Port of Los Angeles traffic sets record

And that momentum is set to continue, according to Jean Cerocca, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “I don’t see us falling off a cliff,” said Cerocca. “I don’t see American consumers changing their shopping habits.”

For 18 months now, the Port of Los Angeles has received 900,000 container units per month. Before the pandemic, just one month would have been a record with such numbers.

“We are now handling about 17-18 ships a day who are working in the port. This is 70-80% higher productivity than before Covid-19,” Serocca said.

But although volumes coming into ports have remained at the same level as last fall, the seas outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach look different. Four container pots are anchored outside Port of Los Angeles, while 10 are anchored at sea Feather Near the Port of Long Beach until Tuesday.

Ships’ parking lots no longer exist – but that’s because ports have slowed the rate at which ships arrive. Forty-five ships are slowly drifting about 150 miles toward the port of Los Angeles. “It’s called port optimization. We don’t want [ships] Waiting sitting outside until the end of the week,” Serocca said.

The port has instructed large retailers to be more strategic about what they ship by sea, so that medium to small retailers can get the goods they really need.

“The system was messed up largely because too many people moved from ‘in-time’ inventory management to ‘just case’.” They wanted to get their orders into the factories before their rivals arrived, they didn’t want to be the ‘Paper Goods Person of 2021’,” Serocca said.

Serocca met with President Joe Biden and other transportation leaders at the White House in mid-October. Serocca says the economy was the president’s biggest concern and Biden wanted “everybody to have hands-on decks and he wanted everyone to be open every day for as long as they could.”

Part of this was directing the ports of LA and Long Beach to operate 24/7. But it never materialised as there was no demand from 3 am to 8 am.

What you're waiting for is in these containers

But the proposed “container housing fee” has had a huge impact. On Monday, two California ports announced they would suspend tariffs for another week until January 10. The fee was announced on October 25 to pressure retailers to speed up and return cargo containers to ports to help with hassles.

Ports have seen a combined 35% drop in “aging” cargo at docks since October – and Los Angeles alone has seen a 50% drop.

“We saw the number of imports move up the domestic supply chain very quickly, once we announced the threat of penalties,” Serocca said.

Ports plan to charge $100 for containers lasting 6-9 days or more, increasing in increments of $100 per day per container until the container exits the terminal.

The Port of Los Angeles is gearing up for a “mini-peak” next month as factories in China race to finish shipments before their Lunar New Year shutdown.

“We’re seeing goods coming from factories on ships and into the Pacific,” Serocca said. “And those landings will probably be completed [in the] half of February here in Southern California,”

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