Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Oakland Economy Would Benefit from Port Access Upgrades

By Karen Robes Meeks

Repairing the Port of Oakland’s Seventh Street entrance could mean $1 billion in economic output for the local economy, according to economists at Washington State University’s Freight Policy Transportation Institute.

WSU Associate Prof. Eric Jessup, who recently spoke to tree nut exporters at a US Department of Agriculture-sponsored symposium, concluded that the proposed $515 million project to separate freight rails from the street and expand underpass clearance could also mean 375 new jobs and a more efficient supply chain for US exporters, especially those sending farm goods overseas.

“In the past five years, the Port of Oakland is the No. 1 US port for containerized edible nut exports, but landside access inefficiencies constrain growth.” Jessup said, adding that Oakland moves 59 percent of all US edible nut exports.

Port and county officials hope to secure federal funding for the project, which is in the design phase. “These are high-value exports produced almost in our backyard,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s important that we do a good job with the shipments because the industry depends on us to access foreign markets.”