The Port of Los Angeles in the coming decade will spend more than $3 billion to deepen its access channel, expand marine terminals, add on-dock rail capacity and improve traffic flow through street and bridge improvements in the harbor area.
The capital improvement program is needed to accommodate a projected significant increase in cargo volume, better handle the container ships of 8,000 to 10,000 20-foot equivalent units capacity that are becoming increasingly numerous in the harbor and reduce pollution from port operations, said Michael Christensen, deputy executive director of development.
Christensen told the Propeller Club of Los Angeles-Long Beach Wednesday that projects to expand existing container terminals will add about 200 acres. Also, the port has a long-term project at Pier 500 that could result in a new 200-acre terminal.
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Containerized Ocean Trade - Southern California Ports
Expansion projects at existing facilities are in various stages of development. The port last week celebrated a second phase expansion project of the China Shipping terminal that added a second vessel berth. Further expansion will result in another wharf extension and backland expansion to nearly double the size of the facility to 142 acres.
Los Angeles is close to completing a wharf extension at the TraPac terminal to allow for berthing of two vessels simultaneously. Additional expansion will add an on-dock rail yard and a larger gate complex.
The port will increase the APL Ltd. terminal by 40 acres, a project that should move rather quickly, Christensen said. The port also plans to reconfigure wharf and backland areas at the Yang Ming and Yusen terminals and to replace the wharf and deepen the berthing area at the Evergreen terminal.
Pier 500 is a long-term project that still requires environmental clearances and design work. The site is now being used as a dredge disposal site. Obtaining the permits and constructing the approximately 200-acre container terminal could take as long as 10 years.
The port is well along on a project to deepen its main access channel to 53 feet, a $222 million project that should be completed in 2012.
Los Angeles is involved one way or another in several important rail projects. The port intends to build a rail yard at Berth 200 to serve as the home for Pacific Harbor Line, which performs switching work for the Class 1 railroads, and to provide additional support tracks for on-dock rail operations. Additional support tracks are a pressing need in the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.
Union Pacific Railroad intends to expand its near-dock Intermodal Container Transfer Facility less than five miles from the harbor and BNSF Railway wants to build its own near-dock Southern California International Gateway nearby. Environmental documents should come out this summer. Although the near-dock yards are being privately funded, they are important to the growth and efficiency of operations at both of the ports, Christensen said.
Los Angeles also intends to rework the port master plan that has guided development for a number of years. Included in the study would be ways to reuse and reconfigure the Terminal Island property in the harbor in order to promote better land use for marine terminal and rail operations.