Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Los Angeles Port Chief Announces
Cargo Numbers, 2021 Priorities

About 9.2 million TEUs flowed through the Port of Los Angeles last year, the fourth busiest year on record, Executive Director Gene Seroka announced at the recent virtual Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s sixth annual State of the Port of Los Angeles.

The port saw cargo volumes surge in the last half of 2020 by 50 percent over the first half of 2020, according to the port, which finished the year about 1.5 percent down from 2019. There was a 94 percent jump in the week leading up to Christmas compared to the same time in 2019.

“Our container business in 2020 was the most erratic we have ever seen, with volumes plunging nearly 19 percent in the first five months of the year, followed by an unprecedented second-half surge,” Seroka said. “Our ILWU longshore workforce did a great job adapting to the huge swings in volume, as did port truckers and everyone else involved in moving cargo through our Port. In a year of great difficulty, we are extremely grateful for the tenacity and resolve of all of our partners.”

Seroka also spoke about prioritizing the creation of more jobs, growing cargo, speeding up the development of zero emission technology and modernizing and optimizing the supply chain.

“If we want America to improve as a leader in global trade, we need nationwide port data connectivity with agreed-upon data standards and open architecture system that provides interconnectivity between major U.S. ports, service providers and the freight they move,” said Seroka.

In his speech, Seroka introduced the creation of The Control Tower, the latest in Port Optimizer™ cloud-based data solutions. Developed with Wabtec, The Control Tower will offer “new levels of metrics and data including real-time port level views of turn times, truck capacity management information and detailed velocity metrics,” according to the port.

New Changes at Maritime Firm

Hockema Whalen Myers Associates, Inc. kicked off 2021 with the announcement of a new name and management changes to the company, which specialized in engineering and consulting services, naval architecture and marine engineering.

The longtime West Coast firm - which has offices in Seattle, Washington, and Bend, Oregon - has been renamed Hockema Group, Inc. effective Jan. 1.

The company also announced changes in leadership. Founder Hal Hockema will ease back on day-to-day management and continue on a part-time basis as an advisor.

John Myers will serve as company president and managing principal. Michael Minnig will take on Myer’s former vice president and senior principal role, while Craig Pomeroy is the principal naval architect.

Julie Hockema, who will ease into part-time work, will stay on as business manager and bookkeeper, the company said. Shannon Potter joined the company last year as administrative manager.

Michael Whalen, who sold his company Fisker‐Andersen & Whalen to Hal and Julie Hockema in 2004 and stayed on as senior principal, retired last year, but will remain involved with the company.

Applications Sought for National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee

The Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing is looking for those interested in being part of the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee.

The role calls for a candidate with a QMED rating endorsement. Those with an officer rating cannot apply. Established by the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, the committee is tasked with advising the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security through the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on U.S. Merchant Marine personnel-related issues such as training, qualifications, certification, documentation, and fitness of mariners, according to the agency.

For more, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/12/2021-00383/national-merchant-marine-personnel-advisory-committee-vacancy. Candidates should reach out to Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255 or megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

Port of Long Beach Releases Cargo Numbers

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a trade war with China, the Port of Long Beach finished 2020 strong, handling more than 8.1 million TEUs, its busiest year to date, according to newly released numbers. The seaport saw a 6.3 percent jump in overall cargo from 2019, with imports up 6.4 percent to nearly 4 million TEUs, exports up 0.2 percent to nearly 1.5 million and empty containers that are sent overseas to be restocked with goods up 9.9 percent to 2.6 million TEUs.

The port beat its prior annual record by 22,292 TEUs (set in 2018).

“I want to thank our frontline workers on the docks who kept cargo moving during this unprecedented moment in history, ensuring the safe, secure and timely delivery of vital medical equipment and consumer goods,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We have all endured incredible hardships with COVID-19, but I am looking forward to 2021 as a time of economic recovery and a renewed focus on our industry partners, infrastructure projects and community stakeholders.”

The numbers looked bleak in early 2020 when the port saw canceled sailings and a 6.9 percent drop in cargo compared to early 2019 due to the effects of the pandemic. The port was able to rebound later in the year as consumers adjusted to the new normal and demand grew for medical and home improvement supplies.

“This record demonstrates the effort of our dockworkers and the Port’s determination to collaborate with our partners to overcome the devastating economic challenges presented by COVID-19 and the trade war with China,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We look forward to continuing to work toward economic recovery along with our stakeholders.”

For more, visit polb.com/statistics.

Friday, January 15, 2021

South Terminal Project Completed

The long-awaited $57 million South Terminal modernization project at the Port of Everett has been completed, port officials announced this week.

The updated terminal allows the port to accommodate bigger ships and heavier cargoes, including the new 777X and other wide-body aircraft, and more diverse cargo. It also supports efforts to bolster the regional economy.

In the last 10 years, over $125 million has been put into port facilities to meet market demand and the needs of its customers. The South Terminal is vital to the port’s modernization efforts. In 2018, the port started on the second phase of the project to strengthen the wharf and included moving two Post-Panamax container cranes from the Port of Los Angeles, and improving the electrical dock infrastructure for shore power.

“Having this modernized facility now open for business is more important than ever as our region and nation focuses on the economic recovery needs in front of us in light of this pandemic,” Port Commission President Glen Bachman said. “Completion of this project directly benefits our local, regional and national economies, enhances our national transportation network in support of the movement of commerce, and maintains and grows the 40,000+ family-wage jobs supported by Port operations.”

USCG Cutter Joseph Gerczak on Patrol

The crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak recently stopped in Honolulu after finishing the first stage of their patrol to uphold illegal fishing rules in the Pacific and augment maritime law enforcement self-sufficiency with Kiribati partners, the agency said.

The crew traveled about 2,400 million from Hawaii to Kiribati from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.

“We’re working to increase awareness of unlawful fishing operations in remote territories of the United States, the Pacific, and the Republic of Kiribati’s exclusive economic zones,” said Lt. James Provost, commanding officer of the Joseph Gerczak. “Over the course of our patrol we queried one Chinese fishing vessel while enforcing Kiribati's sovereignty.”

The crew supported Operation Blue Pacific Task Force to ensure stability and security throughout the Indo-Pacific, the agency said.

“Effective maritime domain awareness requires unprecedented information sharing,” said Cmdr. Jason Brand, chief of enforcement, Coast Guard District 14. “We are eager to collaborate with Kiribati on initiatives of common interest.”

Update on Merchant Mariner Credentialing Endorsements

Qualifying mariners will be issued STCW endorsements for Basic and Advanced International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low Flashpoint Fuels (IGF) Code Operations if they have completed the STCW requirements and ask for the endorsement, the National Maritime Center announced Tuesday.

Applications for IGF Code Operations endorsements should be sent in accordance with CG-MMC Policy Letter 01-21. National endorsements for IGF Code Operations will not be issued by the National Maritime Center.

Inquiring mariners should reach out to the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at MMCPolicy@uscg.mil or 202-372-2357. Visit https://www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_center/ for more.