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Oakland cargo volume increases despite ongoing vessel congestion

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CALIFORNIA : While an increasing number of containers presents enormous operating challenges for marine terminals and ocean carriers at Oakland, the cargo volumes of the Californian port continue to grow.

Port of Oakland has reported it has handled an all-time record of 1.08 million containers from January through May, while it said annual volume could surpass 2.6 million boxes for the first time ever in 2021.

“We’re in unchartered waters; record cargo volume coming through US West Coast ports and a pandemic issue at a port in China are creating vessel congestion in both regions,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director, Bryan Brandes.

In addition, the Port of Oakland has announced a 26% jump in containerised imports last month compared to May 2020, while exports were increased by 7%.

Driven by consumer demand, US imports passing through Oakland have increased 20% this year, according to the port, which explained that most of that cargo originated in China or neighboring Asian countries.

In the meantime, export volume through the first five months of 2021 is decreased by 1% at the Port of Oakland, which attributed the performance to a shortage of containers and space on Asia-bound ships early this year. 

According to the Port, soaring rates and supply/demand imbalance foreshadow a continued import surge in Oakland and uncertainty for the beneficial cargo owners. 

“These are trying times for our tenants and customers, basically everyone involved in the supply chain,” commented Bryan Brandes.

According to the Port, surging trade continues to create a vessel backlog in Oakland with ships sometimes wait days at anchor in San Francisco Bay due to berth crowding. “The congestion should begin to ease by the fall because the port expects more dockworkers to be hired and fully trained in the coming weeks,” said the Oakland port in its announcement.

Source : Container News

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