Port of Oakland import cargo still surging in 2022

Oakland, Calif. – Feb. 23, 2022 – Port of Oakland import cargo volume surged again last month following a record-setting 2021 performance. The Port said today it handled the equivalent of 83,860 import containers in January. That was an 8.3 percent increase year-over-year. 

The result signals continued strength in global trade moving through Oakland. Last year, the Port handled 1 million import boxes, the most in its 95-year history. According to the Port, strong U.S. consumer spending continues to spur the import binge. 

“As imports rise nationwide, Oakland continues to play a key role in strengthening the global supply chain,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “We’re also working closely with federal, state and industry partners to boost exports that include agricultural commodities as well.” 

January import volume may have been boosted by February Lunar New Year observances in Asia, the Port said.  U.S. importers traditionally order heavy ahead of holiday factory closures in Asian manufacturing centers.

Cargo handling activity reached all-time highs in January at Oakland marine terminals, the Port said.  An average of 2,800 containers were loaded or unloaded on every ship at Port, Oakland reported. That was up from an average of 2,500 containers per vessel a year ago. The total is up nearly 100 percent in the past five years.

The Port said 69 container ships tied up at Oakland in January.  That was down 14 percent from the same month a year ago.  The Port attributed declining vessel calls to two factors:

  • Shipping lines seeking economies of scale by loading more containers on fewer ships; and
  • Sailing schedule delays at Southern California ports forcing some ships to bypass Oakland.

Oakland said reduced ship visits resulted in a 10.8 percent drop in January export volume. The Port said Oakland exporters couldn’t find enough vessel space to load their containers for overseas destinations. The Port said it foresees restoration of export volume as shipping lines restore services that had bypassed Oakland.

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s 5-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 84,000 jobs. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com. 

Media Contacts

Robert Bernardo
Port of Oakland
Communications Director
(510) 627-1401
[email protected] 

Marilyn Sandifur
Port of Oakland
Port Spokesperson
(510) 627-1193
[email protected] 



Media & Newsroom

Not sure who to contact or have a general question? Use our contact form to route your request