LB's new Gerald Desmond Bridge has 33pc more capacity

THE Port of Long Beach replaced the Gerald Desmond Bridge with a structure that will provide 33 per cent more capacity, reports San Gabriel Valley Tribune

06 October 2020 - 19:00
THE Port of Long Beach replaced the Gerald Desmond Bridge with a structure that will provide 33 per cent more capacity, reports San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The new bridge, which opened October 5, has six lanes in each direction compared to four before. Added air draft makes it less steep and safer for heavy trucks.

'We're not only a gateway but a facilitator of global trade,' said the port's deputy executive director, Noel Hacegaba. 'This new bridge is part of a larger infrastructure programme we've been embarking on for the last 10 years. It will go a long way toward our ability to remain competitive.'

'Even in this very turbulent year, we're only down 1.2 per cent year to date through August, we're still handling a lot of cargo,' said Mr Hacegaba.

The increased height will also allow today's bigger ships to pass beneath, increasing opportunities for new business.

The new bridge is 205 feet tall compared to 155 feet of the Gerald Desmond Bridge. The extra height is needed since many of today's ships carry 18,000 TEU.

'To put it in context, a ship of that size is the equivalent of a 12-lane freeway in width and is as long as the Empire State Building and as high as a 10-story building. And we'll be the only port in the US that can handle even bigger ships with 23,000 TEU,' said Mr Hacegaba.

Thus, the largest ships that can pass through the Panama Canal - 14,000 TEUers - can pass under the new bridge.

Those jobs generate more than $126.8 billion in wages, which additionally adds $374 billion in spending into the national economy.

'It's an important piece of infrastructure that will provide more highway capacity to both ports and increase safety for trucks,' he said.

'Any major infrastructure improvement in the San Pedro Bay is good for cargo moving in and out, whether it's an improvement in railways, roadways or waterways,' said Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield.

Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach has two additional infrastructure projects underway, which will play a significant role in the nation's economy.

The $1.8 billion Middle Harbour Terminal redevelopment project will combine two shipping terminals into an extremely advanced and environmentally friendly container terminal. It's expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.

Also in the plans, the $870 million Pier B on-dock Rail Support Facility will heighten on-dock rail capacity at the port's shipping terminals. This will allow the movement of cargo via train to speed up and will strengthen the port's competitiveness.

The beginning stages are expected to be completed in 2024, while the entire project is expected to complete in 2032.

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