Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland

Executive director

www.portofoakland.com

The West Coast has served the U.S. containerized cargo market for more than 40 years, facing and resolving many technical, operational, commercial and environmental issues. The traditional challenge for ports and operators has been to create the capacity to meet the ever-growing market. The Southern California mega-ports have enjoyed the greatest success and borne the greatest burden of this growth. This is changing.

Much of the West Coast's cargo and future growth is intimately tied to intermodal, which comprises about half of the ports' total container throughput. The West Coast has dominated this market, but cargo owners are seeking alternatives. All-water services, distribution centers, inland ports and cargo shuttle trains are all efforts to move the congestion and environmental impacts of port operations away from the port area. Thus, the traditional role of providing marine terminal capacity, infrastructure and rail connections may not be enough for Oakland and other West Coast ports to remain competitive in the near future.

East Coast ports have shown great success in this regard by promoting distribution centers and cargo shuttle services, and their efforts have diverted intermodal cargoes from the West Coast. I believe this is a positive step for our industry, and a blueprint for Oakland's future growth.

International trade is too critical to be routed through one vulnerable gateway. Diversification of routings for cargo protects our nation's commercial vitality. It also distributes the economic benefits and environmental impacts of port operations over a broad, mutually supportive network of gateways, ensuring the nation's capacity and ability to meet the demands of expanding global trade.