The Port of Long Beach roared back from unprecedented challenges to notch its busiest year ever in 2017, moving 7.54 million twenty-foot equivalent units, an increase of more than 11 percent, Executive Director Mario Cordero announced at the annual State of the Port address Wednesday.
The event drew an audience of almost 600 people at the Long Beach Convention Center. Cordero discussed last year’s Port accomplishments, billions of dollars in capital projects, and his vision for a sustainable future.
Cordero, a former Harbor Commissioner and past Federal Maritime Commission chairman, recounted his return to the nation’s second-largest port last May, during a time of uncertainty, as the industry evolved from four to three ocean carrier alliances.
Prudent management and planning readied the Port to navigate the shifting landscape, and handle the enormous container ships now plying the world’s oceans, said Cordero. He presented a vision of predictable, reliable, efficient and fast trade operations that will retain and grow business into the 2020s and beyond.
He described a "24/7" port featuring more information technology, one that is nimble like online retailer Amazon, and bold like electric vehicle builder Tesla.
"We must re-imagine, redesign and build a port that is second to none both environmentally and operationally," Cordero said.
Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum spoke on behalf of the Board of Harbor Commissioners, recalling how the Port charted a new course over the last 12 months by finding a tenant for a terminal vacated by the bankruptcy of a major shipping line. Bynum also noted that the Commission approved updated clean air strategies to improve the Port’s position as a global sustainability leader and increased the level of funding for community grants to mitigate emissions in the region.
"Business is once again booming, and the Commission remains committed to serving our customers and community at the Port of Long Beach," Bynum said. "We will continue to be the leading Green Port, devoted to a strategy that embraces powerful economic development and unrivaled environmental sustainability and social responsibility."
Cordero said Long Beach will continue to leverage its reputation for customer service and blend it with its world-leading productivity and sustainability.
"Zero emissions remains our ultimate goal," he said. "For us to continue to grow sustainably, our Port must be better prepared than other North American ports to bring goods on vessels that plug into clean shore power, move on zero-emission yard equipment and cranes, and are transferred quickly onto the most efficient network of trucks and trains.
"That's how consumers will get what they want, when they want it. That's how we'll all thrive in this new same-day, e-commerce environment."
To view the Port of Long Beach’s final 2017 container count, go here. December cargo statistics are at this link. For additional information, visit www.polb.com/stats.
To see the archived webcast of the State of the Port address, go to www.polb.com/stateoftheport.