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Ports Post Record Volume as Holiday Season Begins

Ports Post Record Volume as Holiday Season Begins

Major U.S. seaports posted growth in containerized cargo volume for August, the start of the season when retailers begin importing holiday merchandise.

The season runs through November and is considered shipping’s high-water mark.

The Port of Oakland said it experienced its busiest August ever for inbound loads. Imports increased 3.1% to 88,323 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) for the month compared with the year-ago period, while export volume rose 1% to 75,080 TEUs.

“It’s good to see volume trending in the right direction,” port Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “Let’s see now if we can keep it going through the fall.”

Aside from ongoing strength in U.S. consumer demand, Port of Oakland officials attributed the increases to convenient access to the Asian market and overseas demand for American farm goods resulting in more exports.

For the past year, refrigerated export volume has grown 20%, perhaps indicating that its bet on temperature-controlled cargo is paying off, according to officials.

They said 119,756 20-foot TEUs of refrigerated exports were handled from August 2018 through July 2019, up from 99,740 the year before.

The gains stem from beef and pork production in the Midwest. Beef exports from the port increased 45% in the past year, and pork volume is up 38%.