Port of Oakland buoyed by response to export plan
Hundreds attend 'pop up' container yard update, signals Oakland's export cargo push
Oakland, Calif. – Feb. 25, 2022: Port of Oakland executives said this week that they anticipate a recovery in sagging export volumes. Farmers, truckers and trade officials hope the Port’s right.
Hundreds whose livelihood depends on U.S. exports gathered yesterday to hear the Port’s remedy for their ailing industry. Here’s what they heard:
- Pop-up container yard can help relieve supply chain congestion
- USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) will provide incentives to exporters to maximize container yard use
- Oakland anticipates more vessel space in 2022 to ship goods abroad
- The Port and federal government are working to provide enough containers to carry the load
- The result could be restoration of export volume growth in Oakland before year end
“We’re historically the leading gateway to Asia for U.S. exports – especially agricultural exports,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes told his audience via Zoom. “It’s up to us to make sure that the gateway is wide open and that’s what we’ll be focused on throughout 2022.”
Recovery for containerized exports can’t come soon enough. Oakland’s export volume dropped 10.8 percent in 2021. It was off 10.8 percent again last month. The reasons: too few ships and not enough containers to meet demand.
The fix is twofold, the Port said: 1) more ship calls in 2022 following vessel bypasses in 2021 caused by global supply chain meltdowns; and 2) an innovative partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), CDFA, GO-Biz, and CalSTA.
The temporary “pop-up” yard opens in Oakland March 1 and is devoted to helping export shipments. The yard would make empty cargo containers available to load export cargo to waiting ships. Truck drivers would be able to pick up boxes without navigating busy Oakland marine terminals.
The USDA said it would provide cash incentives to exporters and truckers using the service. According to the Port, hundreds have expressed interest.
Federal partnership underscores Oakland’s importance to the multi-billion-dollar U.S. ag-export industry, the Port said Oakland is the natural jumping-off point for farm goods produced in California’s Central Valley. It has also become a magnet for beef and pork exports produced in the Midwest.
The Port said demand – especially in Asia – for U.S. farm exports is at an all-time high. It said a turnaround in export business is possible by the time harvests are ready to ship this fall.
“The overseas market is waiting for us,” said Mr. Brandes. “With the interest I see from the export community and support from the U.S. government, I see no reason why we can’t meet the demand and restore this business before year-end.”
Here’s a link to a 1-hour recording of the temporary pop-up yard informational webinar held yesterday, CLICK HERE
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.