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Questions & Comments

For answers to frequently asked questions, please view the listing below. You can search for specific questions using the search box. To submit your own questions and comments please click here.

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Where is the port?
The Port's administrative offices are located at:

4801 Airport Plaza Drive
Long Beach
CA 90815

Phone: (562) 283-7000
Fax: N/A

View Map
www.polb.com

Does the Port receive funding from the City of Long Beach?
No. The Port of Long Beach is an enterprise department, meaning it generates its own revenues.  It does not receive tax money from the City. It is a "landlord port," meaning it leases its facilities to private companies, such as shipping lines and cargo-handling firms. Those private companies pay rent to the Port. Those leases are the principal source of revenue for the Long Beach Harbor Department.  Port revenues pay for the wages of the Harbor Department employees, maintenance and infrastructure investment, among other things. California tidelands laws require that ports earn and spend their revenues only on activities related to commerce, navigation, marine recreation and fisheries.

What causes Port cargo to increase or decrease?
International trade is tied to global economic cycles. When economies are strong, consumers buy more products and factories buy more raw materials. Americans buy more Chinese made toys, for example, while Chinese factories buy more American recycled plastic. After several years of growth in trade fueled by increased American demand for foreign made products, there was a steep decline in cargo volumes during the recent recession. But there are signs that the economy and trade are recovering. In 2010, the Port of Long Beach experienced the biggest single year increase in cargo volume in its history in 2010.

What is the difference between the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles?
The two ports are located side-by-side in San Pedro Bay, but are two separate entities. The Port of Long Beach is operated by the City of Long Beach. The Port of Los Angeles is operated by the City of Los Angeles.

The two ports compete for business, but cooperate regularly on various areas including security, infrastructure projects and environmental programs. Combined, the number of cargo containers shipped through the two ports rank as the world's sixth busiest port complex.

How is the Port managing its increase in growth?
The Port is consolidating and reconfiguring existing terminals so there is room for growing cargo volumes. It is encouraging longer hours of operation, increased storage densities and the use of technology to maximize terminal efficiency.  The Port also is investing $4 billion over the next decade to improve its facilities, including the Middle Harbor Project, which will double the capacity of two existing terminals while reducing related air pollution by half.

Who runs the Port?
The Port of Long Beach is a public agency managed and operated by the City of Long Beach Harbor Department. The Port is governed by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, whose five members are appointed by the mayor of Long Beach and confirmed by the City Council. The Board creates policies and appoints the Port Executive Director, the top official at the 400-employee Harbor Department.

What is the Port of Long Beach?
The Port of Long Beach is the second-busiest seaport in the United States and a key transportation hub in the global trade marketplace. More than $140 billion worth of cargo moves through the Port every year – everything from clothing and furniture to machinery and petroleum.  East Asian trade accounts for about 90 percent of the shipments through the Port.  The Port’s top trading partners are China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.

Why is the Port important to the nation’s economy?
The Port is a major transportation and trade center, providing the shipping terminals for nearly one-third of the waterborne trade moving through the West Coast.  In 2010, the Port moved more than $140 billion in goods.  It supported about 1.4 million jobs in the U.S. and generated about $15 billion in annual trade-related wages.

Is there a limit to Port cargo growth?
The Port has reached the limits of its physical expansion, in terms of major landfill additions, but has several projects underway to improve the efficiencies and environmental impacts of older, existing terminals. The Port’s challenge is to continue to find ways to efficiently utilize the Port and regional infrastructure to accommodate cargo growth.

Who owns the Port?
Port lands are owned by the City of Long Beach in trust for the people of the State of California and cannot be sold to any private enterprises. In 1911, the California Legislature approved a Tidelands grant, giving the City of Long Beach the right to manage and develop the Harbor District for the sole purposes of commerce, navigation, fisheries and recreation.

What is the Port doing to improve the environment?
The Port of Long Beach is committed to becoming the most environmentally-friendly Port in the world.  The Board of Harbor Commissioners has adopted the pioneering Green Port Policy, which sets the framework for the Port’s environmental protection efforts as well as its day-to-day operations.  Through the Green Port Policy, the Port is taking bold steps to protect wildlife habitat, improve air and water quality, clean soil and undersea sediments and create a "sustainable" Port culture.  Read more about the Port’s innovative Green Port Policy

What is the Port doing to ease traffic in and outside the Harbor District?
The Port is promoting operational changes such as incentives for truck drivers to avoid freeways during rush hour and on-dock railyards, which allow cargo to be transferred from ships to trains within the Port.  Long Beach has been a pioneer in the use of waterfront railyards to eliminate thousands of truck trips each day from the highway network.

Roughly 25 percent of all Port cargo moves to and from the waterfront via the Alameda Corridor freight rail expressway. The Corridor also eliminated 200 street-level railroad crossings that delayed motorists in communities throughout Southeast Los Angeles County.

How can my company do business with the Port?
The Port of Long Beach regularly seeks proposals from qualified firms to provide services and products. View current Requests for Quotes and Requests for Proposals

The Port has also established the Small Business Enterprises (SBE) and Very Small Business Enterprises (VSBE) Program to ensure that small businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in the Port’s construction and consulting contracts and procurement opportunities. 

How can I get a job on the docks?
Most of the jobs on the docks and inside the shipping terminals are union jobs -- positions represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Longshore workers are employed by a group representing the terminal operators and shipping lines called the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

In August 2004, more than 300,000 people submitted their names to the PMA for a random drawing to select 3,000 part-time or "casual" workers with the ILWU. That pool of workers was later expanded to 5,000 people who are first in line for new union jobs on the docks.

For more information, contact the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, or the Pacific Maritime Association.

How can I get a job at the Port?
Eighty-five percent of the positions at the Long Beach Harbor Department – the city department that manages the Port of Long Beach – are filled through the Long Beach Civil Service Department.  These government jobs include administrative, planning, engineering, security and maintenance positions. To obtain information on Harbor Department job openings click here.

Could the Port "outsource" security to private companies?
No. Security at the Port of Long Beach is the multi-jurisdictional responsibility of many government agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs & Border Protection, federal and state Homeland Security offices, Long Beach Police Department and the Port Harbor Patrol, which have the authority to access all facilities and cargo at the Port. In addition, all terminals must comply with the Federal Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

Ensuring the safety and security of our customers, tenants, visitors, employees and the community at large has always been a top priority at the Port of Long Beach. Since September 11, 2001, however, security has become a paramount concern, and the Port and other government security agencies have significantly increased security in and around the Long Beach Harbor. For more information on Port security, click here.

Could private companies purchase Port land?
No. As a landlord port, the Port of Long Beach leases its facilities to private terminal operating companies, which are usually joint ventures between shipping companies and cargo-handling (stevedoring) firms. The Board of Harbor Commissioners has the authority to review any proposed assignment of terminal leases at the Port of Long Beach.

Terminal operators contract with unionized longshore workers to operate the shipping terminals. Regardless of whether a terminal is operated by a foreign or domestic company, or a combination of both, the overwhelming majority of terminal workers are American citizens affiliated with the West Coast dockworkers union.

Where is the Carnival Cruise Lines boarding terminal?
The Carnival cruise terminal is located next to the Queen Mary, inside the dome that was formerly home to Howard Hughes Spruce Goose flying boat.

For directions, click here.

How successful is the effort to expand the hours of operations at Port shipping terminals?
Currently the Port's privately operated container cargo terminals operate around the clock to work ships at berth. The terminal truck's gates typically open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays because that’s when importers, exporters and warehouses are open for business.

As importers, exporters and warehouses expand their hours of operation, so will shipping terminals. But the shift to 24/7 operations will take several years.


What else can the Port do to curtail truck traffic?
As Southern California's population and economy grows, so will truck traffic. The Port is encouraging more efficient use of the existing freeway network by sponsoring truck appointment systems to spread traffic flow throughout the day.

The Port is also urging importers and exporters to operate at night and during weekends when freeways are less congested.


How successful is the effort to expand the hours of operations at Port shipping terminals?
Currently the Port's privately operated container cargo terminals operate around the clock to work ships at berth. The terminal truck's gates typically open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays because that’s when importers, exporters and warehouses are open for business.

As importers, exporters and warehouses expand their hours of operation, so will shipping terminals. But the shift to 24/7 operations will take several years.


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