17 Feb A Remarkable Year at the Port of Long Beach: Infrastructure Improvements Build on Successes
Last year was a year of records at the Port of Long Beach, and we’re thankful to all of our partners who have chosen us as their preferred gateway for their cargo into U.S. markets. We want you to know there is an even brighter future ahead.
The Port handled 7.2 million container units in 2015 — only the third time in our 105-year history that we’ve topped 7 million units. January cargo volume grew 24.8 percent over the same month in 2015, making a seventh straight month of cargo gains in Long Beach, following our third-busiest year.
Your industry has been a big part of our success. As you may know, footwear is one of our top 10 import commodities.
I’ve been crisscrossing the globe in recent months, talking about our Long Beach value proposition, and how we offer the most direct route between East Asia and the U.S. For example, a typical shipment via our Port from the Far East to Chicago can arrive as many as 11 days sooner than if you choose to route cargo through the Panama or Suez canals to an East Coast port. We save you millions of dollars a year and get your goods into the hands of consumers faster. This is especially critical during the all-important holiday shopping season. And in the emerging era of e-commerce, time is money all year round.
We’re proud of our competitive advantage, but we want to make sure we stay ahead. That’s why we’re in the midst of a 10-year program investing more than $4 billion to build the Port of the Future.
This capital investment program includes a $1.5 billion bridge which will carry 15 percent of U.S. cargo imports; and it’s tall enough for the newest generation of mega-ships to pass underneath. It also includes Middle Harbor, a $1.3 billion mega terminal — North America’s most automated and greenest — which, if it were a stand-alone port, would rank as one of the largest ports in the Americas. Our third major focus is on-dock rail, where we’re investing more than $1 billion to expand from 30 percent to over 50 percent on-dock rail capacity, thereby significantly increasing speed to market while further improving air quality by eliminating more than 1 million truck trips from congested roadways.
On Feb. 18, the Port welcomed the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin. The 18,000-TEU vessel is the largest to ever berth in North America. During its six-day stay, the vessel was christened before going into full commercial use. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin is as wide as a 12-lane highway, longer than four football fields, and could hold more than 90 million pairs of shoes. We are one of the few ports in North America that already has the needed infrastructure to handle these mega-ships — which are too big to pass through the expanded Panama Canal. When Middle Harbor opens in April, we will be the first and only seaport in the United States able to handle the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin fully loaded.
Thank you again for the role you’ve played in a remarkable 2015. I look forward to your continued prosperity this year.