AVOID 710 FREEWAY WIDENING: BUILD THE MARINE 5 HIGHWAY & LONG BEACH SHIPYARD
BY STAS MARGARONIS, RBTUS.COM
An alternative to widening the 710 freeway, linking the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is to shift containerized truckloads onto ships. In this way, containers can be transported from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to ports such as San Diego, Port Hueneme, Oakland, Portland and Seattle. Short distance trucks will deliver and pick up the containers to/from end users. This modal shift is called short sea or marine highway shipping and is advocated by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).
MARAD supports plans for a Marine 5 Highway to parallel the I-5 freeway corridor from San Diego to Seattle. Ships utilize 10 percent of the fuel and generate about 50 percent of the emissions compared to trucks.
One hurdle is loading and unloading costs. A recent marine highway service between Stockton and Oakland, California was undermined by high loading and unloading costs. The Marine 5 service needs to ensure container handling costs are lower.
Residents living along the 710 freeway corridor are demanding that the plan to modernize the 710 freeway include a reduction in trucking and emissions.
Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) is supporting enactment of a new freight movement trust fund that could provide a means of funding marine highway ships.
U.S. law requires that cargo shipped between U.S. ports must be carried on ships built in the United States, manned and owned by U.S. citizens. This law, known as the Jones Act, creates an opportunity to build the marine highway ships at a California port such as Long Beach or Los Angeles, depending on which Port would welcome the new shipyard.
A recent attempt by Long Beach-based Gambol Industries to build a shipyard at a San Pedro site was rejected by the Port of Los Angeles because Port officials did not see the potential for building new ships.
The marine highway will create the market for new ships. For example, one trucking company transports 500 53 foot trailers per day-mostly imports from Long Beach and Los Angeles. These trucks go from Southern California warehouses to Pacific coast cities along the I-5. New shipbuilding would derive from shifting these truckloads onto ships built to transport these 500 53 foot containers. Ships would provide daily pick ups and deliveries to and from Long Beach and Los Angeles. This service could reduce 1,000 daily truck trips (going north and south) off the I-5 and the 710 freeways.
For more information please go to the Marine 5 Highway Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1pL6QWJ