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L.A. Port Finishes Land Reclamation

California

April 27, 2000|STEPHEN GREGORY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Port of Los Angeles today moves one step closer to expanding its terminal operations by nearly a fifth with the completion of the massive Pier 400 landfill project--a 5 1/2-year effort that turned 58 million cubic yards of mud from San Pedro Bay into 590 acres of land that officials hope will cinch the facility's quest to become the nation's No. 1 commercial seaport.

Construction is expected to begin later this year on a 484-acre container terminal for Maersk Sealand, the world's largest shipping line. In October, Maersk jilted neighboring Port of Long Beach by announcing plans to abandon its host facility of more than 20 years and relocate to Pier 400.

When completed, the $466-million Maersk Sealand terminal will be one of the largest container facilities in the world, boasting docking space for six freighters and room for 16 loading cranes. In comparison, the region's current largest terminal, the 232-acre APL facility, can work four freighters at a time using 12 cranes. Construction is expected to be completed in 2003.

The terminal is expected to boost annual cargo volume at the Port of Los Angeles by more than 1 million 20-foot containers, fueling hope among port officials that the facility can permanently regain the title of the nation's top port, which it lost in 1993 to Long Beach. But even without Pier 400, Los Angeles is already making strides: Los Angeles edged Long Beach in total monthly container volume during the first three months of the year.

The Pier 400 project is believed to be the nation's largest dredging and landfill project.

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