The Port of Oakland’s Maritime Director John Driscoll has announced that improved infrastructure coupled with new supply chain capabilities may make Oakland the first port of call for container ships visiting the US from Asia.
Driscoll has forecasted that the port’s construction projects will lead to a boost in containerized cargo to Oakland for the beginning of 2018, with all-time highs in Oakland cargo volume annually through 2022.
In front of a gathering of 50 trade and transportation leaders, Driscoll said: “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.
He said that three international shipping lines are contemplating Oakland first calls due to recent port improvements.
The first port of call is where ships discharge most US imports.
Oakland import volume could increase if any of the shipping lines make the move.
Driscoll added: “The ocean carriers are looking favorably at Oakland.
“It’s a major discussion between them and their import customers.”
Driscoll listed the projects that 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.
- Truck 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.
This would be 8% more than the port has ever handled in a single year.