It is not surprising that COVID-19 has hurt global trade and consequently, data collected during the first months of the pandemic revealed a fall in imports and exports of goods to and from the US affecting drastically the activities at ports around the nation.

Container volumes are measured in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs. This standard ensures that trade statistics are the same no matter where you are in the globe.

These are the TEUs handled in the major US ports during the period April – June of 2020 versus 2019:

Port of Los Angeles

The port of Los Angeles for nearly two decades has moved more cargo than any other port in the nation and its North America’s largest trade gateway based on container volumes and value of trade.

port of Los Angeles chart
Source: https://www.portoflosangeles.org/business/statistics/container-statistics/historical-teu-statistics-2020

During these months the port of LA saw the worst of the pandemic, with the decrease being over 250,000 TEUs.

Port of Houston

The port of Houston is one the major player in international trade, being the largest port in the Gulf Coast. It was ranked 6th by total TEUs in 2019.

port of Houston chart
Source: https://porthouston.com/about-us/statistics/

Port of New York/Newark

The port of New York/Newark is the gateway to one of the most concentrated consumer markets in North America and the largest port on the East Coast.

port of NY/Newark chart
Source: https://www.panynj.gov/port/en/our-port/facts-and-figures.html

Port Everglades

Port Everglades is one of the main seaports in the South East for receiving petroleum products. In recent years PEV has also gained relevance in the cargo arena due to its proximity to Central and South American countries.

port Everglades chart

Despite these gloomy figures, the reality is that volumes are starting to rise across many ports in the US. Panjiva (a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence) reported this week that US import containers reached an all-time monthly high in August. The recovery process of many factories in Asia and the urge of importers in the US to re-stock has prompted an influx of imports that is reviving the ports’ activities.

Some experts believe that this increase might be temporary, and volumes at ports might experience another dip soon. Let’s hope they are wrong, and that the proximity of the holiday season serves to continue this steady path to recovery that we are seeing today.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding freight forwarding through COVID-19, contact our PROMPTUS and one of our experts will guide you through the process of importing and exporting goods in a safe and timely manner.