Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Imports into the nation’s largest two ports were near flat during April compared to the previous year as exports from China declined amid an ongoing trade war.

The tension with China has affected volumes at the San Pedro Bay ports, where the bulk of the U.S. imports from Asia are delivered.

The twin ports logged a less than 1% increase in imports for April compared to last year, while exports declined 8.9%. It came as U.S.-bound goods from China, the country’s largest trade partner, declined 13%, according to trade research group Panjiva, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

But the National Retail Federation expects another push by retailers this spring and summer as they stock up to meet consumer demand before new tariffs take effect.

President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs May 10 on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% and impose another 25% tariff on Chinese goods at an unspecified date.

In Los Angeles, imports fell 0.1% and exports declined 5.6% during April compared to the same time last year. In Long Beach, imports rose 1.8% while exports slipped 12.7%.

Meanwhile, the number of empty containers exported jumped 18.2%.

Long Beach port officials attribute the surge in empty shipping containers to the lingering impacts of a fourth quarter rush on imported cargo as retailers sought to outrun potential tariffs by stocking up.

Manufacturing, retail and trade reporter Rachel Uranga can be reached at ruranga@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225 ext. 251. Follow her on Twitter @racheluranga

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