Oakland becomes latest US port to suffer import crash

A dusk view of the shipping containers and longshoreman equipment at the Port of Oakland

Oakland has joined fellow US west coast ports Los Angeles and Long Beach in suffering drops in traffic, as it saw its imports decline by 9.2% year-on-year (YoY).

The drop was attributed to the coronavirus, which has seen a slump in Chinese exports as factories stayed shut for far longer than usual after the Lunar New Year.

In addition, 20 voyages that were due to call at Oakland have been cancelled between February and April 2020 as a result of reduced demand for ship space caused by China’s manufacturing slump.

Due to the continued congestion in and out of China’s ports, the Port said it expects to see a decline in March.

However, Oakland’s imports increased by 15.4%, which made last month the busiest February for six years.

Following on from that data, the Port expects to see five months of consecutive YoY growth. John O’Driscoll, the Port’s maritime director, said that was cause for optimism.

“It may be too soon to declare this a rally, but we’re encouraged by our export performance.

“It shows demand remains strong for our customers’ products.”

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