LOS ANGELES. This year, the number of US goods exported by the Port of Los Angeles will hit a 16-year low, continuing a four-year downward spiral.
Exports are down nearly 40 percent this month, Port of LA chief executive Gene Seroka told a December 15 news conference.
The fall, Serok said, was the result of trade policies with China and the strengthening of the US dollar.
“The strength of the US dollar, which is so important to us at home, makes us less competitive compared to other trading countries,” he said.
The dollar has remained at its highest level since July 2020 this week, and economists expect it to rise further.
Consumers bought a record number of goods overseas this year, including cars and electronics, than the US exported, according to the US Department of Commerce.
In September, it helped create a record trade deficit of over $ 81 billion, more than $ 12 billion over 2020.
Exports continued to decline despite the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reporting a record number of container ships arriving this week.
As reported by the Southern California Maritime Exchange, on December 15, 102 container ships were in reserve and awaiting docking at the twin ports.
From July 2020 to June 2021, the Port of Los Angeles exported just over 1.4 million containers, down 11 percent from the same period in 2019-2020. According to the port’s statistics, in 2018-19 it exported 1.9 million containers.
Exports have declined in 33 of the past 36 months. Serok said about 1.2 million containers will leave the Port of Los Angeles by the end of December, the lowest since 2005.
At the port of Long Beach, exports fell by almost 2 percent, down 20,000 containers from last year.
At the same time, Long Beach reported an 18 percent increase in container arrivals by the end of November.
“The supply chain is still under heavy pressure,” Long Beach Port Executive Director Mario Cordero said at another press conference on December 16. year.”
This year, the Port of Los Angeles will break a new import record of 5.5 million containers.
Both ports continued to struggle with empty container handling this week.
Officials continue to work with shippers to order more sweepers to clear “empty containers” from terminals.
So far in Los Angeles, 13 of these vessels have removed 33,000 empty containers.
Five more sweepers are heading to the port next week to take away 15,000 more people, Los Angeles Port spokesman Philip Sunfield told The Epoch Times in an email.
“We urge shipping companies to bring in more and more sweepers to help bridge the gap,” Sunfield said.
The Port of Los Angeles plans to close December with an 11 percent increase in empty containers. According to the port, about 70 thousand people are kept at terminals and near docking stations.
Empty containers took up storage space inside the terminal and in the surrounding areas as some truck drivers parked them on the side of the road. Officials are looking for ways to cut that number.
Long Beach had 32% more empty containers this year, according to the port’s website.
Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles has opened an empty container warehouse on an island in the port where truck drivers can unload empty containers to ease congestion. Serok said about 60 percent of empty containers in the port were stored for nine days or longer.
“We will consider additional measures, including levying fees on line companies,” Seroka said.
A similar levy was approved by both ports in October to punish operators who leave full containers in port for extended periods.
This fee charges companies $ 100 each day the container remains for more than nine days if it is delivered by truck and six days if it is sent by rail. The fee is $ 100 per day.
However, these fees were never introduced. The port authorities again postponed the start of work this week until December 20.
The threat of collection has reduced the volume of containers by 39 percent, Serok said.
“If we go in the opposite direction, you bet it will be implemented,” he said.
Long Beach’s Cordero said the ports are also working with digital software company UNCOMN in St. Louis, Missouri to create what they call a “supply chain information backbone.”
The new system will allow shippers to track their shipments from the point of origin and throughout the supply chain to “the last mile and possibly beyond,” he said.
Officials hope to roll out the software in February and eventually expand it for use in Oakland, California, and eventually other ports across the country, Cordero said.
Port officials have poured $ 400,000 into the concept of the system and will offer it to users free of charge, according to Noel Hasegaba, another senior Long Beach port executive.
“Our goal with UNCOMN is to create a tool that will enable our partners to schedule and plan ahead of cargo arrival and reduce delays during each mode transition,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Stephen Neal said in a press release.
UNCOMN has worked for US Transportation Command, US Army Ground Deployment and Distribution Command and US Air Force Air Mobility Command for over 10 years in data analysis and development of cloud applications and data environments, according to Port of Long. Beach.