The port’s 2019 volumes are up, but China accounts for 38% of its trade.
It hasn’t happened yet, but the Port of Oakland is concerned that tariffs could drag down cargo volumes.
However, Maritime Director John Driscoll said Oakland cargo volume is running 4.6% ahead of the port’s record volume in 2018.
But in remarks to 50 trade executives who are members of the port’s Efficiency Task Force, he said tariffs are squeezing customers who ship through his port and the ongoing U.S.-China trade war could reduce containerized cargo volume. China accounts for roughly 38% of Oakland’s business.
“Our customers are impacted by tariffs,” Driscoll told leaders from shipping, trucking, retailing and labor who convene quarterly to advise the port on operational policy. “We’re hoping we can get through this period because we believe the future can be bright.”
Driscoll said the increase in volume this year is a pleasant surprise.
“We thought our numbers would go down because of the trade war,” Driscoll explained. “It could still happen, but it hasn’t so far.”
He added threatened Trump administration tariffs against Mexico would have negligible impact in Oakland as the port does little business there.
The Port of Oakland is expected to release its cargo volume statistics next week for the month of May.