Cargo Volumes Down at Port of Oakland

The containership Kauai at a Port of Oakland terminal. File photo by Mark Nero.

Overall cargo volumes fell by 14.1% year over year at the Port of Oakland in February, a result of high inventory levels and soft retail sales, according to new data released March 24 by the port.

Internal data show that the Northern California seaport moved 113,814 TEUs in February, a 14.1% drop from the same time a year ago when the port moved 147,620 TEUs.

Loaded imports tumbled 32% year over year in February to 58,073 TEUs as shippers shift more of their market share away from West Coast seaports to East and Gulf Coast ports.

Meanwhile, loaded exports fell 10.6% to 55,741 TEUs and empties dropped 14% to 40,023 TEUs in February compared to the same time in 2022, figures show.

Exports have been declining since 2020, according to the port.

“The decrease was initially jump-started by tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China and China’s restrictions on recycled materials, which is Oakland’s largest export,” the port explained in a statement. “Exports continued to decline during the (COVID-19) pandemic due to product supply chain disruptions and the scarcity of empty containers.”

So far this year, Oakland handled 153,837 TEUs, a 20.9% decline year over year.

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By Karen Robes Meeks