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Image of Port of Oakland volume spiked 11.4 percent in first half '21

Port of Oakland volume spiked 11.4 percent in first half ’21

Imports drive year-long cargo surge, no end in sight as peak season nears

Press Releases, Seaport, Community
July 16th, 2021

Oakland, Calif. – July 16, 2021: Port of Oakland first half 2021 total cargo volume increased 11.4 percent over 2020 and forecasters envision no letup. The Port said today it handled the equivalent of 1.3 million 20-foot containers in the past six months. If the pace holds, the Port’s year-end volume would surpass 2.6 million containers for the first time ever.

“We’ve never seen this level of activity and based on the outlook we’re preparing for more,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Our challenge is serving customers who expect us to handle their cargo efficiently.”

The Port said a year-long boom in containerized U.S. imports is driving record business. It said the trend should continue based on three factors:

  • Record freight rates being charged by container shipping lines indicating high demand for vessel space;
  • Rising U.S. inflation that signals continued strong consumer spending on goods manufactured overseas; and
  • The upcoming August-November peak season when retailers and distributors stock up for holiday merchandising.

According to the Port, containerized import volume in Oakland has increased year-over-year for five consecutive months. Oakland reported that June 2021 imports were up 15 percent compared to the same period last year. Exports edged up 0.8 percent, the Port said.

Ports nationwide have reported difficulty keeping up with the unprecedented cargo surge. On average, vessels are loading and unloading 66 percent more cargo in Oakland than they did last year. One consequence has been cargo delivery delays. Oakland said it expects delays to ease by late summer with the addition of more dockworkers.

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
Acting Communications Director
(510) 627-1401
rbernardo@portoakland.com 

Marilyn Sandifur
Port Spokesperson
(510) 627-1193
msandifur@portoakland.com 

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