last year. But the strongest performances in April took place in the ports of the Persian Gulf and the East Coast.

Port Long Beach moved last month 820,718 units of the twenty-foot equivalentwhich is 10% more than the previous record set in April 2021. Imports increased by 9.2% compared to the same period last year and amounted to 400,803 TEU, while exports decreased by 1.8% to 121,876 TEU.

SONAR FreightWaves shows a monthly review of TEUs issued through U.S. Customs in an average of seven days.

The emptied containers transported increased the most, by 16.9% compared to the same period last year, to 298,039 TEU.

In the first four months of 2022, the port exceeded 3,281,377 TEU, which is 5.1% more than in the same period of 2021.

Cordera said the port is not expecting any lazy summer days.

“We are preparing for a likely summer surge when China recovers from a long shutdown due to COVID-19,” he said in a report on port volumes. “Shippers move imports quickly and empty the docks, the terminals stay open longer and we are working to complete our new Information road supplies data tracking solution ”.

Trans-Pacific flows are stable

Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said in a press release Tuesday that trans-Pacific trade “remained stable” despite COVID’s closure in China.

In April, the port of Los Angeles handled 887,357 TEUs. The busiest April at the port took place last year, when 946,966 TEUs were transported.

FreightWaves ’latest product, Container Atlas, features ocean volumes from March to May 1st.

More than 3.5 million TEUs relocated in the first four months of 2022 at the Port of Los Angeles are 1% ahead of last year’s record rate.

The port did report a decline. Imports in April amounted to 456,670 TEU, which is 6.8% less than the same period last year. The volume of shipped exports amounted to 99,878 TEU, which is 12.7% less than in April 2021.

While the number of empty containers moving in the port of Long Beach increased by more than 15%, the port of Los Angeles decreased by 3.4% over the same period last year, handling 330,810 TEU empty.

The Corder’s statement on moving cargo at record speeds is especially applicable to ports outside of California. The Georgia Ports Authority said Tuesday that its April container volumes grew by 6.2% compared to the same period last year and that it had the third most stressful month in its history. South Carolina Ports established cargo records for 14 consecutive months. April was the second busiest month in the history of the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. And Port Houston said Tuesday that April was the busiest of all Processed 334,493 TEU growth of 21% over the same period last year.

McCown take

“In the 10 largest US ports in April, the volume of inboxes increased by 7.1%, an increase over 3.5% in March, but below 13.7% in February,” – wrote marine expert John McCown . McCown Report.

Total imports in April at the top 10 ports at 2,189,744 TEUs became the third largest of all time and just 1.8% lower than the record 2,230,919 TEUs set just a month earlier, McCown said.

“April was the 11th month in a row in which the percentage change in the ports of the East and the Gulf Coast in annual terms exceeded the West Coast ports,” he said. “In April, there was a gap on the coast of 22.1 percentage points as a result of an increase of 18.7% in the ports of the East Coast / Persian Gulf and a decrease of 3.4% in the ports of the West Coast. This is the fourth largest monthly gap in these figures and above the average difference of 16.6 percentage points over the 11-month period. “

He attributed the higher relative performance of ports on the Gulf Coast and East Gulf to the initial increase in the pandemic volume, which brought disproportionate benefits to West Coast ports and affected the comparison; shippers change the route of the cargo to “avoid traffic jams” in Los Angeles and Long Beach; and lower shipping costs from the Gulf Coast and the East compared to intermodal shipments from the West Coast.

The McCown report covers volumes in major U.S. ports. (Diagram: John McCown)

The Shanghai volume is redirected

April was strong in U.S. ports because the total volume of containers in China fell by only 2.5%, McCown said.

“As a result of the blockade in Shanghai related to the COVID option, the port of Shanghai, the largest container port in the world, shrank by 25% in April. However, out of seven of the world’s 10 largest container ports, this volume has been redirected to China, ”he explained.

According to McCown, the U.S. ports with the highest rates in April were Charleston, South Carolina, up 34%; Houston, an increase of 26.5%; and New York / New Jersey, an increase of 22.4%.

“The weakest performance in April was in Seattle / Tacoma, down 20.1%; Auckland, down 15.8%; and Los Angeles, down 6.2%, ”he wrote.

McCown predicts that figures in May “are likely to show an overall decline as it will be measured compared to the busiest month for West Coast ports in May 2021.”

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Click here for more American Shipper / FreightWaves stories from senior editor Kim Link-Wills.


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