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

US West Coast ports focus on operational improvements.

News & Analysis

19 May 2017
'Driver-centric' brokerage aims to unlock small-carrier capacity for freight shippers and give truck drivers a new pipeline of freight to tap.
26 Mar 2014
While striking truck drivers in Vancouver waited to hear if the British Columbia legislature will approve a back-to-work
 An on-strike container-truck driver pulls over his truck in a street during the protest at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, Canada, March 21, 2014. Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA/Newscom.
25 Mar 2014
The provincial government of British Columbia was making progress today on implementing a back-to-work bill designed to end a crippling truckers’ strike that is now in its fourth week at Port Metro Vancouver.
21 Mar 2014
Truck traffic at Port Metro Vancouver today approached 40 percent of normal, which is the highest level reached since the strike by union and non-union drivers began three weeks ago, according to a port spokesman.
21 Mar 2014
A continued truck strike at Port Metro Vancouver could cost the major Canadian freight railroads intermodal business and
20 Mar 2014
A warning by the president of Port Metro Vancouver to striking truckers to report to work today or risk losing the license that allows them to perform harbor work did not have the desired effect.

Commentary

Leveraging technology and investment to focus on the niche of serving the needs of fast-moving cargo is a positive direction for the ports to pursue.