Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Global Opportunities at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

A pair of projects, under the Global Opportunities at the Port of Oakland (GoPort) Program, have received $187.4 million in 2018 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program Grants funded by Senate Bill 1, the California Transportation Commission announced Friday.

Roughly $175 million will be earmarked for the 7th Street Grade Separation, which seeks to bolster truck clearance, ease traffic congestion and feature a shared walkway/bike path by replacing the railroad underpass between I-880 and Maritime Street. The second grant of $12.4 million will pay for the Freight Intelligent Transportation System, technology geared to organizing truck arrivals, improving responses to incidents and linking to regional smart corridor systems.

“These projects will improve reliability of travel time and access throughout the Port of Oakland, increasing efficiency, while reducing congestion and air quality impacts on the local community and eliminating truck back-ups onto local streets,” says Alameda CTC Chair Supervisor Richard Valle. “They also support increased use of rail, which is a key part of the region's and county's goods movement strategy.”

The gas tax funds from Senate Bill 1 will be critical to reducing freight congestion on freeways and rail lines, reducing emissions and improving air quality and good jobs, noted Alameda CTC Executive Director Arthur L. Dao.

“While our local transportation sales tax measures got these projects underway, and serve as key leverage, we wouldn't be able to move forward into construction on these priority projects without the statewide gas tax funds,” he said.

First West Coast Subchapter M Certificate Issued

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Thursday, Vancouver, Washington-operated Tidewater Barge Lines’ towing vessel Crown Point received an initial Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Portland. This is the first on the US West Coast to be issued a COI under the new inspected towing vessel rules, referred to as Subchapter M.

The 98-foot, 4,480-horsepower towing vessel that moves barges to and from Lewiston, Idaho and Vancouver, Wash., is one of 130 towing vessels in service on the Columbia-Snake River System.

“The Columbia and Snake River Systems move 24 billion dollars of cargo on an annual basis and the towing vessels that fall under the regulations listed under Subchapter M are an integral part of this economically valuable marine transportation system,” said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer MSU Portland. “The Subchapter M regulations will provide safer vessel movement, safer working conditions for crewmembers, reduce marine casualties, and will help avoid environmental and property damage,” he added.

Towing vessels must comply with the Subchapter M regulations by July 20. To coordinate and schedule Subchapter M inspections, towing vessel owners and operators may reach out to their local Coast Guard Inspection office. MSU Portland’s towing vessel inspectors are available at 503-240-9374 or by email at TOWPDX@uscg.mil.

Visit www.dco.uscg.mil/tvncoe for more details on Subchapter M regulations and compliance.

Grays Harbor to Appoint New Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Grays Harbor plans to appoint a new District 1 Commissioner, effective August 1, replacing longtime Commissioner Chuck Caldwell, who recently announced his resignation.

“While it has been an absolute honor to serve the citizens of Grays Harbor County over the past 16 years and I am incredibly proud of the business diversification and growth at the port during this time, it is now time for me to focus my energy on other important areas of my life,” Caldwell said. “I will continue to be a supportive citizen and ready volunteer to promote any Port initiatives that will continue to expand the service and opportunities for the people of Grays Harbor County.”

The appointee will be in place until the next regular Port election scheduled for November 2019, at which point the six-year term vacant position will be filled.

Those interested in serving the remaining of Caldwell’s term may submit an application at district1commission@portgrays.org, or at the Port’s main office at 111 S. Wooding Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520 or at the Satsop Business Park’s main office at 150 Technology Way, Suite 100, Elma, WA 98541.

To qualify, applicants must be a registered voter in Grays Harbor County District 1. The deadline to turn in applications, proof of residency from the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office and proof of voter registration is 5 p.m. on June 5, 2018.

After receiving and reviewing applications, the finalists will be interviewed on June 14 before a final decision is announced on June 19.

Long Beach Sponsors the Arts

By Karen Robes Meeks

About 124 organizations geared toward artistic, civic and educational endeavors have received a financial boost this week from the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners when it recently approved $353,850 in sponsorships.

Among the recipients were organizations behind Pow! Wow! Long Beach – the annual citywide mural project, Meals on Wheels of Long Beach’s 5K Run, Walk and Roll, the United Cambodian Community’s Heart of Long Beach Summer Health Fair, and WomenShelter of Long Beach’s Domestic Violence Awareness.

“Our community sponsorship program allows us to support diverse groups and events in the city,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “The program highlights the Port’s dedication to social responsibility and helps to spread the word on our positive economic impact on the city and region.”

So far, the port has awarded $794,500 to 251 groups for this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Moore and De Herrera Receive Maritime Awards

Capt. Mike Moore, Vice President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), received the annual Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award, and Roque De Herrera, City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, received the Public Official of the Year Award at the annual Harley Marine Seattle Maritime Festival Breakfast.

Moore was recognized for his outstanding professionalism and commitment to improve the maritime industry in all safety matters, and joins respected maritime industry professionals and public officials who have received the award since 1951, including representatives of steamship lines and agents, tug and barge operators, passenger vessel operators, ports, stevedores, shipyards, labor and government.

Moore has directed PMSA’s Pacific Northwest operations since retiring from the US Coast Guard in 2002. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1977 and was promoted through the ranks to Captain of the Port stationed in Seattle. He earned an advanced degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington.

“This recognition is well-deserved,” said John McLaurin, president of PMSA. “Mike is an outstanding individual who is nationally recognized as an expert on maritime safety and environmental protection issues.”

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association focused on global trade. PMSA operates offices in Oakland, Long Beach and Seattle, and represents owners and operators of marine terminals and U.S. and foreign vessels operating throughout the world.

The Public Official of the year award recognizes the contributions and support of a local, state, or federal policymaker who has demonstrated leadership, understanding, and appreciation of the maritime industry.

“This year we present our award to a public policy professional whose work is vitally important but frequently overlooked,” said Sue Chesney, president of the Seattle Propeller Club. “We present the award to underscore and recognize our honoree’s contributions, and also to underscore the value of developing and maintaining professional relationships built on mutual trust.”

For more than twenty years, De Herrera has made a career with the City as a planner and a business advocate. “Whether it’s fire and safety issues, stormwater, marine infrastructure, or protecting shipyards, Roque has thrown himself into every project with honesty, passion and dedication,” said Chesney.

Long Beach Box Numbers Rise

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach moved 618,438 TEUs last month—a 10.8 percent jump when compared to April 2017, according to numbers released Monday. Imports rose 8.4 percent to 312,376 TEUs and exports soared 22 percent to 141,799 TEUs. Empty containers were also up seven percent with 164,264 TEUs.

These totals add to the port’s 17 percent growth in cargo movement for the first four months of the year in which the port has handled 2.5 million TEUs. It’s also on track to beat last year’s record pace, according to the port.

“Both imports and exports are beating expectations so far this year,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “For us, part of that is the shift of services we saw a year ago, but at least some of our strong growth appears to be a result of trade tensions as anxious shippers rush to get their cargo to overseas markets.”

The global economy has benefited from a slow yet robust economic expansion, said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum.

“As long as it continues we expect to play a big role since we’re a natural trade conduit between United States and China, the world’s two largest economies,” she said.

Oakland Sees More Cargo

By Karen Robes Meeks

April cargo volume at the Port of Oakland rose 2.9 percent over the same period last year, according to the port’s latest numbers. It was Oakland’s best month for loaded imports in history with75,369 TEUs. It beat the record set in April 2006, when the port handled 75,243 TEUs, and also surpassed April 2017 numbers when the port moved 74,991 TEUs.

Meanwhile, exports reached77,995 TEUs, short of April 2017 figures when the port handled 78,776 TEUs. “Growth in exports was hampered by the negative effects of China’s stringent rules on recycled materials,” according to the port. “However, the Port’s meat, fruits and vegetable exports helped offset the loss in recycled commodities.”

In the first four months, the port moved 791,371 TEUs in total cargo volume, more than the 768,789 TEUs it did during the same period last year.

“These container statistics show that we are off to a solid start in 2018,” said port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We’re on track for steady growth in our cargo volumes for the rest of the year.”