Port of Oakland’s year-over-year import volume increase in January came after three straight months of decline. Namely, exports grew 3.3% in January, up for the fourth straight month. According to the Port, consumer demand drove cargo volume increases.
The Port’s results followed a January trade agreement signaling a break in the US tariff skirmish with China. The agreement included a commitment by Beijing to increase purchases of US farm goods.
Nevertheless, the coronavirus outbreak that initiated in China blurs the trade outlook. Commenting on this, Port of Oakland Maritime Director, John Driscoll, said that potential implications due to the virus are possible. As he explained:
The uptick in January was encouraging but we’re hearing from shipping lines that cargo volume could moderate over the next few months
In fact, quarantines and other emergency measures have slowed Chinese manufacturing output. As a result, shipping lines are cancelling some springtime voyages to the US. The Port said it could take several months to determine the impact of the contagion on global supply chains.
Finally, the Port reported that its total January cargo volume fell by 0.6%. More specifically, the Port handled 17.7% less empties in January than in the same period last year.