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.

 

News & Analysis

23 Aug 2016
Terminal operators and chassis providers spar over cause of equipment shortages in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Total Terminals International at Long Beach, pictured, with capacity for more than 3 million TEUS, could provide a much-needed cash infusion to Hanjin Shipping.
15 Aug 2016
Container line faces sharp pressure to boost its cashflow.
12 Aug 2016
Laden imports at the Port of Long Beach declined in July, as high inventories and uncertainty in the shipping industry created headwinds for demand in the first month of the traditional trans-Pacific peak season.
A contract extension would shore up the competitiveness of West Coast ports for Asian imports, which face a new challenge from the larger locks of the Panama Canal.
11 Aug 2016
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Thursday gave a huge boost to beneficial cargo owners looking for long-term labor stability.
Dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, pictured at the Port of Long Beach, will meet this week in San Francisco to consider early contract talks, the acceptance of which would be a marked departure from historical precedent.
09 Aug 2016
A historic International Longshore and Warehouse Union caucus that could solidify the role of the West Coast as the preferred and natural gateway for U.S. trade with Asia will convene Wednesday in San Francisco.
30 Jul 2016
Ports in the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest are planning feverishly for the larger cargo surges they know will occur in the coming years from big ships operated by powerful carrier alliances.

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Video

Don Snyder, Port of Long Beach's Director of Business Development, on the lasting impact of the 2015 labor upset at West Coast ports. Looking to 2016, Snyder says, many processes have been improved and investments made, and productivity gains are being seen already. In this interview, he explains the response to supply chain optimization needs and working with multiple partners to ensure smooth transfers.
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.