The port said Friday that it handled the equivalent of 250,686 loaded 20-foot import containers from August through October, the traditional high-water mark for container shipping. That broke the old peak season import record of 233,825 containers set in the summer and fall of 2017.
The port attributed the increase in cargo volume to strong U.S. consumer spending. It added that U.S. shippers accelerated cargo growth by rushing imports into the country ahead of a new round of tariffs to be imposed on Chinese goods. The twin influences supercharged peak season, which is the time of year when U.S. retailers build inventories for holiday merchandising, the port said.
“We’re pleased by our peak season figures,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Now we’ll see how tariffs affect future trade flows.”
Total volume — imports, exports and empty containers — was up 3.9 percent through the first 10 months of 2018, the port said, pointing out that if the trend continues, Oakland would set a new cargo volume record for the third straight year.