Friday, February 10, 2017

Oakland Container Volume Rises 6 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Export volumes are on the rise again at the Port of Oakland.

The port said Feb. 9 that containerized export volume rose nine percent last month compared to January 2016. It was the seventh straight month of rising exports in Oakland, and the 12th increase in 13 months.

Containerized imports also increased last month, rising 3.6 percent, according to port data. Overall, loaded container volume at Oakland was up 6.1 percent.

“We’ve been cautiously optimistic about 2017 cargo volumes and this is a solid start to the year,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said in a statement. “In particular, we’re gratified by the continued success in our export business.”

The port said agricultural commodities continue to drive Oakland export increases, with examples being strong harvests and aggressive marketing helped boost overseas sales of California almonds in January.

Port data shows that volume increased in January as US shippers stocked inventories ahead of Lunar New Year holidays. Manufacturers in Asia sometimes close factories for up to two weeks in observance of the holiday. The port said its months-long export rally is noteworthy because the US dollar remains strong against foreign currencies. A strong dollar typically dampens exports by making US commodities more expensive overseas.

Port of Oakland export volume increased 10.5 percent last year, despite the US Commerce Department reporting that the US trade deficit reached a four-year high in 2016, attributed in part to export softness.