The trade war with China is not having much of an impact on Oakland just yet.
The Port of Oakland has again issued trade statistics that show the growing tension between the US and China is not yet having as much impact on container volumes as was expected. In particular, “Containerised agricultural exports are rebounding despite an ongoing trade war”, the port reported.
Farm goods shipments through Oakland in the first four months of 2019 were up 12%, including a 5% increase in agricultural exports to China. As positive as that sounds it has to be remembered that US farm exports to China plummeted to US$5.9 billion in 2018 from $15.9 billion in 2017.
Nevertheless, the result is better than the port seemed to be expecting. “It’s too soon to declare victory in this segment given the trade outlook,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But our performance so far this year shows two things: there’s continued demand for U.S. farm goods and growers are resourceful when it comes to finding markets for their products.”
Agricultural or “farm product” exports in the first four months of the year reached 108,724 TEU, up from 97,376 TEU in 2018. Most of the cargo went to Asia, and the average value per container rose to $36,000 (up from $31,500 year-on-year).
Approximately 11% percent of Oakland’s agricultural shipments this year were destined for China, but exports to Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan are the now the fastest growing markets. In April Pacific International Lines (PIL) added Oakland to a revamped AC5 service in partnership with Cosco and Wan Hai, connecting Oakland directly with Vietnam.