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Home » Ports » SSA head says Port of Oakland turning basin expansion is critical
The 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin arriving at the Port of Oakland in 2016
The 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin arriving at the Port of Oakland in 2016

SSA head says Port of Oakland turning basin expansion is critical

PortandTerminal.com, March 1, 2019

Oakland, CA – In a recent interview with the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT), Jim Rice, General Manager of SSA Terminals, emphasized the urgent need to expand the port’s turning basin if it wants to stay in the game with the new larger container vessels.

SSA Terminals runs the Port of Oakland’s largest container terminal, Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT). Rice said that the Port must quickly embark on an expansion of the Turning Basin located in the Oakland Estuary or face the loss of next generation container ship business.

Oakland Estuary Turning Basin


Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) is located on the north side of the Oakland Estuary. The Turning Basin is shown in red and is at the right side of the map. Howard Terminal is the innermost terminal in green at the right and adjoins the Turning Basin. (Source: Port of Oakland)

Manoeuvring room in the Turning Basin

Rice said that the need to expand the turning basin became clear when CMA’s 18,000 teu (twenty-foot unit) container ship, Benjamin Franklin, docked at OICT three years ago. Simply put, maneuvering the ship through the Turning Basin “was not going to work on a regular basis because the Basin was too narrow.”

The Turning Basin is 1,500 feet (457 meters) in diameter. CMA’s Benjamin Franklin is 1309 feet in length (399 meters) which leaves insufficient room to manoeuvre for a vessel the length of over three and half football fields.

Image: A vessel the length of 1,300 feet shown to approx. scale at Oakland’s Turning Basin

Jim Rice is not alone in his concerns about the Turning Basin. Jim Driscoll, Marine Director at the Port of Oakland recently underscored the need to widen the turning basin and outlined the port’s plans to make it big ship friendly. “If we can’t handle those ships, they won’t come” he stated during the interview.

Right now, the turning basis isn’t big enough. These are 1,300-foot-long ships and they cannot turn around

John Driscoll, Marine Director Port of Oakland

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