By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Oakland’s location may be its biggest advantage and is also key to its future, Executive Director Chris Lytle told more than 140 customers during a recent speech to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
In his remarks, Lytle said geography will be a differentiator as Oakland competes with other ports for business over the next decade, specifically the port’s nearness to California’s Central Valley, a large, flat valley encompassing about 450 miles in the middle of the state.
“The Port of Oakland’s proximity to the Central Valley makes us a vital link in the global agricultural supply chain,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director, Chris Lytle. “For our customers—that means greater reliability and reduced travel times through Oakland.”
Lytle predicted importers will find Oakland’s location increasingly attractive as the economies of the greater Bay Area, Northern California and even Nevada continue to blossom. More than 80 percent of the port’s inbound cargo volume goes to those areas.
Oakland’s proximity to major California growing centers will continue to benefit agricultural exporters, Lytle said, pointing out that the port is already a preferred outlet to Asia for Central Valley fruits and nuts, Salinas Valley greens, and wines from California’s northern half.
Soon, Lytle, said, more of the food chain will find its way through Oakland, as the port is working on a 400,000 square foot “Cool Port” cold storage facility for refrigerated export commodities that is expected to strengthen Oakland’s role as a meat and poultry gateway.
The port’s planned Seaport Logistics Center will provide customers with an entirely self-contained “one stop” facility for warehousing and distribution. The main advantage of the Logistics Center’s location, according to the port, is that it will be built adjacent to marine terminals and railyards, thereby speeding up overall goods movement in Oakland.