Port of Oakland’s Summer 2013 edition of Currents

  • News
  • by BPC Staff
  • on July 8, 2013


Welcome to the Summer 2013 edition of Currents. In this edition of Currents, you’ll learn about new leadership coming to the Port, how our job-creating business lines are doing, what we are going to focus on in the year ahead, the exciting activities we’ve been doing out in the community, and great events and opportunities coming up. Enjoy! 

A Year of Transformation

2013 is shaping up to be a transformative year for the Port of Oakland. Acting Executive Director Ale Flint has brought energy and focus to help move the Port forward in our renewed commitment to accountability and transparency, rebuilding public trust, and making important strides in our business and community engagement. We’ve broken ground on the Oakland Army Base project and closed escrow on the Brooklyn Basin Project, two projects that will transform the Oakland waterfront. Two new team members joined the Port in April, Ron Puccinelli as Chief Technology Officer and Amy Tharpe as Social Responsibility Director. They will focus on how we can use technology and innovative policies and programs to be more effective for our business partners and responsive to the community.

New Leadership

On May 23, 2013, after a comprehensive search for a world-class leader, the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners announced the selection of Chris Lytle as the new Executive Director of the Port of Oakland. Currently serving as the Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, the second busiest container port in North America, Lytle will begin working at the Port of Oakland on July 22, 2013. Under Lytle’s leadership, the Port of Long Beach experienced major growth and expansion, while implementing numerous successful environmental initiatives and community-focused programs.

Transformation is also coming to the Port of Oakland Board of Port Commissioners. On July 10, current Board President Gilda Gonzales will be finishing her term. Gonzales helped steer the Port through several challenging years. We thank her for her thousands of hours of hard work and dedicated volunteer service. On July 11, 2013, Michael Colbruno, a former Oakland Planning Commissioner, will be joining the Board, and later this July the Board will elect its new officers.

Strategic Priorities

Together with our incoming Executive Director, this group will be focused on implementing the Port’s top five priorities for the year ahead.

  1. Retain and Grow Maritime Business
  2. Grow Air Passenger Activity Levels
  3. Build Stronger Strategic Partnerships
  4. Advance Re-Organization
  5. Strengthen Internal Controls and Financial Position

We have to grow our two major business lines, and to do so we need robust partnerships, a more efficient and effective organization, and strong internal policies and processes. These top five correspond to the major challenges and opportunities that face the Port, and will deliver real value that matters to us, our organization, business partners, and community. 2013 is a year of transformation with new leadership and focus that will ensure progress on our strategic goals and deliver results. See the Port’s Strategic Plan document here or look at the 5-Year plan slide presentation.

Port Budget Approved

On June 27, 2013, at its last Board meeting of the Fiscal Year (2013), the Port Board approved its budget for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2013 and running through June 30, 2014.

The budget is a reflection of the major opportunities and challenges the Port of Oakland faces in its multiple business lines. Since the Great Recession in 2008/09, both the Port’s maritime operations and Oakland International Airport’s (OAK) have been recovering their business volumes, but there’s more work to be done. See Port financial information here.

Business Volumes

Calendar year (CY) 2006 marks the Port’s peak in seaport business, recording the highest volume of import/export since 1990.  The Port of Oakland’s maritime trade dropped significantly with the Great Recession. The Port has been able to gain back most of that lost volume, although growth was relatively flat in the last couple of years. For the last six years through 2012, Oakland’s container volume has shown a net increase of 4.6%, with more than 2.3 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in CY 2012. Exports were 54% of Port maritime trade as compared to 46% for imports.


The Port of Oakland owns and operates Oakland International Airport (OAK), which is driven by a business model of operating a low-cost airport. OAK has also experienced growth. After dropping by over 30% post recession, passenger volumes through OAK have stabilized with more than 10 million passengers in 2012, representing an 8.4% increase compared to 2011. Air cargo remained relatively flat at about 1.1 billion pounds. See OAK statistics here.

China Trade Mission

In April, Acting Executive Director Ale Flint and Port staff conducted successful business development meetings in Singapore and Hong Kong, locations of several maritime customers of the Port.  She joined the CA-China Trade Mission led by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., in Beijing. This was an important time for the Port to meet with overseas maritime business partners to promote the Port of Oakland’s competitiveness as a U.S. maritime gateway of choice and for top officials in China to hear from our state’s leaders about the importance of direct China to Oakland International Airport (OAK) air service that will capitalize on what is forecasted to be a major source of new travel and tourism-related dollars – and jobs – for California’s economy.

The Bay Area Council, which organized the CA-China Trade Mission, recently released its report called International Trade and the Bay Area Economy: Regional Interests and Global Outlook 2012–2013. This report documents the importance of international trade to the Bay Area economy and assesses global economic conditions, pending international trade agreements, and the trade outlook for specific economic sectors of interest to the region. Read more here.

Port Closes Escrow on Brooklyn Basin

During the China Trade mission Governor Brown announced the investment by Zarsion America (Chinese investment firm) in the exciting $1.5 billion real estate development project known as Brooklyn Basin, a new neighborhood at Oakland’s waterfront. The announcement was mentioned in this article.

On Monday, June 10, 2013, the Port of Oakland and the State Lands Commission closed escrow with Zarsion-OHP I, LLC of Oakland, CA regarding the Brooklyn Basin property. The Port reached an agreement ten years in the making with Oakland Harbor Partners, LLC (Signature Development Group of Oakland, CA) and its Chinese investment partner Zarsion America.  The Brooklyn Basin project, otherwise known as the “Oak-to-Ninth” project, will entail the transformation of 65 acres of underutilized, old industrial land into a residential, commercial, and recreational neighborhood with more than 30 acres of parkland and public access that will revitalize the area. According to Governor Brown, the $1.5 billion development is expected to bring 10,000 short and long-term jobs, more than 3,000 new homes, 200,000 square feet of retail space, two recreational marinas, and 30 acres of public parks and open spaces.

Oakland Army Base Redevelopment Progress


The Port of Oakland, in partnership with the City of Oakland are moving forward together on a $500 million Phase 1 redevelopment of the former Oakland Army Base (OAB) into a modern intermodal logistics cluster. Phase 1 includes new utilities across the entire site, a new bulk terminal, modern warehousing and cold storage facilities, and a recycling facility on the City side; and a new rail yard on the Port side of the property.

Port’s OAB Phase 1 Breaks Ground on Rail Yard

The Port broke ground in June on the new rail yard with site preparation for construction, which could begin as early as August of this year. The project includes construction of approximately 35 acres of freight rail yard for the storage and inspection of unit train and manifest train railcars, lead tracks, and signal equipment. The facility will connect the Port’s Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal (OHIT) Rail Yard Phase 1 to Union Pacific Railroad’s existing mainline track system, the Port’s Joint Intermodal Terminal (Oakland International Gateway operated by BNSF), and the City of Oakland’s Gateway rail development. Also included in the project is the strengthening and relocation of utilities. 

Invitation to Bid on Support Yard

The Port held a network session and pre-bid meeting Wed., July 3, 2013, for contractors and subcontractors interested in bidding on the Construction of the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal Support Yard, which is part of the Port’s OAB redevelopment project.

Bidders may obtain the bidding documents (Plans and Project Manual) for this project on line at the Port of Oakland. Detailed instructions on downloading the bidding documents are available.    Any Addenda modifying the Plans and Project Manual will be posted at the same location.

OAB Community Outreach

There were about 80 attendees at the Port’s community Information Session on the Port Phase I Rail Yard planned for the former OAB on Monday, April 29, 2013 at the West Oakland Senior Center. Port Deputy Executive Director Jean Banker along with the Port’s OAB project manager Mark Erickson highlighted project development progress and explained community benefits including the commitment from the design/build firm to exceed requirements regarding local business utilization. See the latest OAB presentation here.

New Social Responsibility Director

Amy Tharpe was appointed Director of the Social Responsibility Division (SRD) on March 14, 2013. She is responsible for partnering with the community and businesses to promote positive social and economic changes, and develop a social responsibility strategy that will add value to the Port’s business development activities and to the communities in Oakland and throughout the region. Prior to being hired by the Port, Ms. Tharpe managed San Francisco’s HOPE SF Initiative, served as the Director of Policy and Planning for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing, and held positions with the Fannie Mae Foundation, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development of the District of Columbia as well as other civic and charitable organizations. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University. See Oakland Local interview with Amy Tharpe here.

New IT Director

Ron Puccinelli was appointed Chief Technology Officer (CTO) on March 14, 2013 to provide leadership for the Port’s Information Technology (IT) Division, focusing on the integration and performance of Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and technology solutions to support the Port’s strategic plan priorities. Previously, Mr. Puccinelli was the Director of Information Technology with the City of Concord since October 2001. Mr. Puccinelli holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. 

Port College Summer Intern Program


This summer we welcome 16 college interns! For over 16 years, the Port of Oakland has provided summer jobs, work experience and exposure to careers for hundreds of students through its Internship Program. An internship can be a first job or a stepping stone in a career path that can help open up doors and opportunities for the future. For example, the varied skills and expertise of Port staff offer interns an opportunity to gain insight into Administration, Airport/Seaport Operations, Contract Compliance, Engineering, Governmental Affairs, Social Responsibility, Media, and Security.

Port of Oakland Employees’ Scholarship program


Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Port of Oakland Employees’ Scholarship Program! Thanks to the generosity of Port employees, Port tenants and businesses that work with the Port, we raised a total of $50,000 and awarded a range of scholarships to 17 public school students. Kudos to: Frania Martinez, Julian Jauregui, Ingrid Del Angel-Velarde, Julia Deutsch, Kristi Yee, Tyler Griffin, Angela Luu, Alexander Finkelstein, Le Phuong-Dong, Hernan Gall-Gornejo, Sade Bankston, Megan Schenk, Sentura Tyre Tubbs, Jason Muhammed, Mariel Paul, Trinh Huynh, and Emily Yee Tam!

Port-Affiliated Non-Profit Awards $50,000 in Scholarships

The Port of Oakland Employees’ Scholarship program, an independent non-profit organization led by Port employees and volunteer Port boosters, recently awarded $50,000 in college scholarships to 17 public school students, primarily from Oakland. The scholarship program is part of how the Port supports the community and local public school students. 

The merit-based scholarships range from $1,500 to $5,000 and are open to Oakland public high school students, as well as children of Port employees. Charitable donations to support the program are raised from Port employees, Port tenants, and businesses that work with the Port. Since the founding of the program in 1994, 323 scholarships, totaling $717,500, have been awarded.

OAK Projects Update

Port of Oakland’s Senior Aviation Project Manager Joan Zatopek gave an update to about thirty Oakland Chamber of Commerce members on Oakland International Airport’s (OAK) activity trends and Capital Development Program at the chamber’s March Economic Development Forum. See her presentation here, which highlights OAK’s key projects. An overview of OAK projects that are underway or planned to begin in the next few years were presented, with emphasis on bidding opportunities. 

OAK Runway Safety Project

Aviation safety is always a priority. The Runway Safety Area (RSA) project at OAK is a Congressionally-mandated aviation safety project that we are currently implementing. Congress mandated that all Part 139-certificated airports (which includes OAK) must improve RSAs to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards by Dec. 31, 2015.

The RSA Project is comprised of several major tasks that will be accomplished in collaboration with the FAA, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders. The design process included extensive stakeholder engagement and input. We have already completed the environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act; and we’ve secured final permits from various regulatory agencies.

Construction of South Field RSA improvements  (Runway 11-29 serves large commercial carriers) began May 6, 2013 and will continue through Sept. 2014.  Final design of the North Field RSA elements (for private and business aircraft) is underway this summer and construction of those improvements will begin after completion of Runway 11-29.

Green Seaport/OAK Initiatives

Good news on air quality – Our goal is to reduce the health risk from diesel pollution from seaport sources by 85% by the year 2020 (2005 baseline). As a result of implementation of the first phase of our shore power system we estimate that the diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions from all of ocean-going vessels (OGVs) calling at the Port of Oakland has been reduced by approximately 75%. To put it into context, our 2005 emissions inventory states that the PM emissions from OGVs are 220 tons annually.  Today, the emissions are closer to 55 tons of PM annually or about 25% of what it was in 2005! Thank you to all of our partners including the shipping lines, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Comprehensive Truck Management Program

Partnering with truckers who haul cargo to and from the Port, the BAAQMD, California Air Resources Board, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, resulted in the retrofitting or replacement of 1,521 trucks reducing the diesel particulate emissions from each truck by at least 85%. Additionally, the Port also banned older, more polluting trucks from accessing its marine terminals. 

On January 1, 2014, the Port will implement Phase 2 of the state’s regulations regarding drayage trucks, requiring that all trucks with engines older than 2007 not be allowed access to Port terminals. The Port also currently provides 20 acres of truck parking in its ongoing efforts to encourage truck parking in the Port area and away from neighboring streets.

Marine Highway (Green Corridor) Launch

 In June 9, 2013, the new marine highway barge service successfully initiated its first run. A barge departed the Port of Stockton and arrived with containers loaded for export at the Port of Oakland. Phase I of this Green Trade Corridor marine highway service is being conducted as a publicly run demonstration project operated by the Port of Stockton in partnership with the Port of Oakland. The project was made possible through a federal transportation grant administered by MARAD through the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.

The marine highway project was also made possible through the cooperation and participation of the Port of Oakland, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, SSA Marine Terminals, Ports America, the ILWU, Port of Stockton, BAAQMD, and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in a joint collaborative effort to expand waterborne transportation options in Northern California. This investment is bringing a new, environmentally friendly transportation alternative for the movement of freight and US agricultural product to overseas markets.

OAK and FedEx Host Community and Electeds

On May 23, OAK business partner, FedEx hosted a group of local elected officials, including Oakland Council Member Desley Brooks and San Leandro Council Member Benny Lee, Oakland City Council and Alameda County Supervisor staff members, and residents from the surrounding cities on a tour of the company’s West Coast hub located at Oakland International Airport (OAK).  

FedEx representatives highlighted the company’s environmental and sustainability initiatives which include solar arrays and natural gas fuel cells, which enable the facility to supply most of its own power, and alternative fuel tractors and loaders that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. FedEx is investing more than $30 million to build a new international cargo facility at OAK.  FedEx provides more that 1,300 jobs at its OAK facilities.

OAK Earth Day

OAK celebrated Earth Day 2013 with a special event that brought together close to 500 tenants, employees, community groups and green business partners! More than 40 exhibits were on display to showcase the environmental initiatives underway at OAK to the near 8,000 employees who work at the airport. Participating organizations included: Recology, Waste Management, BART, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Bay Trail, 511.org, ChargePoint, Golden Gate Audubon Society, East Bay Regional Park District, Caltrans, Rising Sun Energy Center, Clean Energy, PG&E, East Bay Environmental Network, Oakland Museum of California and Oaklandish.


Acting Aviation Director Kristi McKenney is pictured here with Don Bribes of Southwest Airlines. Southwest received a Port environmental award in recognition of its ground support equipment (GSE) electrification. Thanks to Southwest, 70% of the total GSE fleet at OAK is now electrified.

Port Gives Environmental Awards

The Port of Oakland distributed five awards to companies that demonstrated a significant commitment to environmental sustainability: FedEx for leadership in renewable energy and for installing rooftop solar and fuel cells that meet 75% of their demand at OAK; Southwest Airlines – for their commitment to ground support equipment (GSE) electrification; FAA for designing an Airport Traffic Control Tower to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Gold level and incorporating many innovative environmental technologies into the tower construction; the Oakland Airport Rental Car Consortium for purchasing new environmentally-friendly shuttle buses ahead of schedule; and Port Aviation Construction Engineering and Turner Construction for reducing vehicle trips and increasing the use of bicycles trips to the Terminal One Central Utility Plan construction site. Congratulations to all the “green” recipients!

Jack London Square Lease and Extension 

Jack London Square Partners, the Port’s master developer for the JLS properties, has just signed a new tenant for the ground floor space of 66 Franklin (between Forge and Bocanova restaurants) facing the water. The new 2,100 sq. foot restaurant and outdoor dining area will be the location of Jack’s Chowder House. The new space should be ready for dining in early 2014. In addition, Jack London Square Partners has signed a 30-month lease extension with Bocanova, which will extend this fabulous restaurant to 2022 in JLS.



Congratulations to Port Board President Gilda Gonzales


Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame inducted Port Board President Gonzales for Community Service at its 2013 awards event. Gonzales has served as a leader in government, the non-profit world, and most recently donated her time as President of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners.

Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint honored

Congratulations to Acting Executive Director Ale Flint who was honored as one of the most influential women in business in the SF Bay Area by the SF Business Times for 2013!

Jack London Square in Huffington Post

Jack London Square was mentioned in the national publication, Huffington Post for being one of the ten reasons why Oakland, California has “never been better.”

Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show

There was a great turnout for the 2013 Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show, the West Coast’s largest all-sail boat show, at Jack London Square in mid-April. The crowd came out to see sailboats, gear, seminars, and an America’s Cup Exhibit.

US Coast Guard honors Port’s Security Officer

April 8, 2013, USCG Captain Cynthia Stowe honored Port Facilities Security Officer Mike O’Brien with the Department of Homeland Security, USCG, Certificate of Merit. The award recognized O’Brien’s significant contribution to making the SF Bay Area law enforcement agencies among the first in the nation to incorporate advanced sensor technology into routine maritime security operations. 

Specialty Crop Trade Council article features Port of Oakland

SCTC article: An Inside Look: Oakland – Premier CA Export Port. SCTC members are frequent users of West Coast ports and Oakland is a major export seaport for its membership’s dried fruits and nuts cargo destined for overseas markets. Deputy Executive Director Jean Banker gave an insider’s look at how Oakland serves as a major export gateway for California produce.

Partnership Highlight – EBEDA

Click on photo above to see the EBEDA video on innovators.

Thank you to our partner, East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA), for working to establish the East Bay globally as a highly desirable place to grow businesses, attract investment, and create quality jobs. Watch their video with the recipients of their first-ever East Bay Innovation Awards 2013, featuring cutting-edge innovators who make the East Bay one of the pre-eminent regions of innovation in the U.S

Two new restaurants at Jack London Square

Two new, contemporary restaurants recently opened their doors in Jack London Square: Lungomare, featuring the cuisine of Northern Italy; and Forge, which is focused on quality pizza and other fun food. Both provide an enjoyable dining experience with modern interiors and attractive outdoor seating and waterfront views.


Performing arts at OAK


Oakland International Airport (OAK) routinely presents local musicians playing classical, folk, rock, blues and jazz at Terminal 2 near the baggage claim as part of the OAK Performing Arts Program. Pictured above is The KeyBass Trio, one of the jazz groups that performs at OAK. 

Rock star parking available at Oakland International Airport!

Oakland Running Festival


The March 24, 2013 Oakland Running Festival was a great first-time event for the Port of Oakland! It was a wonderful way for Port employees to invest their time and energy in their well-being. Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint was on hand to participate and thank the team for representing both the Port and the City in such a positive and enthusiastic way. 


Port Board Meetings


July 11
July 25
September 12
September 26

Jack London Square events


July 4th Festival of Family Fun 

Celebrate Independence Day on the Oakland waterfront at Jack London Square’s July 4th Festival of Family Fun. This festive day will pack the Square with interactive activities and performers for both parents and children to enjoy including:

  • Jugglers & Magicians
  • Uncle Sam Stilt Walkers
  • Petting Zoo
  • Face Painters
  • Balloon Artists
  • And much more!

Free to attend, the July 4th Festival of Family Fun will also feature tasty treats, drinks, music and much more! Visitors can bike, ferry or drive to Jack London Square. For additional information, visit www.jacklondonsquare.com.


July Workout Wednesdays  6:30 PM Every Wed. in July. FREE workout classes at the foot of Broadway. Classes are delivered by qualified “Les Mills” fitness instructors and are open to all. 415-733-0287 or Read more details

Jack’s Night Market July 5th from 6 to 10 PM. Celebrate Oakland’s First Friday of the month! Check out the markets array of craft artisans and designers to local vegetable and fruit purveyors: 510-645-9292. 


Pedalfest rolls into Jack London Square on July 20 from 11 AM to 7 PM to celebrate bikes, cycling, food, family and fun. The event is free and bike parking will be available! More Information

Urban Wine Tasting – on July 27, from 1-5:00 PM at Jack London Pavilion. Come taste local wine and food from over 18 different wineries and restaurants and dance to the local live music. Ages 21 and over. Ticket Info


Waterfront Flicks James Bond thriller – “Skyfall” Aug. 8. Movies begin at sundown, grab dinner at a restaurant in the Square or pack a picnic and enjoy the Film on Market Lawn! 


Eat Real Festival Coming in September

Mark your calendar for Jack London Square, September 27-29,  because the Eat Real Festival is a celebration of good food! Learn where food comes from, who grows and makes it, and how they make it.  Event entrance is FREE and open to all ages, food is $5 or less.  Hours and Event Details

Historic Bridges Bay Cruise – Hop on the former Presidential yacht, the USS Potomac, Thursday, August 15 from 10:30 AM-1:30 PM, for a three hour tour viewing the three historic bridges on the SF Bay.  For tickets call 510-627-1215.


All Jack London Square Events

California Hispanic Chambers Convention

Don’t miss the CA Hispanic Chambers of Commerce 34th Annual Statewide Convention August 14-16, 2013. The CHCC represents the interests of more than 700,000 Hispanic businesses in California.


Port of Oakland by the Numbers

$300 million – the Port’s approximate annual operating budget, about one half of other U.S. West Coast ports like Seattle and Long Beach.

2.3 million – the approximate number of TEUs or Twenty Foot Equivalent Units that the seaport handled in 2012.

10  million – the approximate number of passengers Oakland International Airport (OAK) handled in 2012.


Join Us!

If you are a person seeking a job, a business looking for new opportunities, a community member who wants better parks and cleaner air, a government official looking to support your constituents, join us. We can do more by working together.

To find out about job opportunities with the Port of Oakland, one of our valued business partners, or related to one of our many infrastructure projects, click here to contact us. For current Port of Oakland job listings click here .

To do business with the Port or learn more about our certification process, click here to contact us.

For the current listing of RFPs and RFQs click here.

To lease space at Oakland’s Jack London Square, please click here to contact us.

To voice your support for the Port, schedule informational briefings, or request additional details about the positive economic impact of the Port of Oakland, please click here to contact us. 


Have a safe and happy Fourth of July and celebrate our nation’s  history of independence.