Improved infrastructure coupled with new supply chain capabilities should result in record cargo volume at the Port of Oakland. It could also make Oakland a first port of call for container ships visiting the United States from Asia. That’s the message a senior port official gave supply chain executives in an annual operating performance review earlier this month.
Maritime Director John Driscoll said construction projects currently underway would attract additional containerized cargo to Oakland beginning in 2018. He predicted all-time highs in Oakland cargo volume annually through 2022.
“I’m forecasting growth because of the development that’s going on here,” Driscoll told a gathering of 50 trade and transportation leaders. “It won’t be dramatic—it will be steady—but it will result in more cargo volume than we’ve ever had before.”
The maritime director said that three international shipping lines are contemplating Oakland first calls due to recent port improvements. That’s important since the first port of call is where ships discharge most U.S. imports. Oakland import volume could increase if any of the shipping lines makes the move.
“The ocean carriers are looking favorably at Oakland,” said Driscoll. “It’s a major discussion between them and their import customers.”
The maritime director noted the following projects 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. That would be 8 percent more than the port has ever handled in a single year.