Issue 1 2021 - FBJNA

///WEST COAST PORTS By Alexandra Walsh

To handle imports from Asia, seaports along the West Coast of the United States are expected to spend billions on improved port infrastructure and intermodal connectivity in the coming years. To prevent losing customers to the East Coast, these same seaports are also under pressure to improve efficiencies, such as average turn times, and are look to investments in automation and costly equipment. Here is a FBJNA roundup of

what is happening at the micro- level, as we ask ports along the West Coast of the United States how they fared in 2020 with the pandemic and trading partners and to share cargo volumes, infrastructure improvements and environmental/sustainable programs.

California Seaports Port of Los Angeles

Trans-Pacific trade routes continue to be strong for the Port of Los Angeles. “We have

not seen any significant shiſt away from Trans-Pacific in the last year,” says Phillip Sanfield, spokesman at the port. Container volumes were

erratic in 2020 due to the pandemic. By May, Port of Los Angeles cargo volumes plunged 19% compared to the first five months of 2019. However, in the second half of 2020, US consumer demand created a pandemic-induced purchasing surge. By December, the port’s cargo volume rebounded strongly, and the port finished 2020 at approximately 9.2 million TEUs, a percentage point shy of our 2019 volumes. “2020 ranks No. 4 among

our top five years,” Sanfield notes. “We wound up moving two-thirds of our volume in the second half of the year, an amazing effort by all of our stakeholders.” Two

“To support those goals,

we are currently managing or supporting 16 projects covering involving 134 pieces of advanced equipment, including 78 ZE trucks on the road or in construction,”

says Sanfield.

The Port of Los Angeles has a long-term goal of all-zero emission on its docks and drayage fleet. (Port of Los Angeles photo.)

designed to add five new tracks equating to approximately 12,000 linear feet. This project increases the capacity of the existing overall on-dock railyard by about 10%. The second intermodal

improvement underway is an expansion of the existing Pier 400 rail storage yard to accommodate future


improvement projects are underway at the Port of Los Angeles. One is an expansion of the existing on-dock railyard at Berths 302-305. These are being

compressed air system of the Pier 400 Rail Storage Yard and Bridge. Construction underway at


volumes on Terminal Island. The project scope includes a concrete rail bridge with lighting, six new railroad storage tracks, an asphalt access roadway, new crossovers and switches, as well as modifications to the existing

the port includes the ongoing improvements to the Everport Container Terminal to deepen berths and improve terminal facilities, which will allow the terminal operator to accommodate the larger next- generation vessels. Addressing green programs,

the Port of Los Angeles has an aggressive goal of all-zero emission on its docks by 2030 and an all zero-emission drayage fleet by 2035.

“While we are years away from production line models of drayage trucks, when they are available, they’ll be in use at the Port of Los Angeles – we are pioneering efforts on this front.”

Port of Oakland

Total container volume at the Port of Oakland was flat throughout 2020,” says Bryan Brandes, Port of Oakland Director of Maritime. Total TEUs were 2.46 million, which is down 1.6% compared to 2.5 million in 2019. Brandes says this was due primarily to factory shutdowns in China earlier in 2020, and Asia exporters affected by pandemic restrictions. “Our business was initially

dampened when the pandemic hit, but with more people working from home, we’ve seen

Bryan Brandes. “We expected to see higher import cargo volume numbers compared to December 2019.” Brandes said mounting

cargo, congestion at Southern California ports, and the resulting vessel delays contributed to fewer containers than expected coming through the seaport in November. Some California exporters

say they are having a challenge finding enough containers to get their product to overseas markets. Import demand is prompting ocean carriers to rush empty containers back to Asia where they can be loaded for more goods headed to America. “The Port of Oakland is

working closely with ocean carriers, importers, freight forwarders, agricultural exporters, and


providers to help facilitate communications and solutions for any equipment shortages,” Brandes notes. On the near horizon, three new giant container cranes will

The Port of Long Beach is the second-busiest container port in the United States, after the Port of Los Angeles, which is next door. (Port of Long Beach photo)


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e-commerce take off in recent months. We anticipate that container volume strength will continue into Spring 2021,” says Brandes. December imports grew

11% compared to December 2019. Containerized export volume was up 0.9% during the same period. Total TEUs for December were 208,341 which is up 7.4% compared to the same time last year. The cargo was there, it was

just delayed,” says Port of Oakland Maritime Director

be arriving at the Stevedoring Services of America Terminal (SSA) at the port to handle more cargo and bigger ships in 2021. Brandes says the new cranes will have a liſt height of 174 feet above the dock, be able to reach 225 feet across a ship’s deck, and when the crane booms are in the raised position, the cranes will soar more than 400 feet above the wharf. “We’re also close to seeing

the completion of the first w a r eh o us e at the port’s

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