Lunar new year brings some good news to Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland is ranked 8th in container box throughput by Datamyne researchers

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The Port of Oakland said today that containerized import volume increased by an impressive 75.76 percent last month from January 2015 totals.

Port spokesmen also noted that export volume jumped 16.83 percent in January from a year ago. It was the first increase in Oakland export volume since last July. Total cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers, rose 38.46 percent for the month compared to January 2015.

Port analysts offered two explanations for the double-digit cargo volume increases:

  1. U.S. importers stocking shelves ahead of Lunar New Year factory shutdowns in Asia; and

  2. A favorable comparison to January 2015 when West Coast ports were stymied by a protracted waterfront labor dispute.


“An increase in cargo volume is always welcome,” said John Driscoll, the port’s Maritime Director. “But what this really shows is that we have recaptured the cargo that moved temporarily away from the West Coast a year ago.”

A number of importers diverted containerized cargo to gateways outside the West Coast a year ago in January. It was a work-around for slowdowns and congestion that hampered ports from San Diego to Seattle. Since a new waterfront labor contract was signed last spring, shippers have been re-establishing western supply routes.

Datamyne, (formerly Zepol) a research firm specializing in domestic ports, ranks Oakland 8th in its Top 25, just behind Tacoma.

Oakland said it handled the equivalent of 77,637 20-foot import containers in January. That was the most since last August, the traditional start of peak shipping season. It was 5,000 more than the import total in January 2014, when labor issues weren’t constricting volume.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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