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Import volumes at the Port of Oakland rose for the first time in two months in November as shipping lines restored services to the port following mid-year cancellations.
Containerized imports jumped 6.5% last month compared to November 2020. For the first 11 months of 2021, Oakland imports are up nearly 8%.
The port said the increased cargo activity is welcome news following two straight months of declines. The port attributed the recovery to additional ship traffic, with 75 ships calling in Oakland during November – the most in six months. November exports, however, declined over 9%.
‘We’re gratified that shipping lines and cargo owners recognize the value of coming to the Port of Oakland,” said Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “We’re working hard to move their cargo efficiently as ports elsewhere face headwinds.”
According to the port, shipping lines are restoring vessel service to Oakland following mid-year cancellations, while some cargo owners have even chartered their own ships to call at the port. Ships bypassed Oakland earlier this year due to excessive delays in Los Angeles and Long Beach, but the port says carriers now view Oakland as an uncongested alternative to gridlocked Southern California gateways.
While increased vessel traffic should, in theory, also benefit exporters, Oakland exports declined 9.4% last month because there weren’t enough ships headed to foreign markets, the port said. Oakland is one of the major gateways for U.S. exports transported to Asia.
Port of Oakland’s total cargo volume took a 20% hit in October as carriers diverted ships directly to Asia, bypassing Oakland, amid delays at Southern California ports. September volumes were also down year-over-year, prompting port officials to call for more cargo.
The port said its total volume – including imports, exports and empty container repositioning – is up 1 percent this year. If current levels hold in December, 2021 could shape up to be the busiest year in Port of Oakland history.
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