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Los Angeles Export Terminal

LAXT opened in 1997 as yet another emblem of the new, hyper-mechanized global port of the future. Coal from the western United States was shipped by rail to LAXT, stored in massive pads outside, then transported by a covered conveyor across the island to a giant, specialized conveyor crane, which loaded the coal onto ships, bound for power plants in the orient. Soon after opening, the global market for coal changed, and coal from Australia and other places in Asia much closer to where it was needed became available. LAXT then became bound up in law suits, conflict of interest battles, and other quarrels amongst its 37 corporate partners, which included the Port of Los Angeles.

In December of 2006 the Los Angeles City Council agreed to pay $27.7 million to settle a $400 million lawsuit that accused the city of improperly blocking expansion and changes in the site designed to re-purpose it for other uses. In addition, the council agreed to waive $46 million in rent it said was overdue from the two firms that had sued the city in a dispute over the site. As part of the settlement, the operator agreed to relinquish a permit and lease that had given it control of the 117-acre, city-owned site until 2032. [Center for Land Use/LA Times]

Petroleum Coke Bulk Storage
Designed by OPAC Consulting Engineers, 1999.
Built by Dome Systems, Inc.

The petroleum coke storage component of LAXT consists of two 75,000 ton capacity domes. Each dome is 240 feet in diameter and 130 feet high. The common reclaim tunnel beneath the domes is over 630 feet long and contains the loadout conveyor which transfers the petroleum coke from each of the storage domes to the ship loading system. Both dome foundations and the reclaim tunnel penetrate and are sealed to an existing dual layer membrane which maintains an environmental seal throughout the site. Reclaim from the storage domes is done using vibratory reclaim cones, which deposit the product onto the common reclaim conveyor under the domes. A common entry ramp between the domes allows for end loader and maintenance access. Personnel access to the top of the domes is via the fill conveyor system or the elevated ramp and escape stairs between the domes. [OPAC Consulting Engineers, Inc.]


240 ft diameter airform being inflated. This operation took about 1.5 to 2 hours. An uncovered coke pile is visible just behind the dome; blowing particles from this uncovered pile have discolored the airform. [ketchem.org]


Shotcrete application inside the dome. The reinforcement being covered in this operation is visible above the dark spray line. [ketchem.org]


Inflated airform for the first dome. The footer and stem wall for the second dome are seen in the foreground. [ketchem.org]


Aerial view of LAXT during demolition.