2017 was the busiest year in the Port of Oakland’s 90-year history having achieved a new record of 2.42 million 20-foot handled containers, the port said.

That broke the previous record of 2.39 million containers set in 2014.

The port added it broke two more records in 2017 with 919,523 loaded import containers and 1.85 million combined imports and exports.

The record performance was ascribed to import growth, which marked a 4 percent rise in 2017 over 2016 totals.

December imports were up 6.4 percent over the same month in 2016.

The port attributed the import rally to a strong U.S. economy and increasing consumer demand for retail products.

“Our record-setting 2017 has set the stage for the future,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “With new development projects already underway, we expect to increase our capacity and drive greater volume.”

The record figures are being reported in the wake of the port’s strategic infrastructural investments which are expected to see larger ships calling at the port to become “the new normal“.

Bigger ships of up to 18,000 TEU are expected to drive Oakland’s anticipated cargo increase over the coming years.

Namely, the Californian port anticipates a five-year run of record cargo volume beginning in 2018, as revealed in a Strategic Maritime Roadmap released in August 2017.

By 2022, the port expects to handle the equivalent of 2.6 million 20-foot containers annually. The number would represent 8 percent more volume than the port has ever processed in a single year.

In June 2017, Driscoll said that the port envisions to see over USD 600 million in investment in infrastructural projects aimed at bolstering Oakland’s status as a major trade hub.

These have included a terminal upgrade, a new operating system at Everport marine terminal, along with USD 100-million rail yard completed in 2016.

In addition, the port has launched work on raising ship-to-shore cranes at its Oakland International Container Terminal’s (OICT),  doubling the size of the TraPac marine terminal, constructing a 287,000-square foot Cool Port for refrigerated cargo transport and developing the first 27 acres of a Seaport Logistics Complex.

The port said it expects Cool Port to open late summer, while the work on its Seaport Logistics Complex could begin by spring.

Related News