Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Best Month Ever for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach posted its best month in history last June, according to numbers released Friday.

The nation’s second busiest seaport handled 752,188 TEUs, which is 14.2 percent more than June 2017 and 4.4 percent above July 2017, the port’s record-setting month. Long Beach also moved 384,095 TEUs in imports, a 14.5 percent jump from the same period last year, and 135,168 TEUs in exports, a 14.3 percent increase. Empty containers also rose 13.6 percent to 232,926 TEUs.

“We’re pleased to see cargo moving efficiently, even as record volumes continue,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “With the Port getting ready to enter the peak season and retailers replenishing their stocks for the holidays, it’s great to see these volumes and the smooth flow of goods.” So far this year, the Long Beach port has processed close to four million TEUs, which is close to 14.5 percent higher than the 2017’s pace.

The port also handled nearly 2.1 million TEUs in the second quarter, making it its busiest second quarter since 2006.

“We are on track to beat our historic pace from 2017,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “The domestic and global economies are good, which is why we’re seeing all of this activity. Certainly, the escalating trade tensions have everyone in the industry concerned, but we’re going to continue to provide excellent customer service and fulfill our mission of facilitating commerce.”

Alaska Coast Guard Rescues 13-Year-Old

By Karen Robes Meeks

A 13-year-old girl was rescued last Tuesday on Kruzof Island in Alaska’s Shelikof Bay by the US Coast Guard Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew.

The girl’s aunt and uncle notified authorities after they did not see her kayaking in Shelikof Bay. Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders diverted the helicopter crew to help in the search.

The kayak was spotted on the shore and the crew found the girl on some rocks before hoisting and returning her to her family at North Beach on Kruzof Island, according to the Coast Guard.

"Even on a beautiful day the water temperature can be life threatening,” said Lt. Mick Klakring, one of the Jayhawk pilots on the case. “Thankfully this young lady was wearing a life jacket, which may have made the difference in the outcome. We are very happy we could find her and relocate her with family staying at Shelikof Bay to enjoy the Fourth of July."

According to the Coast Guard, those using paddle crafts should wear a life jacket, dress for the water temperature, take a personal locator beacon, a satellite or cell phone and file a float plan with friends and family in case of emergency.

Hueneme Earns Eighth Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the eighth straight year, the Port of Hueneme has earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awards its certificate to agencies whose Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is considered outstanding.

“We are honored to accept this Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the eighth consecutive year,” said Mary Anne Rooney, Oxnard Harbor District President. “This award affirms our administration’s commitment to the highest standards of accurate and transparent reporting and continues to build community trust in the port.”

Port Deputy Executive Director and CFO Andrew Palomares credited the district staff’s hard work of readying the report for earning the recognition.

“It takes a team effort from all departments to put forth a comprehensive and complete CAFR,” he said. “This type of organization-wide effort is indicative of just how seriously the district takes the fiscal responsibility we have to the cities and communities within our boundaries. I am especially proud of the District’s Accounting Department who work all year long maintaining top-notch record keeping for the District.”

Oakland Celebrates Relationship with Japan

By Karen Robes Meeks

To acknowledge the Port of Oakland’s 30th anniversary of being a sister port with Port of Hakata, Executive Director Chris Lytle recently spoke of the importance of bolstering its business relationship with Japan and opportunities to nurture it.

“It’s extremely critical for us to have good, strong free trade partners such as Japan,” Lytle said to visitors from the Port of Hakata. “Japan is a very large and very important part of our business.”

After China, Japan is Oakland’s next biggest trade partner with roughly $2.6 billion in containerized cargo moving between the two ports in 2017 alone.

“Everything from machinery to lithium batteries for electric cars is imported to Oakland from Japan,” Lytle said. “This is very high-value cargo and we would like to see it grow.”

Opportunities to strengthen that business bond could come as quickly as next month when Cool Port Oakland, the $90 million refrigerated storage and distribution facility comes online.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Agriculture Secretary Tours Port of Vancouver, USA

By Karen Robes Meeks

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently visited the Port of Vancouver USA and met with local leaders as part of his Back to Our Roots Tour, which started July 2 in Spokane, Washington. Purdue toured the port’s grain terminal and a Tidewater Barge Lines tug and barge at the port’s Berth 4.

“From 465 miles inland into the United States, for our farmer-producers all the way in Idaho (to) ship out of this port…it’s a great advantage to America, really, to have this kind of infrastructure,” Perdue said.

About half of USA wheat that comes from inland farms travels the Columbia-Snake River System to international markets. The port alone handles 10 percent of the nation’s wheat annually and is the second-biggest steel importer on the U.S. West Coast.

Port-related activities are a significant financial generator for the region, accounting for 20,200 jobs and $2.9 billion in economic benefit.

“It was an honor to host Secretary Perdue at the Port of Vancouver and in our community,” said port CEO Julianna Marler. “We appreciated the opportunity to share the great work happening here on the Columbia River as well as some of our concerns about trade and agriculture, which are critical issues for communities and workers across Washington State.”

Everett Approves Infrastructure Contract

By Karen Robes Meeks

The final phase of upland public infrastructure within the Port of Everett’s Fisherman’s Harbor district of Waterfront Place will move forward, thanks to a $3.7 million agreement with Granite Construction.

The Port of Everett Commission recently approved the contract with Granite for building the new SE Millwright Loop and open spaces, which will allow for more road access from Fisherman’s Harbor to the Port’s Central Docks and the future Waterfront Place.

The project, set to start later this month, also calls for a new marina parking lot, a link from the new Fisherman's Harbor esplanade to the existing esplanade along the Central Docks’ north side, and a new public space between the future 142-room Hotel Indigo and the new Pacific Rim Plaza and splash fountain, according to the port.

Fisherman’s Harbor is expected to open in mid-2019.

“This is an exciting time for our community,” Port Commissioner Bruce Fingarson said. “By this time next year, the highly anticipated Fisherman’s Harbor will officially open for all to enjoy, providing access to the waterfront’s newest central gathering space at Pacific Rim Plaza, new lodging and dining at Hotel Indigo, and shortly thereafter, new housing and restaurant opportunities.”

Matson Earnings Up

By Karen Robes Meeks

Matson, Inc.’s Board of Directors recently announced a third quarter dividend of $0.21 per common share, which represents a one-cent (or five percent) increase over the dividend from the prior quarter.

“We are pleased to announce an increase to our quarterly dividend in the third quarter for the sixth consecutive year, underscoring our Board's confidence in the long-term prospects for our businesses and commitment to rewarding shareholders through dividends,” said Matt Cox, Matson's chairman and chief executive officer. “While we expect leverage to increase as our fleet and infrastructure investments in Hawaii progress, our healthy balance sheet, strong operating cash flows, and continued access to attractive financing sources provide ample capacity to fund the fleet renewal and related infrastructure, consider growth investments, and return capital to shareholders.”

The dividend will be allocated to all shareholders on September 6.