Port of Oakland unsure of peak season volume but ready to go

Posted on August 7, 2019 · Posted in News

Uncertainty clouds the peak season container shipping outlook
with more threatened tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S. looming. But the
Port of Oakland said today that there’s no uncertainty about handling the
annual August-November cargo rush.

“The Port is operating efficiently, ships are getting in-and-out
on time and cargo is moving without delay,” said Maritime Director John
Driscoll. “We don’t see that changing in the coming months.”
The Port said it wouldn’t project volume for shipping’s traditional highwater
mark when imports increase to support holiday merchandising. It advised,
however, that Oakland marine terminals where ships load and unload are
reporting uninterrupted operations. It added that it expected cargo to continue
flowing unfettered through the peak season.
West Coast peak season containerized import growth is likely to be 1-to-3
percent, trade analysts say. That’s modest compared to big jumps last peak
season when importers front-loaded against expected tariffs. The wildcard is a
new round of tariffs proposed by the Trump Administration that could take
effect next month.
Regardless of trade dynamics, Oakland says it’s ready for peak season. Here’s
the operational update it provided:
• Vessel operations: Ships are routinely arriving on time this summer and
completing cargo operations within 24 hours.
• Import deliveries: Import containers are generally delivered to cargo owners
within 1-to-3 days of vessel discharge.
• Turn times: Average transaction times for truck drivers at Oakland’s three
international marine terminals range from 59-to-75 minutes. That’s down from a
range of 67-to-92 minutes in January.
• Street queues: Lines of trucks waiting to enter marine terminals aren’t as
prevalent as they used to be in Oakland. Night gates and appointment systems
have helped shrink the queues. Lines still form in the morning before gates
open and again during lunch hour. There are also lines Mondays and Tuesdays
following weekend vessel arrivals. But terminals for the most part are working
efficiently to ease back-ups.
• Chassis to haul containers: They’re usually available without shortages
though providers do have to relocate some units among terminals to avoid
imbalance.
• Containers: Oakland’s near 50-50 import/export balance eliminates most
worries about container shortages. The Port ships large numbers of empties back
to Asia but there are no supply problems in Oakland.
• Night gates: About 25-to-30 percent of truck transactions are occurring at
night Monday-through-Thursday in Oakland. Marine terminal operators are urging
drivers to haul more cargo at night to ease daytime crowding.

By Ajot, August
06, 2019.