Shipping push could shore up Redwood City 

A system of transporting goods along a water highway will bring jobs and much-needed repairs to the Port of Redwood City.

The effort among the Port of Redwood City, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, the Port of Hueneme and the Port of San Diego will form a seagoing freight link along the California coast and may extend to the Pacific Northwest, Port of Redwood City Director Mike Giari said.

The system will be funded by the federal Department of Transportation’s Maritime Division.

Reductions in truck traffic and improved air quality are among the general benefits of substituting ships and barges for trucks. The Port of Redwood City will also benefit from the DOT’s approval. With federal funding, the Port will be able to make improvements to docks, construct a marshalling yard and install a 100-ton mobile crane, Giari said. Each port will develop its own local plan and funding requirements.

“We will be developing some new marine activity here at the port that we currently don’t have,” Giari said. “It will increase utilization of our docks, and the improvements that we make as a result of this may lead to some other types of cargo we could handle with a new crane.”

While Giari said the total amount of funding has yet to be determined, the proposed improvements will cost between $3 million and $4 million.

“These are very preliminary improvements, but will be enough to get us started,” Giari said. “With the Department of Transportation selecting our proposal, it opens the door for us to pursue more and do more detailed planning in the future.”

New marine activity coming into the Port of Redwood City means more revenue and more jobs. Because the transportation system is still in the planning stages, Giari could not provide an estimate in numbers of jobs that will be created.

“We will definitely need more people to move the trailers to and from the vessels,” Giari said. “Longshoreman jobs will be created as well as other jobs in operations at the small terminal. We are not creating a huge facility like in Oakland, but the port still needs to be operated and cargo needs to be moved.”

Port facts

- Founded in the 1850s
- Home to shipbuilding from 1851 to 1880s
- Five wharves, handling bulk cement, cargo, scrap metal and petroleum and liquids
- 190-berth marina

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