Port of Oakland cargo volume declined last month amidst hints of better times to come. The Port said today that its total March volume dropped 11 percent year-over-year. Imports declined 3 percent from March 2021 while exports fell 25 percent, the Port said.

The Port said there are indications that cargo volume growth could return soon. Among them:
“We’re pleased with our March figures,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Despite continued COVID-related lockdowns in China, we expect our container volumes to rise as we approach the summer months.”

  • Import loads jumped 10 percent in the past 30 days; exports spiked 12 percent.
  • March was the eighth-busiest month in Oakland history for import loads.
  • Congestion at Oakland vessel berths, a cause of cargo decline, has eased significantly.

The Port attributed diminished business last month to reduced vessel arrivals. Only 82 ships stopped in Oakland during March compared to 93 a year ago, the Port said. West Coast port congestion slowed ship visits, according to the Port. So did a COVID-related port shutdown in Shanghai. China is Oakland’s No. 1 trading partner.

Reduced ship visits led to diminished export business at Oakland, the Port said. According to the Port, exporters, especially agricultural shippers, had difficulty finding enough vessel space or containers to transport commodities.

Oakland said its helping exporters by providing an exclusive depot for empty container pick-up. The depot enables shippers to avoid busy marine terminals where most empty containers are stored.