Port of Oakland may restore its bulk shipping operations

Oakland abandoned bulk in 1999 by adopting Vision 2000, a totally containerized cargo strategy. Now it could be going back to its roots, albeit on a small scale.

By ·

Bulk shipping operations could soon return to the for the first time in 20 years. The port recently announced that it’s negotiating with a Canadian building materials shipper to transport sand and gravel here. 

The port’s governing Board has authorized talks with Vancouver-based .  The firm seeks a vessel berth along with 20 acres of adjacent land at the port’s Outer Harbor Terminal. 

Eagle Rock would use the property as a base for distributing sand and gravel for Bay Area construction sites.  The firm said it wants a 15-year lease for one berth on Outer Harbor.  Eagle Rock would ship sand and gravel from British Columbia to produce concrete for Bay Area builders.

Oakland is one of the busiest container seaports in the U.S.  It handled the equivalent of 2.5 million 20-foot containers last year.  But the port said a deal for bulk shipping wouldn’t hamper container operations. It explained that it doesn’t envision using the property for container handling until 2035.  

The port has nearly 1,300 acres devoted to containerized cargo.  Outer Harbor Terminal is currently used for container-related activities as well as berthing for vessels in lay-up for extended periods.

“This is an opportunity for us to perhaps diversify our business,” said John Driscoll, the Port’s Maritime Director. “We’ve built the Port of Oakland to be a global gateway for containerized cargo but a steady, divergent revenue stream could be beneficial.”

A deal to transport bulk cargo through Oakland would mark a new twist in the port’s 92-year history.  The port began life in 1927 handling bulk commodities loaded directly into the hold of ships.  Oakland revolutionized shipping in 1962 when it introduced containerized cargo to the West Coast.  With containerization, freight is first stuffed into 20 or 40-foot steel containers before loading to a vessel.

Oakland abandoned bulk in 1999 by adopting Vision 2000, a totally containerized cargo strategy. Now it could be going back to its roots, albeit on a small scale.

Asked if the port expected any resistance the plan by community and environmental groups, the port not that the product is clean – watered down rock that won’t create dust and the operation will continually sweep/water to ensure no pollution.  

“This is only entering the negotiation phase so the port and potential tenant will have ample time to address environmental concerns,” said communication’s director, Mike Zampa. 


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [ protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.


Latest Whitepaper
Is It Time For a New Network Strategy?
A successful supply chain network design gives companies a competitive advantage, pinpoints ways to significantly reduce costs, improves service levels, reduces overall cycle times, streamlines all processes and systems used, and more.
Download Today!
From the May 2019 Logistics Management Magazine
May is our Technology Issue, and we’ve devoted the majority of our pages this month to the evolution of the technology toolbox that’s now within our grasp.
The Digital Supply Chain Takes Shape
Top 30 U.S. Ports 2019: Trade tensions determine where cargo goes next
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Technology Roundtable: Are you ready for what’s next?
In this webcast LM's group editorial director Michael Levans gathers four top supply chain management technology analysts to discuss how some of the hottest software and technologies is helping logistics and supply chain management professionals streamline their operations to meet the pressing demands of digital commerce and manage through the tightest labor market in a generation.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
35th Annual Salary Survey: Compensation matters more than ever
While job satisfaction remains the primary reason for today’s logistics managers to stay with one...
2019 Rate Outlook: Pressure Builds
In 2019, the world economy will enter a third straight year of broad-based growth, but many...

2019 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Market Update: Keeping pace with the times
The transportation management systems market is growing right along with the number of challenges...
The Logistics News that Shaped 2018
Every year at this time, group news editor Jeff Berman combs through the mountain of news that was...