National Press Club

Port Officials Discuss Economics, Environment, Security

June 15, 2009 | By Peter Hickman |

Officials of America's second largest port in Long Beach, Calif., told a June 8 Newsmaker U.S. ports must remain competitive to succeed in the global market, should be environmentally aware and maintain constant security vigilance.

James Hankla, president of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of Long Beach, said that while the port is working to increase its economic efficiency, it also is living up to its self-applied nickname of "The Green Port" by continually taking numerous measures to reduce its carbon footprint. One of the ways it does this, he said, is to send shipments from the port to their destinations by train rather than truck. Hankla said one average trainload of POLB shipments would fill 280 trucks. "So, one train takes 280 trucks off the road."

And cargo sent from Long Beach, he said, consists of 60% of the total from all U.S. ports. "You've heard of the bridge to nowhere?" he asked. "'Well, the Port of Long Beach is the bridge to everywhere."

Executive Director Richard Steinke also told reporters about the port's new Security Command and Control Center. "Security has always been a major concert at seaports," he said, but since 9/11, it is more broadly focused. "Our responsibilities today include anti-terrorism measures and the Port and our partner security agencies are engaged in unprecedented collaboration, working together like never before to protect people and property at the port," he said.

Hankla said that in all of POLB's continuing economic, environmental and security programs, it is always looking for ways to improve what it is doing. In other words, he said, we are "thinking outside the docks."