The TraPac container terminal in the Port of Port of Los Angeles on Friday announced that it is losing the last of three liner customers that is moving its business to neighboring Long Beach because of the prolonged delay in approval of its expansion plans.
"We're losing the cargo because we don't have on-dock rail," said Frank Pisano, vice president of TraPac, which is the terminal operating arm of Japanese carrier MOL.
"We've lost China Shipping [Container Lines], we've lost CMA CGM, and now we've lost the last of our accounts, the consortium of Wan Hai, Sinotrans and Norasia," Pisano said.
The consortium will make its last call at TraPac on Nov. 8 before moving to Long Beach. That will leave the terminal with only the cargo shipped by its parent, MOL.
"We're the only facility in L.A. that doesn't have on-dock rail," he said.
TraPac has not been able to move ahead with its long-planned expansion to accommodate on-dock rail because of a prolonged environmental impact review process that Pisano said has taken 10 years and is still not completed.
"Nowadays with intermodal cargo in L.A. being 50 percent or more on our inbound, steamship lines can't afford to stay at our terminal because they are limited in their allocation of how much they can dray to their off-dock facilities," he said. "So, slowly but surely, all the accounts have had to have the required on-dock rail."
TraPac's capacity problems first became clear in 2003 when it lost CMA CGM because it couldn't handle the French carrier's new 8,000-TEU container ships at its 1,000-foot pier.
Pisano said the 6,000-page environmental impact review of TraPac's expansion plans had been issued by the Port of Los Angeles on July 15, but the usual 30-day public review of the statement had been extended for 90 days.
Pisano said that even if the environmental review approves TraPac's expansion plans, it will have to commit to a new lease and to all of the costs of cold-ironing and new yard tractors that will be required to bring the terminals emissions down to 10 parts per million.
He said TraPac would have to require its liner customers to equip all of their ships with cold-ironing gear, which costs $500,000 to $1 million per ship.
TraPac's lease with the port expired in 2002, but the terminal continues to operate on a month-to-month basis awaiting the approval of its environmental impact review.
"Our parent company, MOL, will give us enough business to pay our bills, but it's always better to have more volume," Pisano said.