Henderson, Nev.-based Mitsubishi Cement Corp. is on track to reopen and expand its facility at the Port of Long Beach’s Pier F that will add 40,000 metric tons of additional storage capacity, reported local media. The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, which oversees operations at the port, approved the company’s environmental impact report last month. Mitsubishi Cement has not imported supplies at its Long Beach terminal since 2010, when shipments stopped as a result of economic downturn.
As outlined in its environmental impact report, Mitsubishi Cement plans to upgrade its facilities to be able to load and unload ships as well as add capacity. The company will build four new storage silos on adjacent dockside property that was previously the site of a banana warehousing operation.
Approval of the modification project requires Mitsubishi Cement to maintain a truck fleet with at least 90 percent of the fleet having engines from 2010 or newer. The company will also need to install solar panels and energy-efficient lighting, and conduct an energy audit every five years. Additionally, Mitsubishi Cement will work with the port on a technology review every five years to identify new technologies that can be incorporated into operations to further reduce emissions.
While the terminal already offers shore power so ships at berth can shut down their engines to reduce emissions, not all vessels are able to plug in. With the upgrades, when ships can’t use shore power, a new emission control system called “Dockside Catalytic Control” will connect to the vessels’ exhaust stacks and capture pollutants.
The approved project also calls for Mitsubishi Cement to contribute $333,720 to the port’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Grant Program. The Port Community Mitigation Grant Programs are designed to improve community health by lessening the impacts of port-related air pollution, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Mitsubishi Cement believes the demand for cement will no longer be satisfied with domestic supplies. “Our plant and the other plants in Southern California are sold out and demand keeps rising,” said Bud Biggs, vice president, Mitsubishi Cement. The company produces nearly 1.7 million tons of cement annually at its plant near the community of Lucerne Valley in the San Bernardino County desert.
Southern California’s demand for cement may exceed available domestic supplies sometime in 2016, according to forecasts from the Portland Cement Association (PCA). Southern California’s consumption of cement increased by 8 percent from 2013 to 2014.
More relevant to Mitsubishi Cement’s plans, PCA also expects imports to rise sharply in 2017. The association anticipates imported supplies to increase at a moderate 4 percent this year, 5 percent in 2016 and jumping to a rate of nearly 37 percent in 2017.
Mitsubishi Cement still needs approval from the Southern California Air Quality Management District for its plans. If approved, construction of the expanded terminal will begin late 2015 or early 2016.