Will Oakland Become Largest West Coast Transport Center for Dirty Coal?

As the Contra Costa Times reported this past November, Oakland is on the precipice of “becoming the largest coal exporter on the West Coast.” And Oakland officials have spent months reviewing “thousands of documents to determine whether they can legally oppose coal shipments from a city-owned bulk commodities terminal being constructed on the old Oakland Army Base.”

One exceedingly important issue is whether city officials, who appear to be remarkably united in their opposition, has the authority to block the plans of Phil Tagami, a prominent Oakland developer who is a longtime friend, political ally and financial supporter of Governor Brown.

“Tagami, a former port commissioner with deep personal and business ties to Gov. Jerry Brown, won the contract to oversee the city’s portion of the Army Base redevelopment to transform about 160 acres adjacent to the Port of Oakland into a $500 million logistics center with new shipping terminals and warehouses,” the Contra Costa Times reported.

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Source: www.truth-out.org

Port of Oakland cargo operations snarled by labor-management dispute

A labor dispute linked to a group of dismissed dock workers disrupted cargo handing at the Port of Oakland on Monday, and completely halted operations at one of the terminals at the East Bay cargo hub, port officials said.

The disruption caused trucks drivers picking up or dropping off containers to become stuck in long lines of vehicles.

Officials with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, the principal representative of rank-and-file workers at the Oakland port, said the work stoppage was connected with the firing of 22 dock employees at the port.

“The ILWU called in an arbitrator, who ruled that the company acted improperly by dismissing 22 workers,” said Craig Merrilees, an ILWU spokesman. “The workers were made whole” under the ruling.

The 22 workers were dismissed for the day, but the arbitrator determined that they could return to the job Tuesday and be paid for Monday’s hours.

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Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Federal Committee says Ports Need On-demand Trucking Systems

A federal advisory committee says U.S. ports could increase efficiency by implementing on-demand trucking systems, improving chassis supply and decreasing truck turn times.

This month, the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness presented ways to cut congestion at seaports and connecting inland infrastructure to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Formed in 2011, up to 45 private sector stakeholders and additional ex officio federal agency representatives serve on the committee.

The ACSCC advocated an on-demand system that would let truckers pull containers off stacks on a first-available basis for delivery, instead of waiting for a designated container. This plan would not preclude the need for shippers to pull individual containers based on priority.

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Source: www.CCJ.com

Bay Area welcomes Benjamin Franklin back to Port of Oakland

Maritime enthusiasts welcomed the megaship Benjamin Franklin back to the Port of Oakland this morning. The 1,310-foot-long container vessel berthed in Middle Harbor as spectators snapped photos from an adjacent park.
It was the second call here this year for the largest ship ever to visit the U.S. Dockworkers immediately began the process of loading and unloading containers from the Franklin. The ship is scheduled to depart for Seattle Friday.

“She arrived on schedule and crews went right to work,” said Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s another chance to show that the Port of Oakland is ready and able to handle ultra-large container vessels.

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Source: American Journal of Transportation

Port of Oakland Prepares for Terminal Closure

The Port of Oakland will likely spend at least $1.5 million redirecting shipping containers to other terminals after its second-largest terminal operator abruptly announced it was ceasing operations last month and filed for bankruptcy protection, port officials said today.

The port is asking its governing board to approve a $1.5 million transition assistance program that would go to participating terminals keeping night and weekend hours to accommodate the increased volume once the Outer Harbor terminal closes.

The operator of an adjacent terminal, TraPac, is in the final stages of taking over two berths at Outer Harbor that would also help take on the burden of global terminal operator Ports America’s sudden departure, according to the port. While it will take Ports America until late in March to complete its wind-down of operations in Oakland, according to court filings the terminal will cease loading and unloading containers by Feb. 19.

The transition comes after Ports America announced on Jan. 19 that it was halting its operations in Oakland to focus on other West Coast ports.

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Source: www.Patch.com


Oakland seeks 45-minute truck turns

A Port of Oakland efficiency task force pledged this week to work toward consistent truck wait times at container terminals of no more than 45 minutes for a single transaction and 90 minutes for a dual transaction, compared to wait times of two hours or longer that some truckers say they regularly experience.

“If we’re going to be the best port on the West Coast of the U.S., let’s shoot for this target,” said Scott Taylor, head of the task force’s metrics subcommittee and CEO of GSC Logistics.

Northern California truckers have complained of lengthy wait times at container terminals even before all West Coast ports experienced severe congestion resulting from the 2014-15 contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

Port congestion related to the labor disruptions ended last summer, but drivers complained to the efficiency task force that wait times of two hours or longer continued to occur. The port authority established the efficiency task force to address truck turn times and other issues compromising port productivity.

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Source: Journal of Commerce 

West Coast Mayors’ Coal-Port Fight Threatens Inland Economies

West Coast mayors’ efforts to block fossil-fuel shipping terminals in the name of environmentalism threaten jobs and budgets in far-away coal-producing states such as Utah and Wyoming.

The City Council in Oakland, California, wants to prevent coal from being ferried through a planned $250 million terminal that Utah may subsidize. Portland, Oregon, is drafting rules to bar new fossil-fuel infrastructure. Cities in that state and Washington have passed resolutions opposing mineral shipments, arguing that carcinogenic coal dust will harm residents and that burning the fuel overseas will contribute to climate change.

The coordinated effort is a new tactic in the battle over global warming and comes on the heels of the Paris accord that committed the U.S. and other nations to lower emissions from carbon-based fuels. It pits liberal urban enclaves against resource-dependent Republican-leaning states ready to finance shipping terminals hundreds of miles away to sustain ailing industries and workers at home.


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Source: www.bloomberg.com

Port of Oakland steams ahead after terminal operator announces exit

The Port of Oakland revealed Thursday that it is in advanced negotiations with container cargo operator TraPac for a terminal, and has found new berths to handle nearly all the cargo that will be displaced by the departure of one of its terminal companies.

 The disclosures came during a luncheon presentation by the executive director of the Port of Oakland as part of a “State of the Port” address.
“We do have a new challenge,” J. Christopher Lytle, executive director of the Port of Oakland, said during his speech Thursday on the Oakland waterfront to the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and Women in Logistics.
That challenge was this week’s announcement that Outer Harbor Terminal, a joint venture of Ports America and Terminal Investment, had decided it would cease operations at the Port of Oakland. The operator occupied one of five terminals at the port.
Source: Contra Coast Times


Ports America, joint venture partner end Oakland lease to focus on other terminals

Ports America and its joint venture partner announced Tuesday it will terminate in March its 50-year lease for the Outer Harbor Terminal in Oakland as the company concentrates its investments in other U.S. container ports to prepare for today’s mega-ships operated by powerful carrier alliances, according to Peter Ford, chief strategy officer.

This scenario of focusing on a limited number of gateways best-suited for mega-ships is playing out on both coasts of North America. On the West Coast, the arrival in December of the first vessel with a capacity of 18,000 20-foot container units is the driver of consolidation. On the East Coast, the mega-ships that will transit the Panama Canal when the third set of locks is completed this year will determine which ports are the gateways.

The Port of Oakland said cargo will continue to flow smoothly as vessels are re-routed to other terminals that have excess capacity and can handle the new business. The port is also considering “new, better uses for Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal,” including possibly repurposing the 166-acre terminal for non-container cargo.

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Source: www.joc.com

Small Team of Divers Helps Keep Port of Oakland Running Smoothly

In 2015, more than 2 million cargo containers moved through the Port of Oakland. After those containers are offloaded from cargo ships, they are stacked onto large decks until they can be loaded onto trucks, trains or ships and shipped out.

Those decks are essentially massive piers, built over water on thousands of vertical concrete supports called piles. These piles — approximately 28,000 of them — are the critical unseen system that supports all cargo activities at the port.

This critical pile system is managed and maintained by a small team of four divers, who spend most of their time inspecting and repairing them.


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Source: www.kqed.org