Port of Long Beach director to retire
April 06, 2011 - LM Editorial
When ocean shipping’s “peak season” comes to end next fall, one of the industry’s leading port directors will be stepping down.
Richard D. Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, will be retiring September 30th at the top of his game, however, having presided over a massive transformation of the port to make in one the country’s largest ocean cargo gateways.
“I have accomplished most of what I set out to do at the Port,” said Steinke in a statement. “I’m pleased that I can move on knowing that I leave the port a better place than when I came on board.”
But not without considerable struggle. As he noted in an address before the “Pulse of the Port” seminar late last month, some problems still remain to be solved.
“We are still working on matching productivity on trucking side with that on the longshore side,” he said. “Right now, it’s a mishmash.”
While Steinke implemented a pioneering “Green Port Policy” that included an extremely successful “Clean Trucks Program,” developed with the rival Port of Los Angeles, issues remain, particularly in regard to labor.
Unlike Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach does not require drayage truckers to be union members. The ongoing battle between the Teamsters and owner-operators may be something Steinke’s successor inherits. Port spokesmen meanwhile, have not disclosed who that candidate might be.
Partnerships and collaboration have been hallmarks of Steinke’s leadership style, enabling him to steer the port through the complex process of winning approval for the $1 billion Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, which will create one of the most efficient and greenest terminals in the world, and the $950 million Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, which will assure safe access in and out of the nation’s leading port complex. Steinke’s retirement comes as Long Beach is kicking off $4 billion in major improvements over the next decade to cement its position among the world’s elite ports.
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