Port of Oakland Betting a Billion on Upgrades
If the port cargo business were a game of poker, then the Port of Oakland just moved all of their chips into the pot with the announcement of a bold, new $1.2 billion dollar expansion in hopes of upping their presence in the 21st Century global shipping economy. The Port of Oakland’s goal is to turn the abandoned 322-acre Oakland Army Base into an ultra-efficient port that links ships directly to new rail service while simultaneously reducing truck traffic and providing space for new warehouse facilities.
“No other port on the West Coast, or around the country, has the ability to offer support services and really good rail to serve both the warehouses and docks. That’s very unusual. That is our value proposition,” said Jean G. Banker, the port’s deputy executive director.
Demolition and site clearing has begun on what will become the Oakland Global Trade and Industry Center, the city’s largest development in decades. It is a two-phase project, and so far, only phase one is financed with $500 million in city, port, private, federal and state funds. An additional $700 million is expected to be raised for phase two construction at some point in the future.
In the 1960s, the Port of Oakland was a global leader, but now it handles one-sixth as many containers as pass through the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex. By comparison, the still relatively new Port of Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia saw their business grow 40 percent last year, while the enlarged Panama Canal will give eastbound Asia to U.S. containerships an expedited all-water route to East Coast ports.
In recent years, the Port of Oakland has had little room to grow and innovate, forcing it to rely on exports more than imports.
With a new plan to turn things around, the Port will boast some impressive features, including a doubling of current railroad track lengths and a considerably larger train storage yard near the docks (from 17 rail cars to 200 plus). Warehouse facilities will increase from the current seven to as many as 18 and their location right next to the rail tracks will streamline the transfer of cargo between ships, trains and trucks, resulting in quicker and more seamless sorting and distribution of goods to save shippers time and inland transportation costs. Furthermore, new cold storage facilities will support increased exports of produce, beef and poultry to China’s growing consumer population.
DSC Logistics Opening New Southern California Logistics Facility
DSC Logistics is opening a new logistics facility in Southern California that boasts Kraft Foods as its first customer. The state-of-the-art Food/CPG Retail Consolidation Logistics Center is under construction in Moreno Valley, CA and scheduled to open later this year. It features leading edge security, food safety, C-TPAT and system capabilities that will provide Kraft and other customers with warehousing, value-added services and transportation to retailers, according to DSC Logistics.
For its part, Kraft is in the midst of redesigning its supply chain, which includes a number of initiatives ranging from reducing SKUs and increasing direct plant-to-customer shipments.
Plug Power to Test Fuel Cells in TRUs
Plug Power Inc. has been awarded a $650,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate the use of hydrogen-based fuel cells to power the refrigeration units in semi-trailer trucks that transport perishable and frozen foods.
Plug Power was one of two companies selected by the Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the DOE’s Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to showcase its fuel cells in transport refrigeration units (TRUs). These units are large air conditioners that regulate cold temperatures for items such as frozen pizza, fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and other goods that must be kept chilled or frozen during transport from distribution centers to retail destinations.