The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners gave preliminary approval Monday to a 40-year, $4.6-billion lease with Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) for the Middle Harbor property, clearing the way for a final vote on the largest deal of its kind for any U.S. seaport.
The Board’s Finance and Administration Committee approved the agreement with a 3-0 vote. Commissioner Nick Sramek was absent, and Commissioner Rich Dines, a longshoreman who has worked at the terminal property, recused himself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The Board is expected to consider final approval Feb. 6. The lease has been agreed to in principle by Hong Kong-based OOCL and its U.S. subsidiaries OOCL, LLC and Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT).
The Port is investing $1.2 billion to develop the new 300-acre-plus Middle Harbor terminal, while OOCL and LBCT will invest approximately $500 million in the latest cargo-handling equipment. The project is expected to generate more than 14,000 new, permanent jobs throughout Southern California by 2020.
The Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project combines Piers F and E into one state-of-the-art container terminal. LBCT has occupied Pier F since 1986 and will operate the Middle Harbor Terminal.
The new terminal will effectively double the existing capacity by utilizing the most advanced cargo-handling technology in the world. It will also be the greenest terminal in North America, cutting air pollution in half through the use of more on-dock rail, electrified cargo handling equipment and shore power, which allows vessels to draw electricity from a landside utility when docked rather than diesel-powered auxiliary engines.
OOCL has been an important partner in the Port’s green initiatives. Its ships have a near 100-percent participation in the Port’s Green Flag Program, which provides rebates to vessel operators that slow down in and near the Port to cut down on air pollution. As a gesture of its commitment to the Long Beach community, OOCL has donated its Green Flag program rebates to Long Beach parks and schools.