The March 31 Port of Long Beach’s annual “Pulse of the Ports” meeting brought 500 trade experts and interested parties together to hear that the industry and the broader economy are rebounding, but with challenges still ahead. “While the recession is over, the recovery remains weak,” said Joseph Magaddino, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Economics at California State University, Long Beach.
Panelists agreed that lingering unemployment, tight credit and the depressed housing market make it unlikely trade will reach its pre-recession highs anytime soon, but early signs are positive. The Port of Long Beach experienced its third straight month of growth in February. “History shows our industry always rebounds,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke said. “We are cautiously optimistic about an upward trend.”
“I think we are headed in the right direction,” said Fred Malesa, vice president of international intermodal for BNSF Railway, which transports cargo containers to and from West Coast ports and rest of the U.S. Peter Peyton, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local president, said dock workers are already busier compared to the same period last year.
The Port of Long Beach will spend $3 billion in capital improvements over the next decade, in anticipation of competition for Asian import business.
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