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Oakland dispatches waiting boxships away from the coast

Authorities in northern California have decided to replicate what Los Angeles and Long Beach have done recently to handle the constant inbound boxship queues, dispatching ships further out to sea.

The new queuing system for container vessels is expanding to the Bay Area. Effective from yesterday, container vessels will receive an assignment in the arrival queue based on their departure time from their last port of call, and wait outside a new Safety and Air Quality Area 50 miles off the northern California coast until their appointed arrival time. The previous system placed container vessels into the arrival queue based on when they crossed a line 80 nautical miles from the coast.

We look forward to our region reaping the safety and clean-air benefits

“The new process reduces emissions from vessels located near the Bay Area, and allows more space between vessels – an important safety feature during winter storms. The new procedure also enables vessels to slow steam across the Pacific, thereby reducing overall emissions throughout their journey,” a release from the Port of Oakland claimed.

The new queueing system was first implemented in November at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, developed by the Pacific Maritime Association, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region executive director Captain Lynn Korwatch said the new system promotes a “fair, efficient and reliable system in a chapter of unprecedented maritime congestion”.

“We look forward to our region reaping the safety and clean-air benefits as a result,” Korwatch said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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