Civic, port and industry leaders gathered Monday on the docks of the Port of Long Beach to launch a pioneering project to build a highly advanced terminal that will feature the most modern and clean technologies available to move cargo.
Marking the occasion with the driving of a commemorative “golden pile,” part of the foundation for a new wharf, officials heralded the progress of the $1.2 billion Middle Harbor project taking shape just across a narrow slip from the ceremonies at Long Beach Container Terminal.
Just last month, the Port, Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line and Long Beach Container Terminal LLC committed to a 40-year, $4.6 billion agreement under which the Port will lease to OOCL and LBCT the redeveloped terminal. Construction on the project started in 2011.
The event celebrated the kickoff of Middle Harbor project construction and included a ceremonial lease signing.
“We’re pleased to have OOCL and LBCT committed to working with us in Long Beach to make the new, state-of-the-art Middle Harbor terminal a reality, and for staking their business future to the Port of Long Beach and the City of Long Beach,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.
“OOCL and the Port of Long Beach have enjoyed a fruitful business relationship for many years, and we look forward to many more years thanks to this new long-term pact,” said Harbor Commission President Susan E. Anderson Wise. “We’re building the Port of the Future here in Long Beach, and we are extremely pleased to know that OOCL and LBCT will be our partners in that future.”
“Middle Harbor is part of a $4.5 billion, Port-wide investment over the coming decade that will give our customers a significant competitive advantage for decades to come,” said J. Christopher Lytle, Port of Long Beach Executive Director. “This investment will support more trade, adding as many as 50,000 new permanent jobs – 14,000 of which will come from Middle Harbor.”
“What we speak of today is a collective vision — a vision to make the Port of Long Beach one of the world’s most competitive ports,” said Philip Chow, CEO of OOCL. “And the new design will make the Middle Harbor terminal the greenest in North America.”
“In our industry we are too often criticized for lacking vision and not being forward thinking — the Middle Harbor project will turn all of that around,” said Anthony Otto, President of Long Beach Container Terminal Inc. “This project is a testament to the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”
Other speakers included Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and International Longshore and Warehouse Union International President Robert McEllrath.
The Middle Harbor modernization project is combining two older facilities, LBCT’s existing terminal and a nearby, vacated facility, into one container terminal that will generate 14,000 new, permanent regional jobs and reduce air pollution by half even as trade could more than double. As the project progresses, Long Beach Container Terminal – the local subsidiary of OOCL – will expand from its current 90-acre facility to the new, 304-acre terminal with the ability to berth the largest, most modern ships. It will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced and greenest terminals.
Dredging Today Staff, May 15, 2012; Image: polb