Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup promised in his second annual State of the Port address Thursday to carry forward his vision of the Port of the Future — a model of faster, cleaner and safer goods movement that benefits and protects the local economy, the community and the environment.
He reminded the audience of 900 people at the Long Beach Convention Center’s Pacific Ballroom that the Port's role is to facilitate creative solutions, forge new paths and build upon the 105-year legacy of leadership at the Port of Long Beach.
“It is the vision of those who came before us that got us here. We now need the courage to think in new ways and make bold decisions that fly in the face of convention,” Slangerup said. “Together, we have the opportunity to transform the Port of Long Beach from a world-class port into the world’s best port.”
Slangerup acknowledged the challenges and congestion that slowed cargo movement one year ago when dozens of cargo ships waited for days off the coast for a chance to come into the harbor complex.
Slangerup then noted how the port complex, working with industry partners, labor and the community, rebounded quickly and set new cargo records with the Port moving 7.2 million containers in 2015.
Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzmán introduced Slangerup and discussed the Commission’s leadership and the Harbor Department’s accomplishments in renewing strong ties with the city and the community it serves. She also noted how the Commissioners and CEO rebuilt trust with the Port’s customers domestically and internationally.
“We work hard to keep Long Beach on the forefront — from our innovative environmental programs and investment in capital improvements to our active engagement with the community and business partners. We’re proud to be building the Port of the Future,” said President Guzmán.
In 2015, the Harbor Commission voted to build a new headquarters for the Port in downtown Long Beach by 2019. The Commission strengthened its policy of social responsibility and renewed its commitment to carry forward the historic Green Port Policy.
Slangerup underscored the importance of the Supply Chain Optimization (SCO) collaboration between the Port of Long Beach and the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, as well as industry partners and community stakeholders.
SCO will enhance efficiency, preventing the kind of congestion that was evident 12 months ago, offering more business-attracting advantages and delivering a cleaner, more sustainable future, he said.
Slangerup updated the audience on the Port’s $4 billion modernization plan that includes opening Phase 1 of the automated Middle Harbor terminal this spring to welcome the world’s biggest and cleanest ships. It also includes replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge with a taller, safer and iconic bridge, and an expansion of on-dock rail to move more cargo safely and cleanly.
Slangerup noted the Port of Long Beach’s value proposition of being the fastest, most efficient way to move cargo from Asia to the American consumer. “We are developing and deploying the cleanest technologies anywhere,” he said.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles $180 billion in trade annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.
The State of the Port address is available on archived webcast at www.polb.com/stateoftheport.