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Port of Oakland On Track For 2% Growth In 2017

Aug 25, 2017

“The Port of Oakland could see a 2% increase in loaded containers in 2017, if current trends hold….an increase over the Port’s previous record of 2016,” Port of Oakland Communications Director Mike Zampa told AJOT.

In an interview, Zampa said more 14,000 teu vessels are coming to Oakland with the result that there are less vessel calls but more productivity as the Port handles more containers.

Improved productivity is partially the result of new investments such as increasing the height of some container cranes.

Productivity is also helped by less delays and congestion at terminal gates. Trucks making pick-ups and deliveries have an average wait time ranging from 60-80 minutes and not the 3 hours that afflicted the Port several years ago. Night time pick- ups and deliveries are even faster.

Zampa told AJOT that a number of initiatives are sparking improved growth and productivity at the Port of Oakland:

  • The Port set an all-time record for import cargo in July 2017, handling the equivalent of 84,835 loaded twenty-foot import containers. That was the most for a single month in its 90-year history, breaking the previous record of 84,023 containers set in March 2015.
  • Agricultural export tonnage has grown 233% in the last five years. The result has transformed the Port’s trade profile, making Oakland a leading gateway to Asia – especially for California growers.
  • The Port expects to open a 300,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center in 2018 for chilled and frozen beef, pork and poultry brought in by rail cars from Midwest meat producers. The new Cool Port Oakland will be able to ship 37,000 twenty-foot containers of product for export annually, Zampa said.
  • The Port anticipates a five-year run of record cargo volume beginning next year. By 2022, the Port expects to handle the equivalent of 2.6 million twenty-foot containers annually. It would be 8% more volume than the Port has ever processed in a single year.
  • American rice exports could enter China as soon as 2018 following approval of a trade agreement last month. It’s too soon to estimate how much Port business would increase but “a growing middle- class population in China and in Asia is driving demand for high quality food products grown in California and the United States,” Zampa said
  • The Port approved a high-voltage cable system with a 200-foot extension that will have the flexibility to connect more ships to Oakland’s landside power grid. Connecting ships to shore power grid has helped cut emissions 76% in Oakland since 2009.
  • The Port said it’s raising the heights of cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) in partnership with SSA Marine, the terminal operator at an estimated cost of $14 million.

A major Port of Oakland-based trucking operator plans to test battery-powered truck technology in September. GSC Logistics said today it will launch a three-year trial with a heavy-duty, all-electric truck. The test is part of a statewide effort to determine the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling.

Author Photo
Stas Margaronis
American Journal of Transportation
WEST COAST CORRESPONDENT

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