Tuesday, April 19, 2011

China Shipping Unveils Major LA Port Terminal Upgrades

Shanghai-based ocean carrier China Shipping on Monday unveiled nearly $50 million in terminal upgrades at the firm's Port of Los Angeles facility.

The $47.6 million worth of improvements, the second phase of an ongoing expansion at the China Shipping terminal, include four additional container gantry cranes, 18 acres of additional terminal backland, and a new 925-foot extension of the facility's wharf. These phase two improvements will now allow two large container vessels to call simultaneously at the terminal.

The terminal opened in 2004 and the $100 million first phase of the expansion plan began in 2008.

Set for completion in 2014, the third and final phase of the $207 million multi-phase terminal expansion plan will see the construction of an additional 350 feet of new wharfage and further land creation will nearly double the terminal's opening day footprint of roughly 75 acres to just over 140 acres. The fully-completed terminal is expected to be able to handle up to 1.5 million TEUs annually.

The China Shipping terminal, originally scheduled to open in 2002, was at the heart of litigation that ultimately led to a more than five-year moratorium on major port development in both Los Angeles and neighboring Long Beach.

As the port was preparing to open the terminal, Los Angeles was sued by the National Resources Defense Council and several other groups over the port's environmental impact documents covering the conversion of the former Todd Shipyard property into the China Shipping terminal.

The port ultimately reached a negotiated settlement with the litigants that, by some estimates, cost the port more than $100 million in lost revenue and environmental retrofits to comply with the terms of the settlement. China Shipping was ultimately awarded just over $22 million by the Los Angeles City Council as compensation for the two-year delay in opening the terminal.

The fallout from the settlement caused both ports to revamp the way that environmental impact documents are prepared for development in the ports and led to a self-imposed delay by both ports in all major development until late 2008. The settlement also directly led to the joint development by the two ports of a comprehensive program to address.