The California port said that import growth drove its record performance, with imports fueled by a strong U.S. economy and increased consumer demand for retail products.
The Port of Oakland handled the equivalent of 2.42 million TEUs in 2017, making last year the busiest in its 90-year history, the port announced Thursday. The amount broke the port’s previous record of 2.39 million containers, which had been set in 2014.
The port also said that it broke two other records in 2017, with 919,523 loaded import containers and 1.85 million combined imports and exports.
“Our record-setting 2017 has set the stage for the future,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll predicted. “With new development projects already underway, we expect to increase our capacity and drive greater volume.”
Import growth was the key driver for the record performance, the port said. Oakland reported that imports rose 4 percent in 2017 over 2016 totals. December imports alone were up 6.4 percent over the same month in 2016, according to port statistics.
The port moved a total of 206,835 units last month, data shows, including 80,490 full exports, 78,703 full imports, 28,555 empty exports and 19,087 empty imports.
The port attributed the import rally to a strong U.S. economy, as well as increasing consumer demand for retail products.
Oakland could be positioning itself to also have a record-breaking 2018. The port said it expects Cool Port Oakland – a 280,000 square-foot temperature-controlled distribution center – to open late this summer, and that it projects that the agricultural exports clearinghouse will handle about 30,000 containers full of chilled and frozen meat products annually.
Additionally, the port said work on its recently approved 440,000-square-foot Seaport Logistics Complex could begin by spring, instead of the fourth quarter of the year, as had been previously projected.
The Seaport Logistics Complex is a planned $52 million, 440,000-square-foot distribution center designed for the rapid transfer of cargo between ships, trucks and trains.