The Port of Long Beach is laying the tracks for a sustainable future by modernizing rail facilities and enhancing air quality, CEO Mario Cordero said last month (January) during his seventh State of the Port Address.
With an eye toward making Long Beach the world’s first zero-emissions seaport, Cordero announced construction will start this year on the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, which aims to move cargo more quickly, make the port more competitive and improve the environment for nearby communities.
- “…I can represent to you that the state of our Green Port is strong,” Cordero told 800 industry partners, community members and civic leaders gathered at the Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom for the State of the Port address – available for viewing now at www.polb.com/stateoftheport.
“We have gone through one of the greatest challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic – and we’ve emerged, still the premier gateway for trans-Pacific trade,” Cordero said.
“At the end of this decade, the Port of Long Beach will be on the cusp of not only operational transformation given our rail investment, but also environmental transformation – to a zero-emission port.”
As the centerpiece of the Port’s on-dock rail projects, the state-of-the-art Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility will move freight faster and more sustainably. It will double the size of the existing Pier B rail yard to 171 acres and more than triple the volume of on-dock rail capacity handled annually to 4.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). More than 1,100 construction-related jobs will be created by the $1.567 billion project, which will be built in phases and is scheduled for completion in 2032.
So far, the Port has secured $643 million in federal, state and local grant funding to help complete the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility – more than $500 million of which was awarded in 2023.
“Pier B will enhance the Port’s competitiveness, maintain its role as an economic force for the region and serve as a sustainability model for ports in the U.S. and abroad,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bobby Olvera Jr. “We’re rebuilding, electrifying equipment and decarbonizing operations while developing the skilled human talent that will make the Port thrive for decades to come.”
The Port closed 2023 with 8,018,668 TEUs moved, down 12.2% from 2022 and slightly ahead of pre-pandemic levels reported in 2019. Imports declined 12.7% to 3,804,356 TEUs and exports decreased 9.4% to 1,282,437 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port were down 12.7% to 2,931,876 TEUs.
- For complete cargo numbers, visit polb.com/statistics.
“The Port continues to be an engine for economic activity for the city and region, a leader in decarbonizing the maritime industry and a positive force in nearby communities,” Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson said. “And while we continue to innovate and revolutionize goods movement, we are developing the skilled workforce needed to move cargo in the future.”
More than $792 million in grants from federal, state and local sources were secured in 2023, marking a record year of public investments for infrastructure, security and clean air initiatives that will further the Port of Long Beach’s goal to transition to zero-emission cargo handling by 2030 and zero-emissions trucking by 2035.
Cordero said he anticipates additional funding over the coming year for several projects, including the Port’s effort to develop a “hydrogen hub” that would fuel cargo-handling equipment with zero-emissions technology.
Additionally, progress will continue through the next year to develop Pier Wind, a proposed 400-acre terminal designed to facilitate the assembly of offshore wind turbines, which would be towed to wind farms in the ocean off Central and Northern California.
If approved, the proposed Pier Wind project would be the largest facility of its kind in the nation and would help California meet its goals for renewable energy sources.
- Later this year, interactive and immersive exhibits highlighting the Port’s history, operational achievements and environmental stewardship will be on display with the opening of the Congressman Alan Lowenthal Global Trade and Education Center. Located within the Port Administration Building in Civic Center Plaza, the 10,000-square-foot space is named for Lowenthal, who represented Long Beach in the state Legislature from 1998 to 2012 and in Congress for 10 years until his retirement in 2023.