Ships wait to unload at Port of Los Angeles as imports boom
Incoming cargo to
the Port of Los Angeles is surging as businesses restock depleted inventories
and retailers prepare for an early holiday season, the executive director for
the nation’s busiest seaport said on Wednesday Oct 14.
Workers unloaded 471,795 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of imports in
471,795 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of imports in September, 17% more than
the year earlier, marking the second month of robust import gains at the No. 1
gateway for U.S. trade with China.
That trend has
carried into October, said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los
Angeles, where there are now 16 vessels docked and 10 at anchor with cargo
waiting to be unloaded.
“We continue to
see the replenishment of warehouse and distribution center inventories along
with retailers prepping for year-end holidays,” Seroka said.
Walmart WMT.N, Target TGT.N, and Best Buy BBY.N are among the U.S. retailers
launching holiday promotions before Halloween to lock in sales and ease
residential delivery crunches as worries mount over fast-rising COVID-19
infections and potential unrest around next month’s Presidential election.
The trend is a turnaround from earlier this year
The trend is a
turnaround from earlier this year, when pandemic related shutdowns – first in
China and then in the United States – slowed ocean shipping traffic to a
Arrival of 18 unscheduled ships made labor scheduling more complex
But the jump in
cargo – some of it unexpected – is beginning to cause backups that could ripple
through U.S. supply chains.
Port workers are
racing to process incoming containers and the arrival of 18 unscheduled ships
in August and September made labor scheduling more complex.
measures like reduced staffing and physical distancing means it is taking
longer to get containers out of the port.
You don’t see as much staffing at each shift
“You don’t see as
much staffing at each shift at our warehouses and distribution centers. It
takes longer to process import cargo with those facilities,” Seroka said