The Port of Oakland has announced that its February import volumes declined 9.2% compared to the same period last year.
Traditionally cargo volumes fall following the Lunar New Year holidays in Asia, where most Oakland imports originate, according to the Port. Chinese factory closures to combat coronavirus have also played a crucial role in the decreased import volume, claims the Californian port.
Shipping lines have cancelled 20 voyages to Oakland between February and April, as a result of reduced demand for ship space because of China’s manufacturing downturn. Ocean carriers are cancelling dozens more sailings to ports worldwide through spring. The result is likely to be a decline in March import volume, as well, the Port said.
Port of Oakland follows the other two huge ports of California, Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles, which also saw a significant decline in their imports volumes due to coronavirus.
On the other hand, Port of Oakland containerised export volume increased 15.4% last month over February 2019. That represents the busiest February for export cargo in the past six years, according to the Port. Oakland exports have now increased year-over-year in five consecutive months.
The Port of Oakland attributed much of the volume increase to growth in agricultural exports – especially refrigerated perishables. It singled out increased shipments of chilled and frozen meat products to Asian markets.
The Californian port said exports account for 51% of its loaded container volume so far, in 2020, while imports account for 49% of the total.