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Over the past couple of months, the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – the main US west coast gateway – has eased and vessel turn times improved. However, shippers may see renewed strain on the ports and their rail and truck networks as peak season looms.

For ten consecutive months, the port complex has handled record or near-record volumes of imports: in May, LA processed 1,012,048 TEU, the first time a port in the western hemisphere handled more than a million TEU in a month. Total US-bound containerized shipments were up 47.1% on a year ago according to recent data. Imports from China climbed 51.1% year on year, while imports from the rest of Asia increased 44.5%.

Despite the record setting imports, turn times at the docks and truck time at Los Angeles and Long Beach have improved since January. Unfortunately, the respite may be short lived as two new carriers announced plans to bring their services to the port complex and HMM plans to boost its transpacific sailings.

Carriers and shippers are both preparing for the influx of goods that peak season is known for. However, extenuating circumstances including a fast growing US economy, the waning pandemic, and recovery from Yantian’s closure is expected to further fuel imports this season.

As more cargo pours in from Asia, port executives warn that the congestion is not solely the fault of port’s capacity, but also a result of strain on the entire supply chain network extending far into the interior US as well.

Source: The Loadstar