Thursday, June 3, 2010

Former State Bar Pilot Chief to be Fined for Accepting Gifts From Pilots

Patrick Moloney, former Executive Director of the state Pilot Commission for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun faces a $4,000 fine from the state Fair Political Practices Commission for receiving gifts from the San Francisco Bar Pilots – a group representing the pilots the commission oversees – in excess of the allowed gift limits.

According to the FPPC, Maloney "was provided, and frequently made use of, free, secure, waterfront parking gifted to him by the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association" at the pilot association's Pier 9 offices in San Francisco throughout 2006 and 2007. The FPPC valued what they determined were two gifts, each representing a violation of state law: one for a year's parking valued at approximately $2,292, and the second for a year's parking valued at approximately $2,976. The amounts of the two gifts were determined by the FPPC and based on the fair market value of parking in the waterfront area of the pilots' offices.

As Executive Director of the state pilot commission, Moloney was prohibited under state law from accepting any gift or gifts from a single source with a fair market value of more than $360 in 2006 and $390 in 2007.

The matter came to light during an audit conducted of the state pilot commission by the state Auditor General.

Moloney, who left the state pilot commission in October 2009, admits to accepting the gifts.

While citing Moloney's lack of any previous violation as a mitigating factor in reaching a penalty amount, the FPPC also found, "The potential for a conflict of interest appears to be high since the likelihood of [Moloney] influencing a decision regarding San Francisco Bar Pilots was high."

The Fair Political Practices Commission will meet on June 10 to approve the action, which calls for fining Moloney $4,000 for the two violations. Moloney could have faced a $5,000 maximum fine for each violation, for a total maximum penalty of $10,000.

USDA: Ag Exports to End Fiscal Year at Near Record Levels

The nation's farmers, ranchers and producers are expected to report $104.5 billion in sales during fiscal 2010, according to the most recent forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture (

This would be an $8 billion increase in sales over the last fiscal year, and the second highest level in US history.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the US Agricultural Trade Outlook Forecast for fiscal year 2010 – which ends Sept. 30 – "is good news for communities across the country, not only because of the increasing opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers to sell their products overseas, but also because of the importance of agricultural exports to the American economy. With each $1 billion in exports supporting 8,000 to 9,000 jobs at home, efforts to increase trade are an important part of the Administration's effort to strengthen our economy here at home."

Vilsack also said that in an effort to meet the goals of President Obama's National Export Initiative to double exports in the next five years, "The USDA has been working aggressively to improve opportunities for US agricultural exports – including new offices abroad and a more constructive, effective dialogue on trade issues with growing market economies – helping to increase the trade surplus in agriculture, now forecast to reach $28 billion."

The outlook report also forecast that the agriculture trade surplus would reach $28 billion during fiscal 2010, the second highest ever achieved.

US agriculture exports to China, the top US ag trading partner, grew nearly $3 billion in the first half of the fiscal year to $10.6 billion, according to the report.

Horizon Lines Names New Board Members, CEO Raymond Re-elected as Chair

Shareholders of Jones Act ocean carrier Horizon Lines, Inc. on Wednesday elected three Class II directors and ratified the appointment of Horizon Lines' public accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

The vote came during the Charlotte, SC-based firm's annual meeting on Wednesday, which also saw the Board of Directors re-elect Horizon CEO Charles Raymond as board chairman.

Raymond, who was first appointed as board chairman in 2006, has served as President and CEO and as a director of Horizon Lines, Inc. and Horizon Lines Holding Corp. since July 2004 and of H-Lines Finance Holding Corp. since December 2004. He has also served as President and CEO of Horizon Lines, LLC since January 2000 and as a director of Horizon Lines, LLC since November 1999.

During the meeting shareholders re-elected Class II directors Vern Clark and William Flynn, and elected Stephen Fraser as a new Class II director to succeed Dan Colussy, who retired from the board after five years of service.

Clark is a retired United States Navy Admiral who joined the board in 2005. Flynn, who joined the Horizon board in 2006, is CEO and President of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.
Fraser most recently served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy, at GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, where he also served as CEO of GENCO’s three reverse logistics business units.

Talk of Delay in US Military Transfer to Guam Grows

Just days after Japanese media reported that US and Japanese government officials were considering delaying the move of US troops from Okinawa to Guam, the head of Guam's power and water utilities said Tuesday that plan is just "too big, too fast," and a delay in the plan's timetable is "inevitable."

Simon Sanchez, chairman of the Guam Consolidated Commission on Utilities – which oversees the island's water and power utilities – told that a lack of money and time has made a delay in the military transfer a "recognition of reality."

The four-year plan originally called for the relocation of about 8,000 Marines, their dependents and facilities to start this year and run through 2014.

"Anyone that understands anything about this process understands there is no way to do this all in four years, even if you had all the money tomorrow. Delaying, in my opinion, is welcome and not surprising," Sanchez said.

Sanchez' comments come in response to anonymously sourced Japanese media report that claimed sources "close to Japanese-US ties" said that the two countries were considering a three to five year delay in the Okinawa-to-Guam transfer.

While US officials did not confirm the Japanese media report, which was also picked up by the Associated Press, Guam's Acting Governor Mike Cruz agreed that a delay would give the island more time to prepare for the military buildup.

Officials from the Port Authority of Guam said they would continue to operate under the original transfer plan timeline.

"The Port Authority of Guam continues to move forward with our plans to modernize our island's only commercial seaport in order to meet the needs of our island's organic growth and the planned military buildup," Vivian C. Leon, acting general manager of the port authority told

The port authority is still trying to get $50 million in federal government financing to begin upgrades on the port – a plan that will cost more than $200 million.

Utility boss Sanchez said that upgrades to the island's utility infrastructure to handle the transfer could cost upward of $1.75 billion, with no viable sources of financing currently identified.

"It has become increasingly apparent to everyone that the original plan for Guam, to have the entire move done in 2014, is very tall order and probably unrealistic," Sanchez told "But you can't have conversations about delaying the move until you confirm you are going to make the move."

On Friday, representatives of the Japanese and US governments jointly confirmed that the plan to move the US military off of Okinawa – originally proposed in 2006 – would definitely move forward, though no timeframe was offered.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tacoma Port Names Five Finalists for Top Exec Position

The Port of Tacoma's goal of naming a new executive director by the end of June has taken a sizable step forward with the announcement of the short list of five finalists for the $200,000 to $240,000 a year job.

The port commission on Thursday announced the list, which includes interim port director John Wolfe who has been handling day-to-day operations of the port since the start of the year. Outgoing executive director Tim Farrell's resignation took effect Monday.

Earlier this year, 59 applications were received for the position and the commission had already narrowed the field down to a list of twelve semi-finalists. Port officials plan to hold an event allowing the public to meet the five finalists before a decision is reached.

The finalists are:

Brian Boyle, with a background in terminal operations management, is vice-president of operational excellence and engineering with terminal operator Ports America in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bernard Groseclose, whom the search firm gave high marks to for management abilities, most recently served a 12-year stint as executive director of South Carolina Ports Authority – a position he abruptly resigned in January 2009.

Ned LaGoy, with an executive background in several Jones Act shipping lines, is vice-president and general manager of Sea Star Shipping in Puerto Rico. LaGoy also served as an executive with Jones Act carrier Horizon Lines. 

Ali Nikkhoo is a 24-year veteran of Sea-Land Service and its successor Maersk Line. He also has a background in trucking, forming a Long Beach, Calif. trucking firm in 2001 which he operated until recently selling the firm.

Interim Port of Tacoma executive director John Wolfe previously served as the port's deputy director. Prior to this he served for a decade with Sea-Land in Tacoma before taking the helm at the Port of Olympia as executive director.

SoCal Drayage Industry Group Reorganizes

The Harbor Truckers for a Sustainable Future, a group formed several years ago to rally trucking firms against the Southern California ports trucking reregulation plans, has changed its name to the Harbor Trucking Association and launched a campaign to position itself as the political voice of the drayage industry servicing the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The re-organized group, which adopted formal bylaws last week, has contracted with attorney Alex Cherin of the Cherin Group (also the former Port of Long Beach managing director of trade and transportation) and Shaun Lumachi of the consulting group Chamber Advocacy to build the group's political cache.

HTA President Fred Johring said that group will provide much needed local representation, at all levels of government, for the Southern California drayage industry.

The HTA mission statement declares that the group's purpose "is to advocate, educate and promote strategies with other goods movement stakeholders and policy makers that will sustain emission reductions, provide a dialog for intermodal truck efficiency, and to return cargo and jobs to Southern California ports."

SoCal Ports Pick Up Three New Services

The two Southern California ports, after suffering through 2009, have seen trade numbers increase in the first part of this year. Also increasing are the number of new services being announced.

Asian ocean carriers Evergreen Line and China Shipping Container Lines have teamed up to start a Los Angeles/Oakland to China service to be called the China/South US West Coast Service 2, or CPS2.

The service will utilize five 4,000-TEU vessels on a 35-day rotation that runs Oakland, Los Angeles, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo and Oakland. The maiden call of the service to Oakland is expected to be June 13.

The New World Alliance – composed of members APL, Hyundai, and MOL – are also launching a new weekly transpac service stringing together the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland with Japanese and Chinese ports. To be called the Pacific Southwest 5, the new service will utilize five 4,700-TEU vessels on a rotation that will call at Shanghai, Busan, LA, Oakland, Yokohama, back to Busan, and Shanghai. Los Angeles is expected to see its first vessel of the new service on June 7.

Across the harbor, the Port of Long Beach's California United Terminal is expected to see the arrival of a new Hyundai service from north and south Asia this weekend. The new Pacific Southwest service plans to utilize five 4,000-TEU vessels. The service rotation will be Kaohsiung, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, Busan, Long Beach, Oakland, Busan, and Hong Kong.

Longview Port Set to Get Hawaii Trash

After months of study, federal regulators have approved a plan by a Seattle firm to begin shipping garbage from Honolulu, Hawaii through the Port of Longview to a Central Washington state landfill.

The US Department of Agriculture issued their findings Thursday, saying that the trash – which will be packaged in shrink-wrapped bales and then sealed in containers – does not pose an environmental risk.

Hawaiian Waste Systems LLC can begin shipping the waste as soon as a compliance agreement with the USDA is signed by both parties. The firm hopes to have the first barge-load of containers under way sometime this month.

Under the plan, the containers of trash will arrive at the Port of Longview and then be shipped to Roosevelt Landfill in Central Washington by truck or rail.
The firm originally planned to start shipping the trash last October, by USDA review held up the start of the shipments. Since October, more than 20,000 tons of trash has backed up awaiting shipment. HWS's contract with the City of Honolulu calls for the firm to move 100,000 tons a year.

The one barge a week of trash-laden containers arriving at Long view are expected to add six to eight shifts a month of longshore work to the port.

Fidley Watch - Not Safe for Elliott Bay

June 2010, Chris Philips, Managing Editor

Bill Forslund, at the helm of NSFW, claims he was attacked by the other boats as they rounded the buoy in the Bell Harbor marina during the annual Quick and Dirty Boatbuilding race. Photo by Craig Savey.

A narrow defeat, snatched from the jaws of victory, seems to be the lot in life of the Philips Publishing Group Quick and Dirty Boatbuilding teams.

The Pacific Maritime Magazine’s Quick and Dirty Boatbuilding competition is sponsored by TOTE and Jensen Maritime Consultants, and takes place on the Seattle waterfront at the culmination of the Seattle Maritime Festival.

The first Philips Publishing Group team, in 2001, beat only one competitor – a renowned naval architecture firm whose main method of locomotion let them down in the first heat. Since then, Philips teams have had limited success in beating other teams, except for a few instances, including one memorable year when a boat designed by a team that should know better capsized at the dock.

This year, Philips had a lock on the competition. The 2010 entry, NSFW, single-handedly built and piloted by Fishermen’s News advertising sales manager Bill Forslund, should have won the whole shebang. Those who know Bill know his passion for kayaking (and also understand why we named the boat NSFW). Bill collects kayaks like other people collect… well, other stuff. Bill, who lives on Bainbridge Island, has even been known to kayak to work in Seattle.

The boat, designed by Bill’s engineer father Walt, was built with plywood ribs and pvc pipe stringers, over which was wrapped a white plastic tarp, secured with matching white duct tape.

The prototype performed beautifully in fresh water, and the team had high hopes for even better performance in a saltwater environment.

A last minute paddle design (too heavy, according to Bill) coupled with his advanced age (40-something) and all the showboating he did after the first victorious heat (those who know Bill won’t be surprised about the showboating), cost him the 1st place trophy, which was awarded, deservedly, to Bellevue College’s team and their more conventional design, Fail Boat.

Bellevue College won the Marty Johnson Memorial Fastest Boat Trophy, while Philips Publishing took second place, but won the coveted Dirtiest Boat trophy. Eastlake High School’s team won the Finish Line Flag Award, while Mercer Island High School won the student team award.

In the U.S. Oil Tugboat Race Championship, the Class C trophy went to the Sterling (7.34), with the Island Champion (6.18) winning the Class B trophy. The Class A award went home with Crowley’s Hunter (5.39). Foss Maritime didn’t compete this year, citing safety issues, but it should be noted that there were enough Canadian and US Coast Guard vessels and helicopters present to comfortably outfit a small island nation, so those tugs that did compete weren’t in too much danger.

Chris Philips, Managing Editor