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

22 Jul 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union today completed its two-day caucus in San Francisco, and the union will resume contract negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association on Wednesday.
22 Jul 2014
Pacific International Lines has advised its customers that effective Dec.
19 Jul 2014
Contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association will resume on Wednesday after a recess Monday and Tuesday for a previously scheduled longshore division caucus.
Weekly wrap-up for July 19
19 Jul 2014
While it is obvious that beneficial cargo owners shipped early this year through the West Coast in anticipation of the July 1 deadline for contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers, reports of cargo surges at Canadian and U.S. East Coast ports in May and June indicate retailers were also diverting shipments away from West Coast ports.
18 Jul 2014
Contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association will recess beginning Monday for a previously scheduled union caucus.
Ever Lambent at the Port of Los Angeles
17 Jul 2014
A surge of imports through Los Angeles-Long Beach in June caught transportation providers by surprise, and helps explain why the ports had problems with terminal congestion and capacity shortages in both the rail and drayage trucking sectors.

Commentary

Shippers are breathing a sigh of relief because there haven’t been any major disruptions at U.S. West Coast ports, nearly a month after a brief extension of the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association expired. Both sides seem to understand that a shutdown of any kind wouldn’t be in their best interest.

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.