Refrigerated export volume has grown 20 percent here in the past year, the Port of Oakland said today. The increase could indicate that the Port's strategic bet on temperature-controlled cargo is paying off.
The Port said it handled 119,756 20-foot containers of refrigerated exports from August 2018 through July 2019. That was up from 99,740 in the same period a year ago. The figures reinforce Oakland's position as the largest exporter of refrigerated cargo in containers among U.S. ports.
"Our business partners are investing to meet increased overseas demand for U.S. farm goods," said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. "When you couple their expertise with our infrastructure, it makes a compelling case for running the transportation cold chain through Oakland."
The Port said its fastest-growing refrigerated exports were beef and pork products from the U.S. Midwest. Beef exports have increased 45 percent in the past year. Pork volume is up 38 percent in that same period.
The Port attributed its growth in refrigerated cargo to strong consumer demand, increased U.S. farm production and Oakland's location on the eastern edge of the Pacific Rim. Oakland is the final stop for Asia-bound container ships leaving the U.S. That makes it the fastest gateway to Asia, the Port's primary market, for shippers of perishables.
The Port of Oakland is considered one of the nation's top gateways for refrigerated agricultural products. That's in part due to its location near California's fertile Central Valley. The Port relies on rail connections to tap Midwest agricultural exporters.
The Port has taken steps this decade to strengthen its foothold in cold chain logistics including:
--Developing new distribution capability;
--Extending operating hours to ease delivery of export containers to the Port for overseas shipment; and
--Installing hundreds of additional electrical outlets to plug in refrigerated containers awaiting vessel loading.
Last fall, Lineage Cool Port Oakland opened at the Port. It's a collaboration of logistics and warehousing industry leaders, Lineage Logistics and Dreisbach Enterprises. The 283,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center handles containerized perishables, mostly beef and pork.
The Port listed other companies that provide temperature-controlled services for exporters through Oakland: PCC Logistics, Pacific Transload Systems, AGRO Merchants Group, Preferred Freezer Services, United Cold Storage, Americold, and United States Cold Storage.