Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Port of LA Chief Expects Better April Numbers, Lower Overall Volume

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a video statement released Friday, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka updated the public on the current state of cargo at the nation’s busiest seaport.

Operations continue to run smoothly with no congestion or disruption, and terminals and gates are open daily with the evening labor shifts starting an hour later than usual so cargo handling equipment and radios can be sanitized, he mentioned. But the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to affect numbers.

“As the economy has contracted, we are seeing smaller container ships return to service,” Seroka said. “Unfortunately, more than 30 scheduled sailings have been canceled through mid-July. The good news is that workforce labor shift counts at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles last week were up 20 percent and were at their highest level in nearly two months. We also anticipate higher container volume in April as manufacturing in China normalizes and some US businesses replenish their inventory, “ he added.

Seroka called this encouraging news in the short term but said overall volume in 2020 will be considerably lower than last year.

Meanwhile, Logistics Victory Los Angeles (LOV-LA), the city effort led by Seroka, recently received 160,000 donated face shields from Apple Inc.’s Giving program.

“Los Angeles thanks Apple for this generous donation of face shields that are critical to frontline health care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Seroka. “There are numerous private sector entities that have supplies or know of suppliers that can help during this time of need, and our city team is here to facilitate that process.”

The donation is a major win for LOV-LA, which was created to find and match sought-after medical supplies in the private sector to area health care providers. Seroka leads a team of 18 to optimize the medical supply chain and directly procure supplies via purchases and donations.