A coalition of shippers and transportation has issued a statement supporting a plan by APM Terminals (APMT) to install electric, automated cargo-handling equipment at Los Angeles Pier 400.
The Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) said it supports the Clean Air Action Plan of the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach and that “APMT’s plan to invest in and install electric cargo-handling equipment at their Pier 400 marine terminal in Los Angeles is an excellent example of how the maritime industry can and does make substantial environmental improvements for the benefit of all citizens of the region.”
APM Terminals, a subsidiary of the A.P. Moller-Maersk group, plans to install automated straddle carriers at its Pier 400 container terminal, the largest in the Port of Los Angeles. Its plans are being strongly opposed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which says members’ jobs will be eliminated. APMT said it has the “undisputed right” under its contract with the ILWU to introduce such equipment.
The CRT statement comes days before a Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners meeting on Thursday at which it will review its decision to grant a California state coastal development permit for infrastructure improvements at the terminal needed before new equipment is tested and eventually installed.
The port had granted the permit to do the infrastructure work back in January, but the ILWU appealed the decision.
In a 3-2 vote, the harbor commissioners on June 20 denied the ILWU appeal. Then on June 28 the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to veto the harbor commissioners’ decision and sent the it back to the commission to reconsider.
The coalition’s members include the Retail Industry Leaders Association as well as individual retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Big Lots, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target; manufacturers such as HP and Profit Tools; transportation and logistics companies such as BNSF Railway, Evans Delivery, GSC Logistics, NFI, RoadOne, Total Transportation Services and TOTE; and the Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and South Carolina State Ports Authority.
The coalition said it “urges the City Council of Los Angeles to reconsider their decision to deny the required permits and to support the full implementation of APMT’s plan for electric cargo-handling equipment. The air quality benefits are obvious and the opportunity to reduce GHG emissions and harmful air pollutants cannot be allowed to be lost.”
Meanwhile, an effort to require a review of port automation projects by California’s State Lands Commission has been introduced in the California Legislature by Assemblyman Mike Gipson.
Last week, BNSF, Union Pacific and the California Short Line Railroad Association sent a letter to the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee saying they oppose Gipson’s bill, AB 1321, because it would be “an obstacle to ports and terminals meeting many critical economic and environmental goals.”
They said it would “override freight and port industry efforts to reduce emissions through new technologies and cargo-handling equipment, impede efforts to increase efficiency and remain competitive with other ports in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, regain market share lost to other ports, as well as increase jobs that go with that market share growth.”
The railroads also said the bill will “add a political decisionmaking layer to an already long approval process for automation projects at the ports; pick winners and losers depending on which terminals are allowed to automate, creating a competitive advantage for automated terminals over nonautomated terminals; and make future port collective bargaining agreements unreliable at best since the process in this bill bypasses those agreements.”