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Oakland Vies for Sacramento Port

From Associated Press

Port of Oakland officials want to take control of the financially struggling Port of Sacramento as part of efforts to expand maritime terminals for more Asian imports.

“The port assets in Northern California are very critical,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Jerry Bridges. “If we can keep that port open and viable, that is important for the region, the country and for the world.”

Oakland officials will compete against private firms to operate the port. They hope to use the 100-acre Port of Sacramento as a place where barges would arrive and depart carrying 40-foot-long containers to the larger Port of Oakland.

Under the plan, products such as produce would leave Sacramento on barges -- instead of trucks -- and travel down the Sacramento River to the Port of Oakland. Goods from Asia such as electronics and car parts would be barged from Oakland to Sacramento for the Central Valley and other inland regions.

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Officials say the move would take trucks off the road and open up the congested Port of Oakland.

Northern California’s inland ports have suffered in the global shipping trade because of shallow waters and distance from the Pacific Ocean. The Sacramento port is 79 nautical miles from San Francisco Bay.

In turn, the Port of Sacramento has lost business and decided several months ago to seek proposals from companies to run the operation.

“Privatization of the port may be able to stabilize our fiscal condition,” said John Sulpizio, director of the Port of Sacramento.

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Port of Oakland officials said they would use marketing tools much like the private sector to promote the Sacramento port to industry.

Proposals are due in Sacramento by Oct. 3.


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