Port of Oakland, Public-Private Partnership

Thursday, March 05, 2009

O’Melveny & Myers LLP represented the Port of Oakland, the third busiest Port on the U.S. West Coast, in an inaugural bidding process for a long-term concession to operate, maintain and further develop a land water-side site comprising approximately 175 acres of its maritime operations area. The transaction is valued at nearly $700m and marks the first public-private partnership, or P3 arrangement, of its kind in the U.S. ports sector.

The successful bidder for the concession is Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC, a joint venture of Ports America Group and Terminal Investment Limited.  As concessionaire, it will have exclusive rights to operate the site for a term of 50 years and maximize the economic use of the area, starting in January 2010 when it will take possession of the site.  The concession of the property is expected to enhance maritime activity through cargo marine terminal throughput and related maritime support activities, and deliver long-term economic environmental and community benefits.

O’Melveny partners Eric Richards and Christine Tam, along with counsel Anita Sabine, with assistance from partner Kelly McTigue on environmental matters, led the representation, helping to develop and conduct the bidding process for one of the Port’s most significant maritime sites, including designing and implementing the entire auction process and negotiating transaction terms with five pre-qualified bidders, including the successful bidder, Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC.

“From its ground-breaking term of 50 years to the broad operating and development rights granted to the concessionaire, this transaction represents a new way of thinking about how public port owners can collaborate with private partners to accomplish new levels of mutually beneficial objectives,” said Richards.

 “We are doing what we believe will help provide economic viability for our Port in the future and will offer an excellent long-term business opportunity for Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC who will be leasing the property,” said Omar Benjamin, Port Executive Director.

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 20 miles of waterfront.  The Oakland seaport is the third busiest container port on the U.S. West Coast.  Oakland International Airport offers 150 nonstop flights to 26 destinations; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square, as well as hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas.  The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland.

RBC Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to the Port of Oakland in the transaction.

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