The Port of Oakland saw its busiest Q1 for cargo volume, with containerised trade reaching record volumes as the US West Coast traffic surge continued.
In a statement, the Port said “nonstop” increase in volumes meant it processed 631,119 TEU between January and March 2021, beating its record of 612,151 set in Q1 2019.
Port officials said the volumes reflect the “unprecedented” activity levels in trade between the US and Asia and claimed there is no sign of a let-up in trans-Pacific containerised volumes.
Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said the hub’s business has been growing for nearly a whole year and expects the trade to keep increasing.
Furthermore, the Port said it is optimistic about future trade growth because of continued all-time high freight rates on the trans-Pacific routes and that ships sailing on these lanes are at near capacity.
It also expects trade volumes to increase in April but have no hint if it would break its monthly TEU volume.
Industry analysts attribute the ongoing trade surge to a recovering US economy. Much of the momentum, they say, comes from the coronavirus-weary public.
Economists and others say consumers are spending to counter the frustration of lockdowns – a phenomenon known as retail therapy. That has spurred manufacturers and retailers to replenish warehouse inventories with goods sourced in Asia.
Asia accounts for most of Oakland’s containerised trade volume. To meet future demand, the Port introduced two new vessel services in the first quarter linking the US to Asian ports.