Port of LA Signs Collaborative Agreements with Japanese, Swedish Ports

Port of Yokohama Director General Hiroya Nakano (seated at left) signs a Memorandum of Understanding along with Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. Standing, from left, are Shinya Hitomi, President and CEO, Yokohama-Kawasaki International Port Corporation; California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin on March 16, 2023. Photo via Port of Los Angeles.

The Port of Los Angeles in mid-March entered into separate Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the Port of Tokyo and the Port of Yokohama to collaborate on sustainability and environmental issues.

The agreements were signed by Port of LA officials during the weeklong 2023 California Japan Clean Energy Trade Mission summit.

The MOUs with the two ports call for cooperation and sharing of best practices on environmental and sustainability initiatives, including the digitation of the supply chain to optimize efficiency and reduce port operational impacts.

“The MOUs signed this week between the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Tokyo, and the Port of Yokohama epitomize the strong relationship between California and Japan and our shared commitment to tackling climate change,” California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said. “California and Japan’s port partnership is a world-leading collaboration and a critical step towards achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

 The Tokyo and Yokohama ports have agreed to establish a Green Shipping Corridor (GSC) partnership with the Port of Los Angeles in the coming year, an initiative aimed at reducing emissions along their respective trade routes and promoting low- and zero-carbon ships and fuels.

The Port of Los Angeles has already established GSC partnerships with the ports of Shanghai and Singapore.

“Global cooperation is critical if we are to make meaningful progress toward a cleaner and more sustainable maritime industry,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “The Port of Los Angeles is proud of the role it has played in advancing port-related environmental technologies and supply chain decarbonization solutions, but we can do so much more with ports and other international stakeholders working together.”

“The Port of Los Angeles is our largest partner in Japan, and the work to decarbonize shipping is very important to both ports,” Yokohama-Kawasaki International Port Corp. President and CEO Shinya Hitomi said. “This agreement is a significant step forward as we work toward a common goal.”

Port of Gothenburg CEO Elvir Dzanic, left, and Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka have pledged that their ports will work together on a host of issues. Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles.

In addition to strengthening trade routes, maritime operational supply chain efficiencies and environmental sustainability, other specific areas of cooperation identified under the two agreements include the testing and deployment of zero-emission vehicles, cargo handling equipment and vessels; exploring energy use and alternative energy sources; and cooperating on initiatives related to pollution-reduction technologies for terminals, ocean-going vessels and drayage trucks.

“This action strengthens our fruitful relationship and will further enhance the sustainability and development of our ports,” Port of Tokyo Director General Toshiki Yaoka remarked.

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Yokohama have a long history of cooperation, dating back to a trade agreement signed in 1969 to strengthen trade routes between the two ports. The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Tokyo formalized a sister port relationship in 1987.

The weeklong 2023 California Japan Clean Energy Trade Mission, which was held March 11-18 in Japan, targeted businesses in the clean energy sector to explore solutions related to climate change, renewable energy and zero-emission technologies, among other sustainable products and services.

The new MOUs followed on the heels of the Port of LA and Sweden’s Port of Gothenburg inking a Memorandum of Understanding in early March to come together on sustainability, digital and physical infrastructure, trade opportunities and other topics.

Signed at a ceremony in Los Angeles, the agreement allows the two seaports to deepen their working relationship and further the conversation on various issues vital to both ports.

“Because of the pivotal role that ports play in our global economy, it is imperative that we continue to work together to innovate, modernize and share best practices,” Seroka said. “This agreement between the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Gothenburg will build on an already strong relationship and like-minded pursuit of excellence in all aspects of port operations.”

The ports also said they plan to partner on ways to advance green energy use.

“Digitalization and decarbonization are some of the areas where our two ports are frontrunners in Europe and the Americas,” Port of Gothenburg CEO Elvir Dzanic remarked. “As we both have strong ambitions to keep pushing things forward, we will both benefit by developing and building off of each other’s innovations, ideas and best practices in these and other areas.”