At his annual State of the Port address, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka announced cargo volumes of nearly 10 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units for 2022, the second highest in the Port’s 115-year history. The achievement marks the 23rd consecutive year the Port of Los Angeles has been ranked the busiest container port in the nation.

Seroka outlined priorities for 2023, pledging to focus on economic growth and job creation, improving the quality of life for surrounding Port communities, and furthering sustainable, zero-emission business operations.

“Over the past few years, as we’ve risen to each and every challenge, we have become a stronger, more resilient port,” Seroka told a crowd of more than 500 in attendance at the annual Pacific Merchant Shipping Association event. “The capabilities that we developed during that time have positioned us well to grow our market share, fulfill our commitment to create jobs and build a better quality of life for our communities.”

Seroka said the Port will continue to lead technology innovation in the maritime industry to drive further efficiency. He announced new features to its Port Optimizer™ digital tracking portal, including providing exporters more predictability and tracking capability on outbound shipping services.

“Data infrastructure gives us tremendous insight into supply chain issues, trends and process improvement opportunities which were simply not available before,” Seroka said. “These new tools will add to the stability and growth of America’s global trade.”

Seroka also addressed the economic benefits of the rebounding cruise industry at the Port. Following shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ship sailings at the Port increased to 229 compared to 61 in 2021. “That’s an economic benefit of a quarter billion dollars to our local communities and L.A.’s tourism economy,” Seroka said.

Such economic benefits feed into the overall quality of life and opportunities for surrounding Port communities, said Seroka, as do Port initiatives focused on quality-of-life improvements, job creation and sustainability.

Seroka cited the Port’s Public Access Investment Plan (PAIP) – which ties cargo success to community investment – as a critical link to improving the quality of life in communities surrounding the Port. Since 2015, the PAIP has funded nearly $234 million in new public-serving waterfront infrastructure, including new roadways, public promenades and other community amenities. Progress on several major public access projects will continue in 2023, including the debut of the $71 million Wilmington Waterfront Promenade in April.

Seroka also discussed what he termed “workforce infrastructure” for bettering the quality of life of the Port’s surrounding communities, detailing the Port of Los Angeles Workforce Initiative to roll out in 2023. The new multi-entity collaborative will focus on providing career and economic opportunities for a broad range of workers. This year, the Port will also continue work on its planned Goods Movement Training Campus, a collaboration with the Port of Long Beach and the California Workforce Development Board dedicated to worker skill development, upskilling and reskilling for port-specific jobs.

“Our Workforce Initiative will serve as a road map to fill the training and recruiting needs that exist today, as well as guide us as we navigate the needs of the future, including training to work in a zero-emission technology environment,” said Seroka.

The Port’s sustainability and environmental programs were cited during the speech as a top priority in the coming year. Port initiatives in 2023 include continued planning for new Green Shipping Corridors with the ports of Shanghai and Singapore to reduce emissions along these critical trade routes, as well as promote more clean fuel usage, new ship technologies and best practices.

Work will continue in 2023 on development and deployment of Port zero-emission cargo-handling and other equipment, as well as deployment of more clean trucks funded by the Clean Truck Fund Rate. Seroka announced the Port will be part of a statewide coalition that will apply for a $1.4 billion U.S. Department of Energy grant to establish a green hydrogen hub at the San Pedro Bay port complex. All these projects are aimed at helping the Port achieve its goals of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment by 2030, and zero-emission trucks by 2035.