Thursday, January 21, 2016

Container Terminal to Close but Freight Throughput Will Continue says Port

End of the Line in March for California Cargo Facility
Shipping News Feature
US – Port officials are confident they can to keep cargo moving efficiently after Ports America Outer Harbor container terminal announced this week it will close in March. The Port of Oakland said vessels will be rerouted to adjacent cargo terminals after the shutdown occurs. Port representatives assured shipping lines and cargo owners that planning is already underway to blunt the shutdown’s impact. Outer Harbor is one of five marine terminals leased to private operators by the Port of Oakland. More than 2,000 ships, most from Asia, berth at the terminals each year and more than 2 million containers move annually through the Port and this terminal handles freight for a wide range of shipping lines including Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, K Line, Cosco etc.

Ports America Outer Harbor has said it intends to terminate its 50-year lease in Oakland for business reasons. It said it will continue with business as usual for 30 days, then cease vessel and cargo-handling operations. The company said it will close down the terminal in 60 days. The Port of Oakland said it expects Ports America to meet all of its lease obligations until the two sides agree on an orderly transition of the property and added that it has engaged in prolonged discussions with Ports America about the operator’s future in Oakland. It said the decision to terminate the lease was made unilaterally by Ports America.

Port officials said their priority is minimising customer impact and maintaining Oakland’s cargo volume. There is ample capacity to absorb Outer Harbor’s volume at other Oakland terminals, the Port said. It added that terminal operators are preparing for the cargo migration. Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said:

“We’re disappointed that Ports America is leaving, but we’re in advanced discussions with our maritime partners here to prevent disruption to the Oakland business. We know we have the terminal capacity to redirect cargo, our priority is ensuring that the terminals ramp up to move cargo in a timely manner.”

Ports America, the largest single stevedore and terminal operator in the US explained the closure saying it was ‘currently focusing its business strategies on increasing its West Coast presence through additional investments and expansion of services into new terminals. Areas of concentration include Los Angeles, Long Beach, the Pacific Northwest and western Canada’. The company statement can be read here.