Friday, June 18, 2021

California Gov. Signs Order Temporarily Exempting Ships from Plugging in to Shore Power

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an emergency proclamation that involves shoreside power at ports in order to free up additional energy capacity amid extreme temperatures across the state.

The proclamation, which was signed June 17, orders that container ships that are able to disconnect from shore power at port terminals may do so without penalty, and are in fact encouraged to do so. The proclamation is intended to help to alleviate the heat-induced demands on the state's energy grid.

Under the order, cargo vessels arriving to port prior to 11:59 pm on Sat., June 19 should remain running on auxiliary ship engines and not plug in to shore power for the duration of the energy emergency. Vessels can remain disconnected through 11:59 pm on Tues., June 22, after which they must resume use of shore power if their stay in port exceeds the duration of the emergency event.

Under this proclamation, vessels that would otherwise be required to plug-in to shore power should not be penalized by the California Air Resources Board, as all calls during this period should be treated as compliant and included in the fleet averaging baseline under the At Berth Regulation.

The governor’s state of emergency proclamation can be read online here.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Port of Los Angeles Reports Busiest Month in History

This week, the Port of Los Angeles posted its busiest month to date, handling more than 1 million TEUs last month, according to newly released data.

The nation’s busiest seaport moved 1,012,248 TEUs, marking the 10th straight month of increases year over year. It’s also the first time a Western Hemisphere port moved more than 1 million TEUs in a month.

“The historic level of cargo that we’re managing reflects our commitment to reach new heights by working with our partners to further enhance our productivity, throughput and velocity,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Much credit goes to our longshore workforce, truckers, terminal operators, ocean carriers, railroads and other stakeholders for scaling up to meet this extraordinary demand.”

The port handled 535,714 TEUs in imports last month, a 75% surge from May 2020 and 109,886 TEUs in exports, a 5.3% jump from May 2020.

Meanwhile, empty containers soared 114% from the prior year with 366,448 TEUs.

Port of Everett Terminal Project Moves Forward

Port of Everett’s Mills to Maritime initiative - also referred to as the Norton Terminal Development & Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) 3rd Interim Action Project - moved forward this month, thanks to three major actions authorized by the port commission.

The commission authorized port CEO Lisa Lefeber to ink the $17.75 million federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation program grant agreement from the U.S. Department of Transportation and to award a $2.7 million construction contract with SRV Construction Inc. to prepare the site for development. Commissioners also directed the port’s staff to seek out construction bids of the second phase of the Norton Terminal/MTCA environmental cap.

These moves are made less than 18 months after the port obtained the former Kimberly-Clark mill site and has been working to remove over 180,000 tons of contained soil and building rubble.

“It is great news that project design has reached nearly 100% for the new 33-acre Norton Terminal,” said port Commissioner Tom Stiger. “Getting the federal BUILD grant executed allows us to move this critical economic development and cleanup project forward, creating near-term construction jobs and restoring long-term jobs to the site into the future.”

The port expects to break ground in mid-July, with a new terminal opening in fall 2022. The project is estimated to generate 800 construction jobs and support about 950 direct, indirect and induced jobs, according to the port.

Cargo Numbers Soar at Port of Oakland

Cargo numbers at the Port of Oakland reached “an all-time high” with the movement of 1.08 million TEUs in the first five months of 2021, the port has announced.

If it continues that pace, the Northern California seaport could exceed 2.6 million boxes this year, a first for Oakland.

Meanwhile, imports in May soared 26% while exports rose 7% year over year, an indication that trade between Asia and the U.S. continues to grow despite challenges to the supply chain, the port said.

Consumer demand is driving imports at Oakland, which has seen 20% more cargo this year, most of it coming from China or nearby Asia countries, the port said.

The port is in uncharted waters, said port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes, as “record cargo volume coming through U.S. West Coast ports and a pandemic issue at a port in China are creating vessel congestion in both regions.”

Oakland has been experiencing a vessel backlog from the increased trade, but the port said the congestion should lessen in the fall as more dockworker hires come online to help ease the backlog, the port said.

"These are trying times for our tenants and customers, basically everyone involved in the supply chain,” said Brandes.

The TEU news isn’t all good, however; Oakland’s export volume through the first five months of this year is down 1 percent, according to the port, which attributed the performance to a shortage of containers and space on Asia-bound ships early this year.

Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center Receives Thousands of Donated Books

The estate of Vancouver philanthropist Ed Lynch recently donated thousands of books and magazines to the Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center, according to the Port of Vancouver USA.

This donation is a welcomed gift to seafarers, according to Kent Williams, executive director of the Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center.

“Due to COVID-19 regulations, crews calling on the port have been unable to leave their ships for more than a year,” said Williams. “In the past, our organization offered an array of free amenities to the visiting mariners, including local shopping trips, tours and sightseeing, as well as access to the seafarers center, that includes a library with books in multiple languages, a non-denominational chapel, a kitchen, games and comfortable areas to rest.”

The center usually welcomes about 3,000 mariners annually. During the pandemic, the center’s volunteers have been helping seafarers by shopping for them, with laptops being one of the most requested items.

“Even before the pandemic, the mariners were unseen by the general population due to the terminal and center being located within a secured area of the port,” Williams explained. “Our organization runs entirely on the donations of individual philanthropists, faith partners and local businesses. This donation will make a significant impact on countless seafarers.”

For more information about the center and how to help, contact Kent Williams at (360) 694-9300 or fvseafarers@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Port Of L.A. Hits 10 Million TEUs in 12 Months

The Port of Los Angeles celebrated a major milestone Thursday when it moved its 10 millionth TEU in a span of 12 months, the first Western Hemisphere port to do so.

“Stacked end-to-end, 10 million containers would circle the world one and a half times,” said Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners President Jaime Lee. “It’s a lot of cargo to handle by any measure. We are deeply grateful to the longshore workers, truckers, terminal operators, shipping line partners and all of the stakeholders that have made this remarkable achievement possible, particularly in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.”

The milestone cargo unit was placed onboard the CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci at Fenix Marine Services Container Terminal.

“As the Port of Los Angeles’ largest ocean carrier, the CMA CGM Group ships thousands of containers to and from California every day,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM and APL North America. “But today’s historic TEU –– No. 10 million for the port –– carries more than just cargo, but hope. It shows that, as the pandemic subsides in the United States, the American economy is roaring back to life.”

By the time the port ends its 2020-2021 fiscal year on June 30, over 10.8 million TEUs are expected to be processed by the Los Angeles port, officials have said.

USCG Terminates Illegal Charter Near Mercer Island

U.S. Coast Guard members recently halted an illegal charter operating near Mercer Island on Lake Washington.

A boarding team with USCG Station Seattle saw that a 38-foot vessel carrying 15 passengers had a non-credentialed mariner running the operation illegally.

To prevent future illegal operations, the Coast Guard has said that it’s considering additional enforcement against the vessel operator, who has been cited for several violations. In December, the vessel operator was ordered by the Captain of the Port to stop the illegal charter.

The boarding was part of the USCG’s latest efforts to crack down on illegal charters operating along the West Coast. Those running illegal charters could be fined $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations, over $94,000 in daily penalties for violating a Captain of the Port Order and even criminal charges for repeat offenses.

“Illegally chartered vessels undermine legitimate operations and pose significant safety concerns to everyone onboard,” explained Lt. Alex Cropley, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Seattle. “Terminating these dangerous voyages and educating the boating public is our top priority.”

Cropley also advised anyone encountering vessels operating in an unsafe manner, or who suspects an illegal charter operation to call the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16.