Steinke Explains Port's Success

The willingness of the Port of Long Beach, its harbor commissioners and its customers to adapt to containerization and intermodalism have helped to make the port the second busiest container gateway in the country, said outgoing executive director Richard Steinke.

He was chosen as recipient of the 2011 Connie Award for the West Coast for his extraordinary contributions to container shipping. The Containerization and Intermodal Institute presents the award annually at a dinner in Long Beach.

“Containerization came to the Port of Long Beach in the early 1960s, just about the time the institute was forming, and we’ve been on a fast ride ever since,” Steinke said in his acceptance speech last week.
During the first 40 years of containerization, Long Beach grew rapidly as a container load center by building marine terminals and intermodal infrastructure, and attracting shipping lines and terminal operators with a “pro-business dedication to customer service,” Steinke said.

The port and its customers over the past decade made a dramatic and difficult transition to environmentally friendly growth.  “As you know, the culture of the Port of Long Beach changed dramatically when we adopted the green port policy. We made a big change in our administrative culture, and we asked our partners to make big changes as well,” he said.

It was the willingness of shipping lines, terminal operators, harbor truckers, railroads and cargo interests to reduce harmful diesel emissions that helped Long Beach win community support for its growth plans. “Together, we have shown the world that it is possible to increase our business and reduce emissions at the same time,” he said.

Steinke, who is retiring this fall after 20 years with the port, also thanked the politically-appointed harbor commissioners for representing the port’s interests before the city administration. The mayor and city council this past year called upon the port to increase its annual contribution to the city’s tidelands trust.

Steinke said the harbor commissioners defended the port’s needs and “did well by the port and the city.”

-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at Follow him on Twitter @billmongelluzzo.

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