- Truck protests and other supply chain challenges led to a sharp drop in container volumes at the Port of Oakland in July, according to a press release.
- The port saw a 28% decline YoY in total loaded container volumes, moving 116,629 TEUs in July 2022. The decline came as loaded imports fell roughly 27% YoY to 69,463 TEUs, and loaded exports fell nearly 31% to 47,166 TEUs.
- Congestion at terminal yards, caused in part by a weeklong trucker protest over California’s AB5 law, “hindered the terminals ability to load ships with goods destined for export,” the port said.
The Port of Oakland has seen volumes decline since at least March, and truck protests compounded the effect of factory shutdowns in China plus shifts in vessel schedules and demand.
The port’s business depends on the Asia-U.S. trade route, Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said in a statement. Volume has declined for some time as Shanghai port closures wreaked havoc on ocean carrier scheduling.
July’s drop in volumes, though, was steep, as the port recorded the “smallest number of loaded and empty TEUs since Feburary 2015,” according to the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s August 2022 West Coast Trade Report. In total, year-to-date container volumes were down at least 8% from last year.
The Port of Oakland said in its press release the lingering effects from trucker protests would continue to show in cargo volumes for at least another month. Terminal dwell times have risen to up to 19 days, in part due to the protests, according to Flexport’s Freight Market Update.
Other West Coast ports also saw a decline in cargo volumes in July, according to the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which includes the ports in Seattle and Tacoma, saw total year-to-date container volumes drop 5.6% YoY. Like Oakland, the Seattle and Tacoma ports were also affected by reduced vessel calls.
Looking ahead, the Port of Oakland said a drop in ocean shipping rates could impact future volumes.
“Rates charged to ship containers from Asia to the US continued to decline pointing to a possible decrease in demand for imports,” the port said in its press release.