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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1986. Improving Productivity in U.S. Marine Container Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/926.
Page 59
Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1986. Improving Productivity in U.S. Marine Container Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/926.
Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1986. Improving Productivity in U.S. Marine Container Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/926.
Page 61

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INTRODUCTION JAMES H. McJUNKIN The Port of Long Beach is celebrating its seventy-fifth anniver- sary and is today the busiest port on the U.S. West Coast. This is largely due to the fact that the port recognized at the beginning of the age of containerization that shipping in boxes would prove the most logical way to increase productivity both in the shipping industry and in marine terminals. Without pause for nearly a quarter of a century, the port has created new land and new con- tainer facilities, replacing breakbulk and antiquated facilities with state-of-the-art facilities geared to accommodate unprecedented growth in containerized cargo. In this effort, the port has been quite successful. Fifteen years ago, the Port of Long Beach han- died about 40,000 TEUs per year. In 1985, the port handled a little over 1,100,000 TEUs. Major projects under way include: 1. The creation of a new 85-acre container terminal on Pier A. This has involved tearing down 5 warehouses and transit sheds James H. McJunkin is executive director of the Port of Long Beach, California. 59

60 and creating 24 acres of landfill. This new terminal will be ready for occupancy in June 1986. This will bring the total container area to well over 500 acres and the crane number to 25. 2. A joint development plan, developed by the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles, calls for creating another 4.5 square miles of land seaward from the present harbor by the year 2000. Considering the enormous cost of dredge and fill construc- tion in 50 to 60 feet of water, emphasis on productivity is essential to make these new facilities profitable. The technological revolution in cargo handling of the past 25 years has caused cargo equipment to be improved to a remarkable degree. Perhaps the capability of today's equipment even out- strips the capability of management and labor to use it to its full potential. The next great revolution in the industry is likely to be directed to human relations and human resources. Now that we have extremely efficient equipment in place in our terminals we need to learn to increase productivity through better application of training and skills. We should not forget that it is our work force that has built our ports into their present position in world commerce. The human relations revolution will be made up of a series of simple, straightforward innovations. The Port of Long Beach, for example, has recently begun discussions with the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Local 13 to identify potential cooperative efforts in facilities development, the intro- duction of new waterfront technology, development of a safer work- ing environment, and increased productivity. In other words, the port is working with the union as well as with management. Sev- eral years ago, the port created committees under its auspices to provide a forum for terminal operators, steamship lines, and others to discuss and work out solutions of various problems jointly. The port has also convened a series of terminal operations seminars, which have had hundreds of participants. On behalf of its ten- ants, the port has tried to improve the efficiency of U.S. Customs services. It has also brought terminal operators and the trucking industry together to address methods of easing gate congestion. These are the kinds of modest, incremental, problem-specific ef- forts that need attention.

61 Thoughtful use of our highly skilled work force to cope with an ever-changing working environment should head our priorities. Without improvements in human productivity (management as well as labor), our sophisticated terminal equipment will continue to operate at only a fraction of its potential. This is a price the United States cannot afford to pay.

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Is the U.S. marine terminal on the verge of becoming a bottleneck rather than a funnel for world general cargo commerce? This volume, prepared at the request of the U.S. Maritime Administration, appraises issues pertinent to the productivity of these marine terminals, addressing such topics as the state of the art of technology and engineering design in general cargo terminals; the comparison of technology and design with that of other countries; the interrelationship of port and terminal practices; and the implications of port and terminal costs, practices, engineering design, and use of technology.


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