Port of Oakland will keep cargo moving after a terminal closes

Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2016

Port of Oakland will keep cargo moving after a terminal closes

Ports America Outer Harbor ending lease, vessels to call at neighbor terminals

Oakland, CA – January 19, 2016: Port of Oakland officials promised to keep cargo moving efficiently after Ports America Outer Harbor terminal announced today it will close in March. The Port said vessels will be rerouted to adjacent terminals after the shutdown occurs.   Port representatives assured shipping lines and cargo owners that planning is already underway to blunt the shutdown’s impact.

“We’re disappointed that Ports America is leaving,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But we’re in advanced discussions with our maritime partners here to prevent disruption to the Oakland business.”

Ports America Outer Harbor said today 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 said it expects Ports America to meet all of its lease obligations until the two sides agree on an orderly transition of the property. The Port 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.

The Port said the departure of Ports America provides two significant opportunities:

  • Ships and cargo can be redirected to Oakland’s other marine terminals which have excess capacity; and
  • The Port can find new, better uses for Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal

Options for the land could include uses unrelated to containerized cargo operations, the Port said. That would be new for Oakland, which has been home exclusively to container ships since the 1960s.

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. The terminals load and unload containerized cargo transported by the vessels. More than 2 million containers move annually through the Port.

Port officials said their priority is minimizing 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. For example:

  • Oakland International Container Terminal has opened Saturday and occasional weeknight gates for two months. The extra hours enable harbor truckers to pick-up or drop-off cargo outside peak hours
  • A port-wide Saturday-gate program is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016.

“We know we have the terminal capacity to redirect cargo,” said Mr. Driscoll. “Our priority is ensuring that the terminals ramp up to move cargo in a timely manner.”

About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. 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.


Robert Bernardo,
Communications Manager
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1401

Marilyn Sandifur,
Port Spokesperson
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1193

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