The Port of Los Angeles will invest billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure to maintain its ranking as the largest U.S. container port, according to the 2012-2017 strategic plan released over the weekend.
The port’s container business accounts for more than 80 percent of its revenue. About 50 percent of the containerized shipments are discretionary, which means they are headed to destinations outside of Southern California.
“Protecting and retaining discretionary cargo market share in the face of changing economic conditions and intensifying competition is the key to the future of the port and the region,” the port stated in the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.
Canada’s Pacific Coast ports are aggressively eating into the market share of U.S. West Coast ports, including Los Angeles, with competitive intermodal service to the Midwest. East and Gulf Coast ports are planning a similar assault when the Panama Canal expansion project is completed in early 2015.
Los Angeles handled 6,034,474 loaded 20-foot equivalent unit containers in 2011, according to PIERS, the Port Import-Export Service of the Journal of Commerce. Los Angeles last year handled 21 percent of the total U.S. container volume.
Infrastructure development has been the key to the port’s success, and it will continue to be a key factor in differentiating Los Angeles from other ports in the quest for discretionary cargo, the port stated. Los Angeles will spend more than $3 billion in the coming decade to develop marine terminals, on-dock rail yards, intermodal connectors and other transportation infrastructure.
The strategic plan details seven key objectives for the coming five years: develop and maintain world-class infrastructure; retain and grow market share; advance technology and sustainability; optimize land use; create a positive workplace culture; increase stakeholder and community awareness and support and strengthen financial performance.
The movement of containers by truck and rail is a significant contributor to traffic congestion and pollution in the Los Angeles basin. The port will therefore continue to seek community support through pollution-reduction measures such as operating vessels at berth from shore-side electrical power and encouraging the use of zero-emission trucks in the harbor area, especially those serving near-dock intermodal rail facilities.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @billmongelluzzo.
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