As carriers continue to cancel sailings from China, Los Angeles-Long Beach port is preparing for a slump in demand. Between February 11th and April 1st, 40 sailings have been canceled at LA-LGB. Port officials estimate these cancellations will result in a 25% drop in volume, or approximately 176,000 containers.
In response, terminal operators are limiting hours or days of operations intermittently. Additionally, certain restrictions are being implemented on dual-transaction activities. This means truckers must make multiple appointments for port activities, limiting efficiency and causing delays in empty container returns, accessing equipment for export, and loaded export container returns. As a result, there may be difficulty in returning empty containers in a timely manner, increasing the risk of per diem charges. Customers are encouraged to stay in close contact with carriers to avoid such delays.
Demand for space out of China is expected to steadily strengthen in the next few weeks as factories ramp up production to pre-Chinese New Year levels. Some airfreight charter services have resumed operations as well. Prices on both air and oceanfreight are expected to spike, as the current demand for these services greatly outweighs supply.
Recently there have been surges of coronavirus cases in Italy, Iran, and South Korea. South Korea has begun seeing factory closures and flight cancellations, though not nearly to the scale of response in China.