2023 marked the first in-person State of the Port address at the Port of Long Beach since the pandemic. Highlighted in Executive Director Cordero’s address was the progress of the Port’s signature $1.5 billion capital project – the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility.

OPC, now a division of TranSystems, is proud of our involvement on this project, with several Chapter 1 and other IRWA chapter members in crucial roles.

How the Pier B reconfiguration will help the Port and the region: The Project allows for more economical transfer of containerized cargo trains as long as 10,000 feet to be assembled in the yard. It is estimated that each on-dock train will cut about 750 truck trips between the Port and off-dock rail yards. This results in faster and more environmentally friendly cargo transportation within the Port and beyond. Following from the success of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge project to allow for increased shipping and trucking capacity, the Pier B On-Dock Rail project will further help intermodal efficiency and traffic flows, resulting in better air quality, less traffic, and faster goods to market.

Some of the complex right of way challenges involved: OPC’s role as the real estate consultant on the program management team includes all aspects of third-party utility coordination, appraisal, land and tenant acquisition, and complex commercial and industrial relocation.

Given the Project location, most of the acquisitions and relocations are industrial and commercial occupants. The sensitivity of the project requires right of way staff who are experienced and understand the complexities of acquiring property within the Port of Long Beach and relocation of the varied businesses with the Project.

Many of the business operations are intertwined with the Port, and so considering appropriate replacement sites with logistics in mind is crucial. OPC’s project staff include many of our IRWA-trained and certified experts in relocation work with the businesses. The Pier B Relocation Plan was approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners in May 2022.

Third party utility coordination is one of the most significant critical paths of the Project. There are 30 private utilities and 10 agency operated utilities impacted. Over 40,000 linear feet of underground utilities are in the Project Area. Due to the historical developments at the Port, many abandoned pipelines have unknown ownerships and potential environmental liabilities. On top of this, utilities buy and sell lines often, so ownerships can be difficult to research. For these third parties, negotiations and construction timing is critical.

What the future holds: As part of the Hill International program management team, OPC is helping to proactively manage real estate issues to keep right of way off the critical path. Construction, which will happen over several phases, is expected to begin next year. The first phase is scheduled for construction by 2025 with the entire project to be done in 2032.

Echoing the message of the State of the Port, 2023 is being called the Year of Imagination. With our eye on the master schedule, OPC’s team is finding creative ways to address the challenges of complex negotiations, relocations, and utility coordination to make Pier B as much of a landmark success as the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge!

by Vicky Cook, OPC/TranSystems