Friday, July 19, 2019

Cook Inlet Tug & Barge Ramps Up
North Slope Ops

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cook Inlet Tug & Barge will expand operations on Alaska’s North Slope for the 2019 ice-free season, the independently managed Foss Maritime Company subsidiary announced Tuesday.

For the next three months, three tugs acquisitions, as well as barges and shore equipment will run out of Prudhoe Bay, further expanding the companies’ Arctic operations and bolstering harbor towage, oil and gas support services, mining and construction support, and offshore marine transportation services, according to CITB and Foss.

“It is great to see these vessels on the water and ready to work,” said CITB President Jeff Johnson. “These shallow-draft tugs and barges are ideally suited for work on the North Slope waterways and the Western Alaska markets.”

The 64-foot long and 27-foot wide tugs – Sag Wind, Kuparuk Wind, and Kavik Wind – run on three 1095 HP CAT 343D engines. “The ice-free season in Prudhoe Bay is short, so we’re glad to have such capable vessels available there to support the oil and gas industry as well as construction activities on the North Slope,” said Johnson. “These versatile workhorses help round out Cook Inlet and Foss operations in Alaska.”

Oakland Logistics Complex Underway

By Karen Robes Meeks

Construction is underway on the Seaport Logistics Complex, one of the most anticipated developments at the Port of Oakland.

Over the last nine months, CenterPoint Properties has been preparing and conducting ground stabilization operations on its 27-acre site and working toward the building of the 460,000-square-foot facility, set for completion in mid-2020.

“We look forward to starting vertical construction and continuing to work closely with the port to make sure this project is a point of pride for everyone involved,” said CenterPoint Chief Development Officer Michael Murphy.

When completed, the $52 million project will anchor a logistics campus at the decommissioned Oakland Army Base. CenterPoint will build and operate the first building at the campus and lease it to cargo transportation or logistics-related tenants.

“We’ve waited a long time to reach this point, but now our future is in view,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “CenterPoint’s facility will give us logistics capability you can’t find at other ports.”

Long Beach Board Member to Step Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

Her new role as Costa Mesa’s city manager has prompted Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioner Lori Ann Guzmán not to seek a second term on the board that governs the Port of Long Beach, the port announced Tuesday.

Guzman, who was appointed to the position in December 2013, was then the fifth female board member in the port’s 108-year history and served two years as president. She believes the port is best served by someone who can devote sufficient time to its various initiatives.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the Port of Long Beach for the past nearly six years, and I’ll look back with pride on the amazing progress we’ve made,” Guzmán said. “We’ve been through one of the port’s most challenging periods, and I feel strongly that this organization is well-positioned to thrive in an industry that is dramatically changing. Although I’d love to continue my service to the port, my new position requires my undivided time and attention.”

Prior to her new leadership role, Guzmán was assistant city manager for the City of Huntington Beach and CFO for the City of Long Beach.

Wilmington Seeks Community Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Wilmington Waterfront Development Project will be the subject of two community meetings hosted by the Port of Los Angeles.

The meetings will allow the public to hear an overview and status update on the project, including a review of the environmental document for the Avalon and Fries Street Segment closure, information about the entry plaza sundial for the Avalon Promenade and Gateway Project and naming development projects along the waterfront.

The meetings will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on July 25 and Sept.12 at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington.

Once completed, the Wilmington Waterfront project will feature a promenade, plaza for pedestrians, parking lot, and realignment of Water Street next to the railroad tracks and parking area northwest of Banning's Landing Community Center. The Avalon Promenade and Gateway Project will include a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks and Water Street to provide safe public access to the waterfront.

For more information, visit lawaterfront.org.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Seattle Breaks Ground on Terminal 5

By Karen Robes Meeks

Seattle and Tacoma port officials recently joined ILWU Local 19 president and the head of local terminal operator SSA Terminals in breaking ground on Terminal 5, a modernization project that will allow the facility to handle larger cargo ships carrying up to 18,000 TEUs.

Ships carrying 14,000 TEUs already visit the North and South harbors regularly.

Activity at Terminal 5 means an estimated 6,600 new direct jobs and over $2 billion in business activity. Port officials approved $340 million in construction funds, while SSA Terminals invested up to $160 million toward the project.

“Four years ago this August, our two ports announced the joining of our operations in order to better compete on a global scale,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “Today is proof that we made the right decision as our efforts here at Terminal 5 provide us new opportunities for cooperation and the creation of family-wage jobs.”

Set to open in two phases, the 185-acre terminal is expected to receive international container cargo at one berth in the spring of 2021 while the other will open in 2023.

Busiest June for Port of LA

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles saw its busiest June in history when it handled 764,777 TEUs last month. Imports were up 3.5 percent to 396,307 TEUs, while exports were down 5.6 percent to 139,318 TEUs, compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, empty containers, which are sent overseas to be refilled with goods, jumped 19 percent to 229,153 units.

June caps off the port’s 2018-2019 fiscal year, which saw the port move nearly 9.7 TEUs, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year.

“Completing the busiest 12-month period in the port’s history makes me proud of our extraordinary capabilities and grateful to all our stakeholders,” said port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “With container exchange per vessel at record levels, we will continue to enhance and optimize our port complex in the coming months. Creating a universal truck reservation system, moving chassis off terminals and further refining the Port Optimizer are top priorities.”

Long Beach Cargo Volumes Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

Tariffs continue to dampen cargo movement at the Port of Long Beach, which moved 677,167 TEUs last month, 10 percent fewer containers than it did in 2018, according to the newest port statistics.

Imports in June fell 13.7 percent to 331,617 TEUs, while exports dipped 1 percent to 133,833 TEUs. Empty containers were also down 9.1 percent to 211,718 TEUs.

Escalating tariffs brought on by the trade dispute between the US and China prompted retailers to quickly ship goods in 2018 before tariffs took effect, according to Port Executive Director Mario Cordero.

“For 2019, it seems that the cargo is all here and warehouses are filled,” he said. “That’s disrupting container movement and the growth we would normally see this time of year.”