The Port of Oakland this week reported June loaded import volume grew 1.9% year-over-year.
“The gain was unexpected given that shipping lines canceled 10% of their scheduled Oakland visits due to the trade-related impact of the coronavirus,” the port said.
The port attributed the uptick in imports to retailers accelerating shipments to the United States because of capacity restrictions as shipping lines continue to cancel sailings, as well as to an anticipated hike in freight rates.
Oakland’s overall container volume — imports, exports and empty containers — did decline 2.3% in June from the same month last year. The port handled 199,011 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in June compared to 203,730 TEUs a year ago.
The port said the overall decrease resulted from a “pandemic that continues to dampen global trade.”
June export volume declined 5.7%. “The weakening export performance was likely due to reduced consumer demand in foreign markets caused by COVID-19 disruptions,” the port said. “Additionally, China instituted new restrictions on wastepaper exports from the United States, which further dampened export volumes.”
The return of empty containers to Asia decreased 14.5% in June.
Last month port commissioners approved a fiscal year 2021 budget with 15.84% less in operating and capital expenditures than the previous year. The Port of Oakland’s 2021 fiscal year began July 1.
Executive Director Danny Wan said the budget reduction was “based on best estimates of how our business may recover, assuming that our communities and country make slow but steady progress in containing the COVID-19 virus.”
May total cargo volume was down 16.8% year-over-year.
The port’s business development manager said in April that he believed supply chains would be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Distribution patterns will change,” Andrew Hwang said. “It won’t be like it was.”