LONG BEACH - Port of Long Beach officials Tuesday approved a $1.2 billion budget to turn an old pair of shipping terminals into one mega terminal that is expected to handle more than 2 million additional containers.
Costs to the Middle Harbor project include environmental and engineering costs, demolition, utility relocation and upgrades, an expanded on-dock railyard and new technology such as a computer-controlled transport and stacking system.
Tuesday's action by the Board of Harbor Commissioners formalizes the budget for the 342-acre project, though construction already began in 2011. About $513.4 million in work on the Middle Harbor project has been completed or is under way, according to port officials.
The project is slated for completion in 2019.
The formal budget will also help the board keep track of different contracts and aspects of the projects, said Harbor Commission President Susan E. Anderson Wise.
"What we are trying to do is organize our approach to these projects so that we have the best practices in place and that we stand the best chance of staying on top of the budget and the timetable," Wise said. "And as we go through it, we can keep track of where we are in relationship to the overall plan."
The board voted 4-0 in favor of the program budget; Commissioner Rich Dines was absent.
The project is among the largest for the nation's second-busiest seaport, which accounts for about $4.
Middle Harbor will be home to longtime customer Orient Overseas Container Line, the Hong Kong-based container shipping and logistics service company that last year signed a 40-year, $4.6 billion deal that is expected to triple the size of the company's footprint, create at least 14,000 permanent jobs and lower port-related pollution by half, port officials have said.
At Tuesday's meeting, Anthony Otto, president of Long Beach Container Terminal, a subsidiary of OOCL, stressed the importance of keeping the project on schedule.
"This project's vitally important to LBCT and OOCL for future competitiveness," Otto said.
He added that the millions of dollars of equipment investment, as well as potential future partnerships and vessel-related commitments to fill this terminal to capacity as that capacity comes online is "all predicated on the schedule remaining tight." email@example.com, 562-714-2088, twitter.com/KarenMeeksPT