By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Oakland reported Sept. 21 that its total cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers – increased just 1.7 percent in August. However, the port also said that a year-long rally in containerized export volume is gathering momentum.
The port’s export volume last month jumped seven percent over August 2015 totals, according to data. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since a 7.1 percent rise in April.
Oakland has now increased export volumes seven times in eight months this calendar year, with its total 2016 export volume 8.8 percent ahead of last year’s pace. The port’s total volume through the first eight months of 2016 is up 4.6 percent over 2015.
“We’ve had solid cargo production across the board,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But so far in 2016, exports are the star performers.”
The port attributed much of the export increase to a softening U.S. dollar. As the currency weakens, American exports become more affordable overseas.
The Port of Oakland watches export trends closely because exports make up more than half its total cargo volume – the highest ratio of any US West Coast port. The port is near California’s Central Valley and most of its wine-producing areas; Oakland provides growers from those regions a gateway to markets in Asia.
Oakland said it is hopeful that its run of export success will continue into the fall, as agricultural exporters are forecasting good harvests this year resulting from more plentiful rainfall last winter.
Complete cargo statistics for the port are available at http://www.portofoakland.com/port/seaport/facts-and-figures/.