Port of Oakland Expands While Giving Back to the Community

A freight distribution center placing high-demand logistics capability inside a global trade gateway at the Port of Oakland is soon to become a reality.


Published: September, 2018


A freight distribution center placing high-demand logistics capability inside a global trade gateway at the Port of Oakland is soon to become a reality. The long-awaited Seaport Logistics Complex, which should be complete by 2020, is much desired by shippers seeking more comprehensive services.


“Ultimately, cargo owners can save time, money and headaches by managing shipments through a logistics center that’s next door to the transport gateways,” said Mike Zampa, the port’s communications director. The complex is envisioned as a cargo-handling “campus” that could change the trajectory of port business, officials say.


Currently a West Coast terminus for trade vessels crossing the Pacific, Oakland could eventually double as a major freight distribution point. “This is our future,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “The Seaport Logistics Complex will give freight shippers the opportunity to manage international supply chains right next door to the rail yards and marine terminals where their cargo is transported.”


CenterPoint Properties, an industrial real estate company, is building Center-Point Landing, the first 440,000-square-foot facility at the complex. Oak Brook, IL-based CenterPoint said site prepa-ration on its 27-acre leased parcel should begin by October. The tentative schedule calls for construction to begin next spring. The building is expected to open by summer 2020. CenterPoint’s $52 million facility will be constructed at Maritime and 14th streets in the heart of the port.


The property once served as an Army supply depot, but the Army decommissioned its Oakland base in the late 1990s. The port received about 240 acres of the property between 2003 and 2007. Since then, planners have imagined a logistics campus that could further strengthen Oakland’s role as a global trade gateway. The plan eventually calls for a 240-acre complex with multiple buildings for warehousing or distribution.


The Seaport Logistics Complex is envisioned as a transload center where shippers can ready cargo for transfer from ships to trucks or rail. Transloading has become increasingly popular with supply chain managers pursuing cost-effective transport alternatives. CenterPoint officials said no other U.S. port has the land to duplicate Oakland’s marriage of transportation and logistics capabilities. The port opened a $100 million rail yard at the Seaport Logistics Complex in 2016. CenterPoint’s development will be the first building at the campus.


Meanwhile, spokespeople said the port’s total container volume increased 3.6 percent in July. The port said the rise over July 2017 totals was driven by an increase in empty container shipments to Asia. Import cargo volume declined 0.6 percent in July, the port said. Exports were down 7.3 percent.


Port spokespeople added that the increase in empty container volume may have resulted from strong import activity earlier in the summer. When import boxes are emptied, they must be returned to origin points to be reused for further cargo shipments to the United States.


For all of 2018, Oakland’s total container volume which measures imports, exports and empties—has increased 2.5 percent. The port said it would establish a new full-year volume record if the trend holds.



Port of Oakland Gives to Job-Training Nonprofit

In other news, the Port of Oakland has given $70,000 to a local nonprofit to prepare workers for careers in the environmental construction trades.


The money is going to Oakland-based Rising Sun Energy Center, which has a track record of helping low-income adults get jobs in the construction, energy efficiency and solar industries. The port said the grant will address the need for future labor needs related to port development projects.


“The port is excited to work with Rising Sun Energy Center as we continue to expand our community partnerships to prepare local residents for careers in construction,” said Port of Oakland Social Responsibility Division Director Amy Tharpe. “They specialize in developing a sustainable workforce pipeline into eco-friendly industries.”


Through a project labor agreement, contractors working with the Port of Oakland agree to pay into the Social Justice Trust Fund, which supports workforce development. Each year, the port selects a nonprofit to receive the funds. Past recipients include the Cypress Mandela Training Center, Youth Employment Partnership and the West Oakland Job Resource Center.


Since 1999, the port’s Social Justice Trust Fund has awarded approximately $560,000 to local workforce develop-ment centers to prepare individuals for construction careers. This has translated into $5.3 million in earnings by local workers, the port said.


“We look forward to working with the port to provide good-paying local jobs,” said Rising Sun Energy Center Executive Director Jodi Pincus. “Our eco-literacy trainings will prepare workers for jobs that are currently in demand.”


Patrick Burnson is the executive editor of Logistics Management. www.logisticsmgmt.com