Several container ships are staged on San Francisco Bay waiting to be unloaded as the Port of Oakland reported record volume in import and export cargo for March, port officials said Tuesday.
In what it called an "international trade boom," the port said in addition to the all-time monthly high in port activity, there’s no sign the surge will decrease any time soon as cargo ships line up on the bay.
"Ships are full, ocean freight rates are sky high, and the need for empty containers to ship more cargo is never-ending," Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said in a statement. "We just don’t see conditions easing in the next several months."
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The port said it received the equivalent of 97,538 import containers in March and shipped out the equivalent of 94,169 export containers. Both were single-month records.
Year over year, March imports were up 45%, the port said, adding that March 2020 showed the initial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Exports gained 12% year over year.
Many ports worldwide also are reporting surges in volume, port officials said, attributing the gains to the following factors: pandemic-weary consumers buying overseas goods to counter lockdown fatigue; retailers and manufacturers replenishing depleted inventories; and American exporters meeting increased demand for U.S. products, especially farm goods.