Two SoCal Railroad Inland Port Developments Moving Forward
Proposals for the development of two new privately-funded SoCal Inland Ports moved forward by their developers BNSF Railroad and Pioneer Partners 2000, Houston, TX. The railroad Inland Ports would process containerized cargo to and from the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach directly via on-dock rail terminals by short rail through the Alameda Corridor to the Inland Ports, where trains could be built for further movement inland or offloaded to on-site transload facilities or trucks for local distribution. The projects will lead to improved SoCal Port fluidity of rail-bound containers, reduce Port freeway traffic, and increase rail delivery reliability.
The BNSF-funded $1.5 billion Barstow International Gateway (BIG) facility, to be located on 4,500 acres in Barstow, CA 130 miles from the SoCal Ports adjacent to its San Bernardino Intermodal Facility, has support by the Ports, County, and City, but still requires environmental impact assessment. Details of the facility capacity and development timeframe have not been released.
The Pioneer Partners-funded Mohave Inland Port, to be located on 400 acres in Mohave, CA 90 miles from SoCal Ports on the UP Railroad mainline, will have a planned capacity of 2.6 million ocean container TEUs per year utilizing up to 3,600 trucks per day 24/7. The Mohave Inland Port, the designation of which was approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, plans to have a groundbreaking in 2023 and be operational in 2024. The project is currently pending the UP Railroad agreement and building permits.
Long Beach First West Coast Port to Refuel LNG-Powered Container Ship
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) became the first West Coast Port to refuel a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) powered container ship in August, with the Pasha Hawaii’s MV George III maiden voyage. The 774 ft long dual-fueled vessel with a container carrying capacity of 2,525 TEUs and a sailing speed of 23 knots, will operate fully on LNG but can also operate on diesel fuel.
According to the POLB, LNG-powered ships achieve a 99.9% reduction in diesel particulate matter and sulfur oxide emissions, 90% less nitrogen oxides, and a 25% reduction in CO2 when compared to ships running traditional fuels. George III surpasses the International Maritime Organization’s 2030 emission standards for ocean vessels. The 300,000 gallons of LNG were provided by Clean Energy Fuels Corp., Newport Beach, CA. The vessel will operate on a biweekly containership service between Honolulu, Long Beach, and Oakland CA.
West Coast Ports Sink to Lowest Share of US Imports Since Early 1980s
West Coast August imports fell 11.5%; East Coast imports up 12%. The West Coast was the destination of choice for Asian exports in the initial stage of the COVID buying boom – before container ship queues stymied the ports.
Since then, volumes have been redirected to the East and Gulf Coast due to fears of both California congestion and West Coast port labor strife. There has been a major shift in cargo flows. East and Gulf coast ports now boast significantly more imports than West Coast ports
How California Is Seriously Cracking Down on Big Truck Emissions
When it comes to vehicle emissions in the United States, there is no regulatory body stricter on smog than the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Passenger cars are not the only vehicles that CARB sets out to regulate, and soon, heavy vehicles traveling the roads of California will be subject to more frequent, unannounced inspections.
Called the Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program (HD I/M), California’s newest method to combat harmful emissions is aimed at vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds. These could be trucks, buses, agricultural equipment, or even motorhomes. What’s more, the program covers any vehicle that exceeds the GVWR threshold, even if it isn’t registered in California.
China’s Share of Global Trade Growth to Plunge in Next Five Years
According to NYU’s Stern School of Business and Deutsche Post DHL Group forecasted that China’s share of global trade growth – imports & exports – will drop to 13% from 2022 to 2026. That is down from 26% between 2016 and 2021. China businesses will diversify their international production and distribution networks and the country focuses more attention on building its domestic supply chain base.
Walmart to Acquire Robotics Automation Co. for Market Fulfillment Centers
Walmart announced an agreement to acquire Alert Innovation, North Billerica, MA, a robotics automation company that develops material handling technology for automated order fulfillment. Working with Alert since 2016, Walmart has utilized Alert’s Alphabot system at its Market Fulfillment Centers (MFCs) for customer online grocery pickup and delivery services. The technology utilizes autonomous robots that store, retrieve, and dispense packaged products by moving horizontally, laterally, and vertically across 3 storage temperature zones (ambient, refrigerated, and frozen) without any lifts or conveyors, thereby maximizing storage space utilization. Walmart intends to utilize the technology to leverage its store footprint for storage and fulfillment, which consists of 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.
Major Supply Chain Labor Unions Continue Working Without Contracts
The west coast Port Terminal unions and national railroad unions have yet to agree on union contracts with employers after their contracts expired 3 months ago for Port workers and 33 months ago for railroad workers. The contract negotiations between the ILWU, representing 22,000 workers at west coast Ports, and the PMA, representing 29 west coast Port Terminal Operators appear to be stalled. Negotiating details have not been made public, but reported issues include the use of Terminal automation. Both parties agreed they were not planning work stoppages while negotiations continued. However, several disruptions have occurred, including the need for the Port of Los Angeles to divert vessels to the neighboring Port of Long Beach in August when workers refused to work at the APM Pier 400 automated terminal, citing safety concerns.
The leadership of three of the largest railroad unions and the Class 1 railroads reached a union contract agreement on the eve of the deadline of the Railway Labor Act process which would have authorized unions to strike or railroads to lock out workers. The twelve unions representing 115,000 railroad workers must individually ratify the agreement by member vote. To date, four unions have ratified the agreement and one union of 12,000 members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters Union (BMWED) voted to reject the contract, citing quality-of-life issues such as paid time off for sickness. The other seven unions are scheduled to hold ratification votes before November 20th. The BMWED President said his union would maintain the status quo until November 19th, which is after the mid-term elections and Congress returns, which could intervene to avoid rail service disruption.
Port of Los Angeles Announces Incentive Funding for Zero-Emission Trucks
In September the Port of Los Angeles announced the release of $5 million in voucher incentives for zero-emission trucks to operate at the Port. This marks the first in a series of incentive programs that will be funded by the Port’s recently enacted Clean Truck Fund (CTF).
Last November, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission authorized the collection of $10 per Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) from cargo owners on loaded containers entering and exiting the Port. Collection of the funds, to be used for zero-emission trucks and infrastructure incentives, began on April 1 this year and is expected to generate about $45 million annually. The CTF Rate is a key component of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan goal of 100% zero-emission drayage trucks by 2035.
Prologis Completes Acquisition of Rival Industrial Real Estate Co. Duke Realty
Prologis, San Francisco, CA, the largest U.S. industrial real estate (IRE) company, announced the completion its acquisition of Duke Realty, Indianapolis, IN, the 2nd largest U.S. IRE, after approval by shareholders. The all-stock transaction of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is valued at $23 billion, including the assumption of debt.
The acquisition will add 142 million square feet of fully operational logistics buildings to Prologis’ current inventory of nearly 1 billion square feet worldwide, located in key markets including Southern California, New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta. The acquisition adds 500 new customers to Prologis’ current portfolio of 5,800 customers in 19 countries, which include Third-Party Logistics companies (UPS, DHL, XPO), Retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot), Wholesalers (PepsiCo, Bridgestone), Transportation companies (FedEx, DSV, Maersk, JB Hunt) and Manufacturers (Hitachi, 3M, Samsung).
Port of Los Angeles Receives A $20 Million Dollar Grant to Improve Cargo Flows
The $20 million dollar grant will fund the construction of a four-lane, rail-roadway separation to ease truck access to and from the 80-acre marine support facility on Terminal Island, which serves all terminals in the San Pedro Bay complex.
When completed, the new rail roadway will connect trucks directly to the highway system in two directions, resulting in a reduction of 2,500 truck-hour delays daily; a decrease of more than 3,000 metric tons or emissions per year; and a reduction of 1,200 truck miles traveled per day.