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

But the ports should recoup much of their lost market share next year and beyond if they address their congestion and labor problems, speakers at the Port of Long Beach Pulse of the Ports breakfast said Wednesday.

News & Analysis

29 Jun 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said Monday that bills before Congress seeking to avoid lengthy negotiations marked by slowdowns and employer retaliation that recently plagued West Coast ports aren’t the answer.
27 Sep 2014
About 40 anti-Israel protesters picketed the vessel Zim Shanghai Saturday morning at the Port of Oakland. The vessel was not worked during the day shift.
24 Sep 2014
Container handling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was back to normal by Wednesday’s night shift as the Los Angeles Fire Department declared Tuesday’s fire at the Pasha breakbulk terminal to be completely snuffed out.
chassis in Port of Los Angeles
23 Sep 2014
The Justice Department said it won’t challenge an agreement by two major container pools to share each other’s intermodal chassis in a “gray” pool in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
23 Sep 2014
Diesel particulate matter emissions from ships, trucks, trains and other big machines at the Port of Long Beach has declined by 82 percent since 2005, according to an annual analysis of the area’s air quality.
LA stacktrain
19 Sep 2014
The percent of import containers arriving at the Los Angeles-Long Beach gateway that were transloaded into domestic containers for onward rail transport into the interior U.S. continued to increase last year and is forecast to continue rising in 2014.

Commentary

A leading retail industry consultant suggests the nearly year-long stretch of disruption and uncertainty tied to the recent West Coast longshore labor standoff wasn’t just a minor event in the minds of those companies. Wanting to “de-risk,” shippers may alter their supply chain plans, bypassing the West Coast as much as they can.

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.