Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LA, LB Mayors Confirm Ports’ Partnering

By Mark Edward Nero

During a Feb. 23 joint press conference, the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach officially confirmed what the heads of the cities’ two ports have been hinting at for weeks: that the two entities are joining forces in a number of areas while still remaining business competitors.

“It’s time for our twin ports to work together more strategically to operate more efficiently and reduce congestion,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during the afternoon press conference, held on the deck of the USS Iowa floating museum.

Garcetti said the two ports recently requested permission from the Federal Maritime Commission to work together on a wide range of issues, including chassis supply and storage, vessel calls and truck turn times. They also plan to work more closely to collaborate on marketing, environmental issues, security and legislative advocacy, he revealed.

“To be clear, we will still vigorously compete with each other.” Garcetti told Long Beach and Los Angeles that neither city was trying to “absorb” the other, “But we can do great things together to attract more ships that move more goods to put people to work across the supply chain throughout the Southland and our nation. We’re turning the page so that the proximity to each other can be a strength.”

“The shipping industry continues to change and we will change with it, to sharpen our competitive edge, to make sure that cargo and jobs continue to flow into Southern California,” Garcetti said.

In speeches earlier this year, the Port of Long Beach's chief executive and the Port of LA's executive director each acknowledged that they would work together more closely in the future, but the Feb. 23 joint press conference was the first time the cities’ mayors confirmed and expanded upon previous remarks.

“For Long Beach to succeed, Los Angeles has to succeed. For Los Angeles to succeed, Long Beach has to succeed,” Garcetti’s counterpart, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “And so we’re committed, along with our port executive teams and our commissions, to ensure that we begin this new era of cooperation between the two ports and that we work together in the areas that are appropriate to ensure that we’re bringing business back to Long Beach and to LA, and to increase the supply we already have here in place.”

“I think we’re both excited,” Garcia said, “about the future of our two ports together.”