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

29 Jun 2016
Oakland's fiscal 2017 budget emphasizes capital projects.
05 Jan 2015
Contract negotiations resumed today between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association after the holiday recess, but it appears that no significant progress will be made until both parties agree to compromise on the controversial issue of chassis maintenance and repair.
03 Jan 2015
The year 2014 ended much the way it played out throughout the year in Asia to U.S. spot container rates. Rates declined following an upward spurt triggered by a rate increase. And rates to the U.S. East Coast declined by much less than rates to the West Coast and are up significantly versus a year ago, reflecting continuing demand for services that avoid the West Coast and especially Southern California.
03 Jan 2015
The Pacific Maritime Association on Friday answered a public relations blitz by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union by releasing statistics that show that over the past two months the union has reduced by two-thirds the number of skilled equipment operators being dispatched each day at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
02 Jan 2015
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association enter the weekend at a standoff at Los Angeles-Long Beach as employers plan to reduce the number of longshore crews that will be assigned to work vessels on the night shifts, a move the union says will significantly increase the number of days it takes to work vessels.
02 Jan 2015
U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in December with continuing delays at West Coast ports being cited as a contributing factor, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Commentary

The reaction of shippers to West Coast longshore labor disruption is evolving in such a way that West Coast ports have reason for concern.

More Commentary

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.