The Port of Oakland’s business development manager expects links in supply chains will be remolded even after stay-at-home orders are lifted.
“We’ll be facing a new normal,” Andrew Hwang told the Harbor Trucking Association in a video conference. “Distribution patterns will change. … It won’t be like it was.”
Hwang explained that growth in online orders while consumers have been at home during the coronavirus pandemic may spur distribution center reconfiguration or consolidation. Distribution hubs also could be relocated to population centers.
What is certain is that fewer container ships are calling at the Port of Oakland. Twenty May and June sailings to Oakland have been scrubbed. That could mean a 5% to 15% drop in cargo volume.
“About 10% of our scheduled vessel arrivals have been canceled by shipping lines, but we don’t know if that will translate into a similar drop in volume,” Hwang said.
BlueWater Reporting, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, estimated 171,932 TEUs are being withdrawn with the blanked sailings in May and June.
“BlueWater Reporting has detected 12 voyages that collectively account for 99,592 TEUs of deployed capacity will not arrive at the Port of Oakland in May, while eight voyages that collectively account for 72,340 TEUs of deployed capacity will not arrive at the port in June,” said Hailey Desmoreaux, senior research analyst with BlueWater Reporting. “This is a result of blanked sailings by ocean carriers as well as the suspension of the 2M Alliance’s TP8/Orient loop. We suspect these figures will rise as more blanked sailings and even possibly more service suspensions surface.”
During March at the Port of Oakland, container imports declined 10.3%; the return of empty containers to Asia dropped 23%; and the number of ships calling the port decreased 10.6% year-over-year.