- The Port of Long Beach saw its May container volume slide 19.5% compared to last year. The Northwest Seaport Alliance's container volume was down 5.7%.
- The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Oakland saw gains in year-over-year volume at 5.5% and 4.2%, respectively. Combined May volumes at the Los Angeles, Long Beach, Northwest Sea Alliance and Port of sank 5.3%.
- Shipping rates between China and East Asia are 11.6% higher than they were this time a year ago, according to Freightos data.
Tariffs have led shippers to stock up on their inventory over the last few months. With warehouses now full of goods, ocean carriers are seeing a decline in demand, Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a press release. In turn, lower ocean freight demand led to slumping overall volumes at West Coast ports.
Overall, the container volume at the nation's ports is estimated to have been up 3% in May, according to the NRF Global Port Tracker. NRF expects retailers will continue to import and stockpile goods to avoid the potential price increases that can follow tariffs.
"Retailers will continue to do everything they possibly can to mitigate the impact of tariffs on consumers, but if we see further escalation in the trade war, it will be much more difficult to avoid higher price tags on a wide range of products," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement.
Freightos CMO Eyta Buchman called the tariffs a "looming shadow" over the otherwise stable ocean shipping rates.
"Leading into seven days of public tariffs discussions, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the administration would be 'perfectly happy' to apply tariffs on remaining untaxed Chinese imports," Buchman said in a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive. "Given that this represents 50% of the value of all Chinese imports, importers are likely less than perfectly happy."