Port of Oakland sets plan to shift cargo when terminal closes; ships move to neighbor berths; Saturday and night gates to help cargo flow
The Port of Oakland has set its plan to move containerized cargo once a marine terminal closes March 31. The Port said today its Continuity Plan will keep trade flowing and prevent vessel diversions to other ports.
The plan addresses the impending shutdown of Outer Harbor Terminals LLC, formerly known as Ports America Outer Harbor Terminals LLC. The terminal operator has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it will leave Oakland.
The Port said its Continuity Plan calls for ships that use Outer Harbor Terminal to relocate to berths at adjacent terminals in Oakland. It said terminals will add labor where necessary and open gates nights and weekends to accommodate additional cargo. The Port will ask its governing Board to approve a $1.5 million Transition Assistance Program for participating terminals.
“We have three objectives with this plan,” said Chris Lytle, the Port’s Executive Director. “We will find a home for all ships that come to Oakland, we will improve cargo-handling processes to move cargo efficiently, and we’ll meet the needs of shippers in Oakland.”
Most ships and cargo from Outer Harbor Terminal will relocate to Oakland International Container Terminal in the Port’s Middle Harbor. The rest go to another terminal in Outer Harbor - TraPac. Shipping lines are finalizing agreements with the terminals now to move their cargo.
The two terminals will lease additional acreage from the Port to accommodate increased container volume. TraPac is finalizing negotiations with the Port to lease two additional vessel berths at Outer Harbor Terminal.
The Port plans to provide up to $1.5 million to help participating terminals open night and weekend gates. Extra gate hours are expected to ease peak hour build-up of trucks picking up or dropping off cargo. Terminals must agree to get drivers in and out of the facilities within 75 minutes. A Bluetooth monitoring system will measure how long drivers spend at terminals. The Port said customers won’t be assessed fees for extended gate hours. Oakland International Container Terminal – the Port’s largest – has confirmed it will add extra gate hours. The Port said other terminals will follow suit if demand warrants.
Oakland International Container Terminal will transport a number of import containers out of its facility every night. They’ll be available at a nearby location for immediate pick-up by truckers.
A Central Valley container depot will open within two weeks for Oakland International Container Terminal cargo. It’ll enable cargo owners – including Valley growers – to pick up or drop off containers without long drives to the Port.
The Port said that night and weekend gates will be critical to the success of the program. “The terminals can’t move all of this additional cargo between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” Lytle said. “We need a smooth, seamless transition from Outer Harbor Terminal and weekend and night gates will make a huge difference.”