Oakland’s export volume surges, while all California ports express concern over tariffs

While the container throughput at the port of Los Angeles is slumping, California's third largest ocean cargo gateway is reporting encouraging news. 

Port of Oakland exports increased 10.8 percent last month compared to October 2018 volumes, according to data released today.  

The port labeled the double-digit jump "positive" amid reports that the U.S.-China trade war is easing. 

“Our export customers have demonstrated their resilience throughout this tariff standoff,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “For their sake, we hope the conflict is resolved and overseas business can grow even more.”

The port said it shipped the equivalent of 87,393 20-foot export containers overseas in October.  Most of that cargo went to Asian markets including China – Oakland’s leading trade partner.  Through the first 10 months of 2018, Oakland exports were up 3.5 percent over last year, despite increased tariffs.

According to Mike Zampa, the port's director communication, this trend can be attriuted to a pair of factors:

Continued strong Asian demand for high-quality U.S. goods, especially farm products; and
Increased shipments to neighboring countries to counter Chinese volumes depressed by tariffs.

"The U.S. and China have both indicated progress in talks to relieve trade tensions," said Zampa.  "According to reports, an accord could be near that rolls back some tariffs imposed over the past year.  The port has been on record opposing the levies."

The port said that easing of the trade conflict would be welcome by both export and import customers.  Oakland import volume declined 4.6 in October, though it remains up 2.7 percent for the full year.  Total volume, which measures imports, exports and empty container repositioning, is unchanged year-to-date from 2018.

Meanwhile, The Port of Los Angeles plans to  unveil a new study indicating the potential for widespread negative economic impact of tariffs on jobs, trade and consumers throughout the United States.

The study reveals what’s at risk in each state and Congressional district. States most at risk include California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of L.A. and global trade expert, will discuss the study on Tuesday, November 12th, as well as the latest trade data, including 12 months of declining exports at the Port of L.A.