Photos by Asia Morris.
Nautilus International Holding Corp. broke ground on its new headquarters on the corner of Worsham Ave. and Cover St. at Douglas Park Tuesday, and with it, a ceremonial step was taken forward for the Port of Long Beach and its continued transportation of bulk cargo.
With recently resolved negotiations between longshoremen and their employers, the stifling congestion at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles still remains to be a matter of playing catch-up for containerized cargo operations. However with Metro Ports, Metro Cruise Services, Metro Shore Services and Metro Risk Management, all Nautilus subsidiaries, now moving to Douglas Park, business continues to look up for the POLB and the City of Long Beach.
James Callahan, Nautilus Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said it plainly, "From an operational standpoint, this building also symbolizes the strength of the Port of Long Beach as a competitive gateway. Recently, that strength has been challenged by reports of congestion and labor disputes however, this building is a testament to the resolve of our port industry, and we would not be building it if we did not think that the Port of Long Beach and our local port community was on a strong trajectory upward."
Metro Ports has been an operator at the POLB since 1923. Nautilus/Metro signed a 20-year agreement last year with the POLB for continued bulk cargo operations and will move its headquarters from its current location in Wilmington to a 40,000-square-foot building on 2.57 acres in Douglas Park, with one of its neighbors being the soon-to-be-built Virgin Galactic satellite launch vehicle.
In the corporation's effort to maintain its reputation for sustainable practices, the new building will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. 10 electric vehicle charging stations will be built into the 168-space parking structure, of which will be covered with solar panels that will generate 385,000 KW of power per year for the new building. Metro Ports is responsible for adding an Ultra Low Emission Locomotive at their Pier G Bulk Terminal at the POLB, an engine that uses 50 to 60 percent less fuel and reduces NOx by 80 percent.
"A lot has been said about containerization," said Chairman Mario Cordero of the Federal Maritime Commission, "but there's another aspect to the 900 billion dollar cargo movement here in this country and that is, it's not just containers, it's bulk, dry bulk and liquid bulk. So lastly I will emphasize that what Metro has also shown in this leadership is being part of a diverse port that offers many services and goods, not only for the region but for the nation, so I'm really proud to be here."
Over the past 90 years, Metro has steadily grown to encompass a Metro family of companies that operates at 19 ports along the West Coast, Gulf Coast and East Coast. Metro moves over 10 million tons of dry and liquid bulk products per year, serving more than 35 national and international companies. Nautilus/Metro oversees bulk cargo loading and unloading, also known as stevedoring, they oversee cruise ships when in port and perform various other logistical operations such as moving a wide range of bulk and breakbulk cargo including coal, cement, steel, yachts and project cargo.
The groundbreaking symbolizes 70 and counting future jobs in Long Beach, with all 70 of its current employees to be relocated from the current Wilmington location to the City. The new headquarters will allow for more than 120 employees.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia told an audience of POLB officials, community leaders and dignitaries that Nautilus/Metro will continue to ensure that the port is shipping and exporting the bulk materials that the POLB's partners worldwide need and expect, while maintaining its leadership as a corporation with the latest technology and sustainable practices in mind.
"You can count on one hand who our biggest partners and biggest corporate friends are at the port and on that hand would certainly be Jim and Metro Ports and all the work and partners that are here today," said Garcia.
In a press statement, Garcia said, "Attracting a leader in marine cargo services further cements our city's reputation as the gateway to the nation's economy. We look forward to many more decades of growth at Nautilus and Metro Ports."
Callahan took the controls of a large backhoe machine, to the lighthearted nervousness of onlooking shovel-holding dignitaries and port officials, and successfully broke ground on the site of the new headquarters with the help of an experienced machine operator. Mayor Garcia, Long Beach Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond, FMC Chairman Cordero and other dignitaries followed by shoveling said ground, softened by the recent wet weather.
"On a personal note," said Callahan during the press conference, "I'm reminded today how special this city is, having been born, raised and educated here, it is particularly meaningful for me that the place I have personally called home for my entire life is now the place our company can call home."
Callahan was born in Long Beach, attended Long Beach City College and graduated from CSULB, while Nautilus/Metro supports a variety of local organizations such as Long Beach Memorial Hospital, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and LBCC.
The building developer is Long Beach-based Urbana Development, LLC. DRA Architects is the architect on the project.
Building renderings courtesy of Nautilus/Metro.