Sometimes Good Guys Finish First

Things are changing at the Port of Long Beach. Robert Kanter, director of environmental affairs and planning, is retiring, taking years of valuable experience and talent dealing with environmental issues with him.

Bob has been with the port for a number of years, with his last assignment overseeing the port’s environmental, transportation and master land use planning divisions.  

With the support of previous port commissions, Bob and his talented team achieved the goal of making Long Beach “The Green Port” — overseeing some of the most transformative and innovative environmental programs in the history of the port industry.

Despite the local political distractions, Bob always served the port with distinction and integrity. He stayed true to the principles of real science (versus political science) in developing environmental policy on issues, bringing about positive changes effectively.

I had some disagreements with Bob over the years (he was always wrong), but I never questioned his sincerity. Despite the long hours, countless meetings and mind-numbing reports, his commitment to the port never wavered.  

At the same time, Bob continued to maintain a focus on the important things in life: his family, surfing and drinking fine wine.

A new chapter has opened up for Bob, but sadly one has closed at the Port of Long Beach.

John McLaurin is president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. Contact him at

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