Posted on November 29, 2021
The Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County have entered into an agreement aimed at relieving congestion at Los Angeles County ports in time for holiday shopping.
Under the joint-use agreement, the port has access to Wharf 3 within the naval base, along with two buildings and about 31 acres of land within and outside of the wharf, according to a joint statement. Typically the space, which sits right next to the port, is used by the Navy to tie up war ships, said Drew Verbis, a base spokesman.
Since the agreement was activated in early November, the port as been able to welcome a large cargo vessel at Wharf 3 and offload multiple 40-foot containers filled with merchandise that is expected to have a direct impact on holiday shopping demands, according to the statement.
It is the first time in over 10 years that the 2002 joint-use agreement has been activated, Verbis said.
“This collaboration is in full force today as we work together on ways to address the supply-chain crisis,” Kristin Decas, port director and CEO, said in a statement.
The large ships that are currently waiting to unload their goods at the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach can’t fit in the Port of Hueneme, but ships that carry up to 1,500 containers can be accommodated locally, said port spokeswoman Dona Toteva Lacayo by email. The port has been helping to relieve the backlog of ships in LA county by mooring smaller charter ships from Asia, she said.
Some southbound container vessels headed to LA County have also been unloading some or all of their cargo in the Port of Hueneme, according to the statement.
Wharf 3 is just one of about five ports within the port area owned by the Navy.
“The Navy has been defending commercial shipping at sea for America and her allies for over 240 years,” Verbis said. “The current engagement with the community to decrease port congestion reflects the spirit of that mission. One obvious difference is that the Navy is helping from the shore.”
The extra land made available in the agreement will be used to stage containers that will allow the Port of Hueneme to process more cargo while keeping congestion down within the port, according to the release.
The port provides all the labor required to moor and offload the incoming container vessels with the Navy only providing the space for the port to operate in, Verbis said.
The Port of Hueneme, owned by the Oxnard Harbor District, has had to hire additional staff to keep up with the increase in the workload, Lacayo said. The port and several of its shipping partners recently attended a job fair at Oxnard College with the goal of filling over 50 new positions, she said.
“Our growth is also the surrounding cities’ growth in business creation and economic vitality, as many of our customers are located in the city of Oxnard and hire people from all over Ventura County,” Lacayo said.