Port of Oakland reflects dynamic business culture of Greater San Francisco Bay Area

The port has long had a reputation for being the leading outbound ocean cargo gateway on the West Coast, but this past year it handled the equivalent of 2.42 million 20-foot containers.

By ·

Talk about the nation’s great cities in the business press generally concentrates on New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And while San Francisco’s greater Bay Area is recognized for its concentration of high-value and innovative industries, it is often given short shrift when it comes to volume cargo throughput.

That perception may be soon changing say authorities at the Port of Oakland, who recently announced that 2017 was the busiest year in its 90-year history.

The port has long had a reputation for being the leading outbound ocean cargo gateway on the West Coast, but this past year, it handled the equivalent of 2.42 million 20-foot containers in total throughtput.

This shatters the previous record of 2.39 million boxes set in 2014.

According to port spokesmen, Oakland broke two more records in 2017 with 919,523 loaded import containers and 1.85 million combined imports and exports.

Tellingly, the port said import growth drove its record performance. It reported that inbound cargo increased 4 percent in 2017 over 2016 totals. December imports were up 6.4 percent over the same month in 2016.

Spokesmen attribute the import rally to a strong U.S. economy and increasing consumer demand for retail products.

“Our record-setting 2017 has set the stage for the future,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “With new development projects already underway, we expect to increase our capacity and drive greater volume.”  

Furthermore, industry analysts expect Cool Port Oakland – a 280,000 square-foot temperature-controlled distribution center – to open late this summer. It projects that the clearinghouse for agricultural exports will handle about 30,000 containers full of chilled and frozen meat products annually. 

As reported in LM, the port’s work on its recently approved 440,000-square-foot Seaport Logistics Complex could begin by spring.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
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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