The Port of Long Beach approved a $759 million budget for the coming fiscal year, a 20% increase over last year as spending ramps up on a massive project to triple its cargo capacity over the next eight years.

The port expects to spend close to half of its total budget on various improvement projects, including $204 million on the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, a $1.567 billion project that has been in the planning and approval stages for 15 years.

Demolition is expected to begin later this year, with the port now working to acquire parcels owned by various property owners within the 177-acre project site south of 12th Street and west of the 710 Freeway. Officials said in March that 18 of 23 acquisition agreements had been solidified, with businesses to be relocated sometime next year.

An illustration showing the project site. Courtesy the Port of Long Beach.

So far, the port has secured $643 million in funding from county, regional, state and federal government agencies, including a $283 million mega grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation late last year.  

The project will increase rail capacity from 12 to 48 tracks, allowing as many as 17 trains per day that are up to 2 miles long. The project, expected to be completed in 2032, will triple the port’s cargo capacity from 1.5 million cargo units to 4.7 million annually.

The port also plans to spend $25 million on a 430-acre Pier Wind terminal that could produce up to 25 gigawatts of electricity on floating installations off the coast by 2045. Construction on the estimated $4.7 billion project is at least three years away as environmental studies and design plans get underway.

Another $25 million will be used for subsidies to help trucking companies transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Most of the port’s revenue comes in the form of rents and fees for use of the terminals at the port complex, mostly paid by shipping companies. The port expects to take in $518 million from these operations, a 7% rise over this year thanks to an expected rise in volume.

Additional revenue comes through government agency grants and reimbursement, fees paid by trucking companies and more.

The port is owned and overseen by the city, but it does not rely on taxpayers for its operations.

The port actually contributes funding to the local area in the form of sponsorships, grants and an annual contribution to the city’s Tidelands Fund, which pays for services and infrastructure projects along the coast. This year that contribution will be $25.8 million, which is 5% of the port’s estimated 2024 operating revenue.

Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.