Officials with the Port of Oakland reported a decline in total cargo volume of seven percent through April 2022, compared to the same period a year ago.
The containerized import load declined 17 percent in April, while exports dropped 18 percent, according to a news release.
Officials attribute most of the decline to “COVID crackdowns” forcing factory and port shutdowns in China, Oakland’s largest trade partner. The disruption in Shanghai specifically, the world’s busiest port, is delaying U.S.-bound imports and wreaking havoc on ocean carrier scheduling, they said.
“U.S. exports have been hampered by vessel schedules thrown into disarray in China,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Most of Oakland’s business depends on the Asia-U.S. trade route.”
Additional factors affecting cargo flow include a drop in the number of ships stopping in Oakland and importers being slow to retrieve shipments, causing crowded yards, slowing cargo discharges and container shortages. All of which are making it harder to load export shipments, officials said.
According to the statement, cargo operations should pick up as vessel schedules normalize, but for now retailers are likely factoring in more time for receiving goods based on the shipping delays they have experienced during COVID.