Term Paper: Long Beach Ship Yard

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Transportation

Long Beach Naval Shipyard

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the topic of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Specifically it will discuss the pros and con's to the shipyard and how it affects the local and national economy. The Long Beach Naval Shipyard first opened in 1943 as a support and maintenance facility tied to the adjacent Long Beach Naval Station. The base closed as a naval facility in 1997, and has since been reopened as one of the container terminals in the world, operated by the Port of Long Beach.

The Long Beach Naval Shipyard has been a staple of the Long Beach area for over 50 years, and when it closed in 1997, initially the loss seemed insurmountable. The shipyard was located on Terminal Island between the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. However, shortly after the shipyard closed, the Port of Long Beach took over nearly the entire facility and modernized it into the second largest seaport in the United States. Today, the Port handles about 33% of all the containers moving through California, and about 26% of all containers moving through West Coast ports. About 90% of the trade through the Port is with East Asian accounts, such as China, Japan, and Taiwan ("Facts at a glance," 2007). When combined with the adjacent San Pedro terminal serving Los Angeles, the Port becomes the world's fifth busiest port ("Facts at a glance," 2007). Thus, the revenue, trade potential, and tariffs that come from the Port are a major source of revenue for the City of Long Beach, and for the entire Southern California area.

There are many positive aspects of the Port in Long Beach. First, it is an economic boon to the entire area, providing jobs, revenue, and Port tariffs to the local, state, and national economies. In addition, the Port is extremely community oriented, offering a variety of events for local residents and supporting local community and educational groups, as well. Each year the Port hosts a Green Port Fest where local residents can learn more about the environmental aspects and programs at the Port. They also offer free, guided Port tours during the summer that allow close-up views of the Port and its operations from the water. They also offer scholarships to local students, and educational programs in the schools and at the Port itself. Involvement in the community ensures continued community support for the Port while educating more people in the intricacies of Port operations.

In addition, the Port is implementing several environmental programs to help support the diversity and management of wildlife in the Port area and beyond. Studies indicate that fish diversity has actually improved in the harbor from 1972 until 2004, and that the number of native birds has more than doubled in that time. The Port is also a supporter of several wetlands and lagoons in the Southern California area, and there is also a policy for ballast water for all ships entering and leaving the harbor to help minimize affects on species in the harbor. Ballast water is an ongoing problem because of the contaminates it can contain. One writer notes, "[T]he International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that about 3-5 billion tons of ballast water are transferred internationally each year, often carrying exotic plant species and disease-causing organisms" (Sharma, 2006). This can damage the ecology of the entire harbor area, and the Port is working on standards and policies to effectively manage this problem as part of its environmental clean-up programs.

One of the biggest problems at the Port is air pollution from a variety of sources. During especially heavy traffic times, such as the rush before the Christmas holidays, the Port can become extremely congested with ships waiting to unload their containers, and the idling of their diesel engines can add to the overall low air quality that is often present in the area. Along with that, the engines of thousands of trucks and the railroad that ships containers from the site also add to the overall pollution levels. In addition, there are all the vehicles associated with the operations of the Port that add to daily air pollution, from cranes to vehicles and even support ships in the harbor. One writer notes, "As one example of the potential for pollution, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports of Southern California together are responsible for daily emissions of 128 tons of N[O.sub.x], compared to 101 tons from all 6 million cars in the region, according to California's South Coast Air Quality Management District" (Sharma, 2006). The Port recognizes there is a problem, and monitors the pollution levels every day and posts the results at the Port Web site, and is working on a "Green Port Policy" to help reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts at the site, as well. The Port wanted to implement a 24-hour operation schedule to help reduce congestion and pollution, but met with opposition from local residents and many of the labor unions represented at the Port.

In concert with the pollution problem is a predicted tripling of the current levels of trade at the Port by 2020, which could lead to as much as a 60% increase in certain types of diesel emissions in the area. In addition, since most of the trade imports are from Eastern Asia, who have far fewer pollution standards for their ships and fuel; this could be an even bigger problem. The Port is working on this problem, but it is a major con in the operation of the Port and its future operations (Sharma, 2006).

Another issue with the Port is the threat of terrorism. News reports have often shown just how susceptible the nation's ports are to terrorist attacks, mainly because it is nearly impossible to inspect every container on every vessel entering and leaving the ports. One writer says of an attack at the Port, "An attack there would cripple the national economy instantly and send shockwaves the globe over. Even a sloppily planned incident would cost billions. And yet, more than three years after 9-11, after hundreds of millions of dollars spent on risk assessments and plans, the L.A. port is still, essentially, an open bull's-eye" (Verini, 2005). According to the same author, in 2005, only 3% of national port cargo was actually screened for any type of explosives or nuclear devices (Verini, 2005). Port security at Long Beach is handled by several different agencies, including the Harbor Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security, and local law enforcement agencies. The Port site notes that all cargo is "screened" at U.S. ports, and that any suspected cargo is inspected, and that canine inspection teams inspect for a variety of illegal items, including explosives. However, the site does not note how the cargo is screened, how many canine teams are at the port, and how many U.S. Customs radiation detectors are used at the Port, only that they are used across the nation ("Port security," 2007). The fact is that terrorists are perfectly capable of loading a container filled with explosives, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), or nuclear devices on a ship, and it would never be detected until it was detonated. As the car bombs in Iraq indicate, these devices can be detonated by a cell phone or other device, making it relatively simple to implant the device once it arrived on U.S. soil. This is perhaps the most frightening problem facing the Port, and one that seems to be continuing, rather than making great strides in improvement and increased security.

Finally, the recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay points out the continued threat of oil spills and other environmental damage from the Port. Cargo ships are not required to have double hulls like oil tankers, and the spill in S.F. indicates how deadly this can be to the environment if there is an accident. With the increasing congestion in the Port, combined with the high number of foreign crews operating foreign vessels in the Port, the implication is clear. It is only a matter of time before there is a devastating oil accident at the Port of Long Beach. The Port Web site does not note any policies and procedures for oil spills, so it is questionable whether they have procedures in case of emergency, and how quickly they could be implemented if necessary.

Economically, the Port of Long Beach facility is extremely important to both the local and national economies. The Port estimates that over $100 billion of trade moves through the Port annually, making it the second busiest port in America. This also adds a tremendous amount of money to the national economy, as retail and wholesale items from the Port eventually end up in just about every state in the country. The Port also houses special terminals that "move petroleum, automobiles, cement, lumber, steel, and other products" ("About the port," 2007). In addition, there are the employment aspects of the shipyard. In… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Long Beach Ship Yard.  (2007, November 14).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/long-beach-ship-yard/28783

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