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July 26, 2019 4:45 PM, EDT

Port of Oakland Says Exports to Other Asian Nations Surge Due to China Tariffs

Port of Oakland Activity at the Port of Oakland. (Port of Oakland/Flickr)

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While the United States is in the middle of tough trade negotiations with China, and both economic powers have imposed tariffs on products entering their countries, other Asian nations and one U.S. port appear to be benefiting.

China is the Port of Oakland’s largest trading partner, and port officials told Transport Topics increased exports with three other Asian nations are a counterweight to the effects of the Chinese tariffs imposed on U.S. shipments.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, year-over-year exports are up 15% to Japan, 11% to South Korea and 7% to Taiwan. During the same period, exports to China fell by 17%. When measured by 20-foot-equivalent (TEU) container volume, the port said exports to China are down the equivalent of 14,000 TEUs, but shipments to the other three nations are up 20,000 TEUs.

John Driscoll

Driscoll

“This is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of our customers,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “They’re finding ways to overcome debilitating trade barriers.”

Port officials added that for the first six months of 2019, export shipments to all nations served are up 2.4% when compared with the same period last year. Agricultural commodities are seeing the biggest increase in exports, including almonds, meat, citrus fruit and hay.

The Trump administration’s trade war with China, which has resulted in 25% tariffs being charged by both countries, has cast uncertainty into the market for companies, according to BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for small companies.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, overall exports to the United States are down 8.5% during the first six months of 2019.

The port also said that scrap paper exports to Asia are down 34% in 2019 when compared with 2018 due to tighter restrictions from China on waste product shipments.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is experiencing a surge, in part because of decisions its leadership made in 2011.

The port said July 25 that through the first six months it set a record for TEU volume, handling 3,652,841 units from Jan. 1 to June 30, compared with 3,450,472 by the end of June 2018.

Officials said the port processed 611,027 TEUs in June, making it the second-busiest June on record, surpassed only in 2018 when 625,366 TEUs were moved through the facility.

“The extraordinary high growth in cargo volume continues the port’s monthly streak of holding the position as the No. 2 port in the nation measured by loaded containers,” the port said in a press release.

Port of Oakland

The Port of New York and New Jersey. (Global Container Terminal)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeing a significant increase in business, in part because of its decision to raise the Bayonne Bridge linking Staten Island, N.Y., and Bayonne, N.J., over the Kill Van Kull waterway. The 88-year-old bridge provides a critical entry to several terminals managed by the authority, which moves an estimated $200 billion a year in goods.

The eight-year, $1.7 billion project to strengthen the bridge’s arch and increase its clearance to 235 feet from 151, means the world’s biggest Panamax Cargo ships, capable of carrying 14,400 TEUs, can easily enter the port facilities.

The reconstructed bridge was fully operational, and larger ships began entering and departing the various terminals in September 2017, but the project was just completed in mid-June, with a rededication ceremony. Officials say the project means the bridge will be operational for at least 100 years.