Georgia ports suffer ‘precipitous drop in imports’

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) said in a coronavirus update on its website that it has temporarily discontinued Saturday truck gate hours at the ports of Savannah and Brunswick as it has “experienced a precipitous drop in imports.”

However, there are brighter days on the horizon, according to the GPA.

“Bookings on the water show a strong increase, which is an important indicator for a return to normalcy,” the GPA said. “Another positive factor for Savannah is increased demand from importers, with projects coming online such as new distribution centers supplying U.S. factories for domestic production.

“Further, GPA is receiving multiple reports that indicate Chinese supply lines and factories are resuming normal production,” it said.

Factories throughout China shut down first for the Lunar New Year and then remained closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Port of Los Angeles has had 41 vessel calls canceled for ships expected to arrive between mid-February and April 1, according to a video update from Executive Director Gene Seroka on Thursday.

“While cargo volume has been soft, manufacturing will begin to ramp up in China, which means we should see a start of having more ships and more cargo coming in the months ahead. While the potential surge in imports may cause some logistical challenges, that likely will mean more work and a boost to the local economy,” Seroka said.

Currently, all LA terminals are operational, Seroka said. “We are conducting business as usual.”

The port reported the number of container ships at berth Friday was “85% of normal traffic.”

The port has canceled public events and suspended school and business boat tours. The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners also has canceled its meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The Port of Long Beach has canceled its Pulse of the Port peak season forecast event, which was to take place March 25.