Thursday, January 24, 2013

POLB Approves Middle Harbor Project Budget

After putting off a vote earlier this month in order to study the overall project, Long Beach’s port commission has passed a budget for the $1.2 billion Middle Harbor terminal renovation.

The approval came on a 4-0 vote during the commission’s Jan. 22 business meeting, with commissioner Rich Dines absent.

It was back during the board’s Jan. 7 meeting that the members agreed to place the vote on hold pending further review of the project by commissioners, stakeholders and the public. A workshop was conducted during the Jan. 22 business meeting, prior to the approval vote.

The Middle Harbor redevelopment plan consists of the combining of two aging shipping terminals, Pier E and Pier F, into one modern terminal for the purpose of improving cargo movement efficiency and reducing environmental hazards. The project upgrades wharves, water access and storage areas, and adds a greatly expanded on-dock rail yard.

Despite the lack of final budget approval until this week, work on the nine-year project began in the spring of 2011.

The project, which is expected to be complete by 2019, already has a tenant lined up. On April 3, 2012, Orient Overseas Container Line signed a 40-year, $4.6 billion lease with the port to operate the 300-acre terminal along with its subsidiary, Long Beach Container Terminal. LBCT has occupied Pier F since 1986.