The Lytle legacy may just be beginning
May 29, 2013 - LM Editorial
California shippers got some very good news this week, when it was announced that the Port of Oakland was to get a veteran executive director. The man named is an exceptional professional with a deep maritime background.
Under Lytle’s five-year leadership, the Port of Long Beach worked with the 2nd and 3rd largest global container lines, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA-CGM, to establish the Port of Long Beach as their Southern California hub. The resulting realignment of terminals and services for those lines gave the Port of Long Beach an additional 900,000 containers and an estimated $22 million per year.
He also worked closely with OOCL, a Hong Kong-based line, to negotiate a $4.5 billion 40-year lease with the Port of Long Beach – the largest lease in US container terminal history. When completed in 2019, the Middle Harbor Terminal will be the most modern and mechanized container terminal in the world.
It should also be noted that Lytle was instrumental in implementing numerous ground-breaking environmental initiatives that resulted in 75% reduction in diesel particulates during his brief tenure. On Lytle’s watch, the Port of Long Beach continued to win the designation as North America’s Best Seaport, a recognition it has earned 16 of the last 18 years, as based on an annual survey conducted by Cargonews Asia – a Hong Kong shipping trade publication.
Running the Port of Oakland is going to present Chris Lytle with a whole new set of challenges, however. Environmental extremists and dockside labor are two of the more bedeviling components here, and the threat of another “Occupy” episode is always at hand.
When he takes over in July, Lytle should also be mindful of the fact that his predecessor was not undermined by these factions. Internal “whistle blowers” sounded that note of doom.