Research - APRIL 29, 2021

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2020 impacts main West Coast ports differently

by Andrea Zander

After a quick pullback in spring 2020, consumers around the world began spending on imported goods at a rapid clip, caused in part by the inability to shop in brick-and-mortar retail, reported Cushman & Wakefield. The resulting explosive demand drove unprecedented amounts of containerized products from Asia to the wealthy consumer economies of North America — and projected import traffic shows no signs of abatement through the first quarter of 2021.

After initial pandemic-induced weakness in the first half of the year, ports in the United States and Canada rebounded strongly in the second half of 2020. Volumes for the full year changed only modestly — a 2 percent increase in loaded inbound 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and a decline of 5.5 percent on loaded export units.

Key findings of the report include:

Coastal split: There was no shift in 2020 of East-West port coastal shares, marking a pause in a decade-long trend that favor
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