The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously confirmed Gene Seroka as the new executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
Seroka was nominated to the position by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on May 27 and approved by the Harbor Board of Commissioners on June 5. In his new role, he will be responsible for managing the port’s $938.8 million budget, advancing major capital projects, growing trade volumes, promoting innovation and sustainable practices and interacting with the port’s stakeholders.
“Gene Seroka is a dynamic, seasoned executive with all the right knowledge and skills to seize the opportunities and navigate the challenges of a fiercely competitive industry and ensure the Port of Los Angeles continues to thrive as a global leader in international trade,” Garcetti said.
Seroka has more than 25 years of experience in shipping, global logistics and executive management. Most recently, he was head of commercial in the Americas region at APL. He previously served as president of the Americas for APL, overseeing the carrier’s operations and more than 1,000 employees in North, Central and South America. He served with APL in a number of positions since graduating from the University of New Orleans in 1988 with a master’s degree in business administration. His positions included vice president for the Middle East and East Africa, based in Dubai, for NOL Group; vice president of APL Logistics in Singapore; managing director of APL and APL Logistics Indonesia in Jakarta; and director of sales and marketing in Shanghai for APL (China).
Seroka assumes leadership of the Southern California port at a watershed time in the container shipping industry. Carriers are entering into alliances, or expanding existing alliances, and leveraging their large vessels and growing cargo volumes in their business dealings with ports and terminal operators. Los Angeles, the nation’s largest container port, handled nearly 5.7 million TEUs of imports and exports last year, down 4.6 percent from 2012, according to PIERS, the data division of JOC Group. APL is a major carrier at the Port of Los Angeles, and its terminal operating affiliate, Eagle Marine, operates one of the largest container terminals in the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.
Geraldine Knatz, who had served as executive director for almost eight years, retired at the end of 2013. Gary Lee Moore, who was general manager of the city of Los Angeles Department of Engineering, has been serving as the port’s interim executive director.
Seroka’s appointment fills one of three executive director vacancies at West Coast ports. Neighboring Long Beach is expected to announce a new executive director soon, and Tay Yoshitani, executive director at the Port of Seattle, is scheduled to retire next month.