Port of Oakland gets first-ever direct link to Middle East

The Port of Oakland has announced that Japanese carrier ONE is launching a new Asia-U.S. service which will provide the first-ever direct link between Oakland and the Middle East. The first ship in the service, the ONE Aquila, should arrive at Oakland International Container Terminal on May 7.

The new route, called the Far East – Pacific 2, will be operated by a total of 18 container ships. Each of the ships will have a capacity to carry 14,000 TEU. That places them among the largest container vessels calling at U.S. ports, according to the port.

ONE is combining two existing routes calling at the Port of Oakland to create this service. The route will reach nine ports in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, the U.S., and Saudi Arabia.

The Far East – Pacific 2 service will incorporate stops at Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port, providing Oakland’s first direct connection to the Middle East. Until now, ships from the Arab world transferred Oakland-bound cargo to other vessels at intermediate ports.

“Naturally we’re encouraged by this development,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll in the press release announcing the new service. “The size of the ships means extra cargo capacity coming to Oakland and the Port rotation extends Oakland’s reach in global markets.”

The port expects the cargo mix on the new service to be evenly divided between imports and exports.California farm goods exported to overseas markets should be a prominent part of the mix.