Officials at the Port of Oakland reported a surprising gain for inbound cargo in June, citing a nearly 2% increase in imports. The gain was unexpected given that shipping lines had canceled 10% of their scheduled Oakland visits due to the trade-related impact of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday.

The port said the uptick in imports is likely due to retailers accelerating shipments to the United States due to dwindling cargo capacity and an anticipated rise in freight rates. Ovrall container volume–which includes imports, exports, and empty containers–was down 2.3% in June compared to a year ago. The Port handled the equivalent of 199,011 twenty-foot containers in June 2020 compared to 203,730 in June 2019. 

June export volume declined 5.7%, likely due to reduced consumer demand in foreign markets caused by Covid-19 disruptions. Officials also said that China instituted new restrictions on wastepaper exports from the United States, which further dampened export volumes. The return of empty containers to origins in Asia decreased 14.5%.


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