Port of Oakland passes milestone, sets all-time cargo record

Oakland, Calif. – May 13, 2021 – Another month, another record at the Port of Oakland. The Port said today that it handled the equivalent of 100,096 20-foot import containers last month. It was the most for a single month in the Port’s 94-year history. It marked the first time that Oakland has passed the 100,000-box milestone for imports in a month.

“We’re sounding like a broken record, but containerized trade continues to flourish as the U.S. economy rebounds,” said Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “And as we’ve said before, there doesn’t seem to be a letup in sight.”

Oakland said April import volume increased 25 percent from the same month a year ago. It was the third consecutive month of import gains, and the second straight record month, the Port said. According to the Port, import volume year-to-date has increased 19 percent.

The Port said consumer spending continues to drive trade growth. To meet demand, U.S. retailers and e-commerce distributors are importing goods from Asian manufacturers at unprecedented levels. Asia is Oakland’s No. 1 trade partner.

Oakland said its April export volume decreased 3.7 percent from a year ago. According to the Port, empty containers may have been to blame. Here’s why:

  • Asian manufacturers needed empty boxes to transport record U.S. imports.
  • Shipping lines sent large numbers of empties from the U.S. to Asia to meet demand.
  • Empties leaving the U.S. took vessel space from U.S exports intended for Asian markets.

The Port said its total volume in April – imports, exports and empty containers – increased 8 percent from April 2020.

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
Acting Communications Director
(510) 627-1401
[email protected] 

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



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