Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup on Thursday unveiled his plan to tackle unprecedented congestion issues that have plagued the port over the past several months.
In his first ever “State of the Port” address, Slangerup, who was appointed in July, summed up the Port of Long Beach’s achievements in 2014 then gave his expectations for 2015 before a record audience of more 900. He also unveiled ambitious plans for congestion-beating smart systems for cargo movement and an all-out push to achieve energy resilience for port operations with wind turbines, solar cells and other clean technologies.
Addressing the congestion issues, Slangerup noted that bigger ships, bigger alliances, chassis shortages, loading procedures, rail car shortages and labor negotiations have all came together in a “perfect storm” that has slowed down cargo movement.
“Congestion is the single toughest issue we face,” Slangerup said. “And if we don’t fix it immediately, we will drive business away permanently.”
One way to address the issue of improving cargo flow in the long term, Slangerup said, is to initiate a “smart system” that will provide all the links in the supply chain with the timely data they need to optimize efficiencies – from how ships are loaded to how cargo owners track the movement of their goods.
“We have a choice,” Slangerup said. “We can watch our business go elsewhere, or we can come together to change the way our supply chain works by using the latest information technology to efficiently move containers from origin, through the ports, aboard trucks and trains, and to their destination.”
Slangerup also introduced his ideas for an “Energy Island” program aimed at exploring sustainable solutions to meet the Port’s increasing electricity needs as it adds more and more zero-emission equipment. Given the Port’s success with its Green Port Policy, which turns 10 years old this month, Slangerup said the Port should aim high to make Energy Island a reality.
“Our Port has long demonstrated our ability to deliver economic growth and environmental stewardship. These are two faces of the same coin,” said Slangerup.
Slangerup also noted tremendous strides with its $4 billion capital improvement program. The first phase of the $1.3 billion Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment project will be completed this summer and Port tenant Long Beach Container Terminal and its parent company Orient Overseas Container Line will begin operations this fall, increasing overall Port container capacity by 10 percent.