Part of Oakland Picks Longtime Shipping Vet as Maritime Director

Longtime shipping industry executive Bryan Brandes has been named Maritime Director at the Port of Oakland. The Port said today he was selected following a nationwide search. Mr. Brandes, a 25-year maritime veteran, replaces John Driscoll who left to manage the Alabama State Port Authority.

Mr. Brandes will lead a staff of 20 responsible for one of the nation’s 10 largest container seaports. Oakland’s Maritime Director oversees everything from facilities management to real estate negotiations.

“Bryan is coming in at a crucial time for us and we’re eager to put his skill and industry experience to work,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “He knows the players, knows the business and knows what it takes for us to succeed.”

The new Maritime Director arrives in Oakland with executive experience gained at shipping lines and marine terminals. He worked with ocean carriers Maersk Line and CMA-CGM as well as APM Terminals. Most recently, Mr. Brandes was Vice President, Pacific Southwest Region Operations for FlexiVan Leasing, an intermodal chassis leasing company.

As one of the leading gateways to Asia for US exports – especially farm goods – Oakland annually handles the equivalent of 2.5 million 20-foot cargo containers. Cargo volume has declined 7.8 percent in 2020 due to the economic fallout from coronavirus.

The Port said Mr. Brandes faces two challenges: recovery from the economic wallop and shaping Oakland’s maritime future. The Port and business partners have invested millions this decade in new logistics capabilities. Oakland is now upgrading to handle the latest class of ultra large container vessels.

“The Port has operated smoothly throughout the pandemic so we’re confident about recovery,” said Mr. Brandes. “And with the foundation we’ve got in place, I’m excited about our future. I can’t wait to get started.”

By Sarah Spangler