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

The 12,500-TEU MSC Fabiola broke records when it first called at California ports in 2012.
West Coast ports will spend the coming year in much the same way they spent the past year: preparing for big ships operated by big carrier alliances.

News & Analysis

29 Sep 2014
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Seattle Monday signed an agreement to split the cost of a feasibility study for the deepening of the east and west waterways to 55 feet from the current depths of 34 and 51 feet.
28 Sep 2014
A Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel that was the target of anti-Israel protesters left the Port of Oakland late Saturday without being worked when longshoremen refused to report to their jobs, citing health and safety concerns.
28 Sep 2014
Cleanup efforts continued over the weekend at the Port of Los Angeles to remove wood fragments and timbers that were scattered into the water in the Sept 22 fire at the Pasha breakbulk terminal. The effort is expected to last for weeks.
27 Sep 2014
One of the unintended consequences of the Los Angeles-Long Beach PierPass program, which includes a traffic mitigation fee on containers that move during the day peak-time hours, is that retailers send their trucks to the harbor at night specifically to avoid the fee.
27 Sep 2014
About 40 anti-Israel protesters picketed the vessel Zim Shanghai Saturday morning at the Port of Oakland. The vessel was not worked during the day shift.
24 Sep 2014
Container handling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was back to normal by Wednesday’s night shift as the Los Angeles Fire Department declared Tuesday’s fire at the Pasha breakbulk terminal to be completely snuffed out.

Commentary

Seattle port commissioners were thinking “out of the box” in picking the first CEO from the private sector in a half-century.

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.