Port of Oakland project seen as key to future about to begin

CenterPoint's 440,000-square-foot distribution hub will anchor logistics campus

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A freight distribution center placing high-demand logistics capability inside a global trade gateway at the Port of Oakland begins this fall. 

The long-awaited Seaport Logistics Complex has been driven by shippers seeking more comprehensive services.

“Ultimately, cargo owners can save time, money and headaches by managing shipments through a logistics center that’s next store to the transport gateways,” said Mike Zampa, the port’s communication director.

The complex is envisioned as a cargo-handling “campus” that could change the trajectory of port business, officials contend.

Currently a West Coast terminus for Transpacific trade vessels, Oakland could eventually double as a major freight distribution point.

“This is our future,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “The Seaport Logistics Complex will give freight shippers the opportunity to manage international supply chains right next door to the rail yards and marine terminals where their cargo is transported.”

CenterPoint Properties, an industrial real estate company, is building CenterPoint Landing, the first 440,000-square-foot facility at the complex.  Oak Brook, IL-based CenterPoint said site preparation on its 27-acre leased parcel should begin by October.  The tentative schedule calls for construction to begin next spring.  The building is expected to open by summer 2020.

CenterPoint’s $52 million facility will be constructed at Maritime and 14th streets in the heart of the Port.  The property once served as an Army supply depot. 

The Army decommissioned its Oakland base in the late 1990s.  The Port received about 240 acres of the property between 2003 and 2007.  Since then, planners have imagined a logistics campus that could further strengthen Oakland’s role as a global trade gateway. 

The plan eventually calls for a 240-acre complex with multiple buildings for warehousing or distribution.

The Seaport Logistics Complex is envisioned as a transload center where shippers can ready cargo for transfer from ships to trucks or rail. Transloading has become increasingly popular with supply chain managers pursuing cost-effective transport alternatives.  CenterPoint officials said no other U.S. port has the land to duplicate Oakland’s marriage of transportation and logistics capabilities.

The port opened a $100 million rail yard at the Seaport Logistics Complex in 2016.  CenterPoint’s development will be the first building at the campus.

Meanwhile, spokesmen said the port’s total container volume increased 3.6 percent in July. The port said the rise over July 2017 totals was driven by an increase in empty container shipments to Asia. 

Import cargo volume declined 0.6 percent in July, the port said. Exports were down 7.3 percent.

Port spokesmen added that the increase in empty container volume may have resulted from strong import activity earlier in the summer. When import boxes are emptied, they must be returned to origin points to be reused for further cargo shipments to the U.S.

For all of 2018, Oakland’s total container volume – which measures imports, exports and empties, has increased 2.5 percent. The port said it would establish a new full-year volume record, if the trend holds.


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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