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Decongested Oakland calls for cargo

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CALIFORNIA : Port of Oakland officials are calling on shipping lines to route more cargo in its berths as the port sees no backlog on docks, while other Californian ports are facing significant supply chain hardships.

The port urged the restoration of shipping services that have bypassed Oakland since summer as its marine terminals are not congested like competing ports facing delays and unprecedented traffic.

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

Containerised cargo volume has been increased by 4.2% in 2021 but the Port of Oakland claims there is the capacity to accommodate more boxes. The port has not experienced vessel backlogs since August, contrary to Southern California ports where up to 70 ships daily wait at anchor for berth space, according to an announcement.

Oakland’s call for cargo comes as the United States struggles to remedy supply chain gridlock. Ports on the west, gulf and east coasts have reported crippling delays in moving cargo and this congestion has led to merchandise shortages as well as rising inflation.

The White House has therefore called on San Pedro Ports to open nights and weekends to move out cargo earlier this month.

Several ocean carriers omitted Oakland in recent months as the excessive Southern California delays necessitated the immediate return of some ships to Asia without stopping in Oakland. The port’s officials suggested that the traffic jam could ease if shipping lines drive ships back to Oakland, to balance the bottlenecks.

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

According to the West Coast Port, 54 vessels stopped in Oakland last month, representing the lowest vessel call total since 2015. As a result, September import volume declined 13% and exports were also down by 18%, compared to the same month of 2020.

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