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Friday, June 12, 2015

A Tour of the Port of Long Beach - It Is Massive!

by Erik Foster (Chicago)

The organizers of this week’s NAIOP’s I.Con ’15 Industrial Conference guided approximately 200 participants on a two hour boat tour of the enormous expanse of waterway known as the Port of Long Beach. This is one of the world’s busiest seaports, a leading gateway between the U.S. and Asia, and a vital part of our national distribution chain.

Despite setbacks from the recent labor issues, the port is holding its own and can expect positive momentum in the next few years.  Combined with the Port of Los Angeles, it is the busiest cargo port in the United States, and combined they rank 9th in the world in total container volume.

Key points of interest from our tour include:

  • The Port handles more than 6.8 million 20-foot container units (TEUs) each year, with cargo valued at $180 billion
  • The Port supports more than 30,000 jobs in Long Beach, 316,000 throughout Southern California and 1.4 million throughout the U.S.
  • 82.3 million metric tons of cargo passes through the Port each year, with 2,000 vessel calls
  • The Port comprises 3,000 acres of land and 4,600 acres of water, with 10 piers and 80 berths
  • The Port has 22 shipping terminals and 66 post-Panamax gantry cranes
  • It is massive!
The Port of Long Beach is implementing a multi-faceted energy efficiency and sustainability plan to help enhance the ecology, preserve natural resources, and reduce negative impact on the environment. This plan is being rolled out throughout the design and construction of the facility, as well as with operations and administrative practices. There is plenty of good news in this approach, as it carries through to clean trucks, green shipping initiatives, and shore power. The Port also is outfitting its container terminals with shore power to allow docked ships to plug into the land-based electricity instead of burning diesel fuel.

Given the dominance of the Asian import market, the California ports will continue to provide important access points for cargo. The boat tour provided a fascinating view of the overall scale and impact of the Port of Long Beach and of the Port of Los Angeles. We expect to see continued positive movement in this distribution sector over the next several years, which will positively impact the rest of the country’s logistics networks in the very near future.

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