Local News Matters weekly newsletter

Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.

A fourth shipping line this year has decided to make the Port of Oakland its first stop after leaving Asia, port officials said.

The world’s second-largest carrier Mediterranean Shipping Company will begin disembarking from Oakland weekly for ports in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore starting Nov. 6.

Port officials said MSC’s decision is significant because, among other reasons, it allows Oakland to grow its booming import traffic.

Port officials are excited about the new service because Southeast Asia is an “important, growing market,” the port’s Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said.

“We’re also gratified that the shipping industry continues to acknowledge Oakland’s role in world trade by adding more and more capacity,” Brandes said.

Other shipping lines that added first stops in Oakland this year are CMA CGM, Matson, and Wan Hai Lines, according to port officials.

Most U.S. import cargo, which is usually time-sensitive, gets offloaded at ports of first call.

The Port of Oakland’s import volume has been growing, now up to 55 percent of total volume, thanks to soaring consumer demand. Traditionally, imports have been 50 percent of the port’s total volume.

The new service offered by MSC will be welcomed by both importers and exporters of U.S. goods, port officials said, because cargo vessel space has become limited, causing delays, and driving up freight rates.

Port of Oakland officials added that another benefit of MSC’s new service is the ability of importers to avoid Southern California ports. Ships there wait for up to two weeks for a berth before heading to Oakland.