Containerized export volume at the Port of Oakland increased 2.4 percent in the first half of 2019 despite rising international tariffs, and the credit is due to China's neighbors, port officials said Thursday.
Trade with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan posted double-digit percentage increases, offsetting a 17 percent drop in exports to China triggered by the trade war, port statistics showed.
China continues to be Oakland's largest trading partner, but exports to the nation have dropped by the equivalent of 14,000 20-foot cargo containers (TEUs) this year, the port said. On the other hand, shipments to South Korea are up 10,000 TEU; Japan rose 7,000 TEU, and Taiwan climbed 3,000 TEU.
Economic challenges have also forced changes in the types of exports moving through the port. Once reliable scrap paper exports to Asia have declined a whopping 34 percent in 2019, due mainly to tighter Chinese restrictions on waste product shipments. In response, Oakland has seen a rise in agricultural commodities including almonds, meat, oranges, and hay.
"This is testament to the resilience and ingenuity of our customers," Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said in a release. "They're finding the means to overcome debilitating trade barriers."