PORT OF LOS ANGELES
The Port of Los Angeles will be spending $1.15 billion on improvement projects over the next five years related to the
expansion of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be completed in 2014.
He believes that most ships using the canal will
remain the workhorse 5,000 to 8,000 TEU vessels, and
not the larger ships.
The 13 busiest U.S. ports plan to spend $8.57 billion
on terminal and dredging projects in the next five
years. That is almost a quarter of all capital investments they have made since 1945.
That figure, however, does not represent other related
improvements, such as road or bridge work that also is
being done, according to a 2010 report, “Improving
Trade Volumes Have Led to Cautious Optimism Around
Gateway Markets,” released by Chicago-based Jones
Lang LaSalle Inc., a financial and professional services
company specializing in real estate.
Some U.S. port projects directly related to the Panama
Canal expansion include the Port of New York/New
Jersey’s $2.3 billion project to deepen its harbor, the Port
of Baltimore’s $105 million project to accommodate
supersize vessels and the port of Miami’s $150 million
renovation to accommodate the larger ships.
The Port of Long Beach, Calif., also will spend $4 billion over the next decade and the Port of Los Angeles
will spend $1.15 billion over the next five years on
improvement projects to prepare for the canal expansion.
Coast Guard Capt. Donald Rose, captain of the port at
Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala., said the expansion could
have an immediate effect on ports across the United States.
“In a good economy, you can see more resources
brought to bear to improve infrastructure, safety and
security of the ports when you have more commerce
flowing,” he said.
Rose is tasked with overseeing the ports of Gulfport
and Pascagoula, Miss.; Pensacola and Panama City,
Fla.; and Mobile, Ala. He said all five hope for more
activity once the expansion is completed.
“I don’t know what the reality is of who may have
the best chances of seeing increased traffic, but certainly the larger ports like Gulfport, Pascagoula and Mobile
have a better chance to handle a larger capacity ship. …
But any one of the ports can see an increase,” Rose said.
Rose said he expects that any increase in shipping
traffic would be seen over time and not right away.
The Port of Gulfport is hoping to have a $1 billion
port modification project done by 2014. Work there
was prompted by damage from Hurricane Katrina in
2005. The project includes raising the elevation of the
port and modernizing its railroad capabilities.
Rose said the Ports of Mobile and Pascagoula are
undergoing dredging projects to handle larger ships.
Dredging work is part of $600 million worth of
upgrades at the Port of Mobile, and the Port of Pascagoula gets around $9 million per year from the Harbor
Maintenance Trust Fund to remain properly dredged
The Port of New Orleans also was hit hard by
Katrina, and has spent $400 million in improvements
since the storm. Coast Guard Capt. Edwin Stanton,
captain of the port there, said as a result of that work
the infrastructure is in place to handle the larger ships
and increased traffic that could result from the canal
“I don’t see any big problems or any major changes
operationally that the expansion would cause for us
here,” Stanton said.
In 2008, the port released a $1 billion 2020 master plan
in which it outlined what would be needed for the future.
“The improvements that we are doing, particularly
the containerized improvements, are us planning for the
expansion of the Panama Canal,” said Chris Bonura,
communications manager for the Port of New Orleans.