Long recovery ahead for West Coast ports in aftermath of settlement

 An update from the CBFANC Ocean Committee regarding Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal.
The January 19, 2016 announcement from Ports America terminal terminating operations in 30 days at Port Oakland gave short notice to Port of Oakland who in turn gave their own press release mid-afternoon.   News that Ports America was pulling out 6 years into the 50 years lease surprised many port stakeholders.  After all it was the 50 years lease and nice accommodations Ports America received that prompted a lawsuit by SSA Terminals and settled in 2013 for its own “mega-terminal”.  Ports America cited their reason for leaving Oakland was due to their “four-corners” gateways and investing instead for their terminals in Seattle-Tacoma and Vancouver, LA/LB, Newark, Baltimore, and Miami.
Port of Oakland are reassuring port stakeholders that 90% of the ocean carriers currently handled at Ports America terminals will transition smoothly to the remaining terminals at the Port.  However to date, only one carrier, MSC, has announced transfer of operations to Oakland International Container Terminal/SSA.  While Maersk and CMA would likely also decide on SSA, there remains several carriers who have not publicized whether they will operate out of SSA or Trapac.   Under negotiations since latter part of 2015, Trapac indicated interest to take over two additional berths (from PAOH area), would likely take on K-Line and maybe one to two other lines.   Ben E. Nutter Terminal which was previously managed under Seaside Transportation Service (a joint venture between Ports America and Evergreen) is now managed solely by Evergreen.  Since re-opening early January, Everport is still undergoing migration to new system and unlikely to take on any additional carriers.
On February 1, 2016, Outer Harbor Terminal, the entity name for the joint venture between Ports America and Terminal Investment Ltd. filed Chapter 11.  The only statement made by Ports America was that “the filing will allow the joint-venture partners to continue offering terminal customers the services they require until Outer Harbor Terminal ceases operations on March 31“.   Oakland Port Executive Director Chris Lytle stated his disappointment but assured the Port will do everything for smooth transitions of cargo operations including port funding for extended gates services to handle the increase at the remaining terminals.

Complicating that message though was the long lines January 25th through most of the week resulted possibly from short labor or rumored longshore reactions to the loss of ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) jobs at the port.   Also, Ports America disallowing return of empties and with carriers not yet nominating new terminal, per diem is a huge concern and yet another setback for port truckers already stressed from last years’ port disruptions.  Beginning of 2016, some truckers were reducing or omitting their congestion fees.  Unfortunately, congestion fees will remain or be reinstated.  Still, citing recent Port Efficiency Task Force benchmarks including 90 minute dual transaction turn times, Bluetooth measured metrics and enhanced appointment systems, the Port is committed to keeping Oakland as viable West Coast gateway.

Additionally, note the following information for upcoming President’s weekend:

  • Everport announced February 3rd that they will be open for Friday February 12th (Lincoln’s Birthday) and Monday February 15th(President’s Day)
  • Ports America announced closure on Friday February 12th (Lincoln’s Birthday) and Monday February 15th(President’s Day)
  • Please check SSA and Trapac website for their holiday schedule updates.
Below please take note of the Ports America empties restrictions.  Support your trucking partners and  contact your steamship representatives when necessary to safeguard on potential per diem charges.   We need to stand together with our trucking partners to oppose unfair per diem charges.   Unfair per diem charge practices should be reported to email hidden; JavaScript is required.
Empty Container Restrictions
OHT is not receiving the following empties:
SUD- ONLY ACCEPTING REEFERS, all others locked out
ANL- All size types
COS – All size types
CSC – ALL size types
EGS – All size types
HAP – All size types
HAN – All size types
HMM – All size types
MOL – All size types
PIL – All size types
POL – ALL 20′ Containers
UAS – ALL size types
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