Boosted by a robust initial wave of holiday season shipments, terminal operators at the Port of Long Beach reported record-breaking imports that drove total container cargo volume up nearly 10% in August, the start of the peak season.
The total number of cargo containers climbed 9.7% in August to 675,058 twenty-foot equivalent units (teus), compared with the same month a year ago. Imports jumped 13.6 percent to 347,829 teus. Export growth slowed for a second consecutive month, declining five percent to 105,256 teus. The number of empty containers, nearly all headed overseas to be refilled with products, climbed 11.8% to 221,973 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.
Despite the record-breaking import volumes, there has been no congestion at the Port as the peak season enters its final stretch.
The Marine Exchange of Southern California, which monitors vessel traffic, reports no delays although it sees a steady increase in the number of ships calling at the San Pedro Bay ports. Longshore labor has successfully kept pace with the increased workload, said Capt. Manny Aschemeyer, Executive Director of the Marine Exchange, and no congestion problems have been reported with truck traffic or rail movements.
$7.4 million in federal security grants The Port of Long Beach will receive $7.4 million in federal security grants as part of the $168 million ‘Round 6’ allocations from the Department of Homeland Security announced September 25.
The Port had requested $51 million in its grant application. Port security officials said that while the Port is grateful for the $7.4 million, much more federal assistance will be needed to complete the Port’s strategic plan for security. The $7.4 million grant is part of a $12 million allocation to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Major construction contract approved
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved a major construction contract that will begin environmentally friendly improvements under the Port’s groundbreaking ‘green lease’ terminal agreements. In May the Board approved a 20-year lease with International Transportation Service, Inc. that calls for significant terminal improvements and equipment investments by the Port and ITS to achieve a 90 percent reduction in air pollutants at ITS’ Pier G container cargo facility. The $45.8 million contract with Manson Construction Co. of San Pedro, approved by the Board in September, will kick off the Pier G upgrades. Manson is tentatively scheduled to begin construction this fall and to complete its work by Spring 2008.
Under the newly awarded contract Manson Construction will begin building the necessary facilities to provide shore-side electricity, also known as ‘cold-ironing,’ to visiting ships at Pier G.
Shore-side electricity will enable ships to shut down their diesel engines during their visits to the Port, which will result in significant pollution reduction. In addition to building the electrical infrastructure, Manson will construct a deep-water berth at the south end of the pier and redevelop about 10 acres of land used for temporary cargo container storage. The entire Pier G redevelopment project, an eight-year project estimated at $686 million, will modernize the entire terminal with more efficient, environmentally friendly truck gates, railyards and berths.