Friday, March 23, 2012

Oakland TEU Volume Drops 5 Percent

The number of 20-foot equivalent units that moved through the Port of Oakland in February was down five percent compared to the same month last year, according to newly released data by the port.

A grand total of 166,926 TEUs traveled through California’s third-largest port in February 2012, which was not only a decline from February 2011, but a drop of almost 29,000 containers from the 195,704 that were shipped through the port in January 2012.

The biggest decline for the month was in full imports, which fell 15.5 percent compared with the same month last year. Imports and exports of empty containers were also down, by 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

The one category where Oakland saw an increase was in full exports, which reached 78,274 TEUs in February, an upsurge of 3.9 percent compared with the same month in 2011.

The drop in imports last month can be partially attributed to the start of the Chinese New Year; import volumes typically fall following the New Year as factories in Asia close for about a week during the holidays.

In 2011, when the New Year fell on Feb. 3, the slowdown was felt in the latter part of the month and into early March. But this year, since the New Year fell on Jan. 23, the entire slowdown period came in February. California’s two largest seaports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, also saw total volume declines last month due in part to the decreased movement of goods to and from China.

For the calendar year to date, the Port of Oakland’s container volume is actually up 1.4 percent compared with 2011. This is mainly due to a 5.4 percent increase in full exports the first two months of the year, as well as a 2.9 percent rise in empty imports compared with the first two months of 2011.

Tags: Port of Oakland, container volumes