June 6, 2016

Port of Oakland to continue nighttime operations with help of new box fee

$30 levy per loaded box to fund labor costs for expanded night services.

By DC Velocity Staff

The Port of Oakland's largest marine terminal will levy a $30 fee per movement of all loaded containers to fund the continuation of night operations at the terminal after a $1.5 million port subsidy expires later this month, the port said today.

The fee imposed by the Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) will be the same across all types of equipment, the port said in a statement. It will be earmarked to cover higher labor costs associated with maintaining nighttime operations from Monday to Thursday, the port said. The fees will apply to containers moving during the day as well as at night, according to the port.

The funding will allow the terminal to now offer full nighttime services, the port added. This means harbor truckers will, for the first time, be able to drive away with loaded import containers at night. Import pickups, considered the most time-consuming and labor-intensive terminal activity, had previously been restricted to dayside operations. The terminal opened its gates at night starting two months ago. Since then, about 900 transactions per day at OICT have migrated from weekday to weeknight gates, according to port data. In addition, 300 daily import transactions are drayed at night from OICT to an off-dock terminal, where they can be immediately picked up, the port said.

The decision to continue nighttime operations means thousands of harbor truckers can continue moving Oakland cargo outside the busier daytime hours, according to John Driscoll, the port's maritime director. "It's imperative that we continue with extended hours to expand the workday and improve cargo flow," he said.

Expanded night operations may eventually eliminate the need for harbor truckers to impose surcharges on cargo owners for terminal wait times, especially if the utilization of night gates continues to expedite overall operations, the port said. "No one likes fees," said Driscoll. "But we think there's tremendous value in easing daytime crowding and in offering full service at night when drivers can get in and out of (the) port quickly."

Oakland, the nation's fifth-busiest containerport, is one of the few U.S. ports whose terminals handle more containerized export traffic than imports. So far this year, 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) export containers have been shipped for export, while 277,000 import TEU boxes have been received, according to port data.

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