As global trade booms, the container shipping industry is introducing another new vessel service at the Port of Oakland.
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The Port said that Taiwan-based Wan Hai Lines launched its weekly AA5 Service last month. The route links three ports in China and one in Taiwan with the Ports of Oakland and Seattle.
Wan Hai’s move marks the second new service at the Port of Oakland in the past three months. French carrier CMA CGM introduced a weekly service in February that includes an Oakland first call. That means CMA ships make Oakland their first stop in the U.S.
“We’re gratified with these new services because they reflect growing recognition that Oakland is an essential trade gateway,” said Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “This means more business for the Port and more jobs here connected to the shipping industry.”
Wan Hai said its new service stops at the ports of Kaohsiung, Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian. Its ships make Seattle their first U.S. stop, then returning to Asia after visiting Oakland.
The Port said Wan Hai chose Oakland for three reasons:
• Cargo owners increasingly want their containers shipped through Oakland – the Port’s volume is up 9 percent this year.
• The Port is the nearest cargo gateway for e-commerce distribution centers springing up in Northern California.
• Oakland has ready access to two Class I railroads making distribution of goods to-and-from the U.S. Midwest convenient for cargo owners.
According to the Port, the new service from Wan Hai should add to Oakland’s growing business in containerized imports. Oakland reported a 45 percent jump in import volume last month compared to April 2020. The Port projects continued strong volume through most of 2021.
Just as important, the Port said the new service should benefit exporters shipping cargo from Oakland. Oakland will be the last U.S. stop for Wan Hai vessels headed back to Asia. Exports will spend less time on the water if they’re loaded in Oakland, the Port explained. That extends shelf life for perishable commodities such as farm goods, an Oakland export staple. ■