Officials at the Port of Stockton, Calif., hope to see barge service start May 16, several years after winning federal funds to build a marine highway connecting it and the Port of Oakland.
Stockton planned for a start-up last fall, inviting a trade delegation from South Korea and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, only to see service stalled by a labor dispute. The new launch target is the annual State of the City program. “We had a third party running the service, and we decided that taking control and running it ourselves was the way to go,” port spokesman Bill Lewicki said.
Since becoming the terminal manager for the $30 million project, the port has hired SSA Marine to manage the port’s terminal for the new M-580 Marine Highway Corridor service. SSA Marine will provide container-on-barge terminal services, including terminal management, marketing and logistical support. The port will provide management oversight as the prime contractor, including barge and towboat operations.
The service is the product of a $30 million federal TIGER grant for the ports of Oakland, Stockton and Sacramento to develop the infrastructure necessary for a container-on-barge service between the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Stockton received $13 million of the grant toward its purchase of two 140-ton mobile harbor cranes and improvements needed to support the project. The port also acquired two dedicated barges, which were modified with cell guides to handle containers. The service is expected to eliminate thousands of truck trips each week between Oakland and the Central Valley.
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