Fierce competition and major increases in ship-sizes is pressuring many US ports to spend billions of dollars on port improvements.
Managing Director of Commercial Operations at the Port of Long Beach, Noel Hacegaba, said that ship-sizes have increased from 8,000 to 14,000 over the past five years and terminals are under immense pressure to keep pace with the increased demand.
Deputy Executive Director for Development at the Port of Los Angeles, Mike Christensen, said: “It’s a race to see how big these ships can get and how fast they can get big.”
According to the Press Enterprise, 20% of US cargo moves through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. However, shares could drop if ports do not react to ever-increasing ship-sizes.
Measures such as modifying channels to be deeper, wider and clear higher stacks would be necessary to facilitate these larger ships.
The Port of Long Beach has so far invested US$1.3 billion on a new middle harbour terminal that has taller bridges, wider channels and deeper berths to accommodate mega-ships.
Improvements at the Port of Los Angeles include a $510 million expansion of a TraPac terminal and a new $155 million rail yard project that aims to reduce truck traffic.
Chief Executive at the Port of Long Beach Jon Slangerup explained that companies are forming alliances to fill every available spot for containers on ships which means that workers must unload more complicated stacks.
A spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, Lee Peterson, said: “It makes it more necessary to be more organised in how the containers are coming off the ship and coming back on the ship.”
(Source: World Property Journal)