Port of Oakland, Japan Strengthen Ties
Port of Oakland Executive Director, Chris Lytle, called for strengthened business ties with Japan. Addressing visitors from the Japanese Port of Hakata, Lytle listed opportunities for growth at sea and in the air.
“It’s extremely critical for us to have good, strong free trade partners such as Japan,” Lytle told a visiting delegation from the city of Fukuoka. “Japan is a very large and very important part of our business.”
Lytle's remarks came on the 30th anniversary of a sister port relationship between Oakland and Hakata. Japan is Oakland’s second-largest ocean trading partner after China, with trade between the two totaling $2.6 billion in 2017.
“Everything from machinery to lithium batteries for electric cars is imported to Oakland from Japan,” Lytle said. “This is very high-value cargo and we would like to see it grow.”
New developments coming on line at the Port of Oakland should accelerate trade with Japan, Lytle said. That could happen as soon as August with the opening of Cool Port Oakland, a $90 million refrigerated distribution center. Cool Port meat shipments to Asia could reach 50,000 containers annually, Lytle said. Much of that would be destined for Japan.
In addition to increased trade volume, the Executive Director made a pitch for Oakland-Japan air travel. The Port of Oakland operates Oakland International Airport, California’s fourth-largest airport. Oakland has 13 international destinations, but none are in Asia.