In April, the Port, Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) committed to a 40-year, $4.6 billion agreement under which the Port will lease the redeveloped terminal to OOCL and LBCT.
Construction on the Middle Harbor project, which officials said will feature clean technologies to move cargo, started in 2011. Once finished, it's expected to be the largest and most modern cargo terminal in North America. The project will combine two older facilities into one terminal.
"It's going to electrify everything, so not only will we be in a better position for competition, able to handle more freight, employ more people, but we're going to be a much better neighbor," said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. "This is going to be a much cleaner port and everyone around here is going to breathe a lot easier as a result."
Transporting more than 1 million containers a year, the Port of Long Beach is one of the heaviest-used trading routes in the world. Once the project is complete, larger ships will be able to dock in Long Beach.
While union leaders and port officials are working together, some union leaders are concerned the automation process will eliminate jobs. However, employers cite the thousands of permanent jobs, along with thousands of temporary construction jobs.
"Over 40 years, you're putting $4.6 billion back into the economy here, so that's absolutely a home run," said Christopher Lytle, the port's executive director.