The Port of Long Beach has achieved the milestone of being "supertanker ready," thanks to efforts on the part of local officials.
The newfound status makes it easier for big vessels with larger amounts of cargo to navigate the port, including the British Pride, a supertanker owned by BP.
That ship in December became the deepest oil tanker to anchor at any port in California, carrying 1.79 million barrels of crude oil, according to officials with the Port of Long Beach.
"That’s a whole new level of service and another sign that the Port of Long Beach is a destination port for the biggest ships in the world fleet," President of Jacobsen Pilot Service, Inc., Tom Jacobsen said. "Deploying a single, larger vessel to move cargo instead of using several smaller ships is the future of this industry.”
In an attempt to stay ahead of future needs in the maritime industry, the port recently completed a $40 million dredging project which deepened and widened the Main Channel and the Middle Harbor Turning Basin, according to port officials.
The dredging project was actually completed in September 2011, but the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee wanted to take additional time to conduct studies in the area with the help of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, according to Laura Kovary, Port Superintendent for BP Shipping USA.
The move has allowed the port to be able to accommodate newer mega-ships, including the British Pride and its sister ship, the British Progress.
"Over time, we consolidated smaller projects, upgraded Port-wide infrastructure plans and incorporated the greenest practices," Port of Long Beach Chief Harbor Engineer Al Moro said. "We are ensuring the Port of Long Beach is a world-class seaport that offers the best value long-term to our tenants and customers."