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Typical Q4 spike in box volumes yet to be seen in Oakland

The port of Oakland’s September container volume remained relatively steady compared with August box throughput reaching 134,186 TEUs, marking a slight 1.2% increase over the same month in 2022.

September’s full exports jumped 9.1% year-on-year to 59,757 TEUs, but full imports inched down 4.3% to 74,428 TEUs. For the same month, Oakland’s empty imports dropped by 22.8% year-on-year to 11,208 TEUs and empty exports shrank by 29.8% to 26,429 TEUs.

“Shipping volumes have declined globally,” said the Californian port in a statement. “In response, shipping rates have declined to very low levels and ocean carriers have begun to alter their schedules, canceling some trans-Pacific vessel sailings.”

However, vessel calls at the port of Oakland continue to increase in 2023, with 744 calls, rising 17% over 2022.

“The Port of Oakland’s current container volume is consistent with the leveling off of global container traffic,” pointed out maritime director of Port of Oakland, Bryan Brandes, who went on to add that  “vessel calls to the Port have increased this year, pointing to a slow and steady recovery from the turmoil of the past couple of years.”

Although container volumes typically spike in the fourth quarter in preparation for the holiday season, the port of Oakland said it has not seen a noticeable increase yet.

“This may be attributable to a combination of high inventory levels, retailers ordering more goods from factories in Mexico and Canada rather than Asia, and/or consumer demand slowing in the Port of Oakland’s main market–Northern California,” explains the US port.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland receives US$1.2 billion funding for hydrogen projects

Federal and state funding is on the way for hydrogen projects at the Port of Oakland. This is because the Biden administration announced on 13 October that California will receive up to US$1.2 billion as a designated hydrogen centre.

“We are grateful to have outstanding federal, state, and local support for our vision to become a zero-emissions seaport,” stated Danny Wan, executive director of the port of Oakland.

He further added, “It takes major investments to finance initiatives like hydrogen projects that will deliver a greener, cleaner environment. We thank the leadership of the Newsom Administration and ARCHES and the funding support from the Department of Energy to advance vital goals that address climate change. This is critically important for our Port, our City, our surrounding communities, and our region.”

California was chosen as one of seven regional hubs throughout the United States that will receive a total of US$7 billion in funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.

The funds will be used to expand the domestic market for low-cost, clean hydrogen. These regional centres will manufacture and consume hydrogen, improve air quality, and provide green jobs to California’s workforce.

The Port of Oakland is a partner in the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), a statewide public-private partnership that will provide the groundwork for California’s renewable, clean hydrogen hub.

ARCHES coordinated California’s federal hydrogen hub grant application, which included projects at the Port of Oakland.

Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland is building hydrogen fueling stations and replacing cargo handling equipment with zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell technology. The Port of Oakland’s portion of the grant will be created in collaboration with ARCHES and the Department of Energy during the following months.

The Californian port authorised a bold effort to build a zero-emission seaport in 2019. The Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan lays out the strategy and procedures for transitioning from a fossil-fuel-based seaport to decarbonized goods transportation port operations.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland sees lower box volumes

Container volume at the Port of Oakland fell in August compared to the same month last year with the Californian port handling 135,253 TEUs, down 13.1% year-on-year.

“However, the robust volume in August 2022 draws an unrealistic comparison to this August’s numbers,” noted the US port.

Vessel calls have continued to grow throughout 2023, reporting 650 vessel calls through the end of August, rising 13% over the number of vessel calls in August 2022.

Port of Oakland’s official said, “This indicates that port operations are running smoothly, boasting better on-time performance of ships, and less congestion at docks and at inland warehouses.”

“While August’s container volumes might not be where we want them to be, there are indicators that point to a bright future for the seaport,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes, adding, “Improved port operations, coupled with our on-going investment in greening the port, will provide on-going benefits to importers and exporters.”

In more detail, full imports in August dropped by 17.5% with 72,481 TEUs, while full exports shrunk by 7.5% with 62,733 TEUs. Empty imports were down by 11.1%, moving 13,329 TEUs in August 2023, while empty exports declined 29.6%, registering 30,579 TEUs.

Exports have slumped, pointing to the continued decline in the export of wastepaper and recyclable materials for processing. However, there is optimism that agricultural exports will pick up.

According to the announcement, vessels are running on schedule and unloading and loading cargo with little disruption, which are favorable conditions, especially for exporters.

Source: Container News


Evergreen makes US$76 million investment in Oakland terminal

Evergreen Marine Corporation’s terminal operating subsidiary Everport Services has invested US$76 million in the port of Oakland.

No further information was released, with Evergreen citing confidentiality.

The disclosure of the investment coincided with Evergreen acquiring a 20% stake in Euromax’s terminal in the Dutch port of Rotterdam on 17 August.

Drewry Maritime Financial Research analyst Aditi Niranjan told Container News that many mainline operators have acquired terminal assets to increase the diversification of their business with the aid of the huge cash reserves they accumulated during the Covid-19-fuelled boom.

She said, “Along with diversification, these terminal assets will help increase the resilience of their overall business model.”

Besides Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd has gone down the same path, acquiring a 40% stake in J M Baxi Ports & Logistics’ terminals in India and taking over SM SAAM’s ports and logistics business. Similarly, CMA CGM acquired the GCT Bayonne and GCT New York terminals, upping its presence in the US with seven terminals there.

Xeneta’s chief analyst Peter Sand told Container News that while liner operators have leverage with owning terminals, it can be tricky if the terminals serve external operators as well.

“It’s quite a competitive environment within the terminal business. If non-alliance operators believe they are getting bad treatment, they’ll surely discontinue relations,” noted Sand.

Source: Container News


Oakland’s container volumes drop in February

Port of Oakland reported another slow month for cargo traffic moving 153,837 TEUs in February, translating to a decline of 20.9% compared to the same month last year.

According to the statement, domestic inventories stay high, as retail sales dropped in February, reducing cargo numbers at US West Coast ports. A strong dollar is also impeding export volumes. When retail regains its footing, the Port of Oakland wants to be ready to transport cargo effectively.

Full imports dropped 32% in February 2023, with 58,073 TEUs moving through the Port compared to 85,286 TEUs the previous month.

One cause of the low traffic is that West Coast ports are losing market share to ports on America’s East and Gulf Coasts.

Full exports fell 10.6% in February, with the port processing 55,741 TEUs compared to 62,334 TEUs in February 2022. Exports have been declining since 2020. Tariffs placed by the United States and China, as well as China’s limitations on recycled materials, which are Oakland’s biggest product, sparked the decline.

Exports continued to fall during the epidemic due to product supply chain delays and a shortage of empty vessels.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland reports box traffic decline

The Port of Oakland’s total loaded container volume dropped by 8% in August compared to the same month last year with 155,682 loaded TEUs.

Loaded imports declined by 10.2% recording 87,844 TEUs last month and loaded export containers experienced a 5.5% decline with 67,838 TEUs passing through the port in August.

In addition, full imports of the port of Oakland in 2022 year-to-date were down by 5% compared to the first eight months of 2021.

“We’re beginning to see signs of supply chain recovery after multi-year pandemic-related congestion, but we still have a way to go,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director, Bryan Brandes, who went on to add, “We will continue working with our industry partners to boost cargo fluidity and vessel service.”

Freight rates for cargo shipped from Asia to the United States continue to drop pointing to a softening in demand for imports, according to the Californian port, which noted that continued congestion at box yards may still be a factor in ship delays at the Oakland Seaport, with most docked vessels staying two or more days.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland resumes operations

Port of Oakland has announced that its marine terminals have resumed operations since Saturday, 23 July, after several days of disruption by truck drivers protesting the worker law AB5.

“The Port of Oakland has resumed full operations,” confirmed port executive director, Danny Wan, who noted, “We appreciate the independent truck drivers’ use of the designated Free Speech Zones and we thank local law enforcement for their continued assistance.”

Wan added, “The truckers have been heard and we now urge them to voice their grievances with lawmakers, not the Port of Oakland.”

City of Oakland, regional and state law enforcement are continuing to monitor and implement measures to keep traffic flowing, according to the port statement.

The Californian port said that last week’s protests have prevented the flow of international commerce including medical supplies, agricultural products, auto and technology parts, livestock, and manufacturing parts.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland approves US$480 million budget for fiscal year 2023

The Oakland (US) Board of Port Commissioners has approved a 2023 fiscal year budget of US$480 million.

This operating budget projects a 9% increase in passengers at the Port’s Oakland International Airport (OAK) and a 2% growth in cargo volume at the Oakland Seaport.

“Our economy has overcome the initial pandemic shock and our employees have done an excellent job containing expenses. However rising inflation and a threatened recession mean we have to remain vigilant,” commented Port of Oakland executive director, Danny Wan.

Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland expects revenue growth of US$35 million in 2023. “Port operations are supported by a strong and diverse local economy. The Bay Area remains an important center of commerce, and the Port remains a key gateway for both domestic and international trade and a top travel destination,” said the port in its budget outlook.

Port of Oakland has warned that its businesses face challenges in the next financial year which include fears of a recession that could hinder Oakland International Airport passenger growth (now at 83% of pre-pandemic levels), ongoing supply chain congestion and higher costs due to inflation.

Additionally, Port Commissioners approved a US$112.4 million capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year aiming to improve the infrastructure of Oakland International Airport and Oakland Seaport.

The port’s five-year capital improvement plan is projected to be US$907.8 million.

Around a third of the port’s capital improvement plan is expected to be allocated to various environmental, utility and electrification initiatives.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland volumes dip in July

The port of Oakland has recorded a year-to-date volume increase in July but a decline in comparison to the same period of last year.

In particular, the US port has seen a growth of 9% in total volumes and 16% in imports since the start of 2021.

However, a slight downtrend in container traffic has been noticed, as the total volumes which include imports, exports and empty container repositioning, decreased by 3.5% compared to the previous year’s July.

In the meantime, containerised imports saw a year-on-year decline of 1.7%, while exports decreased by 4.7%.

The port attributed the declines to the high cargo volume during the first half of the year, as surging shipments stacked up on docks causing delivery delays.

Due to that fact, shipping lines omitted several sailings to the harbour, according to Port of Oakland Maritime Director, Bryan Brandes who stated that “Vessel berths and container yards were crowded with some shipping lines bypassing Oakland.”

Despite the current downtrend, the port estimates that cargo volume should increase again from August through October, as those months constitute the peak shipping season for retailers building holiday inventories.

Source: Container News


Port of Oakland eyes second-time-lucky success for new transpacific services

Within weeks the transpacific market has brightened significantly for the port of Oakland, as two carriers have launched new services from Asia.

The port authority hopes these will fare better than two runs introduced earlier this year that were impacted by congestion on its docks.

Yesterday, Wan Hai Lines launched a weekly service from Kaohsiung, Ningbo and Qingdao to Oakland and Seattle.

It follows the start of a service by Matson on 27 July from Ningbo and Shanghai to Oakland and Long Beach, returning to Asia via its Honolulu base.

According to Oakland, Matson’s new venture will run three out of every five weeks, with ocean transits of 12-14 days from China.

With these new services under its belt, the port seems well positioned to see throughput rise to 2.6 million teu this year – over the first six months volumes increased 11.4% , with the box count up to 1.3m teu, with imports the main driver, surging 15% in June, while exports advanced 0.8%

The port authority described the new services as re-affirmation of rising demand for a gateway in Northern California and pointed to increased consumer demand in this part of the state, as well as a proliferation of nearby e-commerce distribution centres as major drivers of growth.

Moreover, it argues, the port is enjoying a growing role as a gateway to the US interior, as both new services make Oakland their first port of call in the country.

“The fact that it’s a first call underscores the importance cargo owners place on Oakland,” said maritime director Bryan Brandes.

The port authority hopes the new ventures will fare better than other transpacific services that were diverted or suspended earlier this year. Zim had planned an expedited run with Oakland the first port of call, but shifted it to Los Angeles owing to congestion at Oakland.

In late May, when the operation was getting under way, there were more vessels waiting for berths atvOakland than at Los Angeles. The main reason was congestion at the docks due to a shortage of labour and the temporary loss of one berth, occupied by three recently arrived post-panamax cranes.

The congestion also prompted Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM to change their plans. The former temporarily suspended its calls at Oakland, and CMA CGM, the first carrier to launch a fast transpacific service calling at Oakland first in North America this year, has been alternating its calls at Oakland and Seattle. And MSC announced in July it was reducing its Oakland service from weekly to fortnightly calls.

However, the new transpacific services suggest a rebound in carrier confidence in Oakland as a gateway. With the new cranes installed and congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach worsening, the port seems in a better position to hold on to these new operations.

And on the new Wan Hai service, the port authority said it had ample rail capacity to ship imports to the interior. However, congestion on the rail system has spread, primarily from choked hubs in the interior through carrier networks, all the way to the ports.

Source: The Load Star