One of the world's largest shipping companies purchased a stake in Pier J at the Port of Long Beach, port officials announced Wednesday.
The purchase of a share in the 256-acre terminal by French shipping company CMA CGM is the company's first investment in a port on the West Coast. The company's investment will represent a boost in container traffic at the port and additional revenues of about $70 million over five years, according to port officials. They described the purchase a major vote of confidence in the port.
``Of the large carriers, CMA was the only one that did not have a home locally. We are glad they've decided to call Long Beach home,'' said Christopher Lytle, executive director of the port. ``This agreement validates the investments we are making in our facilities. We are committed to remaining the gateway of choice for trans-Pacific trade.''
With a 50-foot water depth, Pier J is capable of handling a wider class of container ships known as ``new Panamax'' standard, when the Panama Canal Authority opens a third set of locks in 2014. At that point, the canal authority will start allowing container ships as wide as 180 feet and 1,400 feet long to use the waterway connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific.
CMA CGM will co-own the terminal at Pier J with SSA Marine and China- based COSCO. ``This first new investment for our group on the U.S. West Coast will reinforce our position in North America,'' said Farid Salem, CMA CGM Group executive officer. ``By investing in Pier J, the Group ensures that the largest vessels deployed in the trans-Pacific trade will be efficiently managed.'' The Port of Long Beach handles more than 6 million containers per year, or about $155 billion worth of cargo, according to port officials.