Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stockton-to-Oakland Barge Service Dedicated

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) on Nov. 1 held an official dedication ceremony at the Port of Stockton for the M-580 barge service, also known as the California Green Trade Corridor.

The Corridor is expected to help take freight traffic off California’s congested I-580 by offering shippers an option to move cargo along the waterways between the ports of Oakland, Stockton and Sacramento. The project received a $30 million grant from the Department of Transportation, as well as $5 million from local sources.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul Jaenichen and state and local leaders were on hand for the dedication.

“This $30 million investment in public infrastructure is an important part of President Obama’s national initiative to double America’s exports by 2015,” Foxx said. “This Marine Highway will help get cargo off the highways and onto our waterways, improving traffic on our roads while providing an efficient, environmentally-friendly option within our freight system.”

The M-580 Marine Highway roughly parallels the I-580 corridor between California’s Central Valley and Oakland, one of the most heavily congested highways in the country. It is estimated that about 1,600 containers currently move per day between the Stockton and Oakland ports along I-580.

Running two barges per week between Oakland and Stockton is expected to eliminate about 200 trucks per day from the highway. When the corridor is fully operational, it’s expected that barges would make three round-trips along the corridor weekly.

Officials estimate that eventually the M-580 could eliminate 180,000 truck trips from I-580, I-80, and I-205 freeways annually, saving about seven million gallons of fuel and reducing air emissions in the process.

“The Green Trade Corridor is a win-win solution for Northern California and the millions of Americans and businesses who rely on it to send and receive goods,” Jaenichen said. “This new efficient and environmentally friendly transportation alternative is also creating jobs in Stockton.”

The barge system, which had been in the planning for years, was technically launched over the summer.