West Coast congestion causes Oakland’s traffic to collapse

West Coast congestion causes Oakland's traffic to collapse

The vessel and supply chain congestion on the US West Coast caused the Port of Oakland’s TEU traffic in January to drop by 11.9% year-on-year (YoY).

In a statement, the Port said the decline was down to late-arriving ships from Southern California, where up to 60 are waiting at anchor for berth space, contributed to the fall in traffic.

Additionally, it said it expects US containerised import volume from Asia to remain strong at least throughout June. This will put pressure on ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, where ships stop first before visiting Oakland.

It also attributed the loss to a temporary loss of berth space at its largest marine terminal where new cranes were being assembled and dwindling vessel room for exports as ships carry greater numbers of empty containers back to Asia.

The Port described declining cargo as “an anomaly” at a time when US importers face increasing consumer demand and said it expects container volume to increase in coming months as vessel logjams ease.

Its Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said, “There’s a lot of cargo trapped on ships just waiting to get to here after departing Southern California.

“Our concern is getting shipments to our customers as quickly as we can.”

Congestion in Southern California is causing delays of up to a week for Oakland vessel arrivals, the Port claimed. 

Consequently, ships reach the Port of Oakland off-schedule and sometimes miss berthing appointments.

Speaking to PTI earlier in February, the Port said its was not seeing the same level of traffic that had forced the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to near capacity.

Congestion at West Coast ports has become a significant issue for the US supply chain and container industry. It has been caused by a surge in demand for home equipment goods, which has coincided with the reopening of Chinese factories and resumption of exports.

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