Peak Season Forecast Puts Port of Oakland in Positive Position

Volume flowing smoothly ahead of likely import jump in coming months
Peak Season Forecast Puts Port of Oakland in Positive Position

Anticipated record peak-season import volumes should flow smoothly through the Port of Oakland, Maritime Director John Driscoll said today.  In his forecast before an expected holiday cargo rush, the port executive said Oakland is braced for more business.  

“We’re hearing that the next two-to-three months could set new containerized import records in the U.S.,” Mr. Driscoll said.  “If that’s the case, we’re ready; we’ve got plenty of equipment to move cargo and our terminals are operating with high efficiency.”

The Maritime Director’s remarks followed a bullish forecast from the National Retail Federation.  The trade association said this month that containerized import volume could reach all-time highs in July and August. That’s the traditional start of peak season when retailers stock up for back-to-school and holiday sales. 

Underscoring the prediction, Oakland reported record cargo volume for the month of June.  The Port said Oakland imports are up 3.4 percent this year compared to 2016.  The port said it expects the trend to continue for the next few months. 

Here’s the port summary of peak-season preparedness:

Marine terminals are loading and unloading ships with a 24-hour average turnaround.
They’re requiring appointments for truck drivers to pick up import containers, easing crowding at terminal gates.

Night gates are also improving cargo flow.  Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) is processing about 1,200 transactions a night, roughly 20 percent of its daily volume.
An exclusive, off-terminal empty container yard is helping to smooth out traffic, too.  OICT reports about 400 empty pick-ups/deliveries every day.

Truck drivers require only 30-to-90 minutes in most cases to pick up or deliver cargo.
Occasional truck queues at TraPac marine terminal should thin out by September when a new gate complex opens.

Furthermore, there’s no shortage of containers to ship exports out of Oakland. This is significant because it remains the most in important outbound port on the U.S. West Coast. 

Leasing companies report an adequate supply of chassis, which are essential for hauling containers over the road.  The providers are working daily with marine terminals to reposition chassis when peak-period supplies are tight.

The port’s communication director, Mike Zampa told LM in an interview that past is prologue: 

“We’ve spent the past two years developing an efficient, reliable platform for cargo delivery at the Port of Oakland,” he said.  “We successfully managed record loaded-container volume here in 2016 and we’re ready for further growth.”