PGL Weekly Update 3-24-23

Container Volumes Fall at Most US Ports

A combination of the Lunar New Year, ongoing labor negotiations and concern about a slowing global economy resulted in the Port of Los Angeles seeing a 43% year-over-year drop in container cargo in February.

The port processed 487,846 20-foot-equivalent containers, down from last year’s 857,764.

“February declines were exacerbated by an overall slowdown in global trade, extended Lunar New Year holiday closures in Asia, overstocked warehouses and a shift away from West Coast ports,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “While we expect more cargo moving across our docks in March, volume will likely remain lighter than average in the first half of 2023.

Labor Tensions Rise in Stalled West Coast Port Contract Talks 

Tensions in long-running contract talks at West Coast ports are worsening, with employers accusing unionized dockworkers of slowing cargo handling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest gateway for imported consumer goods.

The sharp rhetoric marks a shift from a longstanding agreement to maintain public silence on issues around the negotiations, which began last spring. The two sides appear to be no closer to bridging the gap on their disagreements, pointing to the possibility of deeper disruptions to U.S. trade flows.

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents ocean carriers and port employers, said Monday that dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had stopped staggering work shifts during mealtimes starting last Wednesday.

National diesel average falls 6.2 cents, to $4.185, reports EIA

The national average price per gallon of diesel gasoline saw another decline, for the week of March 20, according to data issued this week by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The national average decreased 6.2 cents, to $4.185, following a 3.5-cent decline, to $4.247, for the week of March 13. This was preceded by a 1.2-cent decrease, to $4.282, for the week of March 6, an 8.2-cent decline, to $4.294, for the week of February 27 and another 8.2-cent decrease, to $4.376, for the week of February 20, and a 9.5-cent decrease to, $4.444 per gallon, for the week of February 13. Those declines were preceded by a 1.8-cent increase, to $4.622 per gallon, for the week of January 30 and an 8.0-cent increase, to $4.604, for the week of January 23, with a 2.5-cent decline, to $4.524, for the week of January 16.