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

Port of Los Angeles
16 Sep 2014
Container volumes at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex were basically flat in August compared to last year as importers diverted cargo to Canadian ports and U.S. East Coast ports to avoid possible disruptions from West Coast longshore contract negotiations.
17 Dec 2013
Longshoremen at the Port of Portland on Tuesday were performing work on a Hanjin Shipping Co. vessel that could influence whether the South Korean carrier continues to call in Portland in the coming year.
Oakland port
04 Dec 2013
Container traffic at West Coast ports declined 3 percent in October compared to the same month last year. Imports were down 4 percent and exports dropped 2 percent.
27 Nov 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Lori Ann Farrell, former controller and chief financial officer for the city of Long Beach, was appointed to the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission to replace Nick Sramek, who resigned last week.
Money on a fish hook
26 Nov 2013
The plan by Maersk Line, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co. to form the world’s largest vessel-sharing alliance, which would control about 25 percent of the container volume in the trans-Pacific, presents great opportunity for U.S. ports, but also significant competitive risks.
Containers at the Port of Tacoma.
25 Nov 2013
The ports of Seattle and Tacoma’s combined container volume in October was 285,161 20-foot-equivalent units, declining 9.9 percent from 316,371 TEUs in October 2012.

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.