The Port of Los Angeles moves ca. 8 million TEU every year; in other words, 8 million containers. Furniture, automobile parts, clothing and electronics are the major imports. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made certain that even the largest ships in the world (e.g. the E and Triple E-class from Maersk) are able to sail into the 53-foot deep navigational channel.
For the record, 53 feet is 16 meters -- that's 3 meters deeper than the Elbe leading into Hamburg, even after the hypothetical and highly disputed "Elbvertiefung" (Elbe dredging).
A number of truly enormous vessels were in port today.
However, some old-school Panamax vessels were also offloading their goods. One of these was from Hapag-Lloyd, namely the venerable MV Oakland Express.
The background to this trip was our visit to the Port of Los Angeles to gain another cooperation partner for the German American Maritime Institute, specifically with reference to hands-on training programs for our students from the Maritime College in Cuxhaven. We want our students to be able to have practical knowledge of U.S. cargo handling. The captain's obligations in the United States reach well beyond the shore, in contrast to German rules.
In fact, the U.S. 9th Circuit recently ruled that - given a Clause Paramount in the bill of lading - U.S. Carriage of Goods By Sea Act could be made to extend along an entire intermodal chain.
A representative from the Port of Los Angeles gave us a superb rundown of the details. We learned where each carrier has its terminal. We also enjoyed a review of the business side of port management, e.g. that auto terminals only pay ca. $ 80-90 per acre while container terminals pay ca. $ 140-150 per acre. But container terminals, due to the noise they generate at night, can't be placed near residential areas; by contrast, auto terminals are quiet and clean.
The battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) has been berthed in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles since 2011, where it has been converted into a floating museum. Formerly, the proud vessel was stationed at Suisun Bay near Vallejo, California as part of the mothball fleet. Even today, next to giants like the Triple E-class, the warship is intimidatingly huge.