Officials with the Port of Los Angeles said Thursday based on its monthly operations report, the tariffs imposed in the trade war between the United States and China have started to affect its cargo volumes.
The Port announced it moved 770,189 twenty-foot equivalent units in October, a 19.1% decrease compared to 2018's record-breaking October. Total volumes this year are still 1.8% higher than last year, which was the Port's busiest year ever.
"With 25% fewer ship calls, 12 consecutive months of declining exports and now decreasing imports, we're beginning to feel the far-reaching effects of the U.S.-China trade war on American exporters and manufacturers," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. "We expect soft volumes in the months ahead and with the holiday season upon us, less cargo means fewer jobs for American workers. We need a negotiated settlement and the tariffs lifted."
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Jobs at the Port are based on work availability, and longshore workers are distributed daily work orders for what jobs are needed. Seroka provided reports to multiple Los Angeles government agencies in September warning of the incoming issues related to tariffs.
In October 2018, cargo owners imported cargo at a record pace to get ahead of expected tariffs, the Port report stated.
This October, imports decreased 19.1%, to 392,768, TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports declined 19.3% to 140,332 TEUs, the 12th consecutive monthly decline of exports. Empty containers also declined 19% to 237,088 TEUs.
Gao Feng, a spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry, said that both sides had agreed to simultaneously cancel some existing tariffs on one another's goods, according to the country's state broadcaster.
The ministry spokesperson said that both sides were closer to a so-called phase-one trade agreement after constructive negotiations over the past two weeks.
The Trump administration announced in September that additional tariffs could go into effect if China didn't further negotiate with the U.S.