Port of Oakland Filling the Volume Gap Left by Labor Dispute

Container terminals at the Port of Oakland handled 216,911 TEUs in August, a 6% increase compared to the same period a year earlier, but the effects of last winter’s U.S. West Coast waterfront labor dispute are still felt as the port’s year-to-date total volumes are down 4.8% from a year ago.

However, the port says that the volumes from March onward represent a significant recovery from double-digit volume declines in winter.

Containerized import volume jumped 15% in August compared to 2014 totals. It was the sixth-consecutive month of gains ahead of the traditional autumn pre-holiday cargo surge.

“We’re building momentum before the peak,” said Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s an indication that the season could be a good one; but more importantly, it’s a sign that customers are counting on the Port of Oakland to deliver.”

Imports have led Oakland’s volume rebound, with the port lifting the equivalent of 82,492 20-foot containers last month. That was the most since March when the port’s import rally began, shortly after the February 20 tentative settlement of the labor dispute.

The port said an increase in longshore labor on the waterfront is helping to absorb volume growth. About 150 more dockworkers are being deployed at Oakland’s five marine terminals. With added labor, the port said it has cleared a summer backlog of ships waiting to berth.

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