Shipping carrier ONE to resume service at the Port of Oakland

October 27, 2021

Japanese shipping carrier ONE’s iconic pink cargo vessels will be returning to the Port of Oakland next month, giving some packers hope their logistics issues might ease.

ONE, also known as Ocean Network Express, the world’s sixth-largest container carrier, will resume service to Oakland on November 13, a port spokesman said last week. The carrier pulled out of Oakland in 2019.

The carrier’s PS5 service route will call on Shanghai, Ningbo, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Tokyo.

“This restoration of service by ONE will really go a long way to help stabilize the supply chain, not to mention our import and export partners that have also been wanting this,” said Robert Bernardo, the Port’s Director of Communications.

ONE’s PS5 service is the latest Asia service acquisition at the Port in 2021, joining CMA-CGM’s Golden Gate service; Wan Hai’s AA5 service; Matson’s CCX service; and MSC’s Sentosa service, said the Port.

“That is awesome,” said one Central California packer upon hearing about the return of ONE to the Port of Oakland. “It’s really nice to see them coming back.”

The packer said it costs him about 3 cents/lb to send containers to Oakland compared with 9 cents/lb to send them to Los Angeles/Long Beach.

A Kern County packer also welcomed the news, noting that congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have forced the packer to stop packing due to a lack of storage space at their packing facility.

“I’ll pay $300 extra to go to Oakland,” said the Kern County packer. “An extra $300 is not that big of a deal for a $100,000 load.”

A second Kern County packer, when reached last week for comment, said a team from his office was up in Oakland that very day on a fact-finding mission, scoping out the possibility of shipping through San Francisco Bay.

“It used to be, if you put an order in with us, within three weeks of getting the order, it would be on a vessel,” said the second Kern County packer. “Now it is taking two months plus.”

According to industry sources, the vessel queue at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Friday had reached 75 vessels at anchor, with another eight set to arrive by Tuesday.

In Oakland, the vessel queue remains at zero, said Bernardo. Stratamarkets first reported the Port of Oakland’s vessel queue had dropped to zero in early September.

The vessel queue at the Port of Oakland dropped to zero partly because of a lack of service, said Karen Vellutini, executive vice president of Devine Intermodal, a transportation services firm based in Sacramento.

Several carriers stopped serving the port due to congestion issues related to the installation of new, larger cranes, as well as a shortage of labor, Vellutini said. High spot rates for containers also meant the shipping lines started to prioritize returning empty containers to China, which meant bypassing smaller ports.

The Port of Oakland finished installing the cranes this summer, and the longshoreman’s union at the port has hired and trained 300 new workers, which is attracting carriers back to the port, said Vellutini.

“We got the labor and the cranes, we just need the ships, which are slowly starting to rebound,” said Vellutini.

Another member of the transportation industry in California, who did not want to be named, welcomed the news. He said that the Port needs to be careful in how they manage an increase traffic in order to avoid the congestion issues that drove away the carriers in the first place, but that an increase in service is a “step in the right direction.”