West Coast Ports

West Coast Ports

Productivity is the name of the game for West Coast ports leading up to the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015. Unlike many of the ports on the East and Gulf coasts that are deepening their harbors and enlarging their marine terminals to prepare for the mega-ships that will begin transiting the canal in 2015, the major West Coast gateways already have 50-foot harbors and terminals of 100 to more than 400 acres in size.

In order to prevent an erosion of market share to East Coast ports, the Seattle-Tacoma, Oakland and Los Angeles-Long Beach gateways must improve their efficiency in unloading vessels, moving containers through the yards and expediting the departure of containers by truck and intermodal rail.

The 25 to 26 container moves per crane per hour that mark West Coast port operations must be increased to at least 30 moves per hour. Terminal operators are exploring options for automating yard, gate and on-dock rail operations. The busiest terminals will invest in costly equipment such as dual-hoist cranes, automated guided vehicles and automated stacking cranes. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle about 40 percent of U.S. imports from Asia, will spend more than $7 billion in the coming decade on larger, more efficient terminals and improved connectivity to rail and highway networks.

Offering a transit time advantage of a week to 10 days to the U.S. interior, and the potential for reducing per-slot vessel costs by hundreds of dollars with the arrival of vessels having a capacity of 13,000-TEU capacity, West Coast ports want to beat the canal by even further expanding their 70 percent market share of U.S. imports from Asia.

 

Special Coverage

But the ports should recoup much of their lost market share next year and beyond if they address their congestion and labor problems, speakers at the Port of Long Beach Pulse of the Ports breakfast said Wednesday.

News & Analysis

29 Jun 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said Monday that bills before Congress seeking to avoid lengthy negotiations marked by slowdowns and employer retaliation that recently plagued West Coast ports aren’t the answer.
27 Jun 2015
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union doesn’t buy ocean carriers’ explanation that they stopped providing chassis to truckers and cargo interests in order to save money, said Bobby Olvera, president of ILWU Local 13 in Southern California.
27 Jun 2015
U.S. agriculture shouldn’t expect dramatic improvements in cargo-handling productivity to come out of the new West Coast longshore contract, said Ed DeNike, chief operating officer at SSA Marine, said the contract itself will not deliver productivity.
24 Jun 2015
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission is moving to force ocean carriers to provide data and information for monitoring a FMC-authorized agreement formed to attack West Coast port congestion.
West Coast Port of Oakland
23 Jun 2015
The damage inflicted by months of West Coast port congestion and supply chain delays lingers even now, more than a month after management and labor ratified a new longshore contract on May 22. Trans-Pacific volumes at West Coast ports have returned to normal levels, but the ports and carriers that call them lost market share in the first five months of 2015. The only winners were non-vessel-operating common carriers and East Coast ports.
19 Jun 2015
Critics of the five-year contract ratified in May by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association say the benefits were weighted heavily in favor of the union, but PMA President Jim McKenna says that wasn’t the case at all.

Commentary

A leading retail industry consultant suggests the nearly year-long stretch of disruption and uncertainty tied to the recent West Coast longshore labor standoff wasn’t just a minor event in the minds of those companies. Wanting to “de-risk,” shippers may alter their supply chain plans, bypassing the West Coast as much as they can.

More Commentary

Video

Don Krusel, Prince Rupert Port Authority president/CEO, speaks about competitiveness, labor relations and plans for expansion.
Dr. Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director, Port of Long Beach, discusses port productivity and the impact of mega-ships, the role of infrastructure investment, and the need to emphasize system improvements to increase efficiency.
Acting Long Beach Port Director Al Moro talks about the ambitious projects to prepare the port for the big new container ships that are calling there. POLB and private investors are providing billions of dollars to build new rail lines and a huge automated container terminal, as well as to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, which is too low for the new ships.