The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) processed 958,674 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in March, its third consecutive monthly cargo record.

The Port completed its best first quarter ever, an increase of 3.5 percent above last year's record, an official statement said. Overall cargo volume reached 2,682,034 TEUs for the first quarter of 2022.

"With improved fluidity on our docks and fewer vessels waiting to enter the port, our terminals are processing cargo at record levels," says Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles. "Yet we're not taking anything for granted. We're using our Port Optimizer data to find developing issues and adjust to market demands. We will keep working at this every day."

Seroka announced the latest cargo data during a media briefing where he hosted an interview with International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) International President Willie Adams and ILWU Coast Committeeman Frank Ponce De Leon. The ILWU leaders discussed the perils that dockworkers have faced working through Covid-19, upcoming contract negotiations and a range of other issues.

Only 46 ships backed up across LA/LB ports
Container ships backed up across the Los Angeles/Long Beach ports totalled 46 as of April 12, 2002, according to data from Captain J. Kipling (Kip) Louttit, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Southern California & Vessel Traffic Service Los Angeles and Long Beach San Pedro, CA.

The 46 container ships backed up include six ships at anchor or loitering off the ports of LA/LB plus 40 slow speed steaming or loitering outside the Safety and Air Quality Area (SAQA). The 46 container ships in the backup are 63 fewer than the record of 109 on January 9, 2022.

March 3rd best month for POLA

March movement of 958,674 TEUs represent the third-best month ever in the Port's 115-year history, just behind the 1,012,048 TEUs recorded last May and 980,729 TEUs in October 2020, the statement said.

"March 2022 loaded imports reached 495,196 TEUs compared to the previous year, an increase of 1 percent. Loaded exports came in at 11,781 TEUs, a 9 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. Exports have now declined 37 of the last 41 months in Los Angeles. Empty containers climbed to 351,697 TEUs, a 2 percent increase compared to last year."

In 2021, the Port facilitated $294 billion in trade and handled 10.7 million container units, the busiest calendar year in the Port's 115-year history.

Freight rates continue decline
As lockdowns in and around Shanghai continue to cause headaches for U.S. shippers and logistics providers, carriers have begun omitting port calls in Shanghai, calling instead at ports such as Ningbo and Yantian, while shippers scramble to reroute cargoes to alternative ports of loading amid heavily restricted trucking capacity, S&P Global Commodity Insights said in its weekly commentary.

North Asia-to-West Coast North America declined to $7,500/FEU during the week ended April 8, lows not seen since July 30, 2021.

"Market sentiment holds that a cargo surge may occur as and when Chinese lockdowns are lifted, which would put renewed pressure on U.S. port and intermodal infrastructure, and could coincide with the U.S. West Coast port labour negotiations in May."

The differential between spot USWC/USEC rates widened to $4,500/FEU as North Asia-to-ECNA held firm at $12,000/FEU.

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