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Los Angeles port: Peak season coming soon, strong imports ahead

Despite surging inflation and waning consumer confidence, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka sees America’s import boom persisting in the months ahead.

“While we’re all cost-minded and we feel it at the pump and at the grocery store, we’re going to continue to buy,” he predicted at a press conference Tuesday, pointing to Americans’ more than $2 trillion in savings and $1.2 trillion in revolving credit.

Americans aren’t buying the same kind of goods they were at the height of the pandemic. But “retailers continue to replenish inventories … sales of finished goods remains strong, and parts and components going to American factories are equally as impressive.” 

“Peak season cargo is on the way,” said Seroka. He expects an early start to peak volumes this year, “with arrivals beginning at the end of this month.”  

He reported no impact on his port’s import flows from the COVID lockdowns in Shanghai, now in their 12th week. “The number of ships leaving Asia has been very steady” across the lockdown period, he said. This week, 47 container ships departed Asia bound for Los Angeles or Long Beach, according to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California cited by Seroka. That’s up 27% from departures in the first week of January.

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