Growth at the Port of Redwood City

In recent years, the Port of Redwood City has welcomed some 50 to 60 cargo ships each year, up to 40 of which have been filled with concrete aggregate material slated for construction projects in the Bay Area and beyond.

Executive Director Mike Giari described the port’s history of exporting redwood lumber in the ’50s and ’60s, and pallets of canned foods when the Peninsula was covered with orchards and farms. In the last two years, the port has seen an average of 1.2 million metric tons in sand and imported aggregate materials used for concrete come through its docks. According to the port’s logs, the number of imported aggregate materials entering the port has more than doubled since 2009, when the recession took a toll on building projects throughout the Bay Area.

Vessels carrying concrete aggregates may dock at the port for 12 to 24 hours, using on-board machinery to unload their cargo onto conveyor belts and into silos or piles. Unlike Oakland’s port, where ships carrying large containers can offload cargo with cranes, the Redwood City port specializes in moving bulk materials off and onto ships and barges. The cargo is later loaded onto trucks or rail cars for distribution across the country.

“The port is crucial. By using water and rail, it reduces trucking and traffic in the area,” said Giorgio Garilli, administrator and operations manager at the port.

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