Mario Cordero 2020

Executive Director Mario Cordero delivers the Port of Long Beach state of the port address Wednesday in Long Beach.

The Port of Long Beach faced its share of challenges last year — with the ramifications of the U.S.-China trade war topping the list — but the facility has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

That’s the message port Executive Director Mario Cordero gave at his annual State of the Port address Wednesday, Jan. 22.

“Because much of our trade is with China, our volumes fell behind the pace of other U.S. ports,” Cordero said. “Nevertheless, 2019 was our second busiest year ever for container cargo.”

Setting the stage for the year to come, Cordero said 2020 would be a “year of collaboration” to overcome challenges in the industry.

“Together, we will succeed,” he said. “This is the 2020 vision: If we work together, if we collaborate, we all succeed.”

In the spirit of that idea, Cordero announced that the Long Beach port and the Port of Los Angeles are finalizing an agreement “to further collaborate, as independent ports, to address shared operational issues in the San Pedro Bay complex.”

Gene Seroka, the executive director of the L.A. port, also touted that collaboration in his annual address last week.

Cordero, like Seroka, did not provide further details on what that agreement may include, but he said the news, along with other forthcoming developments at the Long Beach port, is “historic. These are major steps forward.”

Cordero on Wednesday also highlighted a rebranding effort the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently approved. The Long Beach port will soon get a new logo, which includes a minimalist depiction of part of a shipping container.

Cordero described the image as “a symbol of our focus on innovation and visionary leadership.” Along with the new logo will come a new website at polb.com, which Cordero said will help the public “easily track our progress” on a range of goals and initiatives.

The director did not say when the new website would debut.

Cordero also touched on the progress of ongoing projects, including the completion of the Long Beach Container Terminal, which he said should be finished “by this time next year,” and the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, set to open later this year.

Former Vice President Joe Biden visited the latter project earlier this month and touted the bridge as a “critically, critically important” piece of the country’s future in international trade.

Cordero, for his part, agreed on Wednesday with that assessment.

Despite the hurdles the port has faced over the past year, the director said the facility is well-positioned to take advantage of a brighter future ahead — noting the trade deal the U.S. struck with China last week.

“Economic fundamentals remain strong,” Cordero said. “Unemployment, inflation and interest rates are low. I see better times ahead.”

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