Los Angeles Business Journal

Port of L.A. Signs Major Tenant for New Terminal

By James Rufus Koren Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shipping terminal operator California United Terminals plans to occupy a massive new terminal at the Port of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office announced Tuesday.

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd., a Seoul company that owns the terminal operator, signed a memorandum of understanding that also commits it to help build Pier 500, a 200-acre terminal planned for the southeastern edge of the port.

The announcement was made after Hyundai officials met with Villaraigosa and other members of an Asian trade delegation on an 11-day visit from Los Angeles.

The MOU solidifies the company’s relationship with the Port of Los Angeles. Once one of the biggest tenants at the neighboring Port of Long Beach, the company relocated a year ago because it feared construction at the Port of Long Beach would hamper its operations.

California United now subleases space at Pier 400, a terminal that juts out from Terminal Island into Los Angeles Harbor. Pier 500 would be a man-made peninsula, built atop rock and fill material along the south side of Pier 400.

But even with the MOU and a promise from Villaraigosa to pour $1.2 billion into port infrastructure over the next five years, Pier 500 is likely more than a decade away from completion.

Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield said Pier 500 still must go through environmental review and even after all permits are obtained construction could take nearly a decade .