Searchable Goods Movement Timeline

Search Filter

Date range:
to
Date Headline Source
Nov 30, 2018

LA, Long Beach ports poised to give up to $100,000 each to truck drivers for cleaner rigs

Online Edition

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.

Under what’s being called the Early Adopter Truck Incentive Program, a total of $14 million is being earmarked by the ports to give to goods-hauling drivers to help them pay for new lower emission, natural gas-powered trucks. Of that amount, $8 million is coming from grant program funds provided by the California Energy Commission, while the two ports and South Coast Air Quality Management District would each provide $2 million in funding.

Truckers successfully applying to the ports’ incentive program would receive $100,000 each toward the purchase of low-emission natural gas-powered trucks. To receive the funds, applicants would already have to be part of the ports’ truck registry, which lists what trucks are authorized to enter the port complex. Grant recipients would also have to agree to scrap their existing truck in order to receive money toward the purchase of a new one.

The average cost of the new, low-emissions trucks is $200,000, which is about $50,000 more than a standard container-hauling truck, according to the ports.

According to the ports, the program is designed to incentivize wide-scale deployment of low-emissions, heavy-duty freight-movement trucks throughout the area.

Matt Miyasato, SCAQMD’s deputy executive officer for science and technology advancement, said the newer trucks are 90 percent cleaner than the standard commercial trucks on the road today and emit near-zero emissions.

“We suffer from the worst air quality in the nation,” Miyasato said Nov. 15. “The only reasonable way for us to get attainment for healthy, clean air for the region is to replace, among other things, about 200,000 on-road heavy duty trucks. We think the port is a great place to start.”

The SCAQMD’s governing board approved the program during an October meeting, and the Port of Los Angeles’ Board of Harbor Commissioners did the same on Nov. 15. Next up is Long Beach’s harbor board, which is expected to ratify the agreement during its Nov. 26 business meeting.

Online Edition

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.

Nov 01, 2017

Local kids and families need cleaner air now

Online Edition

The cities of southeast Los Angeles County are key drivers of the Southern California economy. Our proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Long Beach (710) Freeway and rail lines means our region is an industrialized hub that literally keeps the rest of the country moving. This is a tremendous source of pride for the men, women and families who live in our cities.

When we see trucks carrying cargo to and from the port, we see good-paying, middle class jobs for those who work at the ports, nearby warehouses and throughout the logistics supply chain. But we also know that all of this economic activity comes at a cost to the health of the children and families we are elected to represent.

The health implications of living near a freeway are well documented. Our children are more likely to have asthma and other breathing problems. There are elevated risks of heart disease and cancer. These are real problems that impact our constituents. And they are why we are demanding action.

This week, the Harbor Commissions of Los Angeles and Long Beach will vote on the Clean Air Action Plan, a document that outlines how to reduce air pollution related to the country’s largest port complex. The heavy-duty trucks that transport containers between the ports, freight lines and warehouses are a critical piece of the CAAP.

Under the proposed CAAP, diesel trucks could continue to service the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach until 2035. That means a child born today would be a freshman in college before he or she breathes cleaner air. The reality is there’s no reason to wait.

Today in Southern California, most transit agencies have already switched their buses from diesel to natural gas engines. And many agencies are replacing their fleets with engines that are 90 percent cleaner than compressed natural gas engines. The technology is advancing so quickly that by the end of the year, these vehicles will be cleaner than electric vehicles – putting fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases into the air.

Leaders at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have heard our concerns. Under the CAAP, beginning in 2020, all heavy-duty trucks would be charged a fee to enter the ports’ terminals unless they are certified to meet a standard of near-zero emissions.

We look forward to seeing clean trucks that run on renewable fuel. And the communities around the ports do, too. In a recent poll conducted by the respected polling firm FM3 on behalf of the Advanced Clean Trucks Now coalition, strong majorities supported clean trucks, supported their deployment now, and even supported financial incentives to get these trucks on the road. These polling results tell us that port communities specifically want to encourage greater pollution reduction through the rapid deployment of near-zero emission vehicles.

In order for the CAAP to be successful, we urge port officials to adopt the California Air Resources Board’s Optional Low NOx Standard of 0.02 g/bhp-hr as their own standard for trucks to be exempted from the 2020 fee. Roughly 90 percent of older trucks were replaced within three years when the previous Clean Trucks Program imposed a fee. Setting CARB’s Low NOx standard as the threshold could result in faster adoption of near-zero technology and would allow non-petroleum and renewable fuel vehicles to operate at the ports and assist in meeting the state’s petroleum reduction goals, renewable energy goals, and clean air and climate goals.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have a long track record of environmental stewardship. We applaud port officials for their commitment to making Southern California a cleaner and healthier environment, and we will be watching to make sure they continue to move as aggressively as they can to put cleaner trucks on our roadways.

Online Edition

The cities of southeast Los Angeles County are key drivers of the Southern California economy. Our proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Long Beach (710) Freeway and rail lines means our region is an industrialized hub that literally keeps the rest of the country moving. This is a tremendous source of pride for the men, women and families who live in our cities.

Mar 21, 2018

Long Beach City Council shoots down appeal, certifies environmental study for Port of Long Beach rail yard expansion

Online Edition

A proposed railway project that would increase the Port of Long Beach’s ability to transport cargo via train can move forward, after the City Council on Tuesday denied two appeals challenging the results of an environmental study.

In a unanimous vote, the council approved the port’s environmental impact report, which examined how the more than-half-billion-dollar rail yard expansion would affect air quality, traffic and noise.

“We believe that’s the correct decision given the findings of the EIR,” said Lee Peterson, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach. “We will continue to engage and meet with local stakeholders there so they have input.”

The port can now begin planning in earnest for the project: coming up with a budget for the project, further designing the specifics of the expansion, finding companies to work on the various aspects of construction and acquiring properties that sit in the project’s path.

The rail yard expansion covers 171 acres; construction is slated to begin in 2020 and take seven years to complete.

It would cost between $540 and $820 million.

The project would expand the number of tracks at the Pier B rail facility, the only one that connects to the docks, from 12 to 48.

Expanding the facility, port officials say, is crucial if they are to meet their goal of transporting between 30 and 35 percent of shipping containers via on-dock rail by 2030. Currently, 24 percent of containers are shipped by rail and the rest by truck.

But the expansion would also force the closure or relocation of multiple businesses in the project zone, and permanently shut down Ninth Street west of the Los Angeles River.

It will be several months before the port “will move forward with acquisition” of the properties, Peterson said. But the environmental report’s approval “gives businesses clarity on what is going to happen at some point.”

The environmental study, required by state law, went before the Board of Harbor Commissioners in January and was approved. But two companies near the proposed project site – Phillips Steel Company and Superior Electrical Advertising – filed appeals, saying the study did not adequately address the affects it would have on their business.

By shooting down the appeals, the council upheld the Harbor Board of Commissioners’ certification of the report.

It’s unclear what recourse the appellants now have to further challenge the environmental impact report, but Stan Janocha, the chief operating officer of Superior, said he and the rest of management will meet with legal counsel on Thursday.

“I’m disappointed, frustrated and sad,” Janocha said. “I’m disappointed the council decided to go this way, where there will be more pollution in a lower-income and business neighborhood.”

Janocha added that besides speaking to counsel, he’s also exploring other options, such as moving his business out of Long Beach.

“We’ve been around here a long time,” he said, noting that one-third of his workforce lives in the city. “Leaving Long Beach is one option. We have some things to think about.”

Online Edition

A proposed railway project that would increase the Port of Long Beach’s ability to transport cargo via train can move forward, after the City Council on Tuesday denied two appeals challenging the results of an environmental study.

In a unanimous vote, the council approved the port’s environmental impact report, which examined how the more than-half-billion-dollar rail yard expansion would affect air quality, traffic and noise.

Nov 27, 2017

Long Beach trucking company to pay $333K in criminal case for damaging streets with heavy loads

Online Edition

The Long Beach prosecutor’s office Tuesday announced a settlement in one of the largest criminal cases brought against a trucking company accused of damaging city roads and freeways by hauling loads that were too heavy.

Western Maritime Express, Inc., based in Long Beach, has pleaded no contest to 40 misdemeanor counts and three infraction charges the city alleged in two separate cases, according to a statement from the office of Doug Haubert, city prosecutor.

The company will pay $333,435 to settle the charges, including that it violated weight limits and failed to have proper permits to carry overweight loads between June 2016 to April 2017. Part of the settlement amount includes $213,435 in court fines and fees to Los Angeles Superior Court, and $120,000 in restitution to the city.

“Although it appears most trucking companies comply with highway safety laws, we need to reinforce the message that egregious violators will be caught and prosecuted,” Haubert said in a written statement. “And they will be held accountable.”

Bryan Schroeder, an attorney representing the company, said part of the problem is that it makes better business sense for manufacturers and distributors to ship heavy items such as granite and stone in large loads. When truckers arrive at the Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles to ferry the products, they are charged if they don’t take the entire load, he said.

“The moment they pull out of the port, they are in violation of city laws,” said Schroeder, who represents roughly 60 trucking companies and said the problem is pervasive. If the trucking companies ask their customers to ship lighter loads, customers threaten to take their business elsewhere, he said.

He added that Haubert’s office has been working to come up with a solution to the problem, which he described as a “Catch-22” for the trucking companies.

Overweight loads create a public safety hazard, and cause damage to roads — including potholes — that are engineered to specific weight limits, the city statement said.

“Moreover, overweight vehicles cannot stop quickly if traffic comes to an abrupt halt, potentially endangering the lives of motorists,” the city said.

Breach of the city rules also creates an unfair competitive advantage to other companies who comply with rules and carry lighter loads at additional expense, Haubert’s office said, adding that “strict enforcement of weight laws promotes fair competition.”

Long Beach has brought other cases against trucking companies for carrying heavy loads, including an April 2012 case against Pacific Coast Container, Inc., an Oakland-based trucking firm.

Haubert’s office settled the case against the company, which was ordered to pay a total of $460,000 in fines and restitution. In that case, Pacific Coast Container, Inc. was convicted on 47 misdemeanor counts. One of the charges was for transporting a load more than 19,000 pounds over the legal limit.

In January 2015, a truck driver and a Rancho Cucamonga trucking company were found guilty of transporting a load weighing 10 tons more than the legal limit on Long Beach streets. A jury convicted Guadalupe Martinez and his employer, Martinez Trucking and Logistics, Inc., of a misdemeanor charge related to carrying an overweight load and misuse of a permit.

The case against Western Maritime Express was handled by Deputy City Prosecutor Pooja Kumar.

Online Edition

The Long Beach prosecutor’s office Tuesday announced a settlement in one of the largest criminal cases brought against a trucking company accused of damaging city roads and freeways by hauling loads that were too heavy.

Western Maritime Express, Inc., based in Long Beach, has pleaded no contest to 40 misdemeanor counts and three infraction charges the city alleged in two separate cases, according to a statement from the office of Doug Haubert, city prosecutor.

Jul 25, 2018

Long Beach’s port and city college partner to help students get jobs in the maritime industry

Online Edition

Students eyeing maritime jobs will get their own training program at Long Beach City College, with workshops beginning as early as this winter.

The community college will open a special center dedicated to training students for careers as middle managers, supervisors and clerks throughout the multi-trillion dollar shipping industry, after the Board of Harbor Commissioners this week approved a one-year contract between the Port of Long Beach and the school.

Under the contract – which goes into effect Wednesday, Aug. 1 – the global shipping hub will give the college $60,000 to develop the Port of Long Beach Maritime Center of Excellence. The center’s goal will be to bring more young workers into a booming maritime transportation industry, which in 2016 was projected to grow 8 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The program, City College and port officials said, will be mutually beneficially – allowing the shipping industry to replenish its pool of talent and providing well-paying jobs to typically disadvantaged communities. The industry’s median salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $55,590 annually.

“This will no doubt address the need for training skilled workers for in-demand, high-paying jobs in the maritime, transportation and goods movement industry,” said Kathy Scott, the college’s vice president for academic affairs. “This program will benefit our most disproportionately impacted students, including our African American and our Latino students.”

The program will likely roll out in stages, beginning with a boot camp in the winter session. That workshop, lasting a few weeks and not worth any credits, would give students a taste of the various industries and office jobs at or around the port, such as supervising distribution, or doing clerical work for shipping and receiving companies.

“What’s been identified is a need for workforce training and development on these middle skills occupations,” said port spokeswoman Kerry Gerot said. “This, for us, really helps to close the gap in what we have in our educational program umbrella at the Port of Long Beach.”

But full classes could take longer to get going.

Officials have not yet worked out all the details of the program, such as whether it should offer a certificate or a two-year degree, or what the curriculum will be. And any courses that give students credit for completion will have to go through a months-long approval process, starting with the curriculum committee and ending with City College’s Board of Trustees.

That process could take 18 months, said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum,  meaning full classes wouldn’t begin until at least the spring 2020 semester – more than half a year after the contract between the port and the college is set to end.

The port could extend the contract, Bynum said, but it’s too soon to tell if that might happen. In the meantime, But, the partners will look for grants and other funding to support the program.

“If it’s successful,” she said, “I think the port would want to continue to support it.”

Online Edition

Students eyeing maritime jobs will get their own training program at Long Beach City College, with workshops beginning as early as this winter.

The community college will open a special center dedicated to training students for careers as middle managers, supervisors and clerks throughout the multi-trillion dollar shipping industry, after the Board of Harbor Commissioners this week approved a one-year contract between the Port of Long Beach and the school.

Jul 18, 2019

Longshore union, APM terminals strike tentative deal to allow automation to move forward at port

Online Edition

The longshore union and APM Terminals have struck a tentative deal to end the months-long battle over the future of automation and jobs at the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal, officials said Thursday evening, July 18.

APM Terminals, owned by shipping-container giant Maersk, and the association that represents port terminals have agreed, after months of closed-door meetings, to provide a comprehensive, fully paid retraining program for members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said Tom Boyd, Maersk spokesman.

In exchange, the longshore union will allow APM’s permit to bring in zero-emission and near-zero-emission automated equipment to its terminal, on Pier 400, without further protest.

“This focus is on reskilling and upskilling” the workers, Boyd said. “Everyone is quite excited about it.”

Details on the retraining program were light Thursday, Boyd said, because the deal had just been agreed to.

But it appears to end more than a half-year of public turmoil over automation at the mammoth port complex.

In early January, Port of Los Angeles gave routine administrative approval to APM Terminals to bring in the automated equipment.

That equipment, Boyd said, will arrive from Poland this month and is necessary for the future of its operations.

But a month after the approval, the ILWU appealed the decision to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. That triggered a public hearing process and months of debate on the future of jobs and automation.

Longshore workers marched in the street. They lined up to speak at commission meetings. They vowed, via officials, not become “the next Detroit.”

Officials for APM Terminals, for their part, pointed to the most recent labor agreement allowing automation and contended — with a majority of harbor commissioners agreeing — that their permit was consistent with the Port Master Plan.

The original vote on the permit was set for April. But the commission delayed their decision for a month, so that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti could step in and mediate.

Then, a series of votes over the last two months threatened to send the dispute to court. First, the commission voted to reject the ILWU’s appeal, thus OKing the permit.

Second, L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the San Pedro area in which the port sits, brought that decision before his colleagues. The L.A. council voted to send the permit application back to the harbor commission for another vote.

Finally, last week, the harbor commission once again affirmed the permit.

Union officials, at the time, said they’d have to look anew at their options.

Through it all, officials say, negotiations to resolve the impasse continued.

The agreement was worked out among the three parties, with the help of Garcetti’s office, Boyd said.

In a statement, APM Terminals said Garcetti’s “leadership” brought the parties together, adding that he insisted the modernization of Pier 400 couldn’t be completed unless ILWU workers were “equipped with the training and skills” to keep the port competitive.

Thursday’s deal is separate from the union’s current labor agreement and does not need approval from the Port of L.A., officials said.

“This tentative agreement will help longshore workers prepare for the port jobs of the future,” the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators, said in a statement. “It is a comprehensive, fully-paid training program to reskill and upskill longshore workers to equip them for the next generation of work on the waterfront.”

The only potential roadblock, Boyd said, is that the City Council, which doesn’t meet again until August, could still send the permit back to the commission for a third look. But Boyd said he doesn’t expect that to happen.

“ILWU will get paid for training,” Boyd said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Buscaino, though, in a statement said the conversation over the future of automation — despite Thursday’s agreement — is far from over. He called for Los Angeles to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission.”

That commission would look at “the future of work and automation in our city,” Buscaino said. “We must prepare for the future today because as this fight has shown, the future is already here.”

Officials for ILWU could not immediately be reached. L.A. port Executive Director Gene Seroka was unavailable for comment Thursday evening.

Online Edition

The longshore union and APM Terminals have struck a tentative deal to end the months-long battle over the future of automation and jobs at the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal, officials said Thursday evening, July 18.

APM Terminals, owned by shipping-container giant Maersk, and the association that represents port terminals have agreed, after months of closed-door meetings, to provide a comprehensive, fully paid retraining program for members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said Tom Boyd, Maersk spokesman.

Article link
Nov 02, 2017

Los Angeles, Long Beach port officials adopt new clean air plan

Online Edition

A long-range plan designed to reduce air pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that could cost up to $14 billion is now official policy.

Harbor commissioners for Los Angeles and Long Beach voted Thursday to adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update. The vote took place during a special meeting conducted at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, and commissioners voted unanimously to support the new plan, according to announcements from both port organizations.

“These new policies and strategies are some of the most progressive air quality rules in the nation,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We are serious about fighting climate change, protecting local residents, and promoting economic success at our ports.”

Much of the plan, estimated to cost $7 billion to $14 billion over many years, involves shifting the cargo handling and trucking industries away from fossil fuels and toward near-zero and zero-emissions technologies. The plan also anticipates that cleaner engines will power future container ships.

Harbor officials’ adoption of the plan follows the joint declaration Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Garcia made in June in favor of having zero-emissions cargo handling technology at the twin ports in 2030. The mayors have also announced their intent for zero-emissions trucks to carry freight between the ports and Southern California distribution centers in 2035.

Although that’s a timeline that stretches over the course of nearly two decades, the plan’s authors observed in the document that considerable investments will be required over the coming five to seven years to make sure anyone driving a near-zero or zero emissions vehicle has access to the necessary fuel or electricity.

The plan also requires that from 2020 on, terminal operators’ acquisitions of cargo handling equipment brings zero-emissions machines to the ports, assuming such equipment can be purchased. The new policy also establishes a fee structure intended to promote trucking companies’ switch to cleaner rigs.

A similar mechanism intended to give shipping companies an incentive to bring cleaner vessels to local docks is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The now-official policy further calls upon the leaders of local ports to advocate for stricter environmental regulations, to support technology demonstration programs in Los Angeles and Long Beach, for public financing for clean technology research and for grants for companies doing business at the ports.

Commissioners cast their votes Thursday after conducting a lengthy public comment period during which environmentalists and others contended the new policy does not go far enough to promote zero-emissions equipment. Commissioners also heard from truckers who expressed worry that the costs of switching to cleaner trucks may fall upon individual drivers.

Many truckers own or lease their vehicles, and parallel to the long-running argument over whether drivers should be classified as independent contractors or trucking firms’ employees, the plan has aroused worry that working-class drivers may bear the burdens of adopting cleaner, but more expensive, rigs.

The plan’s authors have acknowledged that zero-emissions technology contemplated for future adoption is not yet commercially available. Business interests have expressed worry over projected costs and whether hoped-for technologies will eventually prove to be reliable.

“As the CAAP is implemented, it will take open, honest and collaborative dialogue by all parties to address the feasibility of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment and to examine the ports ability to compete with other North American trade gateways,” Pacific Merchant Shipping Association president John McLaurin said in a statement.

The ports adopted their inaugural Clean Air Action Plan in 2006. That plan included the Clean Trucks Program, which banned old rigs from the ports in an effort to curb air emissions.

Port officials report a substantial reduction in air pollution since the time before the first Clean Air Action Plan Went into effect. Since 2005, diesel particulate emissions around San Pedro Bay are down 87 percent.

Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have, respectively, fallen 56 and 97 percent since 2005, according to the ports.

Online Edition

A long-range plan designed to reduce air pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that could cost up to $14 billion is now official policy.

Harbor commissioners for Los Angeles and Long Beach voted Thursday to adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update. The vote took place during a special meeting conducted at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, and commissioners voted unanimously to support the new plan, according to announcements from both port organizations.

Jan 12, 2018

Multi-million plan to reduce pollution begins with conversion of cranes at Port of Long Beach

Online Edition

One of the largest sources of dirty air along a Long Beach port terminal will be eliminated as part of a $41 million plan to jump start wider use of electric vehicles and clean up transportation pollution, officials announced this week.

The California Public Utility Commission approved a project that will allow Southern California Edison to help convert nine diesel-powered cranes into clean-burning electric cranes at the Port of Long Beach, one of the region’s largest standing sources of pollution.

The project is part of a larger plan that gives state’s three major publicly-owned electric utility companies the go-ahead on more than a dozen pilot projects aimed at kick starting the electrification of vehicles. The projects include installing ultra fast electric-vehicle charging stations in urban areas and building out stations for buses.

“It’s a big deal,” said Adrian Martinez, a lawyer at Earthjustice, a pro-environmental group. “These projects will save lives. They will eliminate tail pipe emissions for lots of equipment, including that in Long Beach.”

Southern California Edison estimates it will cost customers about 3 cents a month to cover the costs of four projects.

The efforts are part of a state law directing publicly-owned utilities to invest in widespread transportation electrification with the goal of bringing California closer to its 2030 goal to reduce greenhouse gasses to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

Later this year, the commission is expected to consider an even bigger, $1 billion effort to expand electrification.

“Electrifying transportation represents the largest near-term opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive down pollution that impacts public health,” Ron Nichols, SCE president, said in a statement.

The soon-to-be converted cranes in Long Beach hover above the SSA Terminal, where they account for the second largest source of smog-forming nitrous oxide, or about 6 percent of the pollutant created every year at the port.

Eliminating it will diminish a fraction of the overall toxin produced at the port. The largest source is created by diesel-powered ships.

Last year, the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach vowed to bring the nation’s largest port complex to near zero-emissions by 2030 in line with state goals.

The area surrounding the ports have higher than average rates of asthma, and residents suffer other respiratory problems linked to port pollution.

Amid pressure from community and environmental groups, both ports have been investing in green technology. The Long Beach port is already home to a $1.5 billion all-electric terminal that’s seen as a model for green shipping.

Online Edition

One of the largest sources of dirty air along a Long Beach port terminal will be eliminated as part of a $41 million plan to jump start wider use of electric vehicles and clean up transportation pollution, officials announced this week.

The California Public Utility Commission approved a project that will allow Southern California Edison to help convert nine diesel-powered cranes into clean-burning electric cranes at the Port of Long Beach, one of the region’s largest standing sources of pollution.

Sep 10, 2016

One Hanjin ship begins unloading in Long Beach, while others are still anchored offshore

Online Edition

 

One of three Hanjin ships idled for days off the Southern California coast was allowed to dock in Long Beach and begin unloading cargo early Saturday, a sign that a crisis sparked by the Korean shipping company’s bankruptcy may be easing.

The Hanjin Greece, which had been at sea since leaving Busan on Aug. 21, docked at Pier T in Long Beach at 6:50 a.m., according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a traffic controller for the L.A. and Long Beach port complex. The ship is expected to depart on Monday after unloading.

It’s not clear when two other ships, the Hanjin Montevideo and Hanjin Boston, will be able to dock and be unloaded, but Carson freight forwarder Robert Krieger said any movement after more than a week of waiting is a good sign.

“The gridlock of nothing happening has stopped,” said Krieger, president of Krieger Worldwide. “If there’s been an agreement worked out for the Greece, I feel very optimistic other ships are going to come in.”

The Greece was allowed to dock after U.S. and Korean bankruptcy courts allowed Hanjin to spend $10 million to unload that ship and others, according to Reuters. 

Hanjin filed for receivership on Aug. 31 after the debt-laden company’s creditors rejected a restructuring plan. Since then, Hanjin cargo ships have been idling outside ports around the world waiting on action in bankruptcy courts. The company didn’t want to bring any ships to dock because it feared they would be seized by creditors. Port terminal operators, meanwhile, feared the bankrupt shipping giant wouldn’t be able to pay the longshore workers and truck drivers needed to unload and deliver Hanjin cargo.

Those delays have hamstrung companies awaiting cargo deliveries. Alex Rasheed, president of downtown Los Angeles clothing importer Pacific Textile, said he has 16 cargo containers trapped on Hanjin ships, including two containers on one of the vessels still waiting to dock in Long Beach.

In those 16 containers are about $2 million worth of T-shirts, sweatshirts and polo shirts bound for Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and other big retailers. Rasheed said if cargo stranded on Hanjin ships isn’t offloaded and delivered soon, those goods might not make it to retailers before the holiday shopping rush begins.

“It takes time for goods to move through distribution centers and then in to every store,” Rasheed said. “If this thing is not resolved quickly, there’s going to be empty store shelves.”

As Hanjin ships have been idled offshore, that also has meant fewer hours for longshore workers who unload ships and truck drivers who haul goods from the port complex to inland rail yards and warehouses.

The shipping company accounts for about 4% of all cargo coming into the Port of Los Angeles and 12% of cargo coming into the Port of Long Beach. Hanjin is the majority owner of Total Terminals International, which operates Long Beach’s largest shipping terminal.

“There are a lot of people suffering,” said Patrick Kelly, executive officer of Teamsters Local 952, speaking at a news conference in Wilmington on Saturday morning.

He said the situation has been particularly hard for truck drivers, as many of them are classified as independent contractors, not as company employees, meaning they cannot claim unemployment benefits when work dries up.

 

 

Online Edition

 

One of three Hanjin ships idled for days off the Southern California coast was allowed to dock in Long Beach and begin unloading cargo early Saturday, a sign that a crisis sparked by the Korean shipping company’s bankruptcy may be easing.

Feb 06, 2018

Plans for an $820 million railyard oust longtime Long Beach businesses

Online Edition

Roy Hetherington doesn’t want to stand in the way of progress. But progress is about to roll right over his business.

The Long Beach Harbor Commission recently gave the go-ahead on plans to build an $820 million railyard that proponents say will cut pollution and speed up cargo handling at the nation’s second busiest ports.

The 171-acre project just west of the 710 freeway marks a rare moment at the port: Environmentalists, shippers and port officials all agree it is a game changer that will help reduce pollution while making the port more competitive.

It will also force Hetherington and others out of shops where they have build their livelihood. And, compounding matters, officials say land available in industrial areas near the port is becoming scarce as marijuana growers snap up parcels in order to comply with laws requiring them to operate away from schools.

“I am not going to move out of here without a fight,” said Hetherington, a former merchant marine who runs a humming ship repair shop that employs about 40 workers.

He said his business depends on his location, just minutes from the dock.

“We put a lot of time and effort into building this place up,” Hetherington said. “I don’t want to see my business go.”

Harbor planners will need to oust owners of 39 properties and more tenants along a stretch of land south of 12th street in West Long Beach to build the yard. Port officials said they have already identified places to relocate businesses and will be offering them a fair price for their land.

“Our dialogue with the business community and those affected is a priority for us,” said Mario Cordero, the port’s executive director. “The goal is to make sure that whatever transitions are made, it is fair to everybody.”

Industrial land

Filled with greasy machine shops and crowded container yards, the quiet pot-marked road where the railyard will be built is bounded by 12th Street to the north, the 710 Freeway to the west and an existing yard to the south. About the only folks here are workers toiling behind concrete walls in the belly of the port’s industrial sector.

Lawrence Weber grew up along these quiet streets. The 47-year-old watched his grandfather and his father run Spun Products, a metal fabricating shop that opened in the 1970s and builds custom parts for the aerospace industry.

“I have spent my life here building this business and I got to go somewhere else?,” he said. “It’s like, why should I have to move? I own this place. I have paid for it in blood, sweat and tears.”

Port officials said details of relocation have not yet been worked out, and lawyers are reviewing the properties. But officials promise to help all they can.

“The port takes this really seriously,” said David Albers, a deputy city attorney. “These our our neighbors.”

He expects evaluations on the parcels will begin later this year, but emphasized the port is still in the early planning stages. The port will offer relocation assistance and what it deems market value for the property.

But Weber doesn’t see how officials can replicate his place.

“We would probably end up having to leave the area and most of our guys live in the area,” he said. “Some of us have been here for 20 years.”

Green zone

The vacancy rate for commercial real estate in the area is at about 1 percent, said David Bales of Lee & Associates, a commercial real estate company with offices in Gardena.

“The ones that have the biggest problem are the ones that have to be on the waterfront,” he said.

There’s not a lot of commercial property along the water. Bales said prices of property in industrial zones has skyrocketed as marijuana growers move in.

Cultivators of marijuana, which became legal for recreational use in California on Jan. 1, have zeroed in on places like West Long Beach because it’s far from schools and homes. A cluster of would-be growers have pending permit requests with the city.

Derek Caldwell, a real estate agent, said he’s sold about a dozen properties in the area to would-be marijuana growers over the last two years. And in that time, he’s seen prices more than double.

“There’s a lot of competition,” he said. “Most buyers are all cash.”

The trend scares Hetherington, who is still waiting for the city to notify him about their final plans. But he’s frustrated. He recently purchased a property next to his current business with plans to grow.

Dirty air

Rick Cameron, head of planning and environmental affairs for the port, said construction on the railyard could begin as soon as 2020, and will take place over several years.

The project comes as pressure increases to clean up air around the ports, the largest stationary source of pollution in the region. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been looking toward so-called “on-dock rail” as one way to reduce truck trips that cause traffic along nearby freeways and increase congestion at port gates.

The theory is that picking up cargo by rail when it’s unloaded from the ship, as opposed to putting it on trucks, will lessen congestion, ease pollution and speed up efficiency in an area sometimes referred to as the “diesel death zone.”

“As cargo continues to grow, having this infrastructure in place will help us move more of that cargo by rail,” said Heather Tomley, the port’s director of environmental planning. “Without this project, this cargo would have to go by truck.”

She estimates one train trip could replace more than 700 truck trips.

Currently, about 20 percent of all the steel container boxes are placed onto trains near terminals, but the port wants to increase that to 35 percent as more and more containers are imported into the port, ferrying everything from furniture to machine parts.

Cordero said the railyard project is “crucial” to hitting lower pollution targets.

The plans will triple the capacity at the already existing railyard, from 12 tracks to 48 tracks, and will provide a key staging area for terminals that will allow shippers to assemble trains up to 10,000 feet long and send them out to points across the country. Right now, there’s no room to do that in the terminals.

But it’s gong to do so at the cost of business owners.

“There’s no two ways about it,” said John Donaldson, president of LAN Logistics, whose company is also in the path of construction. “It will bite our ability to work.”

His company moves heavy machinery for the military and others near the port.

“We have to be in this area to do what we do,” he said. “There’s a threat of not being able to do what we are doing.”

 

Online Edition

Roy Hetherington doesn’t want to stand in the way of progress. But progress is about to roll right over his business.

The Long Beach Harbor Commission recently gave the go-ahead on plans to build an $820 million railyard that proponents say will cut pollution and speed up cargo handling at the nation’s second busiest ports.