Cargo declines at Port of Long Beach for second straight month

Cargo volumes at the Port of Long Beach declined for the second straight month in February, with fewer ship calls amid the overseas coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing effects of the trade war with China, the port announced last week. Terminal operators and dockworkers moved 538,428 20-foot equivalent units last month, down 9.8% compared to February 2019. Imports decreased 17.9% to 248,592 units and empty containers sent overseas decreased 12.8% to 164,277 units. Conversely, exports increased 19.3% to 125,559 units. “With the extended factory closures and slowdown of goods movement in China and other Asian countries in February due to Lunar New Year and COVID-19, we are seeing shipping lines needing to cancel some sailings,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the port. “Once the virus is contained, we may see a surge of cargo, and our terminals, labor and supply chain will be ready to handle it.” The port finished 2019 with a 5.7% decrease in cargo compared to 2018, with double-digit declines in December. Phase one of a trade deal with China was signed by President Donald Trump in January; however, approximately $370 billion in Chinese goods remain under increased tariffs.


Long Beach City College receives $650,000 grant to assist students

The Long Beach City College Foundation and the school’s workforce development department received a $650,000 grant and scholarship endowment to assist students placed in unpaid internships, the college recently announced. “Too often, our students pass up a great internship that might provide valuable work experience and networking opportunities in lieu of a part-time job simply because they need the money,” Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees President Vivian Malauulu stated. “There are many internships available that would allow students to perform work in fields relevant to their career aspirations, but they do not pay. That is a hardship for students. Through this amazing grant, that barrier is removed.” More than 60% of LBCC students work between 10-30 hours per week at part-time jobs to help pay for tuition, books and materials, according to the college.


Motorcycle rental store opens in Long Beach

Hertz Ride, owned and operated by franchisee The Hertz Corporation, Hertz Portugal, opened a location in Long Beach on Feb. 22. Located at 2125 E. Spring St., this is the third Hertz Ride location in the U.S. and outside of Europe, where it has locations in six countries. “We are thrilled to bring Hertz Ride to Long Beach,” stated Duarte Guedes, CEO of Hipogest Group and Hertz Portugal. “Our new location in Long Beach is the answer to two-wheeled enthusiasts willing to discover the scenic routes in sunny Southern California.” The store offers high-end motorcycles rentals, including six different BMW models. All bikes are fully equipped with luggage systems. The business also offers professionally guided motorcycle tours, such as the “Grand California Tour,” which starts and ends in Long Beach, and includes the bike, a professional tour leader, 24/7 roadside assistance and accomodations in motorcycle-friendly hotels. “We look forward to becoming a reference for the motorcycle community of Los Angeles and building our reputation for a premium service among both local riders and adventurer visitors,” Guedes stated.


Expanded services for free STD/HIV screening and treatment

The Long Beach AHF Wellness Center, which offers free, confidential HIV and STD testing and treatment, officially expanded its services to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at its facility at 3500 E. Pacific Coast Highway. The expanded services were kicked off with an open house event on March 10 to allow the community to tour the facility and meet staff. “Routine screening for HIV and STDs is important for anyone who is sexually active,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, senior director of AHF’s public health division. “We routinely see patients at the wellness center that were unaware that they had an STD.” From 2017 to 2018, Los Angeles County saw a 5% rise in chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, and a 20% rise in syphilis infections, according to AHF.


RDC names new senior vice president of hospitality and interiors

Long Beach-based architecture firm RDC named Jackson Thilenius its new senior vice president of hospitality and interiors, the company announced earlier this month. “We are very excited about Jackson’s expanded role and what it means both for our clients and our design practice,” RDC President and CEO Brad Williams said in a press release. “We are able to offer our clients increased capabilities in some of the most rapidly growing regions in the country under Jackson’s creative and collaborative leadership.” Thilenius relocated to RDC’s office in Rogers, Arkansas to focus on the expansion of the firm’s hospitality and interior design practice across the country. The central location allows Thilenius to better collaborate with all RDC offices, including Portland, Washington, D.C., Shanghai and the Long Beach headquarters, the company stated. The interiors team works with hospitality brands such as Hilton, Equinox, Marriott and Pacifica, as well as corporate workplaces, including software company Laserfiche in Long Beach. Thilenius is a licensed architect with more than 30 years of design experience in hospitality and interiors.


Laserfiche named one of top content service platforms of 2020

Long Beach-based software company Laserfiche was named one of the best content services platforms of 2020 as reviewed by customers, the research and advisory firm Gartner recently announced. “We believe that being recognized as a 2020 customers’ choice underscores our commitment to developing technology that solves our customers’ biggest challenges,” Laserfiche CEO Chris Wacker said. “Customer experience is at the forefront of every Laserfiche innovation. For us, high marks from our customers are a testament to Laserfiche’s ability to boost organizational productivity, scale operations, visualize data and create a digital, future-ready businesses.” Laserfiche was a pioneer of paperless business practices more than 30 years ago. Today, the firm utilizes cloud, machine learning and AI technology, allowing organizations in more than 80 countries to optimize their digital business practices.


Local multifamily broker closes two multimillion sales

Robert Stepp, principal of Long Beach-based Stepp Commercial, represented the sellers in two multi-million dollar sales of Long Beach apartment buildings last month. Stepp represented the seller, Santa Monica-based VMG Properties, LLC, in the $5.71 million sale of a 16-unit building at 445-455 Rose Ave. near Retro Row. Stepp also represented the buyer, a private investor from Orange County, in the transaction. “The 4th Street/Retro Row area is one of the most highly sought-after neighborhoods to live in Long Beach,” Stepp said. “It provides residents a highly walkable and amenity-rich community with dozens of trendy shopping, dining and nightlife options.” Built in 1963, the two-building property was recently renovated and includes four three-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units, as well as 12 parking spaces. Stepp also represented the seller, a private Long Beach resident, in the $4.69 million sale of a 14-unit property to a private investor from Santa Monica. Located at 1429 Florida Ave. in Alamitos Beach, the 1987 property includes 14 two-bedroom, two-bath units with in-unit washers and dryers. Four of the units have been fully renovated and the property includes 14 subterranean garage parking spaces.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.