August 2020 — The Port of Hueneme has remained fully operational during the pandemic with increased safety efforts and implementation of social distancing amongst other operational adjustments to ensure the safety and security of our workforce.
As 55 per cent of the Port’s revenue comes from automobile imports and exports, the shutdowns in the U.S. and internationally of 100 per cent of the auto plants have shown drastic ripple effects. The Port began to be impacted by the decreasing volume of imports as auto plants began to shut down in the Asian and European markets. The biggest impact was felt beginning in May with average auto ship arrivals going from about four per week, down to approximately one per week — a trend that is projected to remain through July. For the first four months of 2020, the Port saw an approximate 32-per-cent decline in auto volumes compared to the same time period last year.
The Port is assisting with options of storing vehicles on-Port and off-Port as needed to allow for the local auto processor to work through inventory on hand and further allow the supply chain downstream to unclog as result of shutdowns and quarantine.
On the fruit and fertilizer side, volumes have remained steady and a slight growth in fresh fruit commodities imports and exports — eight per cent total for the first three months of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. Forecast for fruit at the close of this fiscal year is three per cent growth down from what was an eight per cent trajectory.
COVID-19 has impacted the industry in the apparent need for more visibility throughout the supply chain in order to plan for safety of workforce, operations, contraction and expansions of storage space needs, cash flow, and other planning reasons. The supplier and client relationships are always paramount and especially important during a crisis, so problems are solved faster and solutions can be worked out in a collaborative environment with as much real-time information as possible.
The Port is working closely with customers to forecast future trends however, it is still uncertain how the rest of 2020 volumes will be. It’s likely that volumes will be softer than last year due to COVID-19 impacts.