A new container-on-barge service between the ports of Stockton and Oakland, Calif., will give shippers the opportunity to save money by moving containers that are too heavy for highway transit, said Stockton deputy port director Mark A. Tollini.
The service, slated to begin February 2012, is one of the first West Coast marine highway initiatives to receive federal funding and will be viewed as a barometer for other short sea programs.
Service on what the Department of Transportation designated the M580 marine highways corridor is slated to begin in February 2012. The corridor is so named because the Sacramento River roughly parallels Interstate 580 between the San Joaquin Valley and Oakland.
Tollini said the barge service will relieve congestion on the highway and allow shippers to load boxes in excess of the state’s 22 metric ton highway weight limit. Four waterborne containers can carry the same load as five on the highway.
Stockton used its share of a $30 million TIGER grant, shared with the ports of Oakland and Sacramento, to buy two cranes and expand a container yard.
The ports purchased two barges and have contracted with logistics provider Savage Services of Salt Lake City to market, operate the service and integrate it into an intermodal system. Savage has some 150 facilities in the U.S.