A proposed grain export facility in the Port of Long Beach would create about 35 jobs and handle the shipment of up to 1.5million tons of material annually, becoming one of the region's largest such operations.
The planned Total Terminals International site on Pier T is designed to accommodate growing demand for domestic grains, primarily in Asia, where American soybeans, tree nuts, wheat and various other grain products are in high demand.
The proposed terminal would be constructed on 10 acres alongside an existing rail track. Workers would off-load grains arriving from around the country and place them in containers for shipment abroad.
TTI's export plan comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports a nearly 30 percent rise this year in grain deliveries to Asia, where a growing consumer class is demanding ever-more foodstuffs, much of it California grown.
For example, California citrus fruits, wines, vegetables and tree nuts such as almonds and pistachios are all expected to help Golden State farmers post record profits this year, besting all forecasts.
The port has released a draft environmental impact report on the TTI facility and is hosting a public forum at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at Long Beach City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
Written comments are being accepted until Jan. 23, addressed to Rich Cameron, 925 Harbor Plaza, Long Beach 90802.
The full draft EIR is available at www.polb.com/ceqa.
The five-member Board of Harbor Commissioners is expected to vote on the project by mid- to late-2012, with construction expected shortly after.
Trade deficit flat
The nation's trade balance dipped slightly in October, though federal officials say much of the imbalance remains with China.
The overall deficit dropped from $44.2 billion to $43.5 billion, of which $28.1 billion was with China. The figure includes both goods and services.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents small and large businesses across the country, said more needs to be done to lower the deficit with China.
They targeted China, which is the largest trade partner with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, with using a devalued currency to boost imports and undermine U.S. exports.
Said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing:
"Unless China is designated as a currency manipulator and faces real consequences for its other market- distorting practices, this situation will never change."
New shipping firm
APS Stevedoring, a new Long Beach company focused on auto and other cargo, has begun operation out of the Port of Richmond in Northern California.
Off to a fast start, APS has already landed contracts with automakers Subaru and Honda and shipping lines MOL, K Line and NYK.
The company has plans to continue expanding along the West Coast as trade grows between Asia and the United States, particularly in the wake of a new free-trade agreement with South Korea, which is expected to boost annual U.S. exports by $3 billion to $4 billion.
APS employs several dozen people from a site near the Port of Long Beach.