Oakland sends waiting container ships away from the coast

With the northern California port of Oakland beginning to experience a similar backlog to that which has impacted its southern counterparts of POLA and Long Beach for several months, the authorities in northern California have decided to replicate the solution implemented in the south, telling ships to wait further out to sea.

Effective from the start of this week, container vessels are receiving an assignment in the arrival queue based on their departure time from their last port of call, and wait outside a new Safety and Air Quality Area 50 miles off the northern California coast until their appointed arrival time. The previous system had placed container vessels into the arrival queue based on when they crossed a line 80nm from the coast.

The Port of Oakland said that “the new process reduces emissions from vessels located near the Bay Area, and allows more space between vessels – an important safety feature during winter storms. The new procedure also enables vessels to slow steam across the Pacific, thereby reducing overall emissions throughout their journey”.

The new queueing system was developed by the Pacific Maritime Association, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and Marine Exchange of Southern California.

It was implemented in November at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.