Oakland sees another double-digit traffic jump but warns of future disruption

Oakland International Container Terminal, Alameda County, California, USA.

The Port of Oakland saw imports rise by 26% year-on-year (YoY) in May 2021 and said it expects to process more than 2.6 million TEU for the first time due to the continued surge in consumer demand.

Between January and May 2021, the Port handled 1.08 million TEU, an all-time high. Its Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said the levels of traffic are unprecedented.

“We’re in unchartered waters; record cargo volume coming through US West Coast ports and a pandemic issue at a port in China are creating vessel congestion in both regions,” Brandes said.

However, the Port also warned that the ongoing disruption at the Port of Yantian could cause ripple effects across the supply chain and add to the burden felt by US West Coast ports.

Trade growth has pushed ocean freight rates to all-time highs, the Port said. It added that shipping lines do not have enough vessel space to meet demand.

According to the Port, soaring rates and supply/demand imbalance foreshadow a continued import surge in Oakland and uncertainty for beneficial cargo owners (BCOs).

“These are trying times for our tenants and customers, basically everyone involved in the supply chain,” added Brandes.

“We appreciate our colleagues in the maritime and logistics industries for their tireless efforts to keep goods moving during the pandemic.” 

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