Its remotely run cranes tower over nearby structures. Its operating system will be like none implemented before it, linking seamlessly to rail and trucking partners. And, despite all the heavy metal in motion, it will emit nearly zero diesel emissions, reported the Long Beach Press Telegram.
Long Beach officials last month revised the cost of the ambitious terminal to US$1.5 billion. That's double its first budget of $750 million set nearly a decade ago and $180 million more than its projected cost in 2013.
"It's worth the investment," said harbour commission president Lori Ann Guzman.
Cleaner burning gear and fewer freeway miles for trucks, officials say, will help meet state and local leaders' goals for a largely emissions-free future.
Once fully built in 2020, the 311-acre terminal, which is already in partial operation, is expected to become one of the nation's busiest ports and will be able to accept the world's largest containerships.
The high-tech centre will process more than double the amount of cargo than the previous terminal operations. The nearly decade-old project aims to turn two 1950s-era marine terminals into a processing complex that offers:
A zero-emission yard, replacing gear run by diesel with gear powered by electricity and low-emission fuels. A home to remotely operated, electric gantry cranes manufactured by Shanghai
Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co's (ZHIC) new, adjacent rail lines that will eliminate thousands of truck trips from the ports on through to the warehouse network of the Inland Empire and beyond.
Trucks pulling into the gate can expect battery-operated vehicles to assure that containers plucked from ships are stacked neatly by remotely controlled cranes. The work is programmed by humans but steered by sensors, with people at a safe distance from all the heavy-metal motion.
Meanwhile, there's no diesel emissions spewing from the equipment. It's all electric. When those self-driven vehicles need to be recharged, they pull into what looks like a warehouse for a recharge. There won't be any people manning the operation, just computers and sensors.
Union officials have decried the reduction in labour, saying that will eliminate good-paying blue-collar jobs. But proponents say that while some hands-on jobs will go away, opportunities for high-end, high-tech jobs will develop.
OOCL showed its support for developing the new terminal with its bank book. The company signed a 40-year, $4.6 billion agreement in 2012 to be the primary tenant. It also invested $650 million in the clean equipment that populates the expansive terminals.