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July 7, 2014 2:45 AM, EDT

Port of Long Beach Names New Director

Sees Delay in Desmond Bridge Replacement
By Michael G. Malloy, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the July 7 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Port of Long Beach, California, last week named Jon Slangerup as its new executive director.

Slangerup is the former president of FedEx Canada.

The Long Beach board of commissioners confirmed the appointment June 30, and Slangerup began in the position July 1.

Meanwhile, the port’s ongoing project to replace the 46-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge has been delayed by at least a year from its originally scheduled 2016 completion date because of seismic safety concerns in laying its foundation.

Slangerup led FedEx Canada for the last seven years of his 20-year career with FedEx Corp., which he left in 2000.

The top post at the Port of Long Beach — the second-largest in North America behind neighboring Port of Los Angeles — had been vacant for more a year after Christopher Lytle left in May 2013 to lead the Port of Oakland.

Slangerup is “an extremely capable leader, proven team-builder and expert at managing a world-class organization,” Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond said. “In our highly competitive, quickly changing industry challenged by major environmental and energy issues, he’s the perfect person for the job.

“With a strong operational and environmental track record, we’re confident that Jon can move us ahead as the best green seaport in the world while providing experienced leadership in developing advanced cargo-handling technology and infrastructure,” Drummond added.

Al Moro, who was Long Beach’s interim director for the past year, will remain with the port for at least six months, port spokesman Art Wong said last week.

At FedEx, Slangerup’s positions included managing director of customer service, managing director of FedEx’s Leadership Institute and managing director of logistics services, according to Electron Energy Inc., the Cupertino, California-based firm Slangerup joined after leaving FedEx in April 2000.

FedEx promoted him in 1998 to head its operations and support functions in Canada, from vice president of Canadian operations, according to FedEx records. FedEx ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

In the past 10 years, Slangerup has been a director at several renewable energy companies and did stints as CEO of Stuart Energy Systems Corp. and Solar Integrated Technologies Inc., according to Bloomberg News records.

He was CEO of N.E.I. Treatment Systems, a water-treatment company based in Long Beach until 2012, an N.E.I. official told TT last week.

Slangerup received a three-year, $350,000-per-year contract to run the port, which has almost 500 employees and a budget of nearly $900 million, Wong said. The Port of Long Beach handled about $180 billion in trade last year.

The Port of Los Angeles also recently named a new executive director, former American Presidents Line executive Gene Seroka, who began in that position last month.

As for the Gerald Desmond Bridge, the scheduled completion to replace the aging structure has been pushed back at least a year after reviews of its foundation. It carries trucks to and from the port.

“The port sits on top of an oil field, [and] the center of the oil field is where the bridge is being built,” Wong said, adding that California Department of Transportation and other officials have stepped up their reviews of the ongoing construction.

CalTrans “officials knew it would be a complicated project,” and in “trying to determine seismic safety, [officials are] taking a second and third look at the design, pushing the timeline back,” Wong told TT.

“The review process is taking longer, and we know it’s going to be at least six months or a year late,” which would push completion into 2017 or early 2018, he said, adding that “it could be and most certainly will be more costly” than its originally estimated $1 billion price tag.