The Port of Oakland opened a Sunday gate at one of its largest marine terminals to discharge additional import cargo, and started sending an operational status update daily to harbor truckers, ocean carriers and shippers to improve supply chain planning, in an ongoing effort to manage container ships arriving with unprecedented frequency in San Francisco Bay.
The added features are expected to improve cargo flow slowed by increased container volume and a multitude of delayed vessels arriving simultaneously. In the last three days alone, 13 ships called in Oakland; most well behind schedule. Maritime officials say the number of ships in the Bay outstrips anything seen in the past decade.
“We welcome increased cargo volume at Oakland and we’ve got to do a better job of managing the flow,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We’re working every day with the marine terminals, truck drivers and shippers to pick up the pace.”
Import cargo volume has increased at Oakland in each of the last three months compared to 2013 totals. The gains resulted from aggressive marketing as well as congestion at other ports which caused cargo diversions to Oakland.
The port has said it has the capacity to accept additional containers. But operations have been hampered by off-schedule ships and recent labor-management disputes on the docks. The result has been a slowdown in cargo movement and long lines of trucks waiting to enter terminals.
The port has responded with extended hours, night gates and dedicated lanes in terminals to expedite simple transactions. The daily status update will provide the latest information on vessel arrivals, terminal operations and truck queues outside terminal gates.
Cargo volume is expected to moderate soon now that the peak holiday shipping season has passed.