Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka Outlines the Year Ahead in Keynote at 2024 ‘State of the Port’ Event

Jan. 10, 2024 – In his ninth annual ‘State of the Port’ address today before a sold-out crowd of more than 575 community, business and labor stakeholders, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka presented the Port’s top initiatives and plans for the coming year.  Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Los Angeles City Councilmember Tim McOsker and all five Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners were among those in attendance.
Focus areas include community investment, environmental leadership, workforce development and improving infrastructure to handle additional cargo.
“Our priorities for 2024 center on delivering results that California needs and expects,” Seroka told attendees at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association-hosted luncheon at the Los Angeles World Cruise Center. “Our work in the year ahead will entail moving forward on a number of fronts, all of which reflect how much we value our community, the environment, and the jobs and workforce that moves cargo through our Port.”
Seroka reported that in 2023––and for the 24th consecutive year––the Port of Los Angeles ranked as the nation’s No. 1 container port.  When final data is available next week, the Port will have processed more than 8.6 million container units in 2023. While that is a decline of about 13% compared to the previous year, the Port saw a strong rebound in the last five months and an uptick in market share.
“The good news is that global trade is now edging up and we are looking forward to a return to more normal cargo volume levels in the year ahead,” Seroka said.
Seroka emphasized community engagement and investment, announcing that the $77 million Wilmington Waterfront Promenade grand opening will be held on Saturday, February 3.  Later that day, the new waterfront public space will host the Port’s annual Lunar New Year Festival.
“With the Banning’s Landing Community Center at one end and a future youth aquatic center at the other, this new public space will be an instant landmark,” Seroka said.
Later this year, the Port will break ground on the $65 million Avalon Promenade and Gateway Project, which will connect the Wilmington community to its waterfront.
In San Pedro, construction is moving quickly on the 42-acre West Harbor retail and dining development with Phase 1 expected to open in 2025.
“While the Port is completing the final phase of the San Pedro Waterfront Pedestrian Promenade, West Harbor is building 375,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor retail, entertainment and dining space––even a dog park that will offer craft beer and other refreshments,” Seroka told the crowd. “And that’s just Phase One.”
Meanwhile, AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles has broken ground on a 180,000-square foot buildout of its warehouse space at the Port’s historic City Dock No. 1.  The $28 million project––funded in part by the State and Port––will transform AltaSea’s Center for Innovation into a critical mass of marine and blue-tech related research, education and technology enterprises.
Additional community-related initiatives include several transportation projects to ease truck and commuter traffic. The new Harbor Blvd. onramp and offramp upgrade between the Vincent Thomas Bridge and Harbor Freeway will break ground this year.
Seroka also reported that 219 cruises set sail from the Port of Los Angeles in 2023 with a record 1.3 million passengers. With each cruise generating more than $1.2 million in local payroll and business activity, the Port is capitalizing on that momentum. The Port plans to issue a Request for Proposals in the coming months focused on building a new outer harbor cruise and conference center.
Seroka also reiterated the Port’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. In the coming year, the Port will accelerate its green hydrogen plans, bolstered by the announcement last fall of up to $300 million in federal grants funding for development of “hydrogen hub” operations in the San Pedro Bay port complex. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach plan to match the funding with up to  $300 million in combined investments.  The Port plans to use that funding to deploy dozens of hydrogen-powered cargo-handling equipment construction of the necessary hydrogen-fueling terminal infrastructure.
These green hydrogen investments will be in addition to the 195 zero-emission Class 8 over-the-road trucks already in operation at the ports. Plans are now underway to boost those numbers, said Seroka, in part by offering incentives under the Port’s Clean Truck Fund Rate program, which has collected more than $115 million to date to help facilitate a changeover to cleaner trucks serving the port complex.
In 2024, the Port will further its commitment to creating Green Shipping Corridors that focus on reducing carbon emissions along key international shipping routes through use of zero-emission trucks and terminal equipment, and gradually cleaner vessels fuels. Five of the major ocean carriers that call on the San Pedro Bay ports will be testing lower-carbon fuels in the coming years as part of these various Green Shipping Corridor programs. To date, the Port has established Green Shipping Corridor partnerships with eight ports in China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.
“We have to focus on solutions that benefit both our regional and our global community,” Seroka said in reference to the value of the Port’s Green Shipping Corridor initiatives.
Seroka also provided an update on the Goods Movement Training Campus, a major jobs and training initiative underway with the Port of Long Beach, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Pacific Maritime Association and the State of California. Project design of this campus will be well underway this year.
Another important job generator at the Port is its 10-year capital improvement program for infrastructure. Major projects outlined by Seroka include:
•    Completion this year of the Port’s $73 million Pier 400 Corridor Expansion.
•    Ongoing roadway, rail and site design work on the $195 million Terminal Island Maritime Support Facility.
•    Final design on the $52 million on-dock railyard expansion at Pier 300 Fenix Marine Services terminal, slated to break ground in 2025.
•    Seismic upgrades at the Shell Oil and PBF Energy liquid bulk facilities at the Port.