The six European and American ports featuring in the Top 30 ranking of major container ports showed across-the-board declines in throughput in the first half of the year, as the impact of economic contraction in the west took effect. Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Rotterdam, Antwerp-Bruges and Hamburg reported volume reductions of between 5% and 25% in January-June.
At the lower end, Antwerp-Bruge’s 5% drop was artificially boosted by its merger with Zeebrugge in 2022 and would otherwise have been even more severe, while the three US ports recorded the biggest declines, a clear reflection of the economic downturn since the pandemic.
Los Angeles/Long Beach saw a net loss of 2.6 Mteu in traffic versus the same period in 2022, or a 25% fall in volumes. It remains to be seen if the recent signing of a new labor agreement for west coast dockworkers can help the port claw back some of the business lost to east coast ports over the past two years in what is clearly a difficult economic environment.