West Coast Ports

West Coast Ports

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.

To prevent an erosion of their market share to East Coast ports, L.A.-Long Beach, along with the ports of Seattle-Tacoma and Oakland, are striving to improve their efficiency at unloading vessels, moving containers through their yards, and expediting the departure of containers by truck and intermodal rail.

Recording a rate of about 25 container moves per crane per hour, West Coast port operations are under pressure to increase those numbers 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.

At the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, billions of dollars in new investments will make it possible to deal with the surges that have frustrated shippers and truckers. The biggest infrastructure impact in the immediate future will come from completion this year of the $1.5 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project in Long Beach. Meanwhile, Oakland Portal, launched in 2018, is a digital collaboration platform that provides information on vessel schedules, cargo status, and live camera views of local roadways in the Oakland, California area. The newest feature provides average turn times for the most recent 30-minute period.

News & Analysis

06 Aug 2020
Intermodal volume, rates, and savings have been on a rollercoaster this year, surging this summer to levels higher than a year ago after steep declines this spring during the height of the pandemic.
24 Sep 2019
Los Angeles’ 2018 inventory of air emissions, like the Long Beach report that preceded it by a week, shows the largest US container port has already met or exceeded to emission-reduction goals that had been set for 2023.
05 Sep 2019
The California state legislature is on track to pass a bill, which the governor intends to sign into law, that could fundamentally alter the relationship between shippers, trucking companies, and port truck drivers. It's expected to be signed before an intermodal conference this month in Long Beach.
29 Aug 2019
J.B. Hunt has informed shippers it will assess peak season surcharges on excess freight out of California and Washington state even though volumes are much weaker than a year ago.
14 Aug 2019
The containerized shipping industry was able to convince the US Trade Representative to take cranes and containers off a list of tariffs going into effect on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.
30 Jul 2019
The lead investor in a container support facility in Los Angeles criticized the port for what he termed giving in to political and ILWU pressure by declaring a key efficiency initiative known as the Harbor Performance Enhancement Center to be “infeasible.”
08 Jul 2019
Union Pacific Railroad will begin charging truckers and logistics providers for missed appointments for intermodal terminals and tighten free storage time for demurrage to 24 hours in all terminals beginning this autumn.
Intermodal rail service will be reliable this peak season
08 Jul 2019
The intermodal peak season is expected to be a manageable one with domestic volumes continuing to be weak and abundant container capacity, while international loads will increase at a slower pace than a year ago. Industry stakeholders believe intermodal service will be good in the peak season.
BCOs seek short-term chassis relief as overhauls stall
05 Jul 2019
There has been progress in finding a solution to the chassis woes plaguing the containerized shipping industry, but those advancements have been very slow coming. Larger solutions will take years and face many hurdles along the way.
28 Jun 2019
The Los Angeles City Council has rejected the harbor commission’s approval of a construction permit for APM Terminals’ Pier 400, further delaying the project.
20 Jun 2019
Amid intense scrutiny from longshore unions throughout North America, the LA harbor commission on Thursday approved a construction permit at APM Terminals Pier 400 that will open the door to a scalable type of automation that could be incorporated into smaller terminal operations in other ports.
18 Jun 2019
Marine industry leaders testified before the Section 301 Committee to lobby against a 25 percent tariff on shipping containers and ship-to-shore cranes, repeating many of the arguments made a year ago about the business fallouts.
13 Jun 2019
The US Department of Transportation is accepting grant applications for $292.7 million in funding dedicated to port infrastructure development.
31 May 2019
CP’s signing of Yang Ming to handle its Candian cargo — with some shipped on the vessels of its alliance partners via Halifax and Prince Rupert — comes a little more than a year after the railroad contracted the bulk of business from the Ocean Network Express (ONE).
31 May 2019
The Port of Oakland has received the final installment for the funding of its seaport technology program; the go-live dates for the individual projects are more than three years away.
30 May 2019
Operations at the Port of Vancouver will resume at 4:30 p.m. local time thanks to a tentative new labor agreement between the BCMEA and ILWU Canada.
29 May 2019
Negotiations have resumed between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and ILWU Canada, but dockworkers at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert could still be locked out at 8 am Thursday morning.
17 May 2019
Trucking companies, government agencies, and unions in Vancouver responding to commissioner’s plan for wage hike and rule changes with goal of meeting July 1 implementation deadline and heading off possible labor action.
16 May 2019
Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka tells JOC.com a port-wide trucker appointment system and off-dock chassis storage must be implemented now if the nation's largest port complex is going to avoid terminal congestion and equipment dislocations in the upcoming peak season.
Growth in containerized port volumes in Mexico outpaced those of US Ports in 2018
06 May 2019
Thanks to the country’s strong manufacturing sector and reasonable economic growth, the increase in cargo handled by Mexico’s ports outpaced that of both the US and Canada in 2018.
03 May 2019
Oakland port commissioners set May 13 date to move forward on up to a four-year environmental and construction permit process that will ultimately determine if a controversial baseball stadium is built at Howard Terminal.
30 Apr 2019
Australian banking and investment group Macquarie Infrastructure Partners already has stakes in New Jersey's Maher Terminals at Port Elizabeth and Penn Terminals.
30 Apr 2019
Supply chain stakeholders in the Port of Oakland argue that the development of a new baseball stadium on port property will disrupt trucking and rail operations, potentially bringing the port to “gridlock.”
26 Apr 2019
The Port of Oakland is working with the city on a truck traffic plan that seeks to mitigate impact of growing container volumes and logistics developments on nearby neighborhoods.
26 Apr 2019
The Port of Los Angeles is attracting support from ocean carriers, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, and other stakeholders for a proposed "cyber resilience center."
24 Apr 2019
As volumes front-loaded by retailers and manufacturers ahead of planned tariff increases during the winter months have subsided, so too has the congestion that gripped the largest US port complex.
15 Apr 2019
The battle lines were drawn Monday in advance of a Los Angeles harbor commission vote on a construction permit to automate a portion of the APM Terminals facility.
12 Apr 2019
Jorge Luis Quijano, administrator and chief executive of the Panama Canal Authority, said shipping lines don’t like the uncertainty of what could happen if International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) continue to oppose automation
10 Apr 2019
Truck turn times, container dwell times, and chassis availability are improving in LA-LB now that import volumes have dropped.
03 Apr 2019
The International Transport Workers’ Federation has joined the ILWU in urging Maersk to consider the social and economic impacts of its automated terminal project in Los Angeles.
18 Mar 2019
Sources tell JOC.com multiple terminals are being "bombarded" by empty container returns, causing congestion at terminal gates and delaying the overall recovery at the busiest US port complex.
12 Mar 2019
US West Coast terminal operators see ILWU resistance to the deployment of automated yard equipment at APM Terminals Pier 400 in Los Angeles as an end-run around its own contract, which not only allows for automation but states dockworkers “will not interfere with implementation.”
Port of Los Angeles.
30 Jan 2019
Container and chassis dwell times in Los Angeles-Long Beach edged lower in December.
Port of Oakland,
29 Jan 2019
Truck turn time information is the latest feature added to the Oakland portal.
Port of Long Beach.
28 Jan 2019
The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland are investing billions in physical infrastructure, digitization, and process improvements to relieve congestion and speed container transport.
The Port of Los Angeles.
25 Jan 2019
Mega-ships and California environmental regulatory pressure is pushing APM Terminals to automate 100 acres of its Los Angeles facility.

Commentary

Oakland effectively crossed the chasm between the old and new industries, putting it at the vanguard of a transition on the West Coast that will likely see terminal consolidation at Los Angeles-Long Beach, which has 13 terminals across the two ports, and perhaps further consolidation in the Pacific Northwest.