Port of Long Beach peak season import activity slows down

By: | at 07:00 PM | Maritime  

After several months of record-breaking imports, terminal operators at the Port of Long Beach reported a slowdown in the growth rate of container cargo volume in September.

The total number of cargo containers increased by less than one percent in September to 614,739 twenty-foot equivalent units (teus), compared with the same month a year ago. Imports increased by 1.3% to 317,661 teus. Exports increased by 1.7% to 98,660 teus. The number of empty containers, nearly all headed overseas to be refilled with products, decreased by 0.7% to 198,418 teus, from the same month a year ago. Port trade analysts said the September cargo figures appear to reflect common ‘spikes’ in peak-season activity. The numbers, they said, indicate that this year’s peak season import activity may be concentrated at the beginning of the season, in August, barring a late-season surge in October.

In August, imports jumped by a record-breaking 13.6% as overall cargo container movement increased to 675,058 teus. August is traditionally the beginning of the peak shipping season that extends through October, when importers fill their shelves with extra clothing, toys and other products for end-of-the-year gift-giving. Green Flag compliance grows

Compliance with the Port’s Green Flag program climbed to 87% in August, a new high for the nearly one-year-old environmental program.

The Green Flag program rewards ship operators for reducing vessel speeds in the harbor area, which helps cut air pollution.

In the most current available figures, car carriers led the way with 100% compliance, followed by cruise ships at 91%, container ships at 88%, bulk vessels at 82% and tankers at 80%.

Under the Green Flag program, ships that observe a 12-knot speed limit within 20 miles of the Port during an entire year of voyages are awarded Green Flags to recognize their contributions to improved air quality. Ocean carriers, which operate the individual ships, can qualify for reduced dockage rates if 90% or more of their vessels comply with the speed limit for a year.

Port wins 2006 Greening Award

The Greening of California’s ‘2006 Greening Award’ was presented to the Port of Long Beach in October for the development of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan and other air quality improvements. The Greening of California is a nonprofit group comprised of prominent environmental organizations. The group is affiliated with the California League of Conservation Voters, an environmental and political advocacy organization.

The 2006 Greening Award is the second major recognition for the Port in the past two months for the Clean Air Action Plan. In September the Port was awarded the prestigious ‘Air Quality Improvement Award’ from Breathe California of Los Angeles County, a nonprofit research, education and advocacy organization formerly known as the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County.

Clean Air Action Plan

A final draft of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, now in development after extensive public review and comment this summer, is expected to be presented to the governing boards of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles later this month. The Clean Air Action Plan, which was developed by the two ports with the participation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, is an aggressive, comprehensive plan to reduce emissions from port-related sources by 50% in the next five years. The ports plan to give the public additional time to review the final document before it is formally considered for adoption by the two boards.

‘Terminal Services Representatives’

Beginning this month, the Port’s customer service liaisons will no longer be known as ‘wharfingers.’ Instead, they will be known as ‘Terminal Services Representatives.’ Port officials said the name change is designed to better reflect their job description and replace an outdated and often confusing maritime term.



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