Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Oakland Expecting Container Record

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland is closing in on its third consecutive year of record imported container volume this year, despite the escalation of tariffs between the US and China.

Oakland, which plans to release its October numbers this week, says its imports are up 2.7 percent from 2017 and is seeing a 5 percent spike in imports from China this year.

How long the growth will continue was a point of discussion with the port’s Efficiency Task Force, a gathering of 40 trade and transportation leaders that meet quarterly.

The group, which met last week, surmised that the cargo volumes could fall by January. The trends of late – the crowded warehouses, the additional voyages to Transpacific routes and reported of record cargo growth since summer along West Coast ports – may mean shippers are pushing up orders in advance of new tariffs on imported Chinese goods that may take effect in January.

Other factors, such as strong US economy and peak season push to stock shelves for the holidays, also come into play.

“Imports are a good story, but the reason for the growth is still something of a mystery,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We suspect frontloading is part of the answer.”