The marine terminal you are facing is the easternmost of the Port of Oakland's container shipping facilities. Howard Terminal is operated as a joint venture of SSA Terminals and Matson Navigation Company, the principal carrier of containerized freight and automobiles between the West Coast and Hawaii, Guam, and the Mid-Pacific. Equipped with three articulated boom cranes and one low-profile crane, the terminal can accommodate two containerships. It covers 50.3 acres and can handle approximately 120,000 containers.Charles P. Howard
What's in a Container?
Containerships traveling to Hawaii and other Pacific island ports carry a wide variety of consumer goods: fresh and frozen food, manufactured goods, clothing, electronics, automobiles, heavy equipment, and machinery. On the return trip, ships typically carry used automobiles, fresh pineapple, agricultural products (notably Maui Onions), cattle, and empty containers.
The original Howard Terminal, a private company founded in 1900, imported coal from Australia, England, Wales, China and British Columbia. The Oakland Gas Company (predecessor of P.G.&E.) used coal to make gas. After stevedores cleaned the cargo hold and lined it with burlap, they filled the ship with grain for the return voyage.
Howard Terminal is the only Oakland terminal that ships live animals. Cattle raised in Hawaii spend five days at sea in ventilated containers on their way to market in the continental U.S. Cattle first came to Hawaii in 1793 as a gift from Captain George Vancouver to King Kamehameha I.
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At the age of 19, Charles P. Howard began working on the docks built by his father John L. Howard. He became head of Howard Terminal Company in 1920 and managed it until the Port of Oakland purchased the 16-acres terminal in 1978.