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            october 18, 2019

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Busworld 2019


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LA-LB ports see cargo volumes from China and HK slump due to trade war


The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen a big boost in trade with several Southeast Asian countries at the same time the trade war has caused cargo volumes to and from China and Hong Kong to plunge, according to the deputy director of LA port, Mike DiBernardo.
In a recent presentation to the Pacific Transportation Association in Oakland, California, Mr DiBernardo noted that imports from China and Hong Kong to the two Southern California ports were 11.8 per cent, or about 209,000 TEU, lower in the first four months of 2019 than in the same 2018 period. Exports were off 24.6 per cent or about 81,000 TEU.
While China is a much larger trading partner, the growing volumes of containers moving to and from other Asian countries helped offset some of the decline.
Imports were up from Cambodia by 45 per cent or 5,172 TEU; from Vietnam by 21.9 per cent or 40,056 TEU; from Thailand by 10.6 per cent or 8,984 TEU. There also were single-digit percentage increases from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan, while imports from South Korea also were off 2.9 per cent or 3,298 TEU.
Exports were up to many Asian countries, including to Malaysia by 51.7 per cent or 11,159 TEU; to Singapore by 43.2 per cent or 6,791 TEU; to South Korea by 27.3 per cent or 24,223 TEU; to Japan by 17 per cent or 15,490 TEU; and to Indonesia by 12.4 per cent or 5,482 TEU. Exports to Thailand were down 19.7 per cent or 5,220 TEU.
Mr DiBernardo said the port does have some concerns that if manufacturing were to move to countries outside of Southeast Asia to destinations such as Africa, West Coast ports would not be as well positioned to handle that trade as those elsewhere in the US.
The Port of Los Angeles moved a record 9.4 million TEU of containerised cargo last year. It is also a major hub for other types of cargo, handling 90.6 million barrels of liquid bulk products such as petroleum in 2018, 156,091 automobiles and large amounts of steel, scrap metal, fruit and other sorts of breakbulk cargo.
The neighbouring Port of Long Beach handled 8.09 million TEU in 2018 and the combined volumes of the two ports are expected to grow from the 17.5 million TEU last year to 41 million TEU by 2040.
To do that, the Port of LA is looking at ways to make its terminals more efficient, Mr DiBernardo said.
Last year the port's terminals began requiring shippers to make appointments at container terminals. The port now is looking to make a centralised appointment system in which trucking companies can make reservations at any of the terminals in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The port also is working with Wabtech, formerly General Electric, to create Port Optimizer, a computer portal through which Customs and Border Protection, shippers, ocean carriers, trucking companies, terminals, chassis providers, railroads and other players can share information and improve planning.
Mr DiBernardo said availability of chassis continues to be an issue at the port, but said the "pool of pools", a combined chassis pool by suppliers Flexivan, DCLI and TRAC, has been successful.
To free up more space at terminals, the port is looking to create off-dock yards within the port's property for chassis storage and where truckers would be able to pick up and return chassis, reports American Shipper.

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