Competitors are eating into L.A. ports’ dominance

Early morning on April 19, the massive Maersk Edmonton moored at the nation’s biggest cargo terminal, in the Port of Los Angeles. At 8 a.m., around 200 workers, operating nine cranes, swarmed the 1,200-foot-long ship.

By week’s end, continuous shifts of workers had emptied the ship, which carries more than 13,000 container units when fully stocked, onto trucks headed to nearby warehouses or to trains headed across the country.

That seamless choreography is a point of pride for port leaders, who say they’ve moved past the dysfunction that plagued their business a year ago and are prepared to hold the line against ever more aggressive competitors.

March capped off the busiest first quarter ever for the Port of Los Angeles, and the biggest since 2007 for the neighboring Port of Long Beach. Imports at the two ports increased by 10% over the same period last year, as measured by loaded container units.

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