The Port of Oakland ...

Providing tremendous economic impact, making huge investments in infrastructure and sustainable initiatives the Port of Oakland is clearly on the right track to a future that is clean and bright.

Within the beautiful state of California resides a huge economic landmark, The Port of Oakland. This port truly exemplifies a unique combination of public/private endeavors. It encompasses a world-class container port, a thriving airport, an array of retail and commercial buildings and acres of recreational and open space. The Port of Oakland, through its policies and its tenants' activities, supports approximately 50,000 jobs in the Northern California mega region and impacts about 827,000 jobs nationwide. These amazing attributes definitely make this port an extremely vital aspect of California’s thriving business centers.
Governed by a Board of Port Commissioners, nominated by the mayor of Oakland and appointed by a vote of the City Council, the Port of Oakland occupies an important place in the local and regional economy. The Port employs 465 dedicated and skilled professionals and generates thousands more jobs for local residents and businesses. Considering these great features, The Port of Oakland is most-definitely helping bring more business to California’s flush landscapes.
Even when considering the extreme benefits The Port of Oakland has to offer, the port still funds its own operations. To put this concept into perspective, the port receives no tax money from the city, and instead supports businesses that provide millions in tax revenue to the City of Oakland and the State of California. This tax-saving strategy has amassed a great public outlook with regard to this port, and thus it is easy to see why.
Cargo efficiency Speed-Up!
Although The Port of Oakland has strived to save California’s population some dollars, it has to be efficient with regards to its business endeavors. Because of this, it has created a task force to help it become more efficient and get cargo moving more quickly.
The task force, made up of a group of shipping lines, marine terminal operators, cargo owners, harbor truckers and dockworkers at the port, has joined together to help put an end to vessel backlogs forcing some ships to temporarily anchor in San Francisco Bay, instead of berthing.
It eagerly strives to ensure that enough dockworkers, marine clerks and equipment are available to efficiently manage high volumes of containerized cargo and to extend hours and create an appointment system to help harbor truckers get cargo in and out of Oakland quickly. Within these procedures, the port is truly operating a winning strategy.
Meanwhile, the port said it’s ready to act on efficiency priorities. “What we needed was the collaborative ideas of our stakeholders,” said executive director, Chris Lytle. “Now we’ve got them and we’re eager to get going.”
Port officials told the task force that a two-month old labor shortage is already being addressed in Oakland. About 150 dockworkers and 30 marine clerks are joining the workforce over the next two months.
Next on the port’s list of initiatives are extended terminal hours. A proposal for permanent Saturday operations is under review with the Federal Maritime Commission. The plan would lengthen the work-week to six days in Oakland, easing congestion during peak weekday periods. This forward-thinking strategy should help maximize the port’s potential, and is a huge reason The Port of Oakland has seen such great success.
To top it off, Oakland is also finalizing plans with equipment providers to ensure any chassis can be used by any trucker, creating a common pool of equipment by the autumn. The benefit to which will be that containers won’t be stranded while motor carriers await chassis.
‘Green’ Logistics Hub
Environmental aspects are something The Port of Oakland is definitely not skimping on. The port is joint-financing a US$25m project to link the state’s decommissioned army base to the national rail network to create a future global logistics hub.
The project, which is part of a bigger US$100m port effort to significantly expand Oakland’s rail capacity, is expected to place the port in a better position to receive bulk rail shipments at the former army base from Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF railroads.
“Connecting the Oakland Army Base to the national rail network is a milestone for us,” said Chris Chan, engineering director. “To be successful, we must have good rail access.”
A 7,400ft load track and the reconfiguration of adjacent tracks is due to be completed by October, while the Trans-Pacific supply chains at the 360 acre former army base will be changed to include warehousing, trans-load facilities and a dry bulk cargo terminal.
The port says the project could change the way exports are moved since bulk shipments of commodities like Midwest grain and beef could be delivered to Oakland by rail, trans-loaded into containers at the port, and then exported via Asia-bound container vessels. In addition, bulk shipments of other commodities could also travel to Oakland by rail, loaded onto bulk vessels at a new dry bulk shipping terminal and then exported to Asia.
Huge Steps in Cleaner Diesel Technology
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Port of Oakland US$277,885 to upgrade cargo-handling equipment and reduce exhaust emissions on the waterfront. This is another forward-thinking implement brought on by this magnificent port.
These funds will be used at TraPac marine terminal, one of five terminals operating in Oakland, which will use the funds to upgrade four rubber-tired gantry cranes and a top-pick. They will be re-engineered with clean diesel engines or exhaust filters.
“These reductions represent another great step towards our progress in meeting the Port’s goal of reducing health risk related to diesel particulate matter emissions by 85%,” said Richard Sinkoff, director of environmental programs and planning at the port.
Apparently, these retrofits and upgrades will result in significant emissions reductions for the terminal including a 94% reduction in carbon monoxide, 92% reduction in oxides of nitrogen, 44% reduction in diesel particulate matter and 41% reduction in hydrocarbons. The port did say it has contacted all four terminal operating companies in Oakland about pursuing the environmental grant. Several expressed interest, but ultimately TraPac stepped forward. Because of these noble additions, The Port of Oakland is easily doing its necessary part to invest in our beloved planet.
Although these types of additions typically take great amounts of time to complete, this upgrade project is scheduled to be completed by December 2016.
Considering that the upgrade of its cargo handling equipment fits in with the Port of Oakland’s green strategy quite well, as well as the task force the port has created to help it become more efficient and get cargo moving more quickly, this landmark port should easily solidify its place in California’s economic history.
Taking into account the great forward-thinking minds that have placed these changes into effect, they should easily achieve their purpose in helping put an end to vessel backlogs forcing some ships to temporarily anchor in San Francisco Bay, instead of berthing. With any luck, The Port of Oakland should be able to continue on its journey of enhancing the economic and business ventures of the great state of California. In that, we have great faith.

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