June 29, 2021 — The Port of Long Beach marked its 110th anniversary with a heartfelt message from Executive Director Mario Cordero thanking employees for all they do to make Long Beach live up to its motto as the Port of Choice. “Our efforts and the work of the generations before us have built what was once slough and marshlands into a 12-square-mile, modern gateway of commerce between the United States and East Asia.”
The Port received its first import load on June 2, 1911, when 280,000 feet of redwood lumber aboard the steamship S.S. Iaqua arrived at the Municipal Pier; the official dedication and opening day was celebrated on June 24. Over more than a century, the Port of Long Beach has grown into the nation’s second-busiest container port moving a record 8.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in containers and cargo valued at $200 billion annually. Today, the Port spans 4,600 acres of water and 3,520 acres of land.
“For more than a century, the Port of Long Beach has grown along with our city,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Frank Colonna. “We’re not only an economic engine, we’re a community partner, and we look forward to another century and more of success together.”
International trade moving through the Port is one of the key barometers used to measure the health of the U.S. economy. The Port handles goods that originate in or are destined for every congressional district in the U.S. Its activity supports 2.6 million jobs across the nation, more than 575,000 in Southern California, and more than 50,000 jobs – or 1 in 5 – in Long Beach.
Long Beach is one of the few U.S. ports that can welcome today’s largest vessels. It serves 175 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports around the world. To remain competitive into the future, the Port continues to invest in its infrastructure. Over the next 10 years, the Port is expected to spend $1.6 billion on modernization projects. The Port’s capital improvement program includes investing $1 billion in its on-dock rail network to add capacity; increase velocity, reliability and safety; and enhance efficiency across the board.
Ongoing improvements follow last fall’s opening of the new $1.47 billion cable-stayed bridge that replaced the outdated Gerald Desmond Bridge. The span is a vital link in America’s freight network, handling 15% of the nation’s waterborne cargo each year. This year, the Port is on track to complete its Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, expanding one of the world’s most advanced and greenest container terminals, operated by Long Beach Container Terminal. The modern 304-acre terminal represents a $1.49 billion investment in port infrastructure.
Sustainable facilities, equipment and practices are central to the Port’s mission. Building on the landmark San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan adopted in 2006, the Port is home to multiple large-scale demonstration projects paying the way to a zero-emissions future. Its goals include transitioning all terminal equipment to zero-emissions by 2030 and the truck fleet calling at the Port by 2035. Since 2005, the Port and its partners have succeeded in eliminating 88% of diesel particulate matter, 58% of nitrogen oxides, 97% of sulfur oxides and 19% of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, locomotives, trucks, cargo handling equipment and harbor craft.
The global economy relies on what happens at Port of Long Beach, said Cordero. “Our impact in recent decades has expanded to showing the world you can conduct vast amounts of business while also protecting the environment.”