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

Gene Seroka
29 Jul 2014
In Gene Seroka’s first meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti after being named executive director of the Port of Los Angeles last month, the mayor told Seroka what is expected of him: “Maintain and grow the nation’s number one port.”
Gerald Desmond Bridge in Port of Long Beach
15 Jul 2014
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a fiscal year 2014-15 budget that calls for $579 million in capital expenditures, including replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge and redevelopment of the Middle Harbor container terminal.
15 Jul 2014
Members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8 in Portland walked off their jobs for about an hour today, but the dispute was not related to the coastwide ILWU contract negotiations underway in San Francisco.
Jon Slangerup
14 Jul 2014
Jon Slangerup, the new executive director at the Port of Long Beach, sees his greatest strength as being more of a builder of added value, as he was at FedEx Canada, than as a turnaround artist. That is why he is so excited about his position at the port, where he intends to continue the capital expansion projects, assess where additional expansion is required, but all the while adding value for port customers.
Weekly wrap-up for July 12, 2014
12 Jul 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association surprised watchers by announcing a 72-hour hiatus in their negotiations so that the union could deal with unrelated talks in the Pacific Northwest, and by extending the expired coastwide contract during the suspension of negotiations.

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.