Port of Oakland decided to follow the example of the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, dispatching ships further out to sea, in order to deal with containership queues.
ore specifically, effective from January 10, container vessels will receive 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 set container vessels into the arrival queue based on when they crossed a line 80 nautical miles from the coast.
Commenting on the decision, the Port of Oakland noted 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 first implemented in November at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, developed by the Pacific Maritime Association, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and Marine Exchange of Southern California.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are also following a similar method. Namely, from November 16th, a new process for containerships bound for US’s two busiest container ports have ships waiting at least 150 miles from shore, instead of anchorages and loitering areas closer to the coast.
The new process aims to improve safety and air quality off of Southern California while also “dramatically reducing” the number of backlogged ships at anchor close to shore near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
It was developed by a working group of maritime industry stakeholders including Pacific Maritime Association, Pacific Merchant Marine Shipping Association and Marine Exchange of Southern California, a Coast Guard affiliated organization that manages vessel traffic services (VTS) for the region, as well as others.