(Feb 8, 2022) Eric Caris is Director of Cargo Marketing for the Port of Los Angeles. He coordinates shipping activities at the Port, including negotiating container terminal leases, coordinating with supply chain stakeholders, and promoting technology to reduce ship emissions by plugging in to onshore electrical power while berthed instead of burning diesel fuel. He was born and educated in Antwerp, Belgium, and has worked in the US for 38 years.
The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the US, slightly more than the Port of Long Beach. Each Port is a department of its respective city government. POLA can handle the biggest cargo ships, and processed over 10 million container units in 2021. The Port covers 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. It has more than 200 leaseholders, generating its revenues from leasing and shipping service fees with no support from city taxes. Mr Caris reviewed the major shipping terminals and cruise lines in the port area.
The Board of Harbor Commissioners manages the Harbor District, including San Pedro, Wilmington, and Terminal Island. Port operations promote maritime, commerce, navigation, fisheries, and public access to the waterfront. The Port has been involved in revitalization of the LA Waterfront, improving public access, developing visitor-friendly infrastructure, and transforming the area into a major visitor destination. Its operations are oriented towards environmentally and fiscally responsible development, with community engagement.
International trade has surged during the COVID pandemic-induced consumer spending of the last 2 years, pushing many seaports beyond their programmed capacity. Many new cargo ships carry much larger numbers of containers. Ships waiting offshore for their turn to load and unload have increased diesel engine pollution in the Los Angeles area. This has been decreased by requiring ships to wait farther offshore up to 150 miles, by trying to speed up cargo container traffic by truck and rail to and from the port, and trying to reduce waiting time of empty containers in the dock area. Trying to expand port operations to 24 hours daily is limited by a shortage of truck and rail transport vehicles and available workers, but the backlog is decreasing.