Container volumes at the Port of Oakland have risen 2 percent compared to the same seven months last year, even though vessel calls are down more than 7 percent over the same time period, according to newly released data.
The Northern California port said that through July, 954 container ships have visited Oakland in 2017, down 7.6 percent from the 1,032 visits at the same time last year. If the trend persists, vessel calls for the full year would total about 1,650, roughly 100 fewer ships than Oakland received last year.
If the predictions hold up, then 2017 would be the year that Oakland receives its second-fewest container ship visits in a decade. But the decrease in calls, according to the port, is actually a positive development for the port and the surrounding environment.
“This is a good trend,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “Our cargo volume is up, but with fewer ships, we reduce diesel emissions and ease berth crowding.”
A hundred fewer ship calls should not only result in reduced diesel particulate emissions in Oakland, but also ease demand for berthing space at its marine terminals, thereby lessening idling time in the San Francisco Bay.
Oakland said its vessel calls in have declined 15 percent since 2007, with the low point being when 1,433 ships visited during calendar year 2015.
The port said the ongoing trend of more cargo but fewer ships could result this year in its loaded container volume rising 2 percent, which would set a cargo record for a second consecutive year.
Industry consolidation has led to larger ships loading and unloading about 11 percent more containers per visit at Oakland, the port said, which has in turn led to terminals turning to longer operating hours trucker appointments to deal with the increases.
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