By Mark Edward Nero
Loaded shipping container volume reached an all-time high at the Port of Oakland in 2016, according to data released by the port Jan. 9.
Oakland reported that it handled the equivalent of 1.83 million loaded 20-foot containers in calendar year 2016, which represented a 7.6 percent increase from 2015, and topped the previous record of 1.82 million TEUs, which was set in 2013.
The port attributed the milestone to a year-long containerized export boom as well as growth in imports. Oakland said the record is important for two primary reasons:
• Loaded container volume is a key measure used to calculate fees paid by Oakland’s marine terminal tenants.
• Increased volume means the port gained, instead of lost business in 2016, even though it consolidated five terminals into four.
The port said its total 2016 volume – full and empty containers combined – equaled 2.37 million TEUs, up four percent from 2015.
Oakland’s containerized export volume jumped 10.5 percent in 2016, the port said.
In December, exports were up 13.5 percent, making it the fourth straight month of double-digit export growth, according to part data.
Oakland import volume increased 4.7 percent last year, the port said, with December imports up 6.1 percent.
Exports accounted for 52 percent of Oakland’s loaded container volume in 2016. Imports accounted for the rest.
The gains came despite Ports America Terminals closing its Port of Oakland location at the Outer Harbor terminal last March. Ports America terminated its 50-year Oakland lease and filed for bankruptcy early in the first quarter of 2016.