Friday, January 15, 2016

Annual Oakland Cargo Volume Down 5 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Overall cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers – decreased 4.9 percent at the Port of Oakland in 2015, the port said Jan. 12, attributing the decline to an 11.5 percent year-over-year drop in containerized exports.

The decrease in exports, the port said, was primarily the result of continued strength in the US dollar, since the dollar’s relative value makes American goods more costly overseas.

But despite the overall annual volume decline, containerized import volume at the Port of Oakland in 2015 was essentially unchanged from 2014, according to statistics. The port said imports fell just 0.2 percent after dropping nearly 40 percent last January and February.

Oakland import volume plummeted in early 2015 during a West Coast contract dispute between dockworkers and waterfront employers. Since then, Oakland import volume has increased in eight of the past 10 months.

The import recovery indicates that cargo diverted during a waterfront labor impasse last winter has returned, the port said.

“This was no small achievement given the way the year started,” said Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.

Regarding monthly cargo numbers, the port said that December 2015’s import volume decreased 6.3 percent from the same period a year ago, something the port said was not unexpected since a year ago, December import volumes had spiked due to cargo diversions from congested Southern California ports.

A complete look at Oakland’s 2015 cargo statistics is available on the port's website.