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Rail News: Intermodal

L.A. port terminal project enters environmental review phase; Virginia port terminal operator becomes limited liability company

The Port of Los Angeles yesterday announced it's initiating the environmental review process for a berth improvement project proposed by Yang Ming, a Taiwanese marine transport company.

Expected to begin in fall, the process is the first step in Yang Ming's plan to enhance its terminal facilities and deepen its berth to accommodate 14,000 20-foot equivalent units and increase cargo volume, port officials said in a press release.

In May, Yang Ming executives and the port signed an agreement to advance improvements at the terminal facilities. As part of the pact, the port will spend $122 million to construct a new wharf, dredge the channel to a depth of 53 feet and expand the West Basin Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, which is operated as a partnership between Yang Ming, China Shipping and Ports America.

Yang Ming’s current lease at the West Basin terminal ends in 2021. The agreement extends the lease to 2030, generating $365 million to $525 million in revenue, depending on cargo volumes, port officials said.

The Yang Ming terminal work will complement the port’s five-year, $1.2 billion plan to update its terminals, increase rail capacity and deepen the main channel.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) recently advanced a planned reorganization by converting its terminal operating firm, Virginia International Terminals, to a limited liability company.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved the conversion, which took effect Aug. 17. The company's new name is Virginia International Terminals L.L.C. (VIT).

The change will have no impact on contracts or other binding agreements that were signed while VIT was a corporation, VPA officials said in a press release.

The VIT conversion is part of a larger reorganization plan adopted by VPA's board in May. The move will centralize the Port of Virginia's operations under VPA oversight to better align economic development efforts by the commonwealth and the port, as well as streamline port operations, create efficiencies, and eliminate duplication between the authority and VIT, VPA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/28/2013