West Coast stays on track with ocean cargo industry events

June will feature the AgTC annual conference in San Francisco.

By ·

While the Port of Tacoma is aiming to be a gateway for 3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) over the next ten years, it also has ambitious goals set for its bulk and breakbulk facilities. John Wolfe, the port’s executive director, gave a presentation earlier this month at the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) conference in Los Angeles, that indicated that Tacoma is making a bold move to attract these cargoes.

Over the next decade, he said, the Port of Tacoma hopes to be the transit point for 12 million metric tons of bulk commodities and 200,000 short tons for breakbulk, while boosting it operating margin by 30% and its net income by 50%.

At the IAPH event, Wolfe also outlined plans for the port’s future bulk terminal. The panel, titled “Port Project Decision Criteria: ROI and Beyond,” proved to be a good platform for Tacoma’s value proposition.  He stated that in the first full year of operation, his port’s investment would return $8.6 million in annual revenue.

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A major upcoming industry conference San Francisco will provide yet more information on West Coast opportunities for bulk and breakbulk shippers, as well as those moving goods by containerload when the Agriculture Transportation Coalition convenes its 25th annual meeting June 13-14 at the Hotel Nikko.
One of the most anticipated sessions is certain to be “U.S. Ag Export Outlook — What Comes Next?” by Walter Kemmsies, chief economist with Moffatt & Nichol. Kemmsies, also gave a compelling talk at the IAPH where he outlined the opportunities and challenges for shippers seeking to break into the South American market.

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The AgTC event is also likely to showcase the “niche” advantages of the Port of San Francisco, which recently announced the expansion of its Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 3 service area to include Contra Costa, Marin and Solano Counties, as well as portions of Sonoma and Napa Counties.  The previous service area included San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.  This action will support efforts to strengthen the local economy and attract new businesses to the area.

The FTZ program has allowed American companies to obtain a more competitive position with respect to their counterparts overseas, and subsidizes job growth by deferring, reducing, or eliminating customs duties paid on imported goods by importers, distributors, manufacturers and processors.

“Foreign Trade Zones are one tool to reduce logistics costs, which translates into savings to a company’s bottom line,” said Jim Maloney, Maritime Marketing Manager at the Port of San Francisco, grantee of FTZ No. 3.  “The FTZ program provides an excellent opportunity for Bay Area businesses to enhance their competitiveness in the global economy.”

The program allows existing and new companies in these counties to secure FTZ site status under the streamlined Alternative Site Framework program within approximately 30 days from when an application is accepted.  Without the program the process can take 8-12 months.

A Foreign Trade Zone site is a secured area near a designated customs “port of entry,” and while physically located within the U.S. it is considered outside the U.S. Customs territory.  This allows for foreign goods to be brought into FTZs without formal customs entry for manufacturing, testing, assembly, processing, storage, and distribution.

Maloney said in an interview that the port hopes the development may also lead to a few more ocean cargo vessel calls for San Francisco, and its much larger neighboring port – Oakland.


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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