Hapag-Lloyd Container-ship BOSTON EXPRESS

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‘Congestion-Free’ Port of Oakland Makes Call for More Cargo

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2712
October 20, 2021

Officials at the Port of Oakland are calling on shipping lines to route more cargo to the “congestion-free” Bay Area port as supply chains problems continue to plague ports in Southern California and elsewhere in the country.

“There’s no congestion at the Oakland seaport, and we’re ready for more business,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “We need ocean carriers to reinstate services in order to stabilize the supply chain, and our import and export partners echo this sentiment.”

The call comes as several liner services have omitted Oakland since this past summer. German liner Hapag-Lloyd suspended its service to Oakland in June citing “ongoing congestion and delays.” Labor shortages and the temporary loss of one of Oakland’s three piers as new post-panamax cranes were being installed are also partly to blame for omissions.

Despite reporting a 4.2 percent increase in containerized cargo volumes so far in 2021, Port of Oakland says it now has spare capacity for ships as there have been no vessel backlogs since August.

According to port, 54 vessels called there last month – the lowest vessel call total since 2015. As a result, September import volume declined 13 percent from September 2020, the port said. Exports were down 18 percent.

The port said shipping lines can help ease the gridlock elsewhere by steering ships back to Oakland. According to the port, vessels will “find clear sailing to berth without gridlock” and “import cargo would be available for pick-up within days of discharge from ships.”

“We should see vessel calls and cargo volume recover in October and November,” said Brandes. “We have capacity in Oakland that needs to be put to use to help shore up the supply chain and support our economy.”

Japanese shipping line Ocean Network Express (ONE) is set to resume its transpacific service to Oakland in November after having dropped the port in 2019.

With supply chain disruptions now expected to continue for the foreseeable future, perhaps Oakland’s call for more cargo has come right on time.

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