Port of Oakland export volume jumped 15.4 percent last month
Asian demand for U.S. farm goods stays strong, imports turn down
Oakland, Calif. – March 13, 2020: Port of Oakland containerized export volume increased 15.4 percent last month over February 2019, according to data published today. It was the busiest February for export cargo in the past six years, the Port said. Oakland exports have now increased year-over-year in five consecutive months.
“It may be too soon to declare this a rally, but we’re encouraged by our export performance,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It shows demand remains strong for our customers’ products.
The Port attributed much of the volume increase to growth in agricultural exports – especially refrigerated perishables. It singled out increased shipments of chilled and frozen meat products to Asian markets.
The cargo surge was welcome, given Oakland’s reputation as a top U.S. export gateway. The Port said exports account for 51 percent of its loaded container volume so far, in 2020. Imports account for 49 percent of the total.
The Port said its February import volume declined 9.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The drop was anticipated for two reasons:
- Cargo volume traditionally slumps following Lunar New Year holidays in Asia, where most Oakland imports originate.
- Chinese factory closures to combat coronavirus have reduced output of finished goods sent to the U.S. in containers.
Shipping lines have canceled 20 voyages to Oakland between February and April, the Port said. That’s a result of reduced demand for ship space because of China’s manufacturing downturn. Ocean carriers are scuttling dozens more sailings to ports worldwide through spring. The result is likely to be a decline in March import volume, as well, the Port said.
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.