Port of Long Beach thrives in 2017

Date: Friday, January 26, 2018
Source: American Shipper

The Port of Long Beach experienced its busiest year ever in 2017, moving 7.54 million TEUs, an increase of 11.4 percent from the previous calendar year, according to data released by the Southern California port.
   The amount topped the port’s previous record of 7.31 million TEUs, which was set in the pre-recession year of 2007.
   In 2017:
     • Loaded imports totaled 3.86 million TEUs;
     • Loaded exports totaled 1.47 million TEUs;
     • And empty containers, consisting of both imports and exports, totaled 2.21 million TEUs.
   POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero announced the news at Long Beach’s annual state of the port address, held Wednesday at the Long Beach Convention Center. Cordero, a former Long Beach Harbor Commissioner and past chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, was hired to lead the nation’s second-largest port last May, after the resignation of former Chief Executive Jon Slangerup.
   His return came about nine months after the port’s largest stakeholder in its biggest terminal, Hanjin Shipping, declared bankruptcy, leaving a huge void to be filled.
   “Last May, when I returned to the Port of Long Beach, I faced an industry that was evolving. A shift from four to three carrier lines had raised questions about the impact on this port,” Cordero said in his speech, which was delivered before an audience of about 600. “Some may have doubted our competitiveness, have doubts about growing our business, or doubts about how do we create a better port. I have no doubt; that’s not in my DNA and not in the DNA of the Port of Long Beach that I know.
   “Where some see a port at a crossroads,” he said, “I see a port on the path to greatness.”
   Prudent management and planning readied the port to navigate the shifting landscape, Cordero said.
   Also during the approximate 30-minute speech, he presented a vision of “predictable, reliable, efficient and fast trade operations” to retain and grow business into the next decade and beyond.
   Cordero laid out an image of a 24/7 seaport that utilizes information technology to be a more nimble, responsive entity, like online retailer Amazon.
   “We need to move goods in and out of our port faster than any other port,” he said. “We don’t have a choice, if we’re going to remain competitive.
   “Global logistics is changing fast, much of that because of the e-commerce revolution,” Cordero added. “Today’s customer expects to get what they want, when they want it and where they want it.”
   Cordero also said that zero emissions from port sources is one of Long Beach’s ultimate environmental goals.
   “For us to continue to grow sustainably, our port must be better prepared than other North American ports to bring goods on vessels that plug into clean shore power, move on zero-emission yard equipment and cranes, and are transferred quickly onto the most efficient network of trucks and trains,” he said. “That’s how consumers will get what they want, when they want it. That's how we'll all thrive in this new same-day, e-commerce environment.”
   Addressing the crowd before Cordero was Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum, who talked in part about how the port charted a new course over the last 12 months by finding a tenant for the Pier T terminal, vacated by Hanjin’s bankruptcy.
   She also noted that the Harbor Commission approved an updated Clean Air Action Plan, in conjunction with the Port of Los Angeles last year; and also increased the level of funding for community grants to mitigate air emissions in the region.
   “Business is once again booming, and the Commission remains committed to serving our customers and community at the Port of Long Beach,” Bynum said.
   Currently, BlueWater Reporting’s Port Dashboard tool shows the Port of Long Beach is called by 26 liner services connecting it to regions outside North America, including 19 deploying fully cellular containerships; six deploying roll-on/roll-off vessels or pure car/truck carriers; and one deploying multi-purpose vessels. 

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