June import volume was up 8.7 percent over June 2017, the Port said. It explained that two factors may have led to the increase: Peak season – the summer-fall period when most U.S. imports from Asia are shipped – is expected to be strong.
Importers may have ordered aggressively in June ahead of tariffs imposed this month by the U.S. and China.
“Retailers have been forecasting a good peak season for containerized imports, so June’s numbers weren’t surprising,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But there’s uncertainty over the international trade picture, so we’re taking a wait-and-see approach.”
The Port said it’s too soon to project the impact of 2018 tariff increases on cargo from China. It said the increases would have affected about $225 million of China imports had they been in place last year.
The Port said that total container volume in Oakland is up 2.3 percent so far, this year. That’s in line with a January Port forecast calling for 2-to-3 percent growth in 2018.
Containerized export volume is down 1.8 percent through six months of 2018, the Port said. Exports decreased 4.7 percent in June. The Port attributed the decrease to a strong U.S. dollar which makes American goods costlier overseas.
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square.