Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Oakland Makes Night Gates Permanent

By Mark Edward Nero

After a successful trial run, the Port of Oakland’s busiest marine terminal says that night gate hours are here to stay.

Oakland International Container Terminal announced June 6 that it will continue night operations even after a port subsidy expires this month. What’s more, OICT said it would offer full – not partial – operations at night.

The decision means that thousands of harbor truckers can continue moving Oakland cargo outside busier daytime hours. The terminal plans to open night gates to harbor drivers Monday through Thursday.

With full operations, they’ll be able to drive off loaded import containers at night for the first time. Import pick-ups, the most time-consuming and labor-intensive terminal activity, had been restricted to dayside operations.

Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said that thousands of cargo transactions have migrated to nighttime thanks to Oakland International Container Terminal.

“It’s imperative that we continue with extended hours to expand the workday and improve cargo flow,” Driscoll said.

OICT introduced night gates two months ago, aided by a $1.5 million Port of Oakland subsidy program. Once the subsidy ends, the terminal says, it will weigh a $30 flat-fee on all loaded import and export containers.

The fee would finance the costs of night operations – principally for additional labor, the terminal said, with the amount remaining constant regardless of container size. It will be levied on both day and night container moves.

The terminal has promised to review the night-gate program – including fees – after 90 days.
“No one likes fees,” Driscoll said. “But we think there’s tremendous value in easing daytime crowding and in offering full service at night when drivers can get in and out of port quickly.”

Expanded night operations could lead motor carriers to eliminate surcharges assessed for waiting at terminals, according to the port. Those fees are levied on cargo owners but could become outmoded if night gates continue to speed up operations.