Friday, March 29, 2013

SSA Marine to Operate Stockton Barge Service

Stevedoring and terminal operations company SSA Marine has been chosen by the Port of Stockton to manage the terminal for a new barge service that will operate between Stockton and the Port of Oakland.

The barge service, which is called the M-580 Marine Highway, is so named because it would be parallel to Interstate 580, the corridor that many truckers use to transport goods to and from the ports.

The $30 million project, which is partially funded by the US Transportation Dept., is aimed at moving ocean shipping containers by barge instead of trucking between the Port of Oakland and the Central Valley.

The service was initially projected to open in the fall of 2012, but was delayed by issues regarding how much union labor would be used. The barge service is now expected to debut later this spring, according to Stockton officials.

Under its contract with the port, SSA Marine is expected to provide terminal services, including terminal management, marketing and logistical support for the Marine Highway, while port officials provide management oversight for the project.

SSA already operates a terminal in Oakland, something port Director Richard Aschieris has said is an added advantage for the company.

It’s estimated that about 1,600 containers per day move between the Stockton and Oakland ports along I-580, which is one of California’s most congested freeways. Stockton says the barge service could potentially save shippers time as well as money in transport costs, since it would allow containers to be loaded in excess of California’s highway weight limit of 22 metric tons.