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Message from the Executive Director

Chris Lytle
Executive Director, Port of Oakland

We view the next five years at the Port of Oakland with excitement. Our home market—Northern California — is robust. Our business lines — Aviation, Commercial Real Estate and Maritime — are thriving. Our outlook is for steady gains into the next decade.

In other words, our time is now. The Port of Oakland anticipates a period of commercial success perhaps unrivaled in its 90-year history. Along the way, records should fall. We expect to handle more containerized cargo than ever at our seaport. Our airport will reach all-time highs for domestic and international travel. The number of visitors to our Jack London Square will increase beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

This fits into our strategy: growth that’s sustainable and responsible. We want to increase our volume of business. It will lead to more jobs, more economic stimulus, more opportunity for Oakland and the East Bay. But here’s the corollary to that strategy: We must grow with care.

The Port of Oakland is more than a collection of businesses. It’s the symbol of a city. Our great cranes are emblazoned on T-shirts, murals, coffee mugs.... even the Mayor’s earrings. We’re the big, bustling neighbor right across the fence.

With that role comes responsibility. It requires us to conduct ourselves in the public interest for the public good. We can grow, but we want our neighbors to grow with us with a minimum of negative impacts.

So how will we maximize benefits and minimize impacts? Here’s how:

Economic stimulus: For nearly a century, the Port of Oakland has strengthened the Bay Area economy. We bring more than $64 billion annually in trade through our seaport. Thirteen million passengers a year fly through our Airport. Another 3 million visit our Jack London Square. Countless businesses depend on this activity to support their livelihoods. We’re investing in our businesses to keep theirs thriving.

Jobs: More than 73,000 Bay Area jobs are traced to the Port of Oakland. As our business grows, so will employment. One example: It’s estimated that for every 1,000 additional containers of cargo brought to Oakland, eight jobs are created.

Air quality: Ships, trucks, trains and planes...we’ve got them all at the Port of Oakland. What do they have in common? Among other things, most ships, trucks and trains use diesel engines. That’s an ongoing concern for our neighbors. What are we doing about it? We continue to implement our Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan. It has cut diesel emissions from trucks by 98 percent, from vessels by nearly 80 percent in the last decade. We’ll keep testing new technology—such as battery-powered trucks—to further reduce emissions. We’ll improve efficiency to cut down on queues of trucks with idling engines. The shipping industry will help by consolidating cargo on fewer, larger vessels and reducing the number of visits they make. Airport operations will help by shifting to electric ground equipment.

Local hiring: We’re a highly visible operation active both day and night. If we’re asking neighbors to accept that, it’s only fair that they get something in return. Right? That’s what we think, anyway. So we must demonstrate leadership in generating good, well-paid jobs and in connecting disadvantaged communities with those jobs. Therefore, we’ll continue to introduce policies ensuring that local residents get a fair share of our work. We’ll target those policies to provide a leg up for our community.

Workforce development: The Port will continue to promote programs that train local job candidates for careers in transportation, logistics or the building trades. We’ll provide internships and work with agencies that offer skills training. We’ll also ensure that contractors on capital improvement projects reach out to apprentices for work opportunities.

Small businesses: The Port annually spends tens of millions of dollars on capital improvements. Our policies will continue to ensure that small, local businesses have every opportunity to share in that work.

Access: The Port’s Jack London Square is one of Oakland’s main entertainment districts. We’ll continue to offer events free of charge to give our neighbors and out-of-town visitors full access to the city’s most beautiful venue. We also provide miles of public access trails and hundreds of acres of parks and open space for the public to gain access to the Oakland shoreline, natural areas and San Francisco Bay.

Community support: We’ll continue to support local nonprofit organizations specializing in education, job training and skills development to make sure that Oaklanders and Californians have the skills for jobs at the Port and Port-related industries.

Water quality: The Port is entrusted with protection of San Francisco Bay waters under its jurisdiction. We’ll continue to enforce policies that prevent pollutant runoff into the harbor, Oakland Estuary or San Francisco Bay. Tenants at all of our facilities are required to follow State water quality regulations and we will work with them to ensure the highest levels of compliance.

Traffic: More than 6,000 trucks are registered to haul cargo in and out of the Port of Oakland. They don’t all show up every day. But there are enough of them to slow traffic if we’re not operating efficiently. So we’ll continue to refine our Truck Management Program to keep trucks from neighborhoods. We’ll provide services for drivers—such as fueling stations—so they don’t have to drive through the city. We’ll continue to refine marine terminal operations to prevent crowding at entrance gates. We’ll make sure there’s plenty of parking overnight for big rigs. The Oakland International Airport BART connection will bring more passengers directly to the Airport without cars. Our objective: keep everyone—and everything—moving efficiently.

Outreach: With such an outsize presence in the community, the Port of Oakland must not hide. For starters, we can’t. We’re too big. But beyond that, we can’t be good neighbors if we’re not engaged with the public. So we’ll emphasize outreach. We’re already pretty good at it. More than 2,000 visitors a year contact us directly through our online LiveChat feature. Try it yourself at www.portofoakland.com. Between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-through-Friday, you can contact a Port representative. If you prefer face-to-face, you can visit with Port officials during bimonthly office hours in West Oakland. Most importantly, you can speak directly to our Board of Port Commissioners. They meet twice per month in public session at Port Headquarters. Visit www.portofoakland.com for details.

We’ve got hundreds of thousands of neighbors who feel invested in the Port. They work here. They play here. Most importantly, they live here...very nearby, anyway. We’ve got a responsibility to them.

As we progress in these next five years, we want our neighbors and our communities to prosper with us. How do we make that happen? By following a simple strategy: growth with care.