Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Grays Harbor to Receive Army Corps
of Engineers Attention

By Karen Robes Meeks

As part of its 2018 Work Plan, the US Army Corps of Engineers intends to budget an additional $4.255 million toward operations and maintenance work in Grays Harbor County. Funding will be used for maintenance dredging of Grays Harbor and repairs to the Point Chehalis revetment in Westport.

This brings the total funding for operations and maintenance of Grays Harbor to $15.965 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the port.

“This additional federal funding directly supports Grays Harbor’s nationally significant marine commerce activity including the shipment of cargo at our marine terminals and commercial seafood landings at the Westport Marina that combined create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in local economic activity,” said Executive Director Gary Nelson. “We want to recognize and thank our federal delegation, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Derek Kilmer, for their hard work in ensuring the funding for construction, operations and maintenance of our nation’s waterways remains a priority.”

Big May for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach recently posted its busiest May to date, moving 687,427 TEUs. That’s six percent more compared to 2017, according to the port’s latest tally.

Meanwhile, the port moved 361,056 TEUs of imported goods, up 7.3 percent from a year ago, and 142,412 TEUs of exports, a 19.9 percent jump from May 2017.

“E-commerce has transformed the supply chain to deliver goods rapidly and then replenish them based on consumer demand,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Since the US economy is strong, that’s part of our record May result, which also ranks as one of our best months ever.”

So far this year, the port has handled 3.2 million TEUs, 14.6 percent more than the first five months of 2017.

“International trade continues to be a thriving part of the economy, and cargo continues to flow across our docks as we focus on delivering goods quickly, efficiently and at a good cost,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “We look forward to a robust peak season this summer and fall.” West Coast seaports are typically busier in the summer months as retailers stock up for the holidays.”

Los Angeles Capital Improvements Budgeted

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners passed a $1.3 billion fiscal year 2018–2019 budget for the Port of Los Angeles. The budget aims to fund programs that support economic growth and security, strengthen relationships with its stakeholders and make supply chain operations more efficient and sustainable.

The budget forecasts operating revenues of $509.5 million, up 7.2 percent over last fiscal year due in large part to anticipated growth in cargo volumes and shipping services revenues, as well as higher returns on land rentals, according to the port.

About $91 million has been budgeted for capital improvement projects. This amount accounts for $31.6 million for terminal improvements, $13.6 million for public access and environmental projects, $10 million for rail and roadway improvements and $4.7 million for security projects.

“Our strategic priorities continue to guide all that we do at the Port, including the budgeting process,” said Marla Bleavins, port deputy executive director and chief financial officer. “This budget lays the foundation for investing in and maintaining our critical role in the nation’s transportation network and economy, as well as serving as a catalyst for job growth in the region.”

Oakland Executive Promotes Globalization

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle returned to his alma mater, Central Washington University, to speak to an audience of about 5,000 graduates about embracing globalization and rejecting “extreme protectionism.”

“Don’t disengage from the world – don’t be part of the illogical rush to draw the drapes and turn out the lights,” said Lytle, a 1979 graduate. “We see too much of it today in Britain, Italy, France… and right here in the US.”

He spoke of a potential trade war between the US and China with the introduction of tariffs that could undermine free trade, “the backbone of worldwide economic growth.”

Washington state and California would be affected by a trade war since both benefit from exporting farm products such as fruits and nuts to China.

“What’s going to happen to those commodities with higher tariffs?” Lytle said. “Prices will go up. Demand will go down. And China’s booming market for American exports will wither.”

It could also mean lost opportunities for graduates, he added.

“Free trade and the world economy are what you grew up with,” Lytle said. “They’re what you know, and they’re what’s right for a world struggling to come together… not pull apart.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Port of Seattle Seeks More Depth

By Karen Robes Meeks

US Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite has signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project, making it eligible for congressional authorization.

The project seeks to deepen the East and West Waterways to 57 feet below mean lower low water to improve navigation in the harbor and make room for bigger container ships.

“Both waterways are currently authorized between 34 and 51 feet below mean lower low water and some of these shallower spots present navigational and safety challenges,” said Corps Project Manager Brian Nelson. “Authorizing deepening the channels removes these challenges and ensures the port can accommodate future generations of container ships.”

Port of Seattle Commission President and Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member Courtney Gregoire thanked the Army Corps of Engineers.

“This is another step forward to making T-5 big ship ready, and able to handle the largest cargo vessels in the world,” Gregoire said.

Port of Los Angeles Volumes Drop

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cargo volumes dropped 3.4 percent last month when compared to the same period a year ago at the Port of Los Angeles.

The port handled 768,804 TEUs in May, which is lower than the record breaking 796,216 TEUs from 2017.

Meanwhile, the port moved 405,587 TEUs in imports, dipping 1.8 percent from a year ago, and 168,681 TEUs of exports, which also experienced a slight drop.

"Volumes have softened due to continued shuffling of alliance services in the San Pedro Bay,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The Port remains focused on digitizing our value chain. Our aim is to introduce the GE Port Optimizer this summer with the support of our liner and terminal partners."

New HR Director at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michael Mitchell is the Port of Oakland’s new Director of Human Resources.

Mitchell, who joined the port 12 years ago and was the port’s Human Resources Manager, will overseeing employee and labor relations, talent acquisition and other functions.

“Michael Mitchell brings a wealth of government experience to this position,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. “His effectiveness in establishing key business partnerships and creating organizational efficiencies will serve the Port well.”

Before coming to the port, the Hampton University alum was a senior human resource analyst with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.