Slate of Projects Will Benefit Tourists, Cruise Lines, Community and Environment

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — SEPT. 17, 2009 — The Port of Los Angeles is investing more than $42 million in long-term improvements to its Inner Harbor World Cruise Center, according to a presentation given to the Board of Harbor Commissioners.

The improvements to the inner-harbor facility just south of the Vincent Thomas Bridge include a new, state-of-the-art gangway system, dockside conduit for shore-to-ship Alternative Maritime Power (“AMP,” or cold-ironing), a new rooftop solar panel array and a vivid new paint job.  The World Cruise Center, a homeport for four major cruise lines, is in the midst of a 21st Century upgrade that will benefit the millions of tourists who will make their way through the facility in the coming years.

“These investments underscore our intent to improve the cruise operator and passenger experience at the World Cruise Center and maintain its operational efficiency well into the future,” said Port Executive Director Dr. Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “Cruise operations at the Port provide more than 2,500 jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism and other business revenue. We want to keep and grow this sector of our business.”

Port staff gave a progress update to the Harbor Commission on Sept. 17 as part of a presentation to review alternative paint schemes for the World Cruise Center.

The array of projects in the works includes:

  • $9.4 million for four new glass-enclosed gangways, or walkways, to travel between the terminal building and cruise ships. The new gangways should be ready for passengers in February 2010.
  • $18 million in Alternative Marine Power (AMP) so that cruise ships can “plug in” to shore-side electrical power instead of running on diesel power while at berth. The first phase is expected to be completed later this year, while the second phase is slated for completion in January 2011. Depending on the size of the ship, estimates are that AMP will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by one ton (2,000 pounds) and reduce 85 percent of sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions out of the air each day the ship is at berth and plugged in.
  • $10.8 million for solar panels on the World Cruise Center rooftop. The Port, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, plans to generate one megawatt of electricity via 71,500 square feet of solar panels by May 2010. Three additional phases are expected to occur within five years, ultimately generating 10 megawatts of power through 1.16 million square feet of solar panels.
  • $2.5 million in general improvements, including painting, lighting and audio/video upgrades. These improvements are slated for completion in December 2010.
  • $1.5 million for a new fendering system. The cushion-like bumpers on the wharf, which will be fully installed in late 2010, will better protect both the cruise ships and the wharf.  

A leading cruise port on the West Coast, the Port of Los Angeles hosted more than 272 cruise ship calls and 1.2 million cruise passengers through its World Cruise Center in 2008.  Earlier this year, Princess Cruise passengers worldwide awarded the Port of Los Angeles the “Port of the Year 2008” based on customer satisfaction ratings.  The Port of Los Angeles is a home port for Princess Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and, beginning in 2011, Disney Cruise Line.  

A report this year indicated that the Port of Los Angeles will experience long-term growth in cruise activity. The 2009 Menlo Study cited increased passenger volumes and larger cruise vessels as the primary factors underlying the optimistic long-term growth forecast.

As part of the Port’s proposed San Pedro Waterfront Project coming before the Board of Harbor Commissioners on Sept. 29th, the board will consider the construction of an additional cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point in the Outer Harbor. If approved by the Harbor Commission, the Outer Harbor terminal would operate in conjunction with the existing World Cruise Center, enabling the Port to provide more berth space to simultaneously accommodate the larger Voyager class ships for weekend-heavy cruise schedules and improved navigation for larger ships.

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves.  As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.  A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars.

The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port.  A brighter future.