SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PORT CHIEFS HAIL A RECORD-BREAKING 2018
During the annual “State of the Port” address at the Long Beach Convention Center in January, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said cargo volumes broke records in 2018 despite China trade tariffs, as shippers raced to get goods in ahead of fee increases.
The Southern California port, which sees nearly 70 percent of containerized imports and 40 percent of containerized exports from China, topped 8 million TEUs for the first time in its 108-year history, marking its second record-breaking year in a row, according to Cordero, who noted container cargo totals were up 7 percent from the year before.
Among the projects he highlighted was a $1 billion port investment in a strategic on-dock rail program, which is part of a broader modernization program aimed at reducing port-related impacts to the environment. The on-dock rail site is expected to eliminate as many as 750 truck trips per one-mile train and also move Asia imports significantly faster than cargo routed through Gulf and East Coast ports.
In other good green news, the port continues to outperform 2023 clean air goals, even with cargo volumes at record levels, according to Cordero, whose port is testing zero-emissions machines and vehicles this year in conjunction with its ambitious Clean Air Action Plan.
Up the coast in San Pedro during the same month, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka also called 2018 “another year for the record books” in his State of the Port report.
Seroka’s port moved 9.5 million TEUs, a 1.2 percent increase from 2017, and he pointed to the “strong collaboration” between longshore labor, terminal operators, harbor truckers and rail providers as being behind that success.
Among the major building projects completed were the $127 million on-dock rail yard at the Yusen Terminal and $15.6 million in Harbor Boulevard/Park Plaza improvements. With $80 million in grant funding, the port is actively involved in 15 zero and near-zero emission projects, including an electric-hydrogen fuel cell truck program with Toyota.
Investment in new digital technology will help terminals, truckers and longshore labor brace for more containers that are to arrive from bigger container ships, Seroka said.