Three ports building for the future

Ocean cargo gateways on West, Gulf, and East coasts are addressing infrastructure needs with customized solutions.

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Ocean cargo gateways on West, Gulf, and East coasts are addressing infrastructure needs with customized solutions.

The Port of Oakland, which recently welcomed the behemoth 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) mega-carrier “Benjamin Franklin” last month, has not lost sight of the need to improve its infrastructure for more conventional-sized vessels serving the region’s exporters—nor have the independent operators who manage its terminals.

When the Ben E. Nutter Terminal received its first container ship this year following two months of modernization to improve cargo handling, port authorities were quick to praise the move. “We’re taking steps to improve performance and efficiency,” says maritime director John Driscoll. “We’re pleased that the management of Ben E. Nutter Terminal shares our desire to upgrade operations.

The Nutter terminal in Oakland’s Outer Harbor is managed by Everport Terminal Services. It began renovations in November to complete improvements that include rebuilt entrance gates for harbor truckers; more than 100 new pieces of cargo-handling equipment; and a new terminal operating system. The terminal re-opened and began receiving export cargo and empty containers with the inbound call of the 1,100 TEU vessel “Ever Liberal.”

On the East Coast, Ports America Chesapeake and CSX Intermodal Terminals announced a new agreement designed to immediately enhance the competitiveness of the Port of Baltimore and position it to capture additional freight business through more efficient service.

The new agreement transfers operational responsibility for the intermodal container service at the port from CSX Intermodal Terminals to Ports America Chesapeake, consolidating management of the operation and enhancing service through Ports America’s on-dock handling and operational expertise.

“With the expansion of the Panama Canal, we see tremendous growth opportunities at the Port of Baltimore,” says Michael Hassing, president and CEO of Ports America. “Having direct on-dock access to rail service is a significant competitive differentiator for the Port of Baltimore, enhancing its attractiveness as one of only three East Coast ports equipped to handle super-post-Panamax ships.”

In the Gulf, the Port of Houston Authority, which operates the Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Bayport Container Terminal (BCT), successfully completed its implementation of the Navis N4 terminal operating system (TOS).
These terminals handle about 67 percent of all containerized cargo in the Gulf, representing approximately two million TEUs annually between the two terminals. Bayport was the first terminal of the two to undergo the modernization of its terminal software.

As part of a master-planned redevelopment, the Port Authority redeveloped more than 20 acres at Barbours Cut for container stacking and is currently in the process of commissioning four new SPP cranes on a newly renovated 1300 foot segment of dock.

The expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to bring an influx of larger ships to the Gulf as well. In anticipation of the expansion, BCT is working to invest in the modernization of its terminal infrastructure to prepare for the expected increase in demand.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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