Port of Long Beach makes bold move to become greener and more competitive

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero notes that The Clean Air Action Plan calls for increased use of on-dock rail, and that his stakeholders have a goal of raising our on-dock volumes to at least 35 percent of our shipments.

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The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, moving forward on a project within the Harbor District that will expedite the movement of cargo while mitigating its impact on the environment.

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero notes that The Clean Air Action Plan calls for increased use of on-dock rail, and that his stakeholders have a goal of raising our on-dock volumes to at least 35 percent of our shipments.

“It’s crucial that we build this facility to hit these environmental and business goals,” he adds.
This development comes at a time when many industry experts feel East Coast and Gulf ports may be taking market share away from Southern California’s mega-ports as a consequence of new ocean carrier alignments.

Such a move by Long Beach not only addresses need for “greening” the gateway, but also makes it more competitive over the long term

The proposed development would shift more cargo to “on-dock rail,” which places containers directly on trains at marine terminals. Currently, the ability to build long trains is limited due to the lack of adequate yard tracks and the configuration of mainline tracks. On-dock rail usage in the Port was 24 percent in 2017.

The Pier B facility would change this by providing track space to join together sections of trains assembled at terminals. No cargo trucks would visit the facility, enhancing the environmental benefits of pushing more cargo to rail transportation. A one-mile-long train can take as many as 750 trucks off the roadways. Additionally, the rail facility would be operated by Pacific Harbor Line, a switching railroad that has converted its fleet to clean-diesel locomotives that reduce air pollution and save fuel.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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