MOTCO’s location is ideal for serving its customers. The Tidal Area contains around 5 miles of shoreline and facilities for reception, staging, and loading of ammunition; railroad and truck classification yards; and three ocean terminal piers. Its purpose is to allow the Department of Defense operations plan for the Pacific Rim. It also has the capability to act as the strategic launch platform for the West Coast.
834th TB/MOTCO personnel loading is primarily civilians and contractors in support, as military personnel comprise just 5 percent of the loading. It relies on contracted manpower for mission support functions, including security. Contractors and tenants include around 50 people, but more than doubles during a mission.
5110 Port Chicago Highway, Concord, CA
MOTCO is located in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to 7.1 million residents and is one of the most diverse economic regions in the United States. If the region were a country, its economy would be the tenth largest in the world. The MOTCO area is relatively rural relative to the region. The Inland Area is within the boundaries of the City of Concord and neighbors the unincorporated community of Clyde. The Tidal Area is part of unincorporated Contra Costa County and adjacent to the City of Pittsburg and the unincorporated community of Bay Point. Five of MOTCO’s seven offshore islands are located within Solano County. Land use development is guided by existing federal, regional, state, and local land use plans and policies, and many of the communities adjacent to MOTCO have formally adopted specific documents for land use planning that must be regarded as MOTCO considers its own development.
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MOTCO installation lands were formerly Department of the Navy lands within Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment (NWSSBD) Concord. On 1 October 2008, MOTCO properties were transferred from the Navy to the Army per 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommendations. However, the Army’s presence at MOTCO dates back to 1 October 1997, when the Army’s 1302nd Major Port Command was relocated from the Oakland Army Base to MOTCO and became the 834th TB. The City of Concord has been recognized as the Local Reuse Authority for the approximately 5,028-acres of former NWSSBD Concord lands that were determined surplus.
MOTCO is the site of the Port Chicago Naval Magazine explosion, the worst home-front disaster of World War II. On 17 July 1944, the massive detonation of 3.5 million pounds of high explosives killed 320, injured 390, and caused an estimated $12.5 million in property damage (in 1944 dollars). Today, the 5-acre Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at MOTCO at the site of the explosion.
MOTCO is the primary West Coast common-user ammunition terminal, and it is home to the 834th Transportation Battalion (TB) of the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) installation. MOTCO is located at a strategic site in north-central Contra Costa County, California, in the East San Francisco Bay region.
The Installation is composed of an approximately 115-acre Inland Area and an approximately 6,526-acre Tidal Area, which includes 2,045 acres of offshore islands. These two areas are connected by a stretch of Port Chicago Highway. MOTCO operates three ocean terminal piers and an Army-owned rail system that connects with two major public rail lines.
The mission of the 834th TB is to provide terminal and distribution services in support of deploying and redeploying forces in the California Area of Responsibility; to safely provide ammunition terminal services, including the provision of operational and training synergies between East and West Coast ammunition terminals; and to oversee Installation management of MOTCO. MOTCO is strategically relevant both due to its location and Net Explosive Weight capacity. The maximum Net Explosive Weight capacity of 18.8 million pounds represents nearly 25 percent of the nation’s total ammunition throughput capability.
The 834th TB executes its ammunition mission at MOTCO and its general cargo mission at four different commercial West Coast (California) ports: Oakland, Port Hueneme, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and San Diego. Using commercial ports for the general cargo mission can have disadvantages, including the increase of congestion and competition for port access and less access control.
MOTCO receives ammunition by rail and highway; stages containers, railcars, and trailers; and loads vessels with containers and breakbulk (loose items) ammunition. No ammunition storage occurs at MOTCO. Rail lines, piers, holding pads, transfer facilities, staging areas, railcar class yards, barricaded railcar holding areas, and Main Supply Routes are all operated in support of cargo receipt and movement.
To meet the demands of a rapidly transforming Army, MOTCO requires a clearly defined vision for the future and a strategy for transforming and developing its facilities.
The long-term vision for MOTCO is to transform the Installation into a versatile, modern, and efficient seaport capable of receiving, staging, and onward moving ammunition and general cargo as necessary to meet Department of Defense (DoD) requirements.
- Ongoing Ammunition Mission: to meet all current and future Operations Plan requirements.
- Expanded Cargo Mission: to improve MOTCO’s ability to support general cargo operations as necessary to meet DoD requirements while focusing on the primary ammunition mission.
The short-term vision for MOTCO is focused on the ongoing ammunition mission. It also includes:
- Addressing current facility deficiencies (most buildings are of 1940’s era construction).
- Optimizing functional relationships.
- Implementing changes needed to fully conduct the 834th TB’s ownership of MOTCO.
- Planning in a manner that allows for the flexibility to accommodate the long-term vision.