Port of Oakland Forecasts Steady Growth

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Containerised cargo volume moving through Oakland is expected to increase 2 percent annually for the next five years. The catalyst for growth: a nearly USD 700 million injection of capital from outside investors. That’s the message Port of Oakland officials delivered to trade and transportation leaders here this week.

“This is good, measured growth that’s not debilitating for our community or our operations,” Executive Director Chris Lytle told a meeting of the Port’s 55-member Efficiency Task Force. “A big shout out to those who have stepped up to make the investments that will drive our growth – they’re showing faith in Oakland’s future.”

The Port boss said that investment in facilities and infrastructure is boosting Oakland’s global trade status.  Projects range from a new logistics campus to an online information gateway for cargo owners.  Lytle said that many of the projects would come online by summer, including:

  • Substantial completion of TraPac marine terminal’s USD 60 million expansion to double the size of its Oakland footprint;
  • Completion of a USD 15 million project to heighten four ship-to-shore cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal;
  • Groundbreaking for a USD 52 million Seaport Logistics Complex by CenterPoint Properties;
  • Opening of a USD 90 million Cool Port Oakland refrigerated distribution center by Lineage Logistics and Dreisbach Enterprises;
  • Launch of a USD 40,000 web-based portal by Advent Intermodal Solutions for shippers to track containers or manage cargo pick-up.

Still on the drawing board: a USD 500 million upgrade at Seventh Street, one of the Port’s principal entryways.  That project would include separating rail lines from roads.  It would also introduce new technology to help freight haulers navigate the Port. Alameda County’s Transportation Commission is seeking government grants to finance the work, Lytle said.

“How do you make traffic flow at the Port?” Lytle asked.  “How do you eliminate congestion points? We couldn’t do it without the support of the County Transportation Commission.”

Port Maritime Director John Driscoll predicted that new development would increase cargo volume on Oakland docks. Cool Port alone could account for more than 50,000 20-foot containers of cargo annually, he said.

“We applaud the vision of those who are investing in Oakland,” said Mr. Driscoll.  “The payoff will be more business for the Port and more jobs and economic stimulus for the city.”

Sea News, April 3