Ports & Terminals

Port of Long Beach’s Cordero emphasizes zero emissions

Mario Cordero, executive director of Port of Long Beach emphasized the Port’s success in upgrading its terminals toward zero emissions: “Our terminals have accomplished so much and when it comes to our remarkable zero-emission demonstration projects … since our determination in November 2017 to achieve zero emissions.”

Cordero was speaking at the ‘State of the Port of Long Beach’ on January 26th in which he said the Port was emphasizing environmental performance:” While other ports offer incentives for cargo, we offer incentives for environmental performance. Now I'm gonna say that again. While other ports offer incentives for cargo, we offer customers incentives for environmental performance.”

At the same time, he congratulated the Port of New York and New Jersey which moved ahead of the Port of Long Beach to become the second highest volume U.S. port in 2022: “Certainly, we had some strong container volumes last year … and on this note, I will congratulate my good friend Beth Ann Rooney, executive director of the Port of New York and New Jersey, for her leadership in being the number two port in container volume for 2022.”

The Port ended 2022 with 9,133,657 twenty-foot equivalent units moved, down 2.7% from 2021.

Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon Weissman said in remarks delivered at the event. “Let’s have the courage to pursue together a zero-emissions Port that provides the best goods movement and service in the world.”

Cordero Highlights Port Initiatives

Highlights included:

• Building on nearly two decades of green initiatives, the Port is establishing a Zero Emissions, Energy Resilient Operations Program – known as ZEERO – to invest in projects aimed at reducing the impacts of operations and improving air quality. ZEERO supports the development of renewable energy projects, including the Port’s proposed Floating Offshore Wind Staging and Integration facility, known as “Pier Wind.” A conceptual assessment is scheduled for completion in spring 2023 for Pier Wind, which aims to become the largest facility specifically designed to accommodate the assembly of offshore wind turbines at any U.S. seaport.

• In October, the Port announced, “it was joining the State's largest hydrogen fuel network as we plan ahead for zero mission trucks and other vehicles to run on green hydrogen. This strength is the case for hydrogen fuel technology to be part of our zero-emission revolution here at the Port complex.”

• In November, the Port, “dedicated the first publicly available charging station for electrified … heavy duty trucks anywhere in the nation, right at the terminal access center in the Port of Long Beach. We expect stations to be open all over Southern California just like diesel stations on many corners.”

• Also, in November, the decarbonization of the shipping industry reached “another milestone as the Port announced talks to form a Green Shipping corridor between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex. And this agreement builds upon the Green Shipping corridor announced earlier in the year between the San Pedro Bay ports and Shanghai. Our Green Ship program offers incentives for shipping lines to send their new ships to the port. In 2022 six ‘Tier 3’ ships were regularly called at Port Long Beach. It's great to see that the incentive program is so successful.”

• Cordero believes the emerging maritime propulsion fuel will be “methanol, which will reduce emissions from sulfur oxides in particulate matter by more than 95% and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80% and someday imagine even a cleaner fuel. The major carriers including Maersk CMA/CGM and COSCO already have methanol-powered ships on order. These are significant steps in the effort to control climate change by finding new efficiencies in global trade.”

• START. The California Air Resources Board awarded a $50 million grant for a transformative demonstration of a near-zero and zero-emissions supply chain. The Sustainable Terminal Accelerating Regional Transformation (START) project includes the ports of Oakland and Stockton and more than 100 pieces of zero-emission terminal equipment. At the Port of Long Beach’s Matson Navigation Pier C terminal, the project will fund 34 pieces of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment, two of the cleanest container ships to call on the West Coast, an electric-drive tugboat, five electric trucks at an off-dock container yard, and two heavy-duty truck charging outlets.

• Pacific Harbor Line. The Port’s “greenest short line in the United States have … completed the transition to renewable diesel for its entire locomotive fleet in November of 2022. This year PHL anticipates the arrival of the Progress Rail Battery Electric Locomotive. A zero-emission locomotive is a game changer for the goods movement industry.”

• The Harbor Trucking Association. "Held a ‘Ride and Drive' event at the Port of Long Beach for zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and all the accompanying support technology and infrastructure. The event attracted hundreds eager to see the trucks of the future.”

• Capital improvement projects. “Including several on-dock rail projects, move steadily along as we continue to rebuild and enhance our port facilities. For example, the Pier B on-dock rail support facility will dramatically boost capacity … throughout the San Pedro Bay complex.”

• Barstow International Gateway Project. In October BNSF announced “an ambitious intermodal facility expansion in excess of 4,000 acres in the desert city of Barstow. The Barstow International Gateway Project, the $1.5 billion project is expected to be completed in 2030 at a point when the Port of Long Beach is in its final stages of completing the state-of-the-art Pier B rail facility. Imagine the enhancement of rail connectivity by end of the decade seven years away, resulting in increased cargo velocity at the Green Port.” At the Port of Long Beach “we know that rail works with trucks, works with roads, works with other modes of transportation.” The facility will allow the direct transfer of containers from ships at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to trains for transport through the Alameda Corridor onto the BNSF mainline up to Barstow.

• Project Labor Agreements. Over the years “we've been able to increase our use of project labor agreements ... These agreements help us to guarantee a well-trained well-paid workforce is available for all our projects. This week the Harbor Commission approved the new port-wide 10-year project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Buildings and Construction Trades Council covering the projects with an estimated construction value of nearly half a billion dollars.”

• The Supply Chain Information Highway. The project is “a digital initiative to help shippers track their cargo through the supply chain to maximize visibility and efficiency in cargo movement. Now in Phase Two the focus is building out the system in all of the Port of Long Beach terminals and other ports across the country. We are partnering with the Port of Oakland, the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Utah Inland Port Authority, Port of Miami, the South Carolina ports, the Port of Hueneme, and the Port of New York/New Jersey.” To “increase visibility and efficiency of cargo movement, the Port turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to pioneer an innovative solution in the cloud,” according to Amazon.

Terminal Upgrades

Cordero said “our maritime terminals here at the Port Long Beach really stood out in 2022.” noting:

• Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J operated by SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) completed “the conversion of nine rubber tire gantry cranes from diesel to electric power plus one diesel-electric hybrid. ILWU crane drivers are using these stacking cranes today and one of many demonstration projects that are helping this industry define the path to zero emissions.”

• Long Beach Container Terminal: “In October, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the U.S. Maritime Administration will provide $30.1 million as part of the port infrastructure development program to Long Beach Container Terminal for the purchase of approximately 60 zero-emission yard tractors LBCT will deploy the new manually operated vehicles for rail terminal use by ILWU workers.”

• On Pier A, SSA Marine deployed “five hybrid diesel-electric stacking cranes. This project is an important part of the transition to cleaner operations.”

• Pier T, Total Terminals International” brought in six new hybrid rubber tire gantry cranes. Total Terminals International … achieved more than 1.3 million vessel lifts for the third consecutive year.”

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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