Container volume at the Port of Oakland reached an all-time high last year, port officials said this week.
The port said it handled the equivalent of 2.55 million 20-foot containers in 2018, a 5.2 percent increase over 2017 volume. Imports increased 5 percent while exports fell 3.5 percent, and the volume of empty containers returned to origin destinations for future import loads increased nearly 20 percent, port officials said.
This was the second straight year of record volume in Oakland, helped by global economic and trade conditions. Port officials cited the China-U.S. trade dispute that prompted shippers to accelerate imports ahead of anticipated tariffs, a strong dollar that made U.S. exports costlier overseas, and a buildup of empty containers in the United States that required repositioning to Asia because of the import surge.
"Last year was the busiest one ever at the Port for a variety of reasons," said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. "Our objective now is to build on this performance to grow import and export volume."