US PORTS SEE EARLY SIGNS OF COVID-19 RECOVERY

Aug 14, 2020 16:45 PM

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports) experienced a 12% volume increase since June, however their year-over-year (YoY) traffic still declined. Exports also fell but imports, especially from Asia, improved. Blank trips also fell in June. Additionally, SC Ports posted its best month in cars driven with a 47% year-on-year increase.

SC Ports showed that consumer confidence is beginning to return in some parts of the US economy and that regional auto plants are resuming normal operations. "We are encouraged by some signs of an initial rebound in our container and auto volumes, as well as an increase in imports and a decrease in blank travel," said SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome. “However, a more substantial recovery depends on the duration and intensity of the economic effects of the pandemic and, ultimately, of a vaccine. We are hopeful for a stronger recovery during fiscal 2021.
 

Meanwhile, on the west coast, the Port of Oakland enjoyed an increase in its import traffic, a sign that retail confidence is returning to the American economy.

However, this announcement was tempered with a 6.4% year-on-year drop in imports and the news that exports have fallen year-on-year for three consecutive months.

The port attributed the import gains to shippers restocking warehouses after the downsizing during the early stages of the global pandemic.

He said the cargo volume increase was welcome in Oakland after four consecutive months of declines between February and June, but cautioned against reading too much into the results.

"It's good to see a pickup in cargo activity," said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. "But we are not going to celebrate any victories because the business prospects remain unclear as long as the pandemic is with us."

The port said the decline in exports could be the result of China's efforts to ban shipments of waste products. Waste paper is one of the top American exports from West Coast ports, including Oakland.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit US ports, but some have fared better than others, with volume from the east coast holding relatively steady, while those on the west coast are experiencing substantial declines. .

Source: Port Technology International