West Coast Ports See Record Imports in Midst of Dockworker Contract Negotiations
The largest U.S. port complex, comprised of the Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. ports, is in the process of installing equipment capable of moving "containers from ships to shore cranes and trucks with minimal human labor," according to Bloomberg. The first stage of the project will be completed in Los Angeles and Long Beach by 2016 and 2019, respectively.
The change was necessitated by competition from ports in Texas and on the East Coast. In 2002, the 27 West Coast ports handled half of U.S. container cargo. That decreased to 43.5 percent last year.
“If the port doesn’t automate, it will not be competitive,” Branimir Kvartuc, spokesman for Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the port area, told Bloomberg. “If it’s not competitive, it’s going to lose jobs anyway because of cargo diversion.”