A steep, across-the-board decline in imported cargo, exports and empty containers during March dropped volumes at several major ports to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Port of Los Angeles processed 623,233 20-foot-equivalent containers, down 35% from last year’s 958,674. “Economic conditions slowed global trade considerably in the first quarter; however, we are beginning to see some signs of improvement, including nine consecutive months of inflation declines,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “While March cargo volume was lower than last year at this time, early data and monthly growth indicates a moderate increase in Q3.” Seroka also announced that Volvo Trucks North America is working to collaborate with the port to bring zero-emission drayage trucks to the facility with the goal of having the entire drayage fleet be zero-emissions by 2035. The adjacent Port of Long Beach also saw a significant decline in container volume in March. That was primarily due to retailers working on emptying warehouses of older inventory and shippers continuing to move more freight to East Coast ports because of concerns over the slow pace of labor talks between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Long Beach saw a 30% decline from 2022 as the port processed 603,878 containers compared with 863,156. “Warehouses remain full, and fewer cargo containers are crossing the docks because consumer spending remains slow,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “We are ready for a rebound in retail as we work with our industry partners to recapture market share.” The Port of Oakland recorded a 12.3% decline in container volume, processing 170,268 containers in March compared with 194,205 year-over-year.