California Transportation


Port of LA

By C. MacDonald

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.— Port of LA #1 in US for Handling Containers on Ships

By C. MacDonald

The Port of Los Angeles handles more containers on ships than anywhere else in the United States—more than 8 million a year. To handle this (and other) cargo, mainly coming from or going to Asia, the port has 43 miles of waterfront with 270 berths and 77 cranes, used to unload computers (the number one import from China), furniture, printers, TVs and computer monitors, shoes, car parts and just about everything else you can imagine.

The cargo values exceed $273 billion and help generate 919,000 regional jobs, including over 18,000 longshore workers. The cargo comes from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and elsewhere. Behind Computers, the number one import is Oil from Ecuador and Iraq, followed by Motor Vehicles from Japan and Germany.

Meanwhile, companies at the Port, which does not use taxpayer funds for its operation, are exporting aircraft to places like Japan and China, cotton to Southeast Asia and motor vehicles to China and Japan.

Last year, China's trade with Los Angeles passed $150 billion for the first time and is up 32.83 percent compared to 2009, when the global economic downturn dragged the value of LA-China trade to $115.79 billion.

China is the port's biggest trade partner. In 2011, the IMPORTS ranked by value were computers (almost $16 billion), TVs and computer monitors (over $7 billion); printers (over $5 billion); landline and cellular phone equipment (over $4 billion), toys, models and puzzles (over $3.7 billion) and footwear (over $3.5 billion).

On the flip side, the top EXPORTS shipped to China were cotton (over $2.2 billion), copper waste and scrap (over $1.5 billion), motor vehicles (over $1.5 billion), paper (over $1 billion), aluminum waste and scrap ($986 million) and scrap iron and steel ($655 million).

There are 23 Terminals for containers, autos (Nissan, Infinity and other cars are unloaded from special ships), liquid bulk and two for passengers. Last year, nearly 609,000 people boarded 2,000 cruise ships.

The port is becoming more efficient and reducing pollution through the use of trains, cleaner trucks and ships. A clean truck program has reduced diesel particulate matter over 80%; 100 trains a day are moving cargo on 113 miles of port rails and some ships can plug into electric power instead of burning diesel fuel while in LA.

Another part of of the port's business is its17 marinas, with 3,500 recreational boat slips. As you can tell, the Port of LA is a hub of activity, constantly growing and evolving. Combined with the neighboring Port of Long Beach, the ports are a vital part of the SoCal, national and international economy. When combined, the two rank 6th in the world in container imports/exports. To find out more about this incredible, ever-changing story, visit .

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