The Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy has hit the port of Long Beach hard, but spared most others from year-on-year losses in ocean container traffic, based on port statistics released for September.
Long Beach reported a 16.6 per cent drop in imports to 546,805 TEU, down from 655,624 TEU in September 2015. Port officials attributed the weak results to Hanjin cancelling calls and the lack of Hanjin containers on other vessels in the CKYHE Alliance.
Other top ports in the US weren’t impacted to the same degree because they weren’t as exposed to the bankruptcy, reported Transport Topics of Arlington, Virginia.
Hanjin accounted for 12 per cent of the container volume in Long Beach, but only four per cent at the port of Los Angeles, according to port officials.
This year, 40 per cent of Hanjin containers unloaded in the US between January 1 and August 27 occurred in Long Beach, whereas 16 per cent went to Los Angeles.
“Despite challenges in global logistics due to the Hanjin bankruptcy, we’re pleased to see both import and export growth,” said LA port executive director Gene Seroka.
Through September, overall cargo volumes in Los Angeles have increased 4.1 per cent to 6.4 million TEU, while in Long Beach they’ve declined by 4.6 per cent to 5.1 million TEU.
The port of Oakland said loaded import containers decreased by 4.2 per cent to 70,307 TEU, but export containers rose 10 per cent to 76,356 TEU compared to September 2015.
Ports in Seattle and Tacoma reported total imports were up three per cent to 146,412 TEU and total exports fell 10 per cent to 119,918 TEU year on year.
The Port of Virginia said container traffic rose two per cent last month, setting a new September record of 219,857 TEU.
The Georgia Ports Authority reported that total containers handled at the port of Savannah dropped 2.9 per cent in September. Through September, total containers handled for 2016 was 2.7 million TEU, down 4.6 per cent from the 2.9 million TEU handled in the first nine months of 2015.
The South Carolina Ports Authority said loaded import containers increased 5.1 per cent to 74,009 TEU and exports jumped 3.5 per cent to 62,598 TEU. However, overall container traffic at the port of Charleston fell 2.8 per cent to 162,858 TEU because of a 28 per cent drop in empty containers coming into or going out of the port.
Global shipping consultants Drewry forecast that ocean container carriers would record a collective operating loss of US$5 billion in 2016, but turn around and generate $2.5 billion in profits next year. It also projects higher ocean freight rates and more container traffic in 2017.