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

30 Jan 2015
Harbor truckers in Los Angeles-Long Beach are preparing to legally challenge the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and marine terminal operators as soon as union mechanics attempt to detain trucker-owned or leased chassis at the ports under a reported agreement the ILWU reached with employers last week in coastwide contract negotiations.
05 Aug 2014
West Coast container volumes are up noticeably compared to last year.
APL Terminal, Global Gateway South, LA
31 Jul 2014
Operations at the APL terminal at the Port of Los Angeles were back to normal this afternoon after several weeks of congestion that frayed the nerves of harbor truckers and tarnished the reputation of a terminal that had been considered a model of efficiency in the industry.
31 Jul 2014
A group of pro-Palestinian activists will not be gathering en masse at Port of Oakland’s Berth 57 on Aug. 2 to protest the arrival of ships belonging to the Israel-based carrier Zim Integrated Shipping Services, the group announced on its Facebook page.
ITS terminal, Port of Long Beach
31 Jul 2014
Terminal operator and stevedore Ports America, with services in every major U.S. port, is expanding its footprint on the U.S. West Coast.
Middle Harbor expansion project, Long Beach
31 Jul 2014
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are aggressively expanding their cargo-handling capacity through multibillion-dollar capital programs, while at the same time being careful not to build excess capacity that will drive terminal operators’ rates lower.

Commentary

Among the many topics covered in this year’s State of the Union Address, President Obama discussed two issues that are critical for the continued growth of the U.S. economy — international trade and transportation infrastructure. Both are priorities the retail industry strongly supports.

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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.