Port of Oakland reports dip in May shipment volume due to pandemic

The Port of Oakland's container volume fell 12.7 percent last month compared to May 2019 totals as imports and exports fell by more than 10 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Full imports fell by 14.6 percent compared to May of last year while exports fell by 10.7 percent, which port officials said was largely due to lower global consumer demand during the pandemic.  

The return of empty containers to Asia ports also spiked 28 percent, leading to a total decrease in cargo volume at the port of 16.8 percent in May.  

"Since March, the Port has seen indications of more significant cargo declines, so the May results are not unexpected," Port of Oakland Acting Maritime Director Delphine Prevost said. "Ocean carriers have been reducing the number of vessels in service in anticipation of expected declines in import demand." 

The port's cargo statistics show a 7.8 percent decrease in cargo volume between January and May compared the same period of time in 2019.