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Port of Oakland green lights major expansion project

Plans to create a modern distribution and logistics centre on ex Army base overcomes first hurdle

Port of Oakland green lights major expansion project

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Port Commissioners at the Port of Oakland have given initial approval on a landmark deal to build a logistics centre at a former Army base adjacent to the port.

The agreement, the culmination of 15 years of planning, would see industrial real estate firm CenterPoint Properties develop a US$52m logistics facility on port property that once served as an Army supply depot.

The project marks the first phase of a planned 73ha Seaport Logistics Complex containing a modern distribution centre and a rail yard serving marine terminals in the heart of the port.

At almost 41,000m2, the distribution facility would be the largest at any US West Coast port, officials said, adding that construction work could begin as early as the first quarter of 2018.

“The future is at hand,” said Port of Oakland’s executive director Chris Lytle. “We’ve got a great development partner, a great plan for the community and a new direction that will set us apart from competitors once the deal is fully approved.”

The scheme comes up for a final vote on 30 November. If it is approved, the deal becomes official in January.

“We’re pleased to take part in an important growth project for California’s economy,” said CenterPoint chief development officer Michael Murphy.

“The Port of Oakland has a thoughtful vision for the future and with this agreement we can help them bring it to life and provide jobs that give people dignity and allow them to stay in Oakland.”

The Seaport Logistics Complex will be located off Maritime Street near Oakland’s Outer Harbour, where the port opened a US$100m rail yard last year. 

Under terms of its deal with the Port, CenterPoint Properties would construct and manage the first building at the complex. Tenants would likely include companies requiring transloading, the process of transferring cargo between trucks, trains and vessels for shipment.

Transloading is common near West Coast ports, Port officials said. But Oakland would become one of the few ports able to perform the task within its boundaries. 

“We’ll provide the most efficient and most cost-effective means of delivering cargo,” said Port of Oakland maritime director John Driscoll. “That will be a major driver of our growth in the years ahead.”

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