Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vancouver USA Announces Public Tour Dates

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 16, the Port of Vancouver USA announced that due to popularity, it would host 10 free public tours in 2017 -– two more than it did in 2016.

“We get great feedback and interest in our public tours, so much so that we’ve added four tours to our schedule since 2015,” port Chief External Affairs Officer Ryan Hart said.

The port’s free, 90-minute public tours showcase the industries that call the port home and give a taste of the maritime industry and global marketplace. Among the sites that visitors could see are massive ships berthed along the waterfront and some of the diverse cargoes handled on the port’s docks, such as steel, grain, minerals and automobiles.

The 2017 public tour dates are:

• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 22
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11
• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 24
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 24
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 15
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1
• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14

Public tours begin at the port’s administrative building, at 3103 Northwest Lower River Road in Vancouver. At the outset, staff will provide a brief presentation about the port’s 105-year history, current projects, cargoes and global trade.

Then, participants will take a bus ride around the port for an interactive tour of bustling marine terminals and expanding industrial centers.

Government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, is required to attend. Cameras are not allowed on marine terminals.

Reservations are required and tours fill up quickly. Those interested can call the port at (360) 693-3611 or email RSVP@portvanusa.com.

More information about the Port of Vancouver USA’s public tours is available at www.portvanusa.com/community/know-your-port.

Trump Appointee Takes Over as Acting Maritime Commission Chair

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 15, Michael Khouri presided over his first meeting as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, taking over from former chair Mario Cordero.

Khouri became the 21st person to lead the FMC in late January when he was appointed Acting Chairman by President Donald J. Trump.

"I am honored to have been designated as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission," Khouri said. "I want to assure all the Commission’s constituents and stakeholders that I am committed to assuring a competitive marketplace for ocean transportation services and the emphasis of the agency will remain to faithfully administer the shipping laws of the United States.”

Khouri, who was appointed to the Commission in 2010, is a Kentucky native who has a more than four-decade career in the maritime industry that began as a deckhand on towboats moving barges up and down the Mississippi River. He ultimately earned his US Merchant Marine Officer’s License as Master and First Class Pilot, allowing him to serve as a vessel captain. Khouri came ashore to earn a Juris Doctorate from the Brandeis School of Law – University of Louisville, following which, he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and business executive in the transportation sector.

Cordero chaired the FMC from 2013 until earlier this year. He is expected to remain on the Commission until his term expires in June 2019.

"It was a pleasure to serve as Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and I am proud of our accomplishments over the last four years. I know that its good work will continue with Acting Chairman Khouri,” said Cordero, a former Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission president. “I look forward to working with him to serve the needs of the American shipping public and furthering the mission objectives of the Commission."

Seaport Alliance Sees Monthly Cargo Volumes Increases

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance kicked off the first month of 2017 with a 17 percent growth in container cargo for January, according to newly released data.

The Seaport Alliance, which is a maritime operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, said full import and export volumes were both especially strong last month compared with the same month the year before.

At 128,892 TEUs, full imports grew almost 19 percent compared to January 2016, according to data.

Contributing factors to the increase, according to the Seaport Alliance, were fuller ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year on Jan. 28, as well as retail stores restocking their inventory following a strong holiday retail season.

Traditionally, the factories in China ramp up production leading up to the Lunar New Year before they shut down for up to two weeks for the holiday. As a result, ocean carriers reduce the number of sailings to accommodate for the slowdown.

Full exports also recorded a strong month with 76,339 TEUs, a 17 percent increase. The total international TEU volumes grew nearly 18 percent in January.

But one month’s gain could mean another month’s loss.

“With China making up about 60 percent of our import volumes, we may see lower cargo volumes in February because fewer ships will reach our gateway,” the Alliance predicted in a statement.

Regarding domestic volumes – those between the Pacific Northwest ports and Alaska and Hawaii – in January were better than in January 2016, with Alaska volumes up more than 19 percent as a result of three additional sailings in January. Alaska volumes are expected to decline five to six percent this year due to soft market conditions.

Regarding other cargo, breakbulk was up 8.4 percent to 14,502 metric tons due to several military shipments through the South Harbor, Seaport Alliance data show, while auto units were up 4.3 percent to 12,613 units due to the release of a new model, as well as a resolution to labor/management issues in South Korea.

January 2017 container and cargo volumes for January 2017 can be found at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance_full_mty_by_month_jan2017.pdf and https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance-5-year_history_jan_17.pdf, respectively.

Foss’ Third Arctic Class Ocean Tug Nearly Complete

By Mark Edward Nero

Foss Maritime has released two time-lapse videos of the construction of the third of three state-of-the-art 132-foot Arctic Class tugs being built at the Rainier, Oregon shipyard.

The tug, to be named Nicole Foss, is ice class D0, meaning the hulls are designed specifically for polar waters and are reinforced to maneuver in ice. Like her sister Arctic Class tugs, it complies with the requirements in the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Vessels Intended to Operate in Polar Waters, including ABS A1 standards, SOLAS and Green Passport.

The short videos show construction from April of 2016 to January 2017. The first of two videos shows the hull assembly, construction, flip and installation of the bow and stern modules, the installation of one of two Caterpillar C280-8 main engines, the superstructure install and wheelhouse construction.

A second video shows construction through the transportation of the hull to Vancouver, Washington to have a Markey Machinery tow winch installed, before returning to Rainier for wheelhouse installation.

The videos are available on the Foss YouTube channel, or on the Foss website, with continuing updates and photography available via inquiry, or on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The tug is expected to enter service later this year.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Vancouver USA Names 1st-Ever Female CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 14, the Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to officially install interim CEO/Executive Director Julianna Marler into the job permanently, making her the first female CEO in the port’s 105-year history and one of just a handful of female port CEOs in the country.

Her employment agreement includes a $202,801 annual salary, plus $500 monthly car allowance and deferred compensation totaling 15 percent of her salary for a term of four years.

Marler was appointed interim CEO by the port’s commission after the departure of Todd Coleman in May 2016. She led the port in dual roles as CEO and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer before being selected through a rigorous recruiting process that included an international search and interviews with port staff, community stakeholders and commissioners.

“I’m excited about where the port is going and honored to lead this great team,” Marler said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our commissioners to ensure the port continues to be an economic engine and a good partner in building a strong and vibrant community.”

Marler’s credentials include a diverse background in logistics, sales, procurement and contracts, and leadership in finance and administration.

In her role as the port’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Marler was responsible for managing and progressing the port’s business practices, as well as overseeing strategic programming to help the port move forward with its mission and vision.

The port said her priorities as CEO would include completing the $275 million West Vancouver Freight Access project in early 2018; finishing the 125,000-square-foot Centennial Industrial Building this summer and leasing space to new or growing employers; and continuing to move Terminal 1 forward to realize the port’s vision for its historic waterfront property.

Samson Tug Runs Aground in Alaska

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard says that the tug boat Samson Mariner, owned by the Samson Tug and Barge Company of Sitka, Alaska, ran aground on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 15 while towing a barge near north Tongass Narrows in Rosa Reef, Alaska.

A Coast Guard response boat crew and pollution team responded to the incident after Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watch standers received notification via VHF-FM radio from the captain aboard the Samson Mariner that his vessel ran aground and had a minor breach in the hull.

Coast Guard responders arriving on scene placed boom around the tug and verified that crew of the Samson Mariner plugged the breached hull.

The 91-foot Samson Mariner, which was built in 1970, had 30,000 gallons of fuel on board at the time, while the barge had 40,000 gallons of diesel on board.

Three Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization tugs took the barge to Ward Cove where it’s now anchored and being assessed for damage, according to the USCG.

The Coast Guard says no injuries or damage to the barge have been reported.

POLA Has Busiest January in Its History

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles handled more than 826,600 TEUs last month, an increase of 17.4 percent compared to January 2016, according to data released Feb. 14.

The total volume made the month the busiest January in the port’s 110-year history, outpacing last January, which was the previous record for the first month of the year.

It was also the second-best month overall for the port, eclipsed only by last November’s 877,564 TEUs.

“Coming off our best year ever in 2016, it’s very encouraging to keep the momentum going into 2017,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

The port attributes the January surge in part to retail stores replenishing inventories after the holidays, a trend of increased US exports and cargo ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year, when goods from Asia slow down considerably. Over the most recent 10-year period, January volumes at the Port of Los Angeles have averaged 645,142 TEUs.

Import volumes in January increased 13.1 percent to 415,423 TEUs compared to the same month last year, while exports surged 28.7 percent to 162,420 TEUs in January. Total loaded imports of 577,843 TEUs increased 17.1 percent compared to the previous year. Empty containers jumped 17.9 percent to 248,797 TEUs. Combined, January overall volumes were 826,640 TEUs, a 17.4 percent jump over January 2016’s numbers.

Current and historical POLA volume data is available at https://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp