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Ports Port of Oakland

Lighting promotes safety at
New Port of Oakland Terminal

A port container terminal can be a dangerous place to work. At Berths 55 through 59, a new 530-acre container terminal constructed by the Port of Oakland, ships are unloaded with large cranes during all hours of the day and night.

The 8- to 10-foot high containers are stored on yard chassis until they are transported by truck or rail. Many of the containers are taken to the Joint Intermodal Container Yard, which adjoins the new facility.

“When we were designing the terminal, we knew we needed to have high levels of visibility so the longshoremen could see any obstacles or people on the ground,” said John Stewart, electrical mechanical supervisor and residential engineer for the Port of Oakland. “Each container weighs 40 to 50 tons and the top picks are stacking them two and three high when they move them. Because the containers are stacked five high during storage, we were concerned about shadows.”

The port installed high mast systems from Holophane mounted on 100-foot poles. More than 1,000 of the luminaires installed are HMSP downlights with a square distribution pattern and 1,000-watt compact high-pressure sodium lamps.

More than 100 Prismbeam® floodlights are used to light the bull rail where the containers are unloaded from the ship and the terminal perimeter. The floodlights also use 1,000-watt HPS lamps

“Because of the luminaires’ photometrics, we realized we could provide the light levels needed with 10 fixtures mounted on each pole instead of the 12 luminaires were had planned to use,” said Stewart. “Although we compromised and used 11 luminaires on each pole, we still incurred significant savings because less hardware was required.”

Illumination levels are 5 footcandles average maintained, with a minimum of 3.5 footcandles. These are the minimum levels required for the longshoremen to work after dark.

Recently, the port instituted a dark skies policy in response to complaints about too much light shining up into the sky. The port is located near residential areas and the Chabot Observatory, so dark skies-type lighting was a must. The HMSP luminaires have an external shield to eliminate light trespass; they meet all Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) full cutoff requirements.

More than 100 poles were installed across the center of the facility and close to the roadways. The poles are spaced 300 feet apart.

“As a port facility, we have a limited amount of useable land,” said Stewart. “We placed the poles as far apart as possible and located them out of harm’s way whenever we could.”

Presently, the port installs all lighting systems, then turns the responsibility for maintaining the units over to the tenants. The HMSP luminaires have an open ventilated design that minimizes dirt depreciation, which translates into less maintenance. The high mast system includes an integral winch assembly that lowers the luminaires to the ground for servicing.

“We have used Holophane high mast systems at our facilities for more than 20 years and have found them to be very flexible and reliable,” Stewart said. “The luminaires at the new terminal provide bright, uniform illumination—even when it’s foggy. With the lighting, we are able to unload large ships in an eight-hour shift—no matter when they come into port.”


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