CMA CGM's decision to purchase a stake in the Port of Long Beach's Pier J container terminal will increase port throughput by 2.6 million TEUs and increase revenues by about $70 million during the next five years, the port authority said Wednesday.
The Port of Long Beach's gain comes at the expense of the Port of Los Angeles, where CMA CGM vessels have primarily called in Southern California.
As reported Tuesday, CMA CGM invested in the joint venture, between global terminal operator SSA Marine and Chinese carrier COSCO
, that currently runs the Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J. Their lease to operate the 256-acre terminal runs through 2012, port spokesman Daniel Yi said.
Port of Long Beach officials said the switch by the world's third largest box carrier gives credibility to its promotional claim of being "Big Ship Ready." The slogan is a not-so-subtle reminder that Long Beach already has 50-foot channels and berths, and land-side infrastructure to handle the new class of container vessels with two- to three-times the capacity of their predecessors, while East Coast ports are still trying to build to accommodate those ships when the widening of the Panama Canal is completed.
Long Beach is in the midst of a 10-year, $4.5 billion capital improvement program that includes upgrades to terminals, rail facilities and other infrastructure. - Eric Kulisch