Securing Jobs and Stability for the Local Workforce
January 7, 2019 — Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO) joins BMW North America (BMW) and GLOVIS America (GLOVIS) to secure their presence at the Port of Hueneme with long-term contracts.
Representing over half of the Port’s cargo revenue, the automobiles being imported will reach more than 13 states. In addition, the Port also exports globally multiple OEM brands manufactured in the United States, acting as Ventura County’s international commerce gateway.
“In a time of uncertainty from ongoing global trade talks and a watchdog approach to the tariff discussion, we are encouraged to see our major automobile customers reaffirm their continued investment in our Port and our community.” Said Oxnard Harbor District President, Mary Anne Rooney. “These are such great companies to have bringing highly-skilled jobs to our district. The average salary for the auto industry port jobs is approximately $73,000 per year.”
“The Wallenius Wilhelmsen, BMW, and GLOVIS contracts are signed for another five year period, with WWO having an option to extend through 2028,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. “In a competitive environment, our Port works around the clock to keep our customers bringing their business here and creating good paying jobs for our local workforce. These jobs provide equal opportunity for our local residents to provide for their families, even giving their children a fair chance to pay for college.”
Unlike most public agencies, the Port of Hueneme does not collect a tax. Instead, the Port sustains itself on the wharfage and fees charged to the shipping lines for using the harbor. Out of those revenues, the Port must provide and maintain the over $179 million of assets which enables the vessels to dock and unload cargo safely.
“The residual benefits our community sees from companies like Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, BMW & GLOVIS choosing to stay at the Port are more than just good paying jobs. They also include long term investments in the Port’s infrastructure and safety, as well as their commitment to the Port’s environmental initiatives,” said Jason Hodge, Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner. The Port has used revenues from these customers to install and maintain the shoreside power system for vessels to plug into electricity while at berth, reducing diesel emissions; retrofit Port lighting with LED technology to reduce light pollution effects on migrating birds; and implement storm water drainage systems to reduce and filter runoff.
WWO imports various OEM brands such as Subaru, Land Rover, Maserati, and Mitsubishi through the Port of Hueneme. Currently, they are one of the largest ro-ro shipping lines in the world, with vessels traveling around the globe to deliver their automobiles to Hueneme, even by way of the Panama Canal. Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean pioneered the designs that have led to today’s state-of-the-art roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels and has a fleet of more than 60 ro-ro vessels globally. WWO, its stevedore Pacro, and processing center Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions in Oxnard, invest in our local workforce as approximately 90% of their employees are City of Oxnard residents.
Len Mazzella of WWS stated, “We are pleased to extend our long-standing agreement with the Port of Hueneme. Our relationship is an example of a true partnership, having a mutual vision towards sustainable growth in a highly competitive market, leading to prosperity in our community and for our customers.”
BMW and WWS also invest in the local high school youth by presenting to the Port’s Global Trade and Logistics 12-week OUHSD course each semester. Students in the course learn about the unique role each company plays in the global supply chain of automobiles and of the employment opportunities right in their own backyard as well as across the globe.
A Port customer since 1987, BMW imports their automobiles, including MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, from seven different countries including Germany. Many of these automobiles come by way of the Panama Canal to Hueneme. BMW also utilizes the Port’s Ventura County Railway to bring BMWs manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina for distribution to the West Coast markets.
In addition to importing automobiles, BMW has invested millions of dollars into the local community through infrastructure, salaries for local hires, property taxes, and foreign trade zone participation. Together, the distribution center and adjacent engineering and emission test center, located two miles from the Port, directly employ over 150 people. These direct jobs include: pre-delivery inspection, labeling, accessory installation, port modification, mechanical/warranty repair, paint and body repair, and rail loading.
“Our continued partnership with the Port is enabling BMW to thrive here, and will result in continued investment in the local communities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme specifically,” said Al Cardona, Oxnard Vehicle Distribution Center Manager.
GLOVIS America, a customer at the Port since 2007, currently imports South Korean-made Kia and Hyundai automobiles, and exports U.S.-made automobiles to Asia, amongst other major OEMs in multiple trade lanes. As one of the largest OEM logistics providers nationally, to date, GLOVIS has processed over 1 million automobiles in the United States since its 2002 start. GLOVIS also recently chose to be a strategic partner of the Port of Hueneme with another 5 year extension to their agreement through 2024. Their investment in local labor and the community in Ventura County has brought over 160 jobs and has also made them a long term partner of the Naval Base Ventura County, where their auto processing facility is located.
“The tremendous success we have had since 2002 would never had happened without the strategic partnership we have enjoyed with both the Port of Hueneme Staff and Naval Base Ventura County,” explained Frank Cerrito of GLOVIS America. “The flexibility and desire to collectively grow the business and create new jobs has not only helped GLOVIS, Port of Hueneme and NBVC, but the community as a whole benefits from our continuing partnership. We look forward to another successful and prosperous year in 2019.”