Container throughput at US ports has been dropping sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. File Image / Pixabay
The first sets of container throughput data for the US in May are starting to show a large drop from the previous year, according to the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA).
The latest outlook from the National Retail Federation's Global Port Tracker expected a year-on-year decline of container imports of 14.6% for May, PMSA said in am emailed note Thursday.
Data from individual ports shows a net 13.8% drop at Los Angeles and Long Beach together, 14.6% at Oakland and 22.9% at Tacoma and Seattle, the organisation said.
On the east coast there was a 16.5% decline at Savannah, 26.4% at VIrginia, 23.5% at Maryland and 7.1% at Houston.
Export data showed a 17% decline in loaded outbound containers at Los Angeles and Long Beach, 10.7% at Oakland, 15.5% at Tacoma and Seattle, 32.2% at Maryland, 18.1% at Virginia, 3.6% at Savannah and a 9.5% rise at Houston.
"No one expected May's container trade numbers to be anything but awful," PMSA said.
"And, judging from the port TEU tallies posted so far, it looks like no one will be disappointed."
Container shipping is the biggest consumer of bunker fuel, and all of the ports showing declines are likely to have seen sharp drops in bunker fuel demand this year.