Key part of plan to move cargo after a marine terminal closes
Port of Oakland Commissioners have authorized spending up to $1.5 million to open night and weekend marine terminal gates at the Port. The funds would be used to increase access hours for harbor truck drivers at the terminals beginning February 13, 2016.
Added hours are central to plans for redistributing cargo when one of five Oakland marine terminals closes. Outer Harbor Terminals LLC, formerly known as Ports America Outer Harbor LLC, has filed for bankruptcy and said it is leaving the Port of Oakland. The terminal is expected to cease vessel operations March 31, 2016.
“Extending terminal gate hours is an important way to improve cargo flow through the Port,” said John Driscoll, the Port’s Maritime Director. “It’s also crucial as we make the transition from five to four active terminals.”
The governing Board of Port Commissioners approved the spending plan, called the Transition Assistance Program, on February 11, 2016. Port officials said the program will help smooth the transition when Outer Harbor Terminals LLC exits Oakland.
The Port has said it will redirect ships and cargo from Outer Harbor Terminal to adjacent terminals. Extended hours should get truckers through terminal gates faster and help the terminals absorb added volume, the Port added. Night and weekend gates will also aid harbor truckers by allowing them to avoid peak weekday hours at terminals for certain transactions. Thousands of drivers enter the Port weekly to pick up or drop off containers.
The Port said its program will provide funding to eligible terminal operators for up to 12 weeks. To be eligible, operators must meet criteria that include:
- Signing a formal agreement to extend gate hours;
- Providing an operating plan for extended-hour gates; and
- Getting harbor truckers in-and-out of terminals within 75 minutes to ensure smooth cargo flow.
The Port said it will reimburse terminal operators up to 50 percent of the cost of operating extended-hour gates. It added that it will cap the reimbursement at $10,000 for each gate shift. The Port said it will provide reimbursement for up to five extended-hour shifts per week during the 12-week program.
Truckers, or the cargo owners they drive for, won’t be charged for extended-hour gates, the Port said.
Most Oakland terminals open their gates to truck driver’s between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Weekends are usually restricted to vessel and container yard operations.