Posted on March 29, 2023
First, we didn’t have enough goods. Then, we had too many.
Now, 43% less imports were processed at the Port of Los Angeles in February compared to the same time last year.
The only other time imports at the port have been this low was March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m very concerned about the port being down 40%, that’s huge to our local economy,” said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass.
“We’re still in a very strange place with our retail community. Inventories remain very high, new orders coming out of Asia won’t pickup until that older inventory is purchased by us, the U.S. consumer,” said Gene Siroka, the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles.
There has also been a shift away from West Coast imports, which the port is working to address.
“Our efforts are focused on improving infrastructure, our digitalization program as well as this new workforce training camps, but we’ve got to be ultra competitive on the sides of cost, our broader labor constituency and the regulatory environment here in California,” said Siroka.
L.A. Councilman Tim McOsker said jobs are always at risk because people know that other ports are fighting to get more and more market share.
“Although the market is growing substantially across the board and so we do have the potential for a lot of work, but what we need to do is make sure we’re investing in our infrastructure and investing in training like we’re doing today,” he said.
McOsker referred to the construction of a workforce-training center at the port of L.A., the first campus in the U.S. dedicated to the goods movement workforce.
The Port of Los Angeles said after Fourth of July, the port will see a more normal flow of goods coming through.