Port of Oakland: Journal of Commerce Senior Editor Speaks at PCNC (April 2016)

One of the world’s most influential shipping journalists is bullish on the Port of Oakland. Journal of Commerce Senior Editor Bill Mongelluzzo said this month he’s impressed with opportunities opening up here. But he cautioned that the Port community must pull together to realize its promise. “I see blue skies ahead for Oakland,” Mr. Mongelluzzo told an audience of 100 at a Propeller Club of Northern California luncheon. “You have the ability here, and the infrastructure is being developed; but it’s all about productivity and consistency.” The internationally renowned expert drew on decades of experience in summarizing the Port’s prospects. He said Oakland will be one of few U.S. megaports capable of handling the world’s biggest ships. Oakland has tall cranes and deep-water berths, to accommodate megaships, he pointed out. “The megaships are on the way and they’re here to stay,” he said. A concern, Mr. Mongelluzzo said, is a past reputation for problematic labor relations. The perception can result in some cargo loss from Oakland, he said. He countered that by saying that Oakland’s rank and file dockworkers are the most productive on the West Coast. Each crane operator moves 30-to-40 containers on an off ships every hour, he said, far outpacing competitors. The editor projected 3-to-5 percent cargo volume growth for Oakland and other West Coast ports in coming years. He said Oakland work practices must change to meet the increase. “Monday-through-Friday, 8-to-5 operating hours can’t happen anymore,” he said. “It won’t do the job.” Mr. Mongelluzzo spent eight hours visiting Port of Oakland operations before he spoke. His observation: “I’m optimistic, especially after the tour. Everyone here is stepping up to the plate.”

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