Port of Oakland Portends Downturn

By Karen Robes Meeks

Loaded April cargo was up 1.4 percent year over year at the Port of Oakland, but the port expects decreased cargo volumes in the coming months due to the global economic impact from COVID-19.

Oakland moved 3.2 percent more exported cargo and 0.9 percent fewer imports last month when compared to April 2019, according to new numbers released this week.

Meanwhile, empty containers dropped 29 percent last month, pushing the port’s overall cargo volume down 6.5 percent. The port expects a downturn in the coming months as shipping lines cancel vessel calls in response to COVID-19. About 11 percent of vessel calls bound for Oakland in May and June have been canceled.

“Our April cargo performance was better than expected, but it was most likely a blip resulting from the release of pent-up demand when factories re-opened in China after being quarantined,” the port said. “We’re faring better than some other ports, but our forecast in the coming months is overall volume throughput decline of 5-to-10 percent.”

By Sarah Spangler