The surge in containerised traffic on the US West Coast shows no sign of slowing down, according to the Port of Oakland which posted a record year-on-year (YoY) increase of 45% in March 2021.
Ports on the West Coast have had to process record amounts of cargo after factories in China reopened and exports resumed.
The Port received 97,538 TEU in March, with exports also rising by 12% to 94,169 TEU; both totals were single-month records and most trade was conducted with Asia.
The Port’s traffic for the first three months of 2021 also increased by 9%, which it attributed to consumers’ growing ‘retail therapy’ and manufacturers replenishing depleted inventories.
Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes, said, “Ships are full, ocean freight rates are sky high and the need for empty containers to ship more cargo is never-ending.
“We just don’t see conditions easing in the next several months.”
The Port said it was aided in March by introduction of a first-call vessel service. The new weekly service from French carrier CMA-CGM makes Oakland its first U.S. stop.
Oakland’s March export performance was particularly noteworthy, the Port said. It followed two months of export volume decline blamed on a dearth of vessel space to transport containers.
Earlier in April, the National Retail Federation predicted that the congestion on the US West Coast was in fact beginning to abate and supply chain stakeholders were not under the same pressure they were before.