February containerised export volumes at the Port of Oakland have increased 15.4% compared to February 2019, making it the busiest February for export cargo in the past six years.
Oakland’s exports have now increased year-on-year in five consecutive months and the port attributed much of the volume increase to growth in agricultural exports – especially refrigerated perishables.
John Driscoll, Port of Oakland maritime director, said: “It may be too soon to declare this a rally, but we’re encouraged by our export performance. It shows demand remains string for our customers’ products.”
Increased shipments of chilled and frozen meat products to Asian markets were singled out as one of the main contributors to the increase.
So far in 2020, exports have accounted for 51% of the Port of Oakland’s total volume while imports account for 49% of the total.
February import volumes declined by 9.2% compared to the same period last year, as anticipated due to traditional slumps in cargo volume following Lunar New Year holidays in Asia where most of Oakland imports originate.
Additionally, factory closures in China to combat the coronavirus has reduced output of finished goods sent to the US in containers.
Shipping lines have cancelled 20 voyages to Oakland between February and April as a result of reduced demand for ship space due to China’s manufacturing downturn, the port has said.
As ocean carriers scuttle dozens more sailings to ports worldwide through the spring, the Port of Oakland expects there to be a decline in March import volume as well.