Friday, February 12, 2016

Oakland Monthly Cargo Volumes Rise 38 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Total cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers – rose 38.46 percent at the Port of Oakland in January 2016 compared to the same month last year, the port said Feb. 10.

The gains were propelled by containerized import volumes, which soared 75.76 percent last month from January 2015 totals, according to port data. Also, export volume jumped 16.83 percent in January from a year ago, the port said. It was the first increase in Oakland export volume since July 2015.

Oakland said it handled the equivalent of 77,637 twenty-foot import containers in January. That was the most since last August, the traditional start of peak shipping season.

The port offered two explanations for the double-digit cargo volume increases, one being that US importers were stocking shelves ahead of Lunar New Year factory shutdowns in Asia.

The other reason given was that Oakland volumes were deflated in January 2015 when West Coast ports were stymied by a protracted waterfront labor dispute that in part caused a decrease on productivity on the docks and led to shippers diverting cargo elsewhere.

Since a new waterfront labor contract was signed last spring, shippers have been re-establishing western supply routes.

“An increase in cargo volume is always welcome,” John Driscoll, the port’s maritime director, said. “But what this really shows is that we have recaptured the cargo that moved temporarily away from the West Coast a year ago.”

More information on Oakland’s monthly cargo statistics is available at