Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Port Has a Busy Christmas with New Cranes and an Updated Labour Agreement

Giant Units Imported to Enable Handling of Biggest Container Carriers
Shipping News Feature

US – It seems Christmas was a busy time for some, certainly at the Port of Oakland which has been buzzing as the vessel carrying three eagerly awaited new Chinese built cranes from ZPMC manoeuvred in from Drakes Bay off the coast of Northern California into the waters off the port, booms lowered to enable passage under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The cranes will remain offshore until the port is ready to receive them in a few days. These will be the tallest ever dock cranes at Oakland, and rank among the largest in the US. Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) is investing around $30 million in the three giant cranes for its Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT). SSA Containers President Edward DeNike commented:

“Taller cranes are needed for efficiently handling cargo that arrives on ultra-large container ships. This new infrastructure is a commitment to the Port that we will continue our maritime business at Oakland well into the future.”

The new units will replace three older cranes from the ten already installed at the terminal and, soaring to an overall height of 400 feet, have the operational capability of lifting to 174 feet above the dock and 225 feet across a vessel's deck. Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said:

“These cranes will keep the Port of Oakland competitive so that we can continue to attract the largest vessels calling at North America. Ultimately, bigger cranes at our waterfront translate into maritime and related jobs for the region.”

And jobs have been very much in mind in Oakland as the effects of the pandemic continue to blight every industry. Just last week the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners extended the Port's landmark project labour agreement (PLA) that increases East Bay hiring on Port-related capital projects.

The five-year contract will continue to increase local hiring on the port’s construction projects, increasing the number of disadvantaged workers entering the trades and boost earnings for local workers. The Port says its PLA contributes greatly to the East Bay economy, since 2016, local workers earned over $19 million, and Port of Oakland Director of Social Responsibility Amy Tharpe observed:

"Our agreement specifically addresses the need to increase participation of local, minority and disadvantaged workers. It also strengthens key partnerships within industry and labour so that we can prepare our workforce for a post-pandemic construction environment.”

Key outcomes of the Port’s 2016 project labour agreement so far include 2,336 local residents entered into Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County apprenticeship programmes, 63 new union apprentices have worked more than 27,000 hours with 21% of those hours completed by local, disadvantaged workers and over $230,000 was put into local community-based organisations to fund workforce development programmes.

Photo: The three cranes tower over the ship’s deck.