Port of Oakland Introduces New Queuing System

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin
CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin
The containership CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin calling at the Oakland seaport. File photo courtesy Port of Oakland.

Container ships moving through the San Francisco Bay Area will now be part of a new queuing system aimed at increasing safety and air quality.

This week, the Port of Oakland announced a new system in which container ships are assigned in the arrival queue based on when they left their last port of call and sit outside a new “Safety and Air Quality Area” located 50 miles off the coast until their arrival time appointment. Under the previous system, vessels entered the arrival queue when they crossed a line 80 nautical miles from the coast.

“The Port of Oakland is a powerful engine for the Northern California economy,” Pacific Merchant Shipping Association President John McLaurin said. “This new approach to vessel queuing will help protect this economic driver amid an unprecedented period for consumer demand and inbound cargo volumes.”

The move follows a similar system enacted last November at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has been key in lowering the backlog of ships in recent months in the San Pedro Bay.

“The resounding success of the new container vessel queuing system in Southern California has set the stage for this expansion to the Bay Area,” Pacific Maritime Association President and CEO Jim McKenna stated. “This updated system has reduced the number of vessels at anchor near our ports, enabling safer operation for vessels and their crews as well as additional protections for coastal communities.”

By Karen Robes Meeks