Port of Oakland volumes drop 11 per cent in March

Oakland, California, USA - August 30, 2019 : Container cargo gantry crane unloading container ship Maersk Essex operated by Maersk Line at Oakland International Container Terminal under blue sky

Cargo volumes at the Port of Oakland in March dropped 11 per cent year-on-year.

Last month, the port handled 94,271 TEU in loaded import containers, loaded exports amounted to 69,878 TEU.

Empty imports came in at 13,479 TEU, while empty exports were reported to be 36,832 TEU.

© Port of Oakland

Despite the fall in throughput, Oakland indicates there are signs volume growth could return soon. These include:

  • Import loads jumping 10 per cent in the past 30 days; exports spiked at 12 per cent
  • March being the eighth-busiest month in Oakland’s history for import loads
  • Congestion at its vessel berths easing significantly

“We’re pleased with our March figures,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Despite continued COVID-related lockdowns in China, we expect our container volumes to rise as we approach the summer months.”

One large factor that has contributed to the fall in volumes is a reduction in vessel arrivals. Only 82 ships stopped in Oakland last month, down from 93 in the same period last year.

According to the port, West Coast congestion and the lockdown in Shanghai has stunted ship visits. This has led to exporters struggling to find enough vessel space or containers to transport commodities.

The Port Oakland has said it is helping exporters by providing an exclusive depot for empty container pick-up. This aims to help shippers to avoid busy marine terminals where most empty boxes are stored.

Last week, it was announced that CentrePoint had leased its newly built warehouse at the Port of Oakland’s Seaport Logistics Complex to PCC Logistics.

Construction of the 460,000 square-foot facility was finished last year. PCC Logistics signed the lease in January.

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