Port of Oakland in Talks to Return to Its Bulk Shipping Roots

Container portSource: Pxhere under Creative Commons CC0

California’s Port of Oakland could soon see the return of bulk shipping operations at the site for the first time in 20 years.

The port has entered into negotiations with Vancouver-based Eagle Rock Aggregates, building materials shipper, to transport sand and gravel from British Columbia to Oakland.

The firm seeks a vessel berth along with 20 acres of adjacent land at the port’s Outer Harbor Terminal.

Eagle Rock is looking to secure a 15-year lease for one berth on Outer Harbor, which would be used as a base for distributing sand and gravel for Bay Area construction sites.

Oakland, one of the busiest container seaports in the U.S., handled the equivalent of 2.5 million 20-foot containers last year. However, if agreed, the bulk shipping contract would not hamper container operations as the port does not envision using the property for container handling until 2035.

Nearly 1,300 acres are devoted to containerized cargo, while the 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.”

Oakland abandoned bulk in 1999 by adopting Vision 2000, a totally containerized cargo strategy.

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