The Port of Oakland announced plans yesterday to move about 30 percent of its containerized cargo that could be affected once Outer Harbor Terminals LLC closes March 31 following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by its terminal operator.
The Port said that its "continuity plan" calls for ships that use Outer Harbor Terminal to relocate to berths at adjacent terminals in Oakland. It said those terminals would add labor when and where it is necessary, and would keep gates open nights and weekends to accommodate additional cargo.
Under the plan, most ships and cargo using Outer Harbor Terminal will relocate to Oakland International Container Terminal in the port's Middle Harbor. The rest will go to another terminal in Outer Harbor, called TraPac. Shipping lines are finalizing agreements with the terminals now to move their cargo, the port said.
The two terminals will lease additional acreage from the Port to accommodate increased container volume. TraPac is finalizing negotiations with the Port to lease two additional vessel berths at Outer Harbor Terminal, the port said.
The Port will provide $1.5 million to help participating terminals open up night and weekend gates. Customers won't be assessed fees for extended gate hours. Terminals must agree to get drivers in and out of the facilities within 75 minutes, the port said.
Each night, Oakland International Container Terminal will transport an undetermined number of import containers out of its facility, the port said. The boxes will be available at a nearby location for immediate pick-up by truckers, the port said. By Feb. 23, a container depot will open in the state's Central Valley agricultural heartland to allow cargo owners to pick up or drop off containers without making long drives to the Port.
Chris Lytle, the Port's executive director, said in a statement that the plan is designed to allow all Oakland-bound ships to berth, to beef up cargo-handling processes, and to meet the needs of its exporters. Exports account for about half of Oakland's traffic.
A key to the entire plan is ensuring the weekend and evening gates are operating at peak efficiency, Lytle said. "The terminals can't move all of this additional cargo between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.," he said. "We need a smooth, seamless transition from Outer Harbor Terminal, and weekend and night gates will make a huge difference."