Yesterday the Press-Telegram published a guest op-ed about the future of the Port of Long Beach which I co-authored with Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond and Port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup. If you didn't read it yesterday, the op-ed is below.
Long Beach, port optimistic about future
Our top priority for the city of Long Beach is economic growth, and the economic engine of this city is the Port of Long Beach.
With new leadership in the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the city’s Harbor Commission and at the port, it is a new day not only in the city but also at the port.
We have an incredible opportunity to not only strengthen the relationship between the city and its Harbor Department, but to increase our global competitiveness, create local jobs, and build a model of both economic and environmental sustainability.
We are committed to being the world’s greenest port. The $1.3 billion Middle Harbor project, currently under construction, stands as a model of environmental responsibility.
On completion it will be able to move twice as much trade — by itself more than all but the top four U.S. ports — while cutting emissions in half. In fact, it will be the world’s first zero-emission operation.
The Port of Long Beach is investing more than $4 billion this decade to increase both sustainability and revenue, including investments in a demonstration electric truck highway and four more shore power berths.
The projects include the $1.3 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement, which will create an iconic, safer bridge allowing for the passage of bigger, greener ships to bring more cargo, and generate more revenue.
The port has also awarded more than $17 million in mitigation grants to improve air quality in our community with air filters in schools and senior centers, neighborhood health programs and tree-plantings to reduce greenhouse gases.
The port utilizes shore power to reduce emissions from ships at berth, and by 2020, 80 percent of the container ships docking in Long Beach will be required to use this technology or a comparable alternative, such as a pilot “clean air barge” now undergoing testing.
Our Clean Trucks program has reduced truck emissions by more than 90 percent, and we are committed to continuing to implement innovative technologies to protect air quality in the region.
The bridge project has moved into the construction phase. While clearing the path for the new bridge, the discovery of more-than-expected abandoned oil sites provided an opportunity to upgrade the oil extraction process significantly, increasing revenue to the city’s Tidelands Fund for beach and marina projects.
The new leadership is excited, especially with the opportunity to renew the spirit of partnership between the city, our port employees, and the men and women who labor on the docks. They are an indispensable part of the port’s growth and success. We know that we share a vision of the port as the backbone of our city’s economy.
The new leadership at the Port of Long Beach is committed to working with the city to the benefit of Long Beach residents and businesses.
And the city is committed to supporting our most important economic engine, and to maintaining and enhancing the greenest port in the world.
We are looking forward with excitement and optimism to what promises to be the city’s and the port’s best years.
Mayor Robert Garcia
Doug Drummond, Long Beach Harbor Commission President
Jon W. Slangerup, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Long Beach