Tuesday, February 5, 2013

MSC Buys Stake in POLB Terminal

Mediterranean Shipping Co. has decided to buy a stake in the leasehold for the marine terminal operations at Pier T, the Port of Long Beach’s largest container terminal, port Executive Director Chris Lytle announced during his annual “State of the Port” address Jan. 31.

“I am proud to announce that the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the second-largest shipping line in the world, has increased its investment in the Port of Long Beach by partnering with Total Terminal International at Pier T. This essentially doubles their stake here at Long Beach,” he said. “MSC already has an interest in Pier A, but this decision makes Long Beach the carrier’s West Coast hub, ensuring it will move more cargo through our port.”

Port of Long Beach is MSC’s biggest West Coast hub of operations, and Pier T is the port’s largest container terminal. The decision by Mediterranean to increase its investments at the terminal is the second such move by a leading shipping company in recent months.

The port announced in December that CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest ocean carrier, had purchased a stake in Pier J in Long Beach.

“For those of you who have been keeping tally, yes, that’s right: two of the world’s top three ocean carriers are now here in Long Beach,” Lytle said during his speech, which took place in front of hundreds at the Long Beach Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom, which seats up to 2,100.

The Swiss-based MSC and CMA CGM, of France, have been coming to the Port for years, but their direct investments mean Long Beach will be their exclusive gateway in Southern California, bringing more trade. MSC and CMA CGM operate some of the biggest containerized cargo ships in the trans-Pacific trade. The MSC Beatrice, for example, is among the latest generation of larger, greener ships. The MSC Beatrice can carry 13,798 container units – more than 70 percent more than the typical “megaship” of a few years ago.

Also during his address, Lytle touched on various other topics, including the port’s ongoing 10-year, $4.5 billion rebuilding and modernization program, which focuses on bringing cleaner and more efficient facilities to the port. Components include major waterfront improvements at Middle Harbor and Pier G and a $1 billion project to replace the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge.

“Ports in Canada, Mexico and right here in the US – on both coasts – all want a greater share of our business. To stay competitive and keep jobs here, we must continue to improve our facilities,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring that the hundreds of thousands of trade-related jobs that depend on our success stay right here in Southern California.”