Port of Oakland, California-Water Gateway

Port of Oakland, California-Water Gateway

The maritime Port of Oakland was the nation's 12th busiest waterborne freight gateway for international merchandise trade by value of shipments in 2008. It ranked 25th by value among all land, water, and air gateways. In 2008, merchandise trade passing through the Port of Oakland ($39 billion) accounted for 2 percent of the value of the total U.S. international waterborne trade. These freight shipments represented nearly 3 percent of U.S. waterborne exports and 2 percent of imports. Inbound shipments accounted for 68 percent of the value of freight that the port handled in 2008, and outbound shipments accounted for 32 percent (table 1).

By weight, the facility ranked 26th among all U.S. water gateways in 2008, handling 19 million tons of freight, or about 1 percent of the total U.S. international waterborne freight. Imports accounted for 52 percent of the tonnage transported through the port (table 1).

Although the Port of Oakland handles some noncontainerized cargo, it is primarily a container port. In 2008, the port handled 1.4 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) carrying international imports and exports. This cargo accounted for 5 percent of the containerized TEUs handled at the nation's seaports. Oakland's containerized cargo was fairly evenly divided between outbound and inbound shipments. Imports were 52 percent of the shipments, and exports were 48 percent (table 1).

By weight, China was the port's leading origin country for imports in 2007, followed by Hong Kong and Taiwan.1 China was the leading destination for exports, followed by Japan and Taiwan (table 2).2 The leading foreign seaports for cargo leaving or arriving at Oakland were Kao Hsiung, Taiwan; Hong Kong, China; and Shanghai, China (table 3).

More than 2,000 vessels called at Port of Oakland in 2007. Container vessels made the most calls at the port, accounting for 95 percent of the total (table 4).

The top containerized imports were machinery, beverages, furniture and bedding, vehicles (not railway), and apparel. The top exports were edible fruits and nuts, meat and fish products, machinery, vehicles (not railway), and beverages.3

1 For official merchandise trade statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Hong Kong and Taiwan separately. In this report, "China" refers to mainland China.

2 Data for 2008 are not available for weight and vessels calls. Data in tables 2, 3, and 4 are from 2007.

3 Port of Oakland website, www.portofoakland.com/maritime/facts_comm_02.asp as of Aug. 10, 2009.