Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vessel Aground Off Diamond Head

By Karen Robes Meeks

Crews on Sunday continued working to tow away the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded at a reef off Waikiki’s Kaimana Beach.

The operation hit a snag when fuel made contact with hot surfaces and caught fire. Salvage crews had to be evacuated and the Hawaii Fire Department put out the blaze.

About two-thirds of the fuel had been removed along with the marine batteries, leaving up to 1,500 gallons aboard prior to the release of about 200 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials are asking the public to steer clear of the vessel and have placed a safety zone around the affected area.

Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued Pacific Paradise’s master and 19 fishermen last week after it ran aground off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach, the cause of which is still being investigated.

September Record for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach posted its best September and its best quarter in cargo movement in history, according to the port’s latest numbers.

The nation’s second busiest seaport moved 701,619 TEUs in September, a 28.3 percent increase from the same period last year, and handled 2,114,306 TEUs in the third quarter.

“Simply put, we are having the best trade months in Port history,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “Back-to-school merchandise was strong for us, and it looks like retailers are optimistic about the holiday season.”

The port also handled 366,298 TEUs in imports, rising 29.5 percent from September 2016, and 125,336 TEUs in exports, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

About 209,985 TEUs in empty containers were also hauled, a 46.4 percent jump from last year.

Hanjin’s bankruptcy last year factored into the large spike in last month’s cargo, the port said.

“Our continuing recovery is due to our best-in-the-industry customer service, and the best terminals and infrastructure in the nation for shippers who need to rapidly transport cargo,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’re expecting to have great numbers right through the end of the year and challenge 2007 for our highest annual container volume in history.”

Solar Panel Manufacturing Brings New Jobs to Bellingham

By Karen Robes Meeks

Itek Energy recently celebrated its new 48,000-square-foot solar panel manufacturing facility on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront, according to the Port of Bellingham.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which took place earlier this month, highlighted the $6 million project to turn a former pulp and tissue warehouse Itek bought from the port last year into a new plant.

Itek, which began production in 2011 in the Irongate neighborhood, will add about 30 more jobs to its current operations for a total of 125 positions based in downtown Bellingham.

“Itek Energy is a tremendous local success story,” said Port Commission President Dan Robbins. “The Port sold property to Itek to stimulate job growth and it’s wonderful to see all of the construction jobs this project is creating as well as new manufacturing opportunities for Whatcom County residents.”

Itek Founder and CEO John Flanagan said his company now has the capacity to generate up to 200 megawatts of highly efficient panels annually.

“Solar panel manufacturing has never been done to this scale in the State of Washington,” he said.

He also spoke of the product’s potential market growth.

“The US solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016, and is projected to nearly triple in size over the next five years,” said Flanagan.

Volumes Up at Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles processed 763,785 TEUs last month, making it third-largest September for cargo volumes.

Trade policy changes affecting waste paper exports to China resulted in the 15.45 percent jump in empty containers in Los Angeles, pushing up last month’s overall volumes, according to the port.

Loaded imports dipped .07 percent to 388,670 TEUs year over year, and loaded exports were down 3.17 percent to 517,116 TEUs. With empty containers factored, the port saw a 2.15 percent increase in overall volumes year over year.

The Los Angeles seaport last month also received a record 88 vessel visits with an average TEU count of 8,679 per vessel, a 22 percent jump from the TEU-per-vessel average of September 2016.

“As we enter the final quarter of 2017, we’re pleased to be tracking toward record volumes for a Western Hemisphere port,” said Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka. “We continue to demonstrate the LA Advantage to cargo owners, with a strong focus on meeting big-ship needs, developing world-class infrastructure, and delivering extraordinary customer service through innovation and efficiency.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Long Beach Networking

By Karen Robes Meeks

Businesses will have the opportunity to promote their services with representatives from Long Beach Transit, the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach City College and other area transit agencies.

Long Beach Transit and the Port of Long Beach will be hosting a Prime-Time Business Networking event on October 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Port of Long Beach’s Interim Administrative Offices, located at 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815.

Those interested need to RSVP by October 15 to Regulatory Compliance and Civil Rights Officer Aida Douglas at 562-489-8476 or at RCCRO@lbtransit.com.

Bolduc to Nebraska

By Karen Robes Meeks

John Bolduc, the Vice President of Public Safety and Police Chief at the Port of San Diego, will serve as the next Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent.

Bolduc, 52, will oversee 170 team members with a $38 million annual budget. His first day on the job will be on October 16.

“The State Patrol has a long and distinguished history with troopers that have served with honor and integrity, and John will protect and build that tradition,” said Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. “John comes to the agency with a reputation for improving organizations. He has the integrity and the experience to drive continuous improvement throughout the State Patrol and lead the organization with the unimpeachable integrity Nebraskans expect.”

Bolduc started his law enforcement career as an officer in 1986 and was chief of police for Brainerd and Mora in Minnesota.

During his seven-year tenure at the Port of San Diego, Bolduc developed a partnership between Harbor Police and the State Department to train overseas law enforcement in port security. He teamed up with the Alpha Project to connect the homeless living on the waterfront with services, among other accomplishments.

Everett Commission Deadline

By Karen Robes Meeks

Those interested in serving on the Port of Everett Commission have until 5 p.m. on October 16 to apply for the District 1 vacancy left by Troy McClelland, who resigned in August following a job relocation to Massachusetts.

Applicants must provide a completed application, proof of residency from the Snohomish County Auditor’s office and proof of voter registration. District 1 includes parts of the waterfront area in North Everett, and east to the Snohomish River.

The commission will gather for a special meeting on October 24 to review applicants’ qualifications and select candidates for interviews scheduled for October 30.

On November 2, the commission will weigh the merits of the candidates in a public session and vote on the District 1 position appointment. The assignment will last until the next regular port election in 2019.

The Port Commission application can be found at www.portofeverett.com/commissionappointment2017.