Port container volumes on the West Coast and East Coast declined in November, although shippers were focused on different factors.
Labor talks between the 22,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents 29 port and storage locations, continued to weigh on volumes. On the East Coast, cargo levels were driven by concerns over the economy.
However, in the past six months, East Coast ports have seen a significant uptick in container handling, even with the slightly lower November number.
Geopolitical conflicts, strike threats and weather-related disasters tested supply chains in 2022, adding new headaches for businesses still grappling with the fallout from the pandemic.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to tight supply and high prices for certain commodities, forcing some companies to overhaul operations and rethink their sourcing strategies. Meanwhile, COVID-19 lockdowns in China sent businesses scrambling for alternatives as some suppliers idled production.
The Port of New York and New Jersey took the top spot in the country for trade in the month of October, the third-consecutive month it has topped California’s big ports as more cargo volume shifts to the East Coast in what seems with every month to look more like a permanent shift.
New York handled 792,548 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), nearly 19% more than in October 2019.
Earlier this week, the Port of Los Angeles posted its lowest level of October since 2009. Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka cited protracted negotiations and fears of a labor strike among port workers as the reason for the shift in trade at a press conference earlier this week.