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  February 3rd, 2016 | Written by

POLB Meets Future With Capital Improvements

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  • The Port Long Beach’s goal is to increase on-dock rail capacity to 50 percent within 10 years.
  • Every train that moves off the port of Long Beach eliminates 750 and 1,000 truck trips.
  • The Middle Harbor project will make the Long Beach Container Terminal one of the largest ports in North America.
  • The port of Long Beach has already achieved 2023 emissions reductions and is now focused on the 2050 levels.

The port of Long Beach is currently in the middle of executing its 2016 Strategic Plan, including a 10-year, $4 billion capital improvement program.

Port CEO Jon Slangerup expounded on these plans in his recent state of the port speech.

Components of the capital improvement plan includes developing Middle Harbor, replacing the Gerald

Desmond Bridge, and doubling the capacity of the port’s on-dock rail system, and others. The port is also executing a major program designed to minimize its environmental impact.

“During the past year, we increased on-dock capacity from 23 to nearly 30 percent, with a goal of increasing capacity to 50 percent within 10 years,” said Slangerup. “On-dock rail expansion is a key investment for us and a critical environmental initiative for reducing truck congestion and related air pollution. Every train we move off the port eliminates between 750 and 1,000 truck trips, which not only relieves truck congestion at the port and on our roads, but also significantly improves air quality.”

The $1.5 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project is moving forward rapidly. “When done, this iconic bridge will be the tallest structure on the Long Beach skyline, and will be visible for miles in all directions,” said Slangerup. “With the bridge rising 205 feet above the water below, it will allow mega ships to pass underneath.”

The bridge, scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2018, will have 15 percent of the nation’s cargo volume rolling across it.

This $1.3 billion Middle Harbor redevelopment project is the world’s first all-electric, zero-emission automated mega terminal, according to Slangerup. Full commercial operations are expected in the second quarter of this year. “Phase 1 will add about 10 percent more container capacity to the port and provide the capability of handling 18,000-TEU vessels,” said Slangerup. “When Phase 2 comes online in 2019, Middle Harbor will add another 10 percent capacity to the port, with capability to handle up to 24,000-TEU vessels. When fully operational, Long Beach Container Terminal will have the capacity to handle more than 3.3 million TEUs per year, making this terminal by itself, one of the largest ports in North America.”

The port of Long Beach has reduced diesel particulate matter by 85 percent over the past decade and has already achieved emissions reduction targets based on the state’s 2023 attainment goals. The port is now focused on achieving the 2050 emission reduction levels.

The port has embarked on a joint effort with the Port of Los Angeles on a Clean Air Action Plan or CAAP.

“This will be the third phase of CAAP and will focus on the next generation of technologies needed to achieve our goal of zero-emission operations,” said Slagerup.

The port’s Energy Island concept, introduced here last year, envisions transforming the port into an integrated network of microgrids, generating clean, sustainable power and water throughout the port and for essential city operations. Energy Island, which is well into the research and planning phase, according to Slangerup, “has the potential to deliver significant environmental benefits, long-term stable energy costs, and operational resiliency against unplanned or catastrophic grid outages.”