On 9 May, the Port’s governing Board authorized talks with the Vancouver-based company Eagle Rock Aggregates, which seeks a vessel berth along with 20 acres of adjacent land at the Port’s Outer Harbor Terminal.

Eagle Rock would use the property as a base for distributing sand and gravel for Bay Area construction sites.

The firm said it wants a 15-year lease for one berth on Outer Harbor. Eagle Rock would ship sand and gravel from British Columbia to produce concrete for Bay Area builders.

Oakland is one of the busiest container seaports in the US, handling the equivalent of 2.5 million 20-foot containers last year.

The Port noted that a deal for bulk shipping would not hamper container operations.

The Port has nearly 1,300 acres devoted to containerized cargo. Outer Harbor Terminal is currently used for container-related activities and berthing for vessels in lay-up for extended periods.

A deal to transport bulk cargo through Oakland would mark a new twist in the Port’s 92-year history.

The Port began life in 1927 handling bulk commodities loaded directly into the hold of ships.

Oakland revolutionized shipping in 1962 when it introduced containerized cargo to the West Coast.

The Port abandoned bulk in 1999 by adopting Vision 2000, a totally containerized cargo strategy. Now it could be going back to its roots, albeit on a small scale.

This is an opportunity for us to perhaps diversify our business. We’ve built the Port of Oakland to be a global gateway for containerized cargo but a steady, divergent revenue stream could be beneficial,

...said John Driscoll, the Port’s Maritime Director.