Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, trans-Pacific maritime trade has been significantly impacted. In February, cargo shipments dropped 22.9% compared to the year before, and in an April webinar hosted by the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles told participants, “While operations are smooth, cargo volumes have declined precipitously. In the month of March alone, cargo volume was down 31%. And for Q1, we are down 18.5% year-over-year.”
Many retailers are postponing, cancelling or otherwise pushing back on orders until we see some certainty in the U.S. economy.Gene Seroka Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles
Of critical necessity, processing shipments that address COVID-19 for hospitals, first responders and critical infrastructure is a top priority. And part of that exercise is to ensure that port logistics are flowing as smoothly as possible.
China’s COVID-19 crisis impacted cargo movement first, and now with the slow-down in the U.S. economy cargo movement is again being impacted. “We had 41 blank sailings from mid-February to April 1, and that represented about 25% of normal ship calls in LA. That had waned, but now we are seeing the next wave of blank sailings,” Seroka said.
It is with those key medical supplies in mind that Mayor Eric Garcetti recently named Seroka the city’s chief logistics officer, concurrent with his position as director, to ensure medical supplies are moved quickly to where they are needed. Seroka emphasized the critical need for N95 masks, face guards, and ventilators among other medical items, and put out a plea to companies and organizations for help.
The newly launched Victory LA (LOVLA) will work with outside organizations to manufacture, procure and expedite goods to first responders and hospitals. If your company has products or services to donate, Seroka urges you to connect with them.
For information, reach out to LOVLA@portla.org.
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