The decision by French ocean carrier CMA CGM to make the Port of Oakland its first port of call in a new service from Asia is a reflection of importers and exporters developing new markets closer to their customers: “First-call status demonstrates the market is viewing the Port of Oakland more strategically which will attract increased cargo volumes,” says GSC Logistics Harbor Trucking President Dave Arsenault.
At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, surging imports have left boxships awaiting berths and they are piling up like cars on the LA freeway at rush hour. However, new investments in electrical cargo-handling and electric trucks could streamline port operations, reduce emissions and lower costs. The Southern California ports plan to transition all diesel trucks working the ports to zero emissions within fourteen years. Can the goal of zero emissions really be achieved?
For those in international shipping and trade, 2020 became the Year of Living Virtually as dozens of conferences and trade shows eschewed cancelling due to pandemic travel restrictions and opted for going digital. And the WCA World, a networking association of independent international freight forwarders, has taken this online technology one step farther, opening up a glimpse into a virtual world once imagined as science fiction rather than an everyday reality.
On February 4th at the Port of Long Beach State of the Port address, Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port reported that 15% of Long Beach operations are zero emissions and electrical. And Cordero emphasized he was confident that the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles would meet their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) goals of zero emission cargo-handling equipment in 2030 and zero emission harbor trucks in 2035. But it could be a race against the clock as currently only about 7% of the cargo-handling equipment in the Port of Los Angeles and 15% in Long Beach is fully electrical.
At his February 17th media briefing Gene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles reported that in January 2021, the Port recorded the following container movements:
• Imports increased 5.5% over January 2020 with 437, 609 loaded TEUs
• Exports declined by 19.5% to 119, 327 TEUs
• Empty containers rose 14.5% to 278, 580 over January 2020
In his ‘State of the Port’ address, Mario Cordero, executive director, Port of Long Beach paid tribute to the men and women keeping the Port operational during the pandemic and demonstrating that the Port is “not deterred by the pandemic.”
You could call this the perfect storm but I’m sure major retailers and importers from Asia would have other choice words to describe the current situation in the container sector. The supply chain is currently experiencing severe disruptions.
Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), reported that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen the highest number of COVID cases among U.S. West Coast ports and that thirteen longshore workers have so far died.