Friday, December 14, 2012

Shipping Line Buys Stake in POLB Terminal

The world’s third-largest container shipping line has bought a stake in the Port of Long Beach’s Pier J. Marseille, France-based ocean carrier CMA CGM has become a partner in the lease and operations of the 256-acre terminal. It marks CMA CGM’s first investment in a port on the North American West Coast.

“Of the large carriers, CMA was the only one that did not have a home locally, POLB Executive Director Chris Lytle said. “We are glad they’ve decided to call Long Beach home.”

Pier J is the site of Pacific Container Terminal, which has a water depth of about 50 feet and is home to 17 post-Panamax gantry cranes, making it one of the few terminals globally capable of servicing the new generation of giant container ships.

Pacific Container has been operated as a joint venture between global maritime services company SSA Marine and COSCO, a China-based ocean carrier. CMA CGM, which officially announced the agreement Dec. 11, actually became a partner in the venture in November.

The port says the move should bring an additional 2.6 million container units to Long Beach and increase port revenues by about $70 million over the next five years. CMA CGM vessels have been calling at Long Beach for years, but the new arrangement gives the shipping line a West Coast homeport.

“This first new investment for our Group on the U.S. West Coast will reinforce our position in North America,” CMA CGM Group Executive Officer Farid Salem explained. “By investing in Pier J, the Group ensures that the largest vessels deployed in the trans-Pacific trade will be efficiently managed.”

CMA CGM, which operates a fleet of 395 vessels calling at 400 ports on every continent and in 150 countries, also calls at Long Beach’s Pier A.