Port of Oakland will try to leverage infrastructure to attract first carrier call from Asia

Improved infrastructure coupled with new supply chain capabilities should result in record cargo volume at Oakland.

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As  Oakland continues to woo global ocean carriers to make this gateway a first port-of-call, executives here are celebrating several significant achievements related to container throughput and efficiency.

Improved infrastructure coupled with new supply chain capabilities should result in record cargo volume at Oakland, say spokesmen.

Maritime Director John Driscoll said construction projects currently underway would attract additional containerized cargo to Oakland beginning in 2018. He predicted all-time highs in Oakland cargo volume annually through 2022.

“I’m forecasting growth because of the development that’s going on here,” Mr. Driscoll told a gathering of 50 trade and transportation leaders. “It won’t be dramatic – it will be steady - but it will result in more cargo volume than we’ve ever had before.” 

Driscoll's comments came before an audience of supply chain officials that meets three times a year to review Oakland’s operating performance. 

The Maritime Director said that three international shipping lines are contemplating Oakland first calls due to recent port improvements.

Spokesmen say that’s important since the first port of call is where ships discharge most U.S. imports.  Oakland import volume could increase if any of the shipping lines makes the move. 

“The ocean carriers are looking favorably at Oakland,” Driscoll said. “It’s a major discussion between them and their import customers.”

The Maritime Director said these projects are drawing the most interest from shipping lines:

  • Crane raising: Four ship-to-shore cranes are being lifted 27-feet higher at Oakland International Container Terminal. Higher cranes will be better equipped to load and unload megaships in Oakland.  Work on the second of four cranes should conclude by year-end.  Completion of the entire $14 million to $20 million project is expected mid-2018.
  • Cool Port Oakland: Cool Port will process beef and poultry exports in a 280,000-square-foot temperature-controlled facility. The plant expects to handle the equivalent of 27,000 20-foot containers full of meat annually.  The $90 million refrigerated distribution center should open next August. 
  • Seaport Logistics Complex: This $52 million, 440,000-square-foot distribution center will be designed for transloading. That’s the rapid transfer of cargo between ships, trucks and trains.  Construction is expected to begin in late 2018.
  • 8Truck Service Center – Negotiations are still underway to construct an 8-acre facility for harbor truck drivers. It would include food stops, fueling stations and overnight parking.  There’s no timetable yet for construction.

The Port of Oakland reported total volume of 2.37 million 20-foot containers in 2016. Earlier this year the Port projected that volume will reach 2.6 million containers by 2022.  That would be 8 percent more than the Port has ever handled in a single year.

Meanwhile local Bay Area shippers are expecting to learn more about the port’s goals at an annual event featuring executive director Chris Lytle. The “State of the Port “ luncheon, sponsored by Women in Logistics and the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association takes place January 30th. 

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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