Business, Freight News, Sea

Port of Oakland shatters record for peak season cargo volume

[ October 21, 2018   //   ]

A record-breaking peak season continues at the Port of Oakland.  The Port said that last month was the busiest September for import cargo in its 91-year history.  That followed another all-time record in August.

The Port said it has handled the equivalent of 168,289 20-foot loaded import containers in the past two months.  That breaks the previous August-September record of 158,320 20-foot loaded import containers set back in 2006.  One more month of import growth could give Oakland its busiest peak season in Port history.

“We’re encouraged by this outcome and guardedly optimistic that the trend will continue throughout peak season,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “Economic indicators lead us to believe that import volumes should remain healthy.”

Maritime observers follow cargo volumes closely in the August-through-October period. That’s considered the traditional peak shipping season.  It’s the time of year when U.S. retailers accelerate import orders for holiday merchandising.

The Port reported that import volume increased 5% last month over September 2017 totals.  August 2018 imports were up 9.2% compared to the same month last year, the Port added.  Continued strength in the U.S. economy, spurred by consumer spending, is driving the import surge, the Port said.

While it’s too soon to project the impact of 2018 tariff increases on cargo from China, tariffs could affect $2 billion in imported goods, the Port said.

Total container volume – which includes imports, exports and empty containers – is up 3.4% this year, the Port reported.  If the trend holds, Oakland would break its all-time total volume record established in 2017.