Port of Oakland trade transformed by California growers
Farm tonnage up 233 percent in five years, now 53 percent of export volume
Oakland, CA – January 20, 2017: Agricultural export tonnage has grown a stunning 233 percent at the Port of Oakland in the last five years. The result has transformed the Port’s trade profile, making Oakland a leading gateway to Asia – especially for California growers.
That’s the message a Port executive will deliver today to members of the California Trucking Association. “Agricultural commodities now account for 53 percent of our total export tonnage,” Business Development Manager Beth Frisher will tell motor carriers at their annual membership meeting this afternoon in Monterey. “And California growers are producing the lion’s share of that amount.”
Ms. Frisher said that in 2016, farm exports shipped from Oakland totaled 3.9 million metric tons. That was up from 1.2 million metric tons in 2012. She added that California producers accounted for 70 percent of agricultural exports last year. Ms. Frisher listed three reasons for the surge in farm exports:
- Asia's growing middle class is clamoring for high-quality US farm products.
- Oakland is the last West Coast port of call before ships head back to Asia. That means perishables spend less time on the ocean if they’re loaded in Oakland, which extends shelf life.
- Oakland is the closest port for growers in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Salinas and Napa valleys who export to Asia.
Fruits and nuts are the leading agricultural commodity shipped from Oakland, Ms. Frisher said. Next come meats, and beverages and spirits. The latter category includes California wines. Japan, China and South Korea are the top three trading partners for Oakland’s agricultural exports.
Oakland reported a 10.5 percent increase in total export volume last year. Exports accounted for 53 percent of the Port’s overall containerized cargo volume. Imports made up the rest. Oakland is one of the only U.S. ports weighted more heavily toward exports.
Ms. Frisher said 2017 could be another year of export growth – especially in agricultural commodities. Heavy rains this winter have eased five years of drought, she said. The result should be bountiful harvests next fall.
About the Port of Oakland: The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.
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