Ports America (PA), the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the US, announced last week that it was terminating its 50-year lease of the Outer Harbor Terminal (OHT) at the Port of Oakland with cargo operations ending in 30 days and a full terminal shutdown in 60 days.
Port of Oakland officials promised to keep cargo moving efficiently , the vessels will be rerouted to adjacent terminals after after Ports America Outer Harbor terminal will be closed in March. Port representatives assured shipping lines and cargo owners that planning is already underway to minimize the shutdown’s impact.
The Port said the departure of Ports America provides two significant opportunities. First of all, ships and cargo can be redirected to Oakland’s other marine terminals which have excess capacity and also 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.
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.
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
According to The Wall Street Journal, this announcement is occurring at a time when the maritime industry is in a transition period. There is little growth in freight rates and, as a result, some shipping companies are merging and forming partnerships to stabilize and strengthen operations.