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  April 14th, 2014 | Written by

Port of San Francisco

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Jim Maloney, Maritime Marketing Manager

FTZ No. 3 • 255 total acres

six berths • 405,000 sq. ft. warehouse space • 40-ft. channel • ICTF

Rail: UP, San Francisco Bay Railroad

Highways: I-280, U.S. 101

Top export destinations: Japan, Korea, Indonesia

Top export commodities: Tallow, Vegetable Oil

Jim Maloney: We have one of the most diverse maritime portfolios of any port on the West Coast. We’ve got about 12 different business lines and that includes cross shipping, which a lot of folks do know about us, but we also still have an active cargo business. We are focused on break bulk, project cargo and bulk, and we’re looking to ramp up our bulk export portfolio as well. We’ve got direct rail access with Union Pacific Railroad and they’re excited about exploring new business cargo opportunities. One thing that folks may not know is we operate the largest dry dock dedicated to ship repair on the West Coast of North and South America here at the Port of San Francisco, so we can handle Post-Panamax vessels that really no other dry dock can handle or larger ships than any other one can, here at Pier 70. We had a record year last year of revenues for ship repair.

Global Trade: How does one go about ramping up break-bulk exports?

Jim Maloney: We built a rail bridge that gives us direct rail connection to our Pier 80 break-bulk facilities and now we’re targeting direct from ship to rail and vice versa at Pier 80, for cargo that can go direct from ship to rail and get distributed throughout the western U.S. or even farther afield and vice versa for cargo that may be coming in for export that would require rail, like transformers, wind towers. We are also looking to attract automobile business and that might allow us to attract railroad carriers who would have business, not just automobiles but other break bulk and project cargo business that could go on railroad vessels. So, that’s a new area of break bulk that we’re pursuing.

Global Trade: Are technology or electronics top exports for you?

JM: Technology is an export out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Most of it goes by air, so if it comes inbound, and some goes outbound, most of that goes by air, believe it or not. Another item folks may not realize about us: We also operate Foreign Trade Zone No. 3 and have been approved for the new Alternative Site Framework program by the Foreign Trade Zones Board. The foreign trade zone benefit has become basically a virtual benefit that we can overlay on any business that’s within our seven-county Bay Area service area. That ASF designation has really transformed our foreign trade zone into kind of a virtual foreign trade zone that can benefit companies throughout that service area, a lot of which are technology importers or exporters.

Global Trade: So have you already gotten the designation? Has that already had an impact for you or are you expecting it to soon?

JM: Yeah, it’s already had an impact. We originally applied for two counties, San Francisco and San Mateo counties back in 2010, and then in 2012 we applied to expand it to five additional counties. We have just the past month added two new foreign trade zone sites to our foreign trade zone portfolio and we are actively marketing it to the rest of the area. We’re finding a lot of interest in the program for business and economic development for the region.

Global Trade: How many sites are there?

JM: We’ve got a total of four now, so we just basically doubled in the last month our number of sites, but there is a lot of interest in other sites that are now looking at the program too. So it’s been a relatively sleepy program that’s kind of been woken up with the changes in the program that have happened that the Foreign Trade Zone Board has initiated since 2009.