Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

The Port of Los Angeles moved 688,999 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, which declined by 6.45pc from April 2019. 

Last month’s volumes were 53pc higher than the month before primarily because of mass stay-at-home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gene Seroka, the Port’s executive director, forecasts significantly lower container volumes for the remainder of Q2, particularly for imports. Twenty-eight sailings have been voided this quarter because market softness this month is expected to persist through June, but Seroka anticipates an uptick in the fourth quarter when demand normalizes. 


Recyclables, heavy duty machinery, and agricultural shipments declined at the port in April compared to the same month last year. According to Seroka, scrap metal shipments declined on an annual basis by nearly 50pc last month, while steel volumes decreased by 70pc. Petroleum volumes decreased by 6pc last month from April 2019.


Loaded imports increased by 2.6pc to 370,111 TEUs last month from last year, while exports decreased by 16.2pc to 130,321 TEUs. Empty containers also declined by 14.4pc to 188,567 TEUs. 


Through the first four months of 2020, volumes at the port declined by 15.50pc to 2.5mn TEUs from 2.9mn TEU’s during the same four-month period in 2019. US exports to Asia declined, especially to China. Products shipments that were part of Phase I of the China-US agreement have been deferred H2 2020. Cargo volume management at the port last month was about 80pc of what it usually, and labor shifts decreased by 19pc.


For the last five months in 2019, the Port of Los Angeles encountered monthly year-over-year declines, owing to decelerated global trade. In September, volumes declined by 2.7pc from the same month in 2018, while October, November, and December witnessed decreases of 19.1pc, 12.4pc, and 17.3pc, respectively, 8.


As North America’s leading port, the Port of Los Angeles, including all of its terminals, has remained operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the port managed 9.3mn TEU’s in container volumes, which translated to about $276bn in trade value.

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