Port of Oakland Cargo Volumes Down

Port of Oakland
Port of Oakland
Containers at a Port of Oakland terminal. Photo: Port of Oakland.

Factory and port closures in China to curb COVID-19 spread and the resulting impact to ocean carrier scheduling contributed to declining cargo volumes at the Port of Oakland last month, according to new statistics released Friday, May 20.

The Northern California seaport reported a 7% drop in total cargo numbers last month compared to April 2021, with imports down by 17% and exports down by 18%.

China is Oakland’s biggest trade partner. The closures in Shanghai have delayed imported goods to the U.S., the port said.

“U.S. exports have been hampered by vessel schedules thrown into disarray in China,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Most of Oakland’s business depends on the Asia-U.S. trade route.”

Other factors for the declining numbers, according to the port, include fewer vessels calling at Oakland, older import containers lingering at container yards and the lack of available containers for exporters.

The port expects the numbers to improve as cargo activity picks up in Shanghai and ship schedules slowly return to normal, and shipping lines are reaching out to Oakland about adding vessel calls.

By Karen Robes Meeks