Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LA, Long Beach Ports to Collaborate More

By Mark Edward Nero

The adjoining ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while remaining competitors, will work together more closely in the future on certain issues, the LA port’s executive director, Gene Seroka, said Jan. 30.

Seroka’s comments came during a first-of-its kind environmental summit hosted by the LA port. He revealed that he recently met with the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as his counterpart at the Port of Long Beach, Jon Slangerup.

“There will be some very interesting work happening beginning in February between the two ports,” Seroka said during the three-hour environmental summit, which was attended by, among others, local community leaders, representatives from the Port of Long Beach, key regulatory agencies, representatives from environmental organizations that are active at the two ports, representatives from private industry, local labor organizations and the ports’ terminal and railway operators.

The fact that the two San Pedro Bay ports collaborated on environmental initiatives in 2006 is essentially prologue to what comes next, Seroka said.

“We were in lockstep nearly 10 years ago with the Clean Air Action Plan. There will be more work that we do together, everything except pricing terms; there will continue to be a healthy competition around that,” he revealed. “There is some work that will start happening in the month of February with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles working in partnership, from the area of marketing to legislation, environmental causes, safety & security, as well as the supply chain.”

“There will be more to come and our mayors will lead the charge in these areas, but I look forward to a new day in working together and I think we can collectively move the ball forward in a great manner,” he said. The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan mapped out a strategy to reduce or prevent pollution from the ships, trucks, locomotives, tractors and cranes that move cargo. Components include regulations and incentives to get vessel and vehicle owners to reduce air emissions.

Last week’s environmental summit, held at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington, attracted dozens of stakeholders. Among the topics were future programs and potential initiatives that could help ensure balanced and sustainable growth at the port, which is America’s largest and busiest seaport, but for decades has almost been one of the country’s largest fixed-station emitters of air pollution. The meeting consisted of a roundtable discussion with invited panel participants.

“The next step of our Clean Air Action Plan will raise the bar to historic heights,” Seroka said without giving away any details. “It will talk about things that have never been contemplated before.”