Port of Oakland says goal unchanged though trade outlook hazy

Oakland, Calif. – Jan. 17, 2019: A Port of Oakland official said this week that his organization wants growth in 2019 so customers and communities can benefit.  Maritime Director John Driscoll acknowledged, however, that it’s too soon to know how freight markets will respond.

“The container shipping sector starts the year with uncertainty due to global trade conflicts,” Mr. Driscoll told 170 guests at Oakland’s annual State of the Port address yesterday.  “Nevertheless, the Port of Oakland remains committed to a growth strategy that provides efficient cargo movement for shippers, jobs for our neighbors and economic stimulus for Oakland.”

Mr. Driscoll pointed out that Oakland’s containerized cargo volume reached an all-time high of 2.55 million 20-foot containers in 2018.  It was the second consecutive year of record volume at the Port.  Volume in 2018 was 5.2 percent higher than the total in 2017.  Import volume increased 5 percent while exports declined 3.5 percent.  Oakland saw a 19.7 percent increase in the transport of empty containers being repositioned for future import use.

An ongoing U.S.-China trade war clouds the 2019 freight picture, Mr. Driscoll said.  Nevertheless, he added that the Port continues to aggressively implement a 5-year strategy called Growth with Care.  The strategy calls for growth across the Port of Oakland’s three business lines: Aviation, Commercial Real Estate and Maritime.  Mr. Driscoll pointed out that the strategy emphasizes growth that benefits stakeholders.

The Maritime Director said the Port made significant progress in implementing its year-old strategy during 2018.  The highlights included:

  • Opening Lineage Cool Port Oakland, a 280,000-square foot, temperature-controlled facility for shipping chilled or frozen cargo;
  • Preliminary work on a 460,000-square foot distribution center that would anchor a Seaport Logistics Complex; and
  • Completion of a project that doubled the size of Oakland’s TraPac marine terminal.

As the Port took steps to expand its business, it simultaneously addressed the impact on communities, Mr. Driscoll said.  He pointed to a jobs agreement that would ensure local hiring when the Seaport Logistics Complex opens in 2020.

Mr. Driscoll said new plans would soon be finalized to minimize the impact of containerized freight hauling in neighboring communities.  One would further curb exhaust emissions from diesel-powered equipment operating at the Port.  The other would manage truck traffic.

“We’ve worked closely with the community to make sure we properly manage growth at the Port,” Mr. Driscoll said.  “We’ve heard the concerns of our neighbors, and we’re working to address them.”

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s 5-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release reflect not historical facts but forecasts, projections, estimates and other “forward-looking statements.”  In this respect, the words “estimate,” “project,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “believe,” “forecast,” “assume” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.  Such forecasts, projections, estimates and other forward-looking statements are not intended as representations of fact or guarantees of results.  Any such forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those that have been forecasted, estimated or projected.  These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release.  The Port assumes no obligation to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any changes in the Port’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Media Contacts

Mike Zampa
Port of Oakland
Communications Director
(510) 627-1565
[email protected]

Marilyn Sandifur
Port of Oakland
Port Spokesperson
(510) 627-1193
[email protected]


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