Thursday, July 29, 2010

WSDOT Begin Demolition at Seattle’s Pier 48

Contractors with the Washington State Department of Transportation on Wednesday began demolishing a 120,000-square-foot warehouse at Pier 48 near the Port of Seattle.

The $460,000 demolition project is expected to take about four months and WSDOT plans to use the 6.5 acre site to stage equipment and materials during construction work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.

WSDOT reports that the warehouse is located on about 4 acres of pier that sit atop severely damaged wood pilings. The warehouse itself has also been described as unsafe and requiring prohibitive maintenance and repair costs. WSDOT purchased the site from the Port of Seattle in 2008 in anticipation of the viaduct replacement project now wending its way through political and legal channels. The site abuts the Port of Seattle's Pier 46 container terminal on the north which will not be affected by viaduct replacement work, according to WSDOT and other familiar with the project.

The WSDOT demolition plans call for contractor R.W. Rhine, Inc. of Tacoma to recycle roughly 50 percent of the warehouse material, including metal siding, roofing material and wood.

The WSDOT contractor working on the southern mile of the Viaduct project between South Holgate Street and South King Street will be the first to utilize the site, staging equipment and materials on the 2.5 acre upland area that does not sit on pilings.

Los Angeles Port Commission to be Short-Handed for Near Future

At least for the time being, the Port of Los Angeles will be functioning with four port commissioners instead of five after Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission Vice President Jerilyn López Mendoza officially stepped down from her post on Wednesday.
López Mendoza, who has served on the port governing board since being appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005, announced her plans to step down in late June.

While her official six-year term ran through 2011, López Mendoza said she left early to take a position as the California Regional Manager for ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. She is also currently the interim director at the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

During her tenure on the port commission, López Mendoza has been a key voice in the development of port environmental policies such as the Clean Air Action Plan and the Clean Trucks Program.

Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said Wednesday that López Mendoza "has had an enormous impact at the Port of Los Angeles."

Prior to joining the port commission, López Mendoza was the policy director of the Environmental Justice Project Office of Environmental Defense Fund in Los Angeles for nine years. Previously, she was the chair of the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles International Airport Coalition for Economic, Environmental and Educational Justice.

Port and city officials have not publicly detailed any immediate plans to fill the vacant commission seat. Commission appointments can take up to several months while City Hall vets candidates and the Los Angeles City Council completes the appointment process.

Five Years Later, Los Angeles Port Restarts Main Channel Dredging Project

After a five-year hiatus, the Port of Los Angeles last week announced that work has resumed on the final phase of a main channel dredging project to allow larger vessels to call at the port.

Set for completion in 2013--just prior to the 2014 opening of an expanded Panama Canal that is expected to offer increased competition to West Coast ports--the dredging project is also tied to the ongoing $350 million expansion of the port's China Shipping and TraPac terminals. Other terminals at the port, including Evergreen, Yang Ming, and Yusen/NYK, will also benefit from the deepened main channel.

“The Main Channel Deepening Project is a lifeline to maintaining our competitive edge during the critical years ahead as we face increased competition on a number of fronts,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz.

The $370 million dredging project began more than a decade ago but was halted in 2005 as port officials searched for and analyzed adequate disposal sites for sediment to be dredged up during the project.

Port officials ultimately identified a disposal location at two unused slips along the main channel that were formerly home to a ship repair facility.

Long Beach-based shipyard operator Gambol Industries has been trying to convince the port for over a year that the shuttered facility would be better utilized as a new ship repair facility. The governing board of the port is set to take up the issue again on Aug. 19.

Shipyard Project Decision Postponed by Los Angeles Port

After more than four hours of debate on Wednesday, the governing board for the Port of Los Angeles decided to delay a decision on whether to extend an exclusive negotiating agreement with a firm seeking to build a $50 million shipyard at the port.

The port commission will take up the issue again on Aug. 19.

Officials from Long Beach-based shipyard operator Gambol Industries have spent more than a year trying to convince port officials that a shipyard utilizing a shuttered ship repair facility at the port would be viable. The port wants to fill in areas around the shuttered facility with sediments from an impending $96 million Army Corps of Engineers project to dredge the port's main channel.

After an appeal to Los Angeles City Hall by Gambol last year, the port commission and the Los Angeles City Council approved the dredging project with a provision that required the port to inspect Gambol's business plan before moving forward with the sediment dumping at the shuttered facility. The port eventually signed a negotiating agreement with Gambol, but the agreement is set to expire.

For its part, Gambol claims to have come up with a way to provide enough of the shuttered facility for the dredging sediment while still retaining enough waterfront area to operate as a shipyard. The port on the other hand is concerned that any delay in the dredging project, either due to negotiations or a change in the plans, could hamper the development of the China Shipping and TraPac terminals now under way.

Senate Bill Seeks to Kill 2012 100% Container-Scan Deadline

A Senate bill introduced Tuesday seeks to eliminate a 2012 deadline for 100 percent scanning of all United States-bound oceanborne cargo containers.

The bill, named the SAFE Port Reauthorization Act of 2010, seeks to replace the 100 percent scanning requirement enacted in 2007 with a "more reasonable" risk assessment method until container scanning technology is more developed.

The bill would require that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designate such a risk assessment method as effective.

DHS now utilizes a threat matrix risk assessment method to evaluate containers arriving at most U.S. ports.

The 2007 law which set the 2012 deadline called for all U.S.-bound cargo containers to be x-rayed and scanned for radioactive contents.

Some ports, such as those in Long Beach and Los Angeles, do scan all containers leaving marine facilities with radiation portal monitors but x-ray scanning technology has yet to develop to the point that it can keep up with the volume of containers moving through a modern port.

The 100 percent scanning requirement has been blasted by many facets of the shipping industry as both too costly and technically infeasible with current technology.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

San Diego Port Approves Mitigation Fund, Hires New Ops Director

Commissioners for the Port of San Diego have formally approved the creation of a fund to help mitigate truck traffic and other community disruptions caused by port operations at the port's Tenth Avenue and National City marine terminals.

The coffers of the Marine Terminal Impact Improvement Fund will be filled with the collection of one half of 1 percent of the two terminals' gross revenues. Port officials will add the estimated $113,000 a year in terminal revenues to a one-time $500,000 contribution to the fund from the port's capital development budget.

The fund is expected to be used for the construction of infrastructure projects to help mitigate port-generated truck traffic on residential streets around the two terminals and other community projects.

In other Port of San Diego news, port officials have named Joel Valenzuela as the port's new director of maritime operations.

In his new role, Valenzuela – who has been serving as the departmental manager of maritime industry and trade relations at the port – will direct the operations, maintenance and development of the port's maritime facilities and infrastructure, including the port's cargo and cruise terminals, public piers, wharves and docks.

In addition, he will also be responsible for ensuring maritime facilities' compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations, administering the port Tariff, as well as enforcing maritime lease agreements and contracts.

"His experience with terminal management and international trade will help us rebuild our cargo numbers and increase revenue. Not only that, Joel has extensive employee and customer relations experience, which will enable him to effectively lead the Maritime Operations Department," said president and CEO of the port Charles Wurster.

In addition to managing San Diego's main cruise terminal, and various real estate investments along the San Diego waterfront, the Port of San Diego operates the Tenth Street and National City marine terminals.

The Tenth Street terminal is a 96 acres multi-purpose eight-berth facility that handles refrigerated commodities, fertilizer, cement, breakbulk commodities, and forest products. The terminal features a 300,000-square-foot cold storage facility warehousing for storing and handling fresh produce and other perishables.

The National City Marine Terminal is a 125-acre, seven-berth facility operated by Pasha services, which processes over 500,000 vehicles a year. The National City Marine Terminal serves as one of the the primary United States port's of entry for car manufacturers Honda, Acura, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi Fuso, and Hino Motors.

Oakland, Los Angeles Ports Receive $10M In Fed Grants for Ship-to-Shore Power

Two of California's major container ports have received just under $10 million in environmental grants from the federal government to further develop ship-to-shore power systems.

The Port of Los Angeles was awarded $1.2 million from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to install portable dock-based power systems to provide maintenance power to vessels at berth.

The port, which has been using a different ship-to-shore system for several years at several terminals, will use the $3.6 million liquefied natural gas generator system to provide temporary shore-based electrical power to five American President Lines vessels while the port continues development of a permanent ship-to-shore installation at the APL terminal.

Studies have found that nearly half of the diesel emissions generated during a vessel call are generated by the running of a vessel's auxiliary engines to provide maintenance power while at berth.

Providing electrical power from land-based power systems, including dockside alternative fuel generators and direct connections to the landside power grid, are claimed to significantly reduce overall diesel emissions in port areas.

The port plans to complete the full ship-to-shore installation at the APL terminal within 18 months and then expand it to other terminals. The neighboring Port of Long Beach also has a major ship-to-shore electrification program under development.

Officials from the US Maritime Administration, or MARAD, also announced the approval of an $8.5 million grant to the Port of Oakland for completion of design work for a ship-to-shore power project at the port. Contractor Moffatt & Nichol had been designing the port's ship-to-shore infrastructure, but work was halted late last year after the port failed to receive several federal grants to help pay for the project. The port will use $7.85 million of the new MARAD grant and funds remaining from the 2009 contract to continue the design work on the ship-to-shore system.

In other grant news, the Port of Los Angeles also received just over $730,000 from the US EPA to purchase and evaluate a hybrid-powered rubber-tired gantry crane. Instead of being powered by a conventional diesel-engine power system, the EcoCrane RTG is powered by a drastically smaller and cleaner-burning diesel engine that charges on-board batteries. The batteries in turn power an electric motor system to provide lift and drive power for the crane. The hybrid RTG, manufactured by EcoPower Hybrid Systems, is on the EPA's emerging technologies list and is claimed to produce 85 percent less diesel particulate matter and 70 percent less greenhouse gases than a conventionally-powered RTG.

If the hybrid RTG performs successfully during the planned 12-month evaluation, port officials plans to make the cranes a mandatory requirement under new terminal leases.

Los Angeles, Maryland Ports Take Multiple Top Honors In 2010 AAPA Awards

The American Association of Port of Authorities has announced the 2010 winners of the trade group's annual awards for communications, information technology, engineering and environmental achievement.

The Port of Los Angeles is the 2010 winner of the Dan Maynard Communications Award for Overall Excellence. It is the third time in six years the port has taken home the AAPA's top award for overall achievement in such communications areas as advertising, annual report design, and other publications and public outreach efforts. In total, Los Angeles racked up seven individual communications awards during the 2010 awards period including top honors in the best single advertising, audio program, web-based media and miscellaneous categories.

The Port of Los Angeles was also named a co-winner of the 2010 AAPA Information Technology Awards for the port's $1.9 million Enterprise Geographic Information System Project, which integrated legacy and modern GIS systems at the port. This marks the first time Los Angeles has taken top honors in the IT division of the AAPA awards.

Named as co-winner of the 2010 IT award was last year's sole winner of the honor, the Port of Miami. The port was recognized this year for its Radar/AIS (Automatic Identification System) Waterside Surveillance System. The system provides an automated, real-time, situational awareness solution to assist seaport security officers in detecting, identifying, tracking and graphically displaying all stationary and moving targets in the waterways surrounding the port. This year's award marks the third time the Miami has taken top IT honors since the AAPA began offering IT awards in 2002.

The Port of Long Beach and the Maryland Port Administration took home top engineering honors as the co-winners of the AAPA's 8th annual Facilities Engineering Award.

Long Beach was honored for its $73-million environmental cleanup of a 123-acre port-area brownfield polluted by decades of dumping and oil production waste products. The site is destined for development as a container terminal. It is the second time Long Beach has taken top honors for engineering since the AAPA began offering the awards in 2003.

Maryland port engineers were honored the port's $123 million Masonville Dredged Material Containment Facility project – a 141-acre area within Baltimore Harbor constructed to confine an estimated 15.4 million cubic yards of material from new navigation deepening and maintenance dredging through 2030. This marks the MPA's first AAPA award for top engineering excellence.

The Maryland Port Administration also took home top environmental honors along with the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

The MPA was awarded the AAPA's 2010 Environmental Mitigation Award for its mitigation program that provides replacements for habitat lost resulting from development of the aforementioned Masonville Dredged Material Containment Facility. It is the MPA's third top award for environmental excellence from the AAPA since 1973.

The Port of Tacoma was named as the winner of this year's Environmental Enhancement Award for the Port of Tacoma Demolition Program. The program resulted in the port and its tenants recovering or recycling 7,071 tons of material from 57 structures being removed from the Blair-Hylebos Peninsula and surrounding Tacoma Tideflats area during marine terminal, road and rail development. The Tacoma port has received four top AAPA awards, including this year's, for environmental efforts since 1973.

The Port of Seattle was named by the AAPA as the winner of the 2010 Comprehensive Environmental Management Award for its Environmental Compliance Assessment Program. Seattle port officials implemented the program in 2009 to evaluate and assist with tenant environmental compliance to better meet high public expectations and stringent compliance regulations for environmental quality. The Port of Seattle has garnered eight top environmental awards from the AAPA since 1973.

The AAPA awards will be formally presented at a Sept. 22 luncheon during the AAPA's 99th Annual Convention to be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23.

The AAPA is a trade group representing the port authorities of 160 of the leading seaports in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

(Disclosure: PMM's Keith Higginbotham was part of the Port of Long Beach communications team that won several AAPA awards between 2002 and 2007, including the Dan Maynard Communications Award for Overall Excellence in 2004.)

Long Beach Officials Seek More Than 25% Increase in Port Profits Transferred to City Hall

A proposed Long Beach City Council amendment to the City Charter could result in millions more in Port of Long Beach profits siphoned away to city coffers each year.

The nine-member city council voted 8-1 Tuesday to advance a charter amendment that would provide for the port – which is operated by the city's semi-autonomous Harbor Department – to turn over 5 percent of the port's annual gross revenues to the city.

The charter currently provides for the transfer of 10 percent of the port's net income to the city.

The city council move comes after the port's governing commission rejected a recommendation from the City Auditor to accelerate the port's 10 percent transfer schedule – a change that would have seen the port pay an addition one-time $10 million payment to the city this year. Port commissioners voted earlier this week to move the payment schedule forward by three months, but this fell short of the six-month acceleration City Hall was seeking.

If approved by city voters, the charter change would result in several million dollars more in port funds going to the city each year. This year the port is set to transfer $12.4 million to the city.

Based on the port's latest audited financial numbers, the port had gross revenues of $311.4 million in FY2008-2009 and net income of $124 million. Under the city council's proposed charter amendment, 5 percent of the port's gross revenues for FY2008-2009 would have come to $15.6 million, instead of the $12.4 million based on 10 percent of net income – a $3.2 million, or nearly 26 percent, increase.

While the city charter does not require the port to turn over the funds – it merely provides that the city can request the transfer – the city has made the request each year since the 1990s. The port can refuse to make the annual payment, but only if such a payout would interfere with port operations. Port officials have never refused to honor a City Hall request for the transfer. Since 1995 the port has transferred more than $146 million in port profits to the city.

The city council also advanced a separate charter amendment that would reassert city hall authority over oil wells on port property.

Like all ports in California, the Port of Long Beach is owned by the state but operated in trust by a local authority – in this case the City of Long Beach – for the benefit of all the citizens of the state.

Deck Machinery: A Systematic Approach to Selecting Towlines

By Merry Schnell

Getting as much value out of every purchase you make is critical in today’s economy. Rarely does a one-size-fits-all proposition bring the greatest value. Take your high-performance synthetic towlines for example. You want to get the most out of them so it is important to consider each component and situation the line encounters. This includes the line’s specific application, and the condition of the decks and hardware encountered, in addition to what type of mainline, backer line, pendant, chafe protection, and hardware is best suited to your needs. Each component works to compliment the other, creating a towing system. This approach allows you to extend the line’s service life, save time and money, and create a safer environment, among many other benefits.

Abrasion and Twist
Abrasion is a major culprit for the towline. Vessels and equipment that have traditionally used wire rope have often sustained significant damage caused by fishhooks, broken strands, etc., that come in contact with the deck and other equipment. These conditions can damage or significantly reduce the life expectancy of HMPE ropes. However, an owner/operator can take preventative measures to reduce the impact of these issues. All contact points such as fairleads, the inside of winch plates, and surfaces with grooving and rust should be repaired to a smooth and consistent surface.

The addition of chafe protection placed on the areas of surface contact is critical for the ropes longevity. These are sleeves that slide for adjustability or they are fixed by splicing into the line, depending on the construction of the rope.

Twist is often overlooked as a contributing factor in the reduced life an HMPE line. As little twist as four turns per meter can reduce the rope’s strength by as much as 20 percent. The importance of preventing twist in the towline cannot be stressed enough, and prevention is as simple as adding a swivel and strap to the towing system.

Configuring the Towing System
A towing system can be configured in a number of ways. Some operators like a single mainline from tug to vessel. Others will add a pendant to the mainline, while others will add a backer line to the combination.

Pendants connect the mainline to the vessel. They are particularly useful in preserving the mainline because most of the abrasion a towline is exposed to will exist on the vessel under tow and they can be easily replaced once abrasion has ended the pendant’s useful life.

A backer line is attached to the winch and can be used when the flange is narrower than what is required by the synthetic mainline. Backer lines are sometimes used as a sacrificial line so that if a line parts, it is the backer, and the mainline stays intact. Backer lines can also be used to increase grip on the winch if the mainline is too slippery.
Jacketed Lines vs. Nonjacketed Lines

Jacketed lines are commonly used as mainlines worldwide. Jacketed lines are perceived as having a longer service life because of the jacket and core construction. However, some operators find that the jacket ruptures or wears faster than the core, resulting in the need to replace the entire line due to the integrated construction of both units.

For ship-assist applications, a 12-strand line made of a 100 percent HMPE fiber such as Dyneema® protected with 100 percent Dyneema® chafe gear provides both safety and a long service life. Twelve-strand lines protected with chafe gear are stronger than jacketed lines size for size and they are easy to inspect and repair. If damage occurs, only the chafe protection has to be replaced, saving time and significant investment, and they are lighter in weight that jacketed lines. This configuration provides the ultimate in cut and abrasion resistance. The rope maintains its strength and results in long-term value.

Line Installation
After the towing system has been selected and surfaces prepped, the working line must be installed on the winch with significant back tension. The device used to create the tension should have a smooth and consistent surface, and the installation speed or tension applied should not generate excessive heat build-up on the rope.

As the line is wound onto the winch, it should be closely packed to reduce rope “diving” or burying into the layers on the winch. Each layer should be installed in the valleys of the previous layer, which supports each subsequent layer. Never stack the layers on top of each other.

Another method of loading the winch is to cross-wind. This method calls for the rope to be wrapped onto the drum in a similar way a fishing line wraps on a reel.

Inspection Schedules and Residual Strength Testing
Towlines are a long-term investment; taking them for granted can be costly and dangerous. Routine line maintenance, along with a stringent line inspection-and-retirement program is enough to mitigate most failure mechanisms and significantly extend service life. The responsibility of how HMPE towlines are handled and maintained on a daily basis is left to ship owners and operators; however, guiding the proper line selection and educating owners/operators on the importance of preparation belongs to the rope manufacturer. It is essential that crewmembers be trained on rope handling and safety procedures, rope inspection, the use of chafe gear, rope repair and splicing techniques. Only a qualified technician approved by the original rope manufacturer should conduct training, and periodic in-field inspections of the line and associated equipment by the towline manufacturer are encouraged.

Merry Schnell is the marketing communications specialist for Samson and has extensive experience in technical writing and editing in the sciences and engineering.