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Executive Director’s introduction

By CHRIS LYTLE
Executive Director, Port of Oakland

Here’s a summary of 2017 at the Port of Oakland: record revenue, record volumes, improving service. Here’s the year’s lasting legacy: a path to the future. That’s the message we hope you retain from this Year in Review.

The Port reported operating revenue of $358.7 million in 2017 – the second straight year of record performance. At our seaport, the Port again set records for total container volume, loaded container volume and containerized import volume. Oakland International Airport completed its fourth straight year of passenger volume growth.

It’s what happened alongside those achievements, however, that should excite Port stakeholders most. For instance, in 2017 we also

  • completed major Aviation projects that set us up for future growth;
  • launched Maritime projects that will make us more attractive to customers; and
  • improved our debt position.

Here’s what comes next: At the Airport, new nonstop flights to Rome and Paris begin this spring. At the seaport, a 283,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center opens in summer. At property we inherited from the decommissioned Oakland Army Base, a Seaport Logistics Complex begins construction in late fall.

These events should grow the Port’s business. They also promise to stimulate Oakland’s economy. Economists estimate that 73,000 jobs already depend on the Port of Oakland. As we grow, we expect regional employment to increase, as well.

So how did we reach this promising future? Through hard work, planning and some help from our friends.

At the Airport, we completed three major projects in 2017: 1) renovating Terminal 1; 2) expanding our International Arrivals Building; and 3) resurfacing our main runway. All three activities were critical to accommodate the growing number of flights headed our way. Partners ranging from local contractors to U.S. Customs aided our work.

At the Seaport, we started construction on Cool Port Oakland. This temperature-controlled facility, years in the planning, could attract 30,000 containers a year laden with chilled and frozen meat products. We also raised the height of ship-to-shore cranes to serve the megaships dominating international trade lanes. In addition, we reached agreement with CenterPoint Properties to build a Seaport Logistics Complex at the former Army Supply Depot. Tenants and business partners are investing millions in these projects – a sign of their long-term faith in Oakland.

We took another important step in 2017. We refinanced $324 million in debt. The transaction followed a rating increase on Port bonds by Moody’s Investors Service. Borrowing at the turn of the century financed expansion that kept Oakland among the nation’s leading maritime gateways. Now, aided by more favorable interest rates, we’ll save $43 million over the life of our remaining debt.

Throughout 2017 we concentrated on one other priority – community engagement. We stayed close to our neighbors, apprising them of our plans, sharing our aspirations, incorporating their good ideas. We visited with East Bay civic leaders to address noise concerns related to Airport renovations. We negotiated with labor leaders and community activists to reach landmark hiring agreements. In addition, we commenced five months of study with West Oakland residents to keep drayage trucks from their neighborhoods.

In 2018, we’re embarking on an update of our Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan. Working with a task force of Port, industry and community leaders, we’ll strengthen our efforts at reducing diesel emissions from Port operations. The result should be further improvement in air quality.

The Port’s strategy calls for steady business growth into the next decade. It states that neighboring communities should benefit as we progress. The work we undertook in 2017 was an important starting point toward that goal. We look forward to further delivering on our commitments this year.