Cargo volume rose by 7% in the month of October, an improvement compared to last year, Port of Los Angeles officials announced Friday.
In total, the port processed 725,775 twenty-foot equivalent units, TEUs, in October. Loaded imports landed at 372,455 TEUs, and increase of 11%, and loaded exports came in at 121,277 TEUs, an increase of about 35% — compared to October 2022.
Empty containers totaled 232,043 TEUs, which declined by 8% compared to the same period last year.
“Our terminal operators, labor and other stakeholders have worked hard to earn cargo market share back over the last three months,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the port of L.A., said Friday during a briefing via Zoom. “Additionally, November is also shaping up to be a strong month as we see a final holiday push and warehouse replenishment.”
Serkoa noted that between August through October the San Pedro Bay ports increased their market share containerized imports from Asia, rising to 46% from 42% last year.
“Although there is still lots of room to improve here, we’re starting to see more cargo headed back our way. The driving force behind these rising imports continues to be the robust state of our nation’s economy,” Seroka said.
He noted, “The consumer price index declined to an annualized rate of 3.2% through October — that’s the lowest annual rate in more than two years.”
November is expected to be one of the port’s better months of 2023, Seroka said.
“Our data indicates that we’ll handle about 800,000 TEUs as we see both a final holiday push and some warehouse replenishment beginning to happen,” Seroka said.
The National Retail Federation expects to see record levels of spending this holiday season — an estimated growth between 3 to 4% compared to last year’s numbers.
Seroka also announced the return of Zim Integrated Shipping Services, relaunching an express service from South China direct to L.A.
“We’re pleased to welcome back Zim and its eCommerce Express service back to the Port of Los Angeles,” Seroka said. “This is the fastest, most efficient route for trade with Asia.”
Steve Hughes, president and CEO of HCS International, joined Seroka for Friday’s briefing. According to Seroka, Hughes’ consulting company works with major auto parts suppliers.
He also sits on the FMC Shipper Advisory Committee, representing both the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Auto Care Association.
Hughes said the automotive aftermarket includes independent automotive repair shops, tire shops, gas stations, oil and lube shops, body shops and various parts stores for US distributors.
He noted the automotive aftermarket represents $477.6 billion of the U.S economy and there are about 503,000 businesses employing 404.7 million automotive professionals.
“We’re on the verge of returning to pre-COVID normality, if you will, Hughes said.
He added, “… Inventory levels will be fully normalized by the first or second quarter of next year. So you’ll start to see more consistent return of ordering.”
Hughes relayed that he expects the automotive aftermarket to stay strong in 2024, and experience an increase in shipments.