The Port of Los Angeles expects that it and other West Coast ports will maintain their lead in import market share over other U.S. ports, according to Gene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles.
At the Port’s July 14th press briefing, Seroka was asked by AJOT about a Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) report showing that West Coast ports have increased their import market share over East Coast and Gulf ports from 36.8% in April, 2019 to 38.9% in April, 2021.
Seroka said he expects the trend to continue:
“I do, because of all the predicted analytics that we have been sharing in today’s session …. All indications are that July and August looks super strong heading into the traditional peak season and our outlook now … shows a very strong second half of the year. The numbers are going to fall where they may. Market share is important because it means more cargo is coming in at greater levels (as well as) job creation that we can induce here at the nation’s largest port. So, all of that is important but it comes down to competitiveness. We’ve got to deliver value for the money.”
Strong Fiscal Year
In other news, the Port announced that it processed 876,430 TEUs in June, which was its busiest June ever and closed the fiscal year at 10,879,383 TEUs, “a new milestone for any Western Hemisphere port.”
“Key economic indicators all suggest that U.S. consumer spending will remain strong through the remainder of 2021,” Seroka said. “Even as Americans return to airline travel, vacations and in-person events, retail sales and e-commerce remain robust.
The total June 2021 volume of 876,430 TEUs surpassed the previous June 2019 record of 764,777 TEUs by 15%. The fiscal year close of 10,879,383 TEUs is 12% higher than the previous 12-month record, when the Port handled 9,688,252 TEUs in FY 2018-19.
Six months into the 2021 calendar year, overall cargo volume is 5,427,359 TEUs, an increase of 44% compared to 2020.
Congestion Issues Persist
However, congestion problems persisted according to May/June averages with many ships backed up at anchor waiting for berth space.
The Port reported delays in terminal and rail operations:
•Terminal dwell time was 4.8 days slightly down from 5 days in February.
• On dock rail dwell time was 11.7 days down from a peak of 13.2 days.