Waiting to unload at Port of Los Angeles

The amount of incoming cargo to the Port of Los Angeles has been increasing significantly, a result of businesses restocking inventories that had been run down during the year, and retailers preparing for an early holiday season, according to Gene Seroka, executive director for the port.

Seroka said that workers had unloaded 471,795 teus of imports in September, up 17% year on year, Los Angeles is the leading gateway for US trade with China.

That trend had continued into October, said Seroka. There were now 16 vessels docked and 10 at anchor with cargo waiting to be unloaded.

“We continue to see the replenishment of warehouse and distribution centre inventories along with retailers prepping for year-end holidays,” Seroka said.

However, the surge in cargo has begun to cause backups. The arrival of 18 unscheduled ships in August and September made labour scheduling more complex. In addition, Covid-19 safety measures entailing reduced staffing levels and physical distancing meant that it was taking longer to get containers out of the port. “You don’t see as much staffing at each shift at our warehouses and distribution centres. It takes longer to process import cargo with those facilities,” concluded Seroka