As the peak retail import season got underway, Los Angeles executive port director Larry Keller resigned his position. Billed as America’s largest maritime gateway, the Port of Los Angeles reportedly handles one third of U.S. waterborne trade. The will be managed by Bruce Seaton, chief operating officer, while a search is conducted for a new director.
With the exception of 2001, the port has exhibited double digit growth in container volumes since 1999, adding one million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) per year. The rapid growth in trade with China caused some problems for the Port of LA and its sister port Long Beach as landside capacity reached its limits.
In an exclusive interview with Logistics Today, Seaton said he expects a seamless transition. He spent his first day as acting director contacting union officials, port customers, board members, community members, and political figures and said that he had heard only words of encouragement and support. There were no expressions of concern that a change during the critical retail import peak would cause any problems for the port, he claimed.
Seaton is a 30-year veteran of the port and served in his previous role of chief operating officer for the last six years, succeeding Keller in that position.
Keller, who joined the port authority in 1996 as chief operating officer, was appointed executive director in 1997. During his tenure, the port has undergone substantial development and modernization, including construction of Phase 1 of a 343-acre Pier 400 terminal. Phase 2, which will increase the size of the terminal to 484 acres, is scheduled for completion during 2004.
Recent initiatives at the port include the addition of 3,000 longshore workers to help address some of the capacity constraints limiting port throughput. The port’s efforts to cope with growth in Asia trade are the subject of an article in the October issue of Logistics Today magazine.