March 18, 2019

Cargo surge cools at Port of Oakland

February cargo volume falls 1.3 percent, port officials say.

By DC Velocity Staff

Cargo volume at the Port of Oakland was down 1.3 percent in February, marking the end of a six-month surge in containerized cargo at the port, officials said March 15.

February import cargo decreased 5 percent year-over-year, marking the first decline in import volume since July 2018, officials said. February exports were down 8.2 percent, and the shipment of empty containers back to origin destinations increased nearly 7 percent.

Port officials said the lower volume was due to a pause by shippers following a "global trade frenzy" in 2018.

"Shipments spiked last year as importers rushed cargo to the U.S. ahead of anticipated tariff increases. Analysts have since predicted an import slowdown due to jammed warehouses and delays in tariff hikes," officials said in a statement announcing the February numbers.

Shipping lines have responded to lower volumes by canceling some Asia-U.S. voyages, port officials added.  Oakland reported a 9.7 percent drop in February vessel calls compared to last year.

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