The Port of Oakland has given qualified support to a plan by the port’s terminal operators to introduce full container operations on Saturdays, paid for by introducing extended gate fees on peak-time services. The planned system, to be called Oakpass, was reported in Splash247 on Thursday.
Its aim is to reduce Monday-Friday congestion at the docks. But the initial reaction of shippers and retailers who use and depend on the port was one of caution and concern as they wanted more detail about the fees and hard evidence that congestion would really be cleared.
The proposed extended gate fee (EGF) would be $17 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) or $34 on a forty-foot container on loaded import and export containers on weekdays between 7am and 6pm.
Drawing comparison with the PierPass system already running at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, shippers expressed concern in a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last week that the fees would remain in place even if congestion was cleared and Saturday services withdrawn.
In giving the Port of Oakland’s reaction to the plan and to those concerns of stakeholders the port’s executive director Chris Lytle wrote to the FMC giving Oakpass the port’s general endorsement but suggesting it should be limited to an initial one-year term and should be monitored by the FMC. In particular he wanted to be sure the fees charged covered the costs of Saturday operations only and no more.
Lytle also noted the port was going through a labour shortage, which was being addressed.
Congestion is worsening because of much bigger vessels arriving at the port.