Port of Long Beach to boost rail infrastructure in 2024

Port of Long Beach plans for ‘Year of Rail’ in 2024

The Port of Long Beach has laid the groundwork for a sustainable future by upgrading rail infrastructure and improving air quality.

With the goal of becoming Long Beach the world’s first zero-emissions seaport, Port of Long Beach CEO, Mario Cordero, announced that building on the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility will begin this year.

The facility aims to move goods faster, make the port more competitive, and enhance the environment for neighbouring communities.

“Today, I can represent to you that the state of our Green Port is strong,” Cordero said at the Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom for the State of the Port address on 17 January 2024.

“We have gone through one of the greatest challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic – and we’ve emerged, still the premier gateway for trans-Pacific trade. At the end of this decade, the Port of Long Beach will be on the cusp of not only operational transformation given our rail investment, but also environmental transformation – to a zero-emission port.”

READ: Port of Long Beach records trade rise in November

The Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility is a key component of the port’s on-dock rail developments. It will reportedly double the area of the current Pier B rail yard to 171 acres and triple the volume of on-dock rail capacity handled each year to 4.7 million TEU.

The $1.567 billion project, which will be developed in phases and is expected to be completed in 2032, would produce more than 1,100 construction jobs.

The port has secured $643 million in federal, state and local grant funding to help complete the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility – more than $500 million of which was awarded in 2023.

READ: Port of Long Beach receives $283 million grant for new green gateway

Long Beach Harbor Commission President, Bobby Olvera Jr, stated: “Pier B will enhance the port’s competitiveness, maintain its role as an economic force for the region and serve as a sustainability model for ports in the US and abroad.

“We’re rebuilding, electrifying equipment and decarbonising operations while developing the skilled human talent that will make the port thrive for decades to come.”

The port closed 2023 with over 8 million TEU moved, down 12.2 per cent from 2022 and slightly ahead of pre-pandemic levels reported in 2019.

Imports fell 12.7 per cent to 3.8 million TEU, while exports dropped 9.4 per cent to 1.28 million TEU. Empty containers carried via the port fell 12.7 per cent to 2.93 million TEU.

Long Beach Mayor, Rex Richardson, said: “The port continues to be an engine for economic activity for the city and region, a leader in decarbonising the maritime industry and a positive force in nearby communities.

“And while we continue to innovate and revolutionise goods movement, we are developing the skilled workforce needed to move cargo in the future.”

This month, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the appointment of Directors for the Port of Long Beach’s Program Management Division and the newly created Central Procurement Services Division.

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