Jobs Are a Concern for California Port Workers

One of the busiest ports in the country is at Long Beach, California. The machinery that is used to transfer containers from ships and across the port is undergoing modifications by its owners. Some of the upgrades are being funded by the US government. The company’s goals include purchasing automated machinery and electric work vehicles. Improving port operations and lowering carbon gas emissions are the objectives. However, the employees’ top priority is to maintain their jobs. Anthony Otto is employed by Macquarie, an Australian company. In 2019, it acquired the port. The port’s chief executive is Otto.

Macquarie initiated the project of electrifying the port. Its objective was to reduce power consumption and increase port efficiency. Due to the electrification project, a large portion of the machinery will now be powered by the state’s electricity grid rather than fuel-powered motors. Otto claimed that in 2022, the Long Beach port’s operations improved. It produced 90% less carbon emissions and transported three times as much freight as in 2019. Heavy containers are moved by self-driving devices under the supervision of the employees. Others utilize robots to carry cargo on and off ships and trains using handheld controllers. Large trucks and tiny cars alike may navigate the port area with the assistance of sensors installed in the pavement.

According to Otto, drivers didn’t have to wait as long to pick up or drop off containers last year. This lessened the pollutants that diesel engines produced. However, members of a labor union, port workers fear that automation, self-driving cars, and electrification may cause them to lose their employment. Otto claimed that although modern technology has eliminated some conventional port worker employment, it has also created new ones. But he refused to talk about the job reduction in an interview with the news agency Reuters. He did note, though, that the corporation is now paying employees more than it did in the past.

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