Friday, April 15, 2011

Long Beach Security Chief Perrone to Retire

Just days after Port of Long Beach executive director Richard Steinke announced he would retire later this year, the port is now set to lose another top executive.

Cosmo Perrone, the port's director of security, has announced his intention to leave the port within the next several months, according to port sources. Perrone had reportedly been considering the move for some time.

Perrone, a more than 30-year veteran of the industrial security field, joined the port in 2005 and led the transformation of the port's Security Division and Harbor Patrol into a modern and high-tech security force.

As the head of port security, Perrone oversees more than 80 security personnel, including Harbor Patrol officers. He is also responsible for directing the 24-hour patrols, anti-terrorism programs and security coverage for the 3,000-acre port complex.

A former Boeing and McDonnell Douglas security and fire director, Perrone was recently recognized as one of the “Top 25 Most influential People in the Security Industry” and called a “Port Authority Visionary” by the trade publication Security Magazine.

Perrone’s innovations during his major revamp and modernize of security at the port included the implementation of a multi-million dollar port-wide network of hundreds of surveillance cameras, radar and sonar sensors to enhance “domain awareness” below water, at water level and on land.

In addition, Perrone oversaw the creation of the port dive team and the design, development and construction of the port's $21 million state-of-the-art security headquarters that opened in February 2009.

Prior to joining the port, Perrone was the executive director of the Long Beach-based Cosmo Perrone and Associates, a security, fire and investigations consulting firm established in 2003.

Before this he served for 23 years in Long Beach with McDonnell Douglas and Douglas takeover owner Boeing. His tenure with the firm included 19 years as director of security and fire services; responsibility for the development and administration of strategic policy for the company’s global security and fire protection functions; and, service as Boeing’s Southern California executive coordinator for all Homeland Security issues.

Perrone serves on the California Maritime Security Council, and he has been recently appointed to serve on the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee. He has been a member of the Public Safety Advisory Commission for the City of Long Beach and the Overseas Security Advisory Council for the U.S. State Department. His other memberships have included the Aerospace Industries Association, the American Society of Industrial Security and the National Academies: Science and Technology for the Yucca Mountain Physical Security Committee.

Applied Accident Prevention

By Louis Lemos

The Significance of Accident Prevention
In the course of our daily work routine, we are all required to observe and apply the basic principles of accident prevention. Very few of us however, realize just what accident prevention really means. The term “Accident Prevention” may be interpreted differently, according to our respective interests and attitudes. At the administrative level, it implies higher productivity through healthier employees and reduced absenteeism. Supervisors and department heads view it as a prerequisite to greater efficiency, less down time and fewer problems to contend with. To the average employee, whether or not he or she is aware of it, accident prevention means a much safer environment in which to earn his paycheck. From a philosophic viewpoint, as it applies specifically to the maritime industry, effective accident prevention may be regarded as a contributory factor in assuring a successful mission or task, and a safeguard against the inevitable penalties of failure. Regardless of how efficient we may be in our respective occupations, the more personal injuries and physical damage we can prevent, both on and off the job, the better we can “Support the Maritime Industry”, which is after all, our primary professional purpose.

Causes and Effects
What then, can we do to prevent accidents? First let us stop to consider the motivating factors we are confronted with: Most industrial safety engineers throughout the world are unanimous in their findings that the majority of work-related accidents are attributable to any one, or a combination of three, principal causes, namely:

• An Unsafe Act or Omission

• An Unsafe Condition

• Unsafe Attitude

The unsafe act or omission may be due to carelessness, ignorance, panic, forgetfulness, neglect, or improper supervision.

The unsafe condition may arise from inadequate maintenance of property or equipment, poor housekeeping in the workplace, or failure to apply basic rules and common sense.

The unsafe attitude is invariably due to a lack of safety consciousness, and this is undoubtedly the more of the three motivating factors mentioned above.

The sad truth is that indifference to safety constitutes a hazard in itself, not only to the apathetic party involved, but unfortunately, to other unsuspecting co-workers who may become innocent victims as a result of someone else's apathy. Quite frequently, when people are alerted to a potentially hazardous condition within their vicinity, we hear the indignant response “That's not my job.” Likewise, there are many among us who are so concerned with the importance of their own immediate tasks and activities, that the possibility of accident happening never even enters their mind. This lack of awareness is not limited to the so-called “front-line” workers but also applies to those who are so far removed from ‘where the action is’ that the only time they think about safety is after the occurrence of an accident. It is therefore logical to assume that if the three main accident producing causes can be corrected, or at least reduced to a minimum, there should be a corresponding reduction in the overall accident potential, at least for a period of time. Accident prevention however, should not be thought of in terms of a one-shot affair, comprising officious rhetoric or a sudden surge of housekeeping and decorating the workplace with safety posters and signs. Panic response is invariably indicative of prior neglect or indifference and can often be misleading, since it may focus attention on the superficial symptoms while failing to consider and correct the less apparent underlying causes. Accident prevention is a continuous task, an integral part of our everyday routine, requiring periodic inspection of premises equipment, practices and procedures. It also includes the setting of good examples to emphasize the importance of safety and the enforcement of such safety rules as may be necessary to maintain each department accident-free all year round.

March SoCal Cargo Volumes: LA Up, Long Beach Dip Breaks Growth Streak

Cargo volumes in March took decidedly different directions at the two Southern California ports.

The Port of Los Angeles posted its 14th consecutive month of positive year-over-year cargo growth in March, while total monthly cargo volume at the neighboring Port of Long Beach dipped into the negative for the first time since November 2009.

The Port of Long Beach handled a total of 412,235 TEUs in March, a 2.5 percent decline compared to March 2010.

Port officials said that on the import side the port handled a total of 191,211 loaded inbound boxes in March, a 7.5 percent decline over the year-ago period. On the export side, the port also handled a total of 131,761 loaded outbound TEUs in March, a 1 percent increase compared to March 2010.

Despite the one month dip, Long Beach remains on the up side for the calendar year to date, with 1.35 million TEUs handled since January, a 6.4 percent increase over the January to March period last year.

Across the bay, the Port of Los Angeles reported handling a total of 600,796 TEUs in March, a 9.2 percent increase over the same month last year.

In the import column, Los Angeles handled a total of 297,023 loaded inbound TEUs, a 10.2 percent increase over March 2010. On the export side, Los Angeles handled a total of 192,849 loaded outbound TEUs, a 19.2 percent increase over the year-ago period.

Los Angeles has moved a total of 1.82 million TEUs during the calendar year to date, a 10.2 percent increase over the first three months of last year.

TOTE Installing Rain Garden

The Federal Way-based carrier Totem Ocean Trailer Express plans to install the South Sound's first industrial rain garden next week at the Port of Tacoma.

Plans call for more than 100 TOTE employees and volunteers, in conjunction with Seattle-based non-profit Stewardship Partners, to create the rain garden through the planting of about 600 native plants at the TOTE terminal along the Blair Waterway. The Port of Tacoma and the Tacoma Garden Club are also contributing to the project.

According to Stewardship Partners, which assists landowners with restoring and preserving natural landscapes, rain gardens are planted depressions that work like a native forest by capturing and naturally filtering stormwater redirected from rooftops, driveways, and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens reduce flooding by absorbing water from impervious surfaces; filter oil, grease and toxic materials before they can pollute streams, lakes and bays; help to recharge the aquifer by increasing the quantity of water that soaks into the ground; and, provide beneficial wildlife habitat.

Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally don't require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one’s local climate, soil, and water conditions, and attract local wildlife such as native birds.

The TOTE rain garden will be fed by water from the terminal and the roofs of terminal buildings.

TOTE is no stranger to environmental firsts at the port. The carrier, working with the port and utilizing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency, added shore power at the terminal in 2010 to allow ships to cut emissions by turning off their auxiliary diesel engines while docked at the terminal and connecting to the landside electrical power grid.

Los Angeles Port Orders Fuel Cell Truck Retrofits

The Port of Los Angeles has awarded El Segundo-based manufacturing firm Vision Motor Corp. a contract worth up to $1.4 million to retrofit more than a dozen port-owned electric trucks with hydrogen fuel cell electric hybrid powertrain systems.

Built as a 2009 demonstration project co-funded by the port and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and designed specifically for short-haul or “drayage” operations, the port's fleet of unique electric trucks were designed and produced exclusively for the port by Balqon Corp.

The heavy-duty electric short-haul drayage trucks – the first of their kind at any port in the world – can pull a 60,000-pound cargo container at a top speed of 40 mph, and have a range between 30 to 60 miles per battery charge. Installed charging stations can charge up to four electric trucks simultaneously in four hours and can also provide up to 60 percent of the charge in one hour to meet peak demands during daily operation.

Under the terms of the deal with Vision the port will initially issue a purchase order for six retrofits, with the remaining nine retrofit orders being contingent on the availability of other grant funding.

The idea behind the Vision fuel cell retrofits is to extend the driving and operating range of the small port-owned fleet of electric trucks that run solely under on-board battery power. The retrofits are hoped to alleviate operating downtime caused by range limitations of battery-only powered trucks pulling heavier cargo loads.

"Vision's technology combines the superior power of an electric drivetrain with the extended range of a hydrogen fuel cell system. This allows for zero emission operations without sacrificing driving range", Vision CEO Martin Schuermann said.

The port staff resolution recommending Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners approve the Vision contract said, "In order to better meet the demands and broad truck application across various types of port operations, each electric truck needs to operate eight to ten hours on a single charge even under the heaviest load conditions, as compared to current operating capabilities at four to five hours under those conditions."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Longview Port Approves Across-the-Board Pay Raises in New Budget

The governing board for the Port of Longview on Monday approved a 2011 budget that includes a 2 percent salary increase for all port employees in 2011.

Employees voluntarily opted not to take cost-of-living increases last year and port commissioners cited the port's solid 2010 revenue performance in approving the pay raises for 2011. Last year was the third year in a row the port had shattered its revenue numbers record.

Commissioners on Monday, who acknowledged the hard work performed by the port staff in 2010, said the port's books were now solid enough to bring back the raises but noted that the increases were "modest to say the least."

The new budget forecasts that port revenues will continue to outpace expenses in 2011, with $25.9 million in projected 2011 revenues versus $23.9 million in projected operating expenses. The projected 2011 surplus of just under $2 million is expected to leave the port, after including non-operating revenue and expenses, with a net profit of just over $1 million.

However, the 2011 projections will be about $300,000 off of the record-setting $26.2 million in annual revenue the port experienced last year. Port officials said this was due to an expected continuation of the drop off in wind-energy imports.

The port is also projecting that tax revenues will drop slightly in 2011, from $2.87 million in 2010 to $2.86 million. The property tax levy rate assessed to homeowners will also rise slightly from 39.3 cents per $1,000 in assessed valuation last year to 39.1 cents this year.

The port is budgeting $1.4 million for various capital projects in 2011, and will also spend a $857,673 in grant monies from the state Department of Transportation to add rail lines around the new Skyline Steel plant.

World's Largest Ro/Ro on West Coast Maiden Voyage

The world's newest and largest roll-on/roll-off vessel is making its way along the US West Coast-portion of its round-the-world maiden voyage, with calls at the Tacoma and Long Beach ports.

The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Mark V-class vessel, launched just three weeks ago and labeled by the carrier as the "most sophisticated vessel ever built in the roll-on/roll-off segment," is set to arrive Tuesday morning at the Port of Long Beach after a call Monday at the Port of Tacoma.

The 870-foot-long, 105-foot-wide Tonsberg, launched as part of Wilhelmsen's 150-year anniversary, features nine cargo decks offering nearly 5 million cubic feet of storage. The vessel is specially designed to accommodate high and heavy cargo such as excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders and harvesters in addition to conventional ro/ro cargos. The vessel's main deck, accessed by five additional storage decks and three hoistable decks through a flexible system of internal ramps, leads to a stern deck door with a clearance height of just over 21 feet. The main deck feeds a specially designed stern ramp that is nearly 40 feet wide and can handle loads just more than 500 tons. Cargo can even be loaded on the ramp-accessed weather deck.

The Tonsberg is the first of four Mark V vessels expected to be delivered to the Wilh. Wilhelmsen group by 2012 under contract with Mistubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan.

The Mark V class vessels are designed to use 15 to 20 percent less fuel per transported unit than previous ro/ros, which according to Wilhelmsen is due to a optimized hull form and a number of energy saving features such as a streamlined rudder design and duck tail.

The Mark V vessels also feature an exhaust heat recovery system in the engine room that utilizes waste heat to power an advanced turbo generator to produce electricity while simultaneously helping to cut fuel consumption and reduce total emissions output.

Additional features include a Unitor ballast water treatment system to avoid the transfer of harmful microorganisms into the sea. The vessels also feature newly designed protections for all fuel tanks to minimize the potential of a leak in the event of a grounding or collision.

The Tonsberg, which began its maiden voyage in Korea with a swing through Japan, will continue on its trip through the Panama Canal, before making calls up the U.S. East Coast and heading to Europe.

Tacoma Port Faces $32.7 Million Suit by EPA Over Wetlands Destruction

Federal environmental officials have filed a federal lawsuit against the Port of Tacoma alleging that efforts by port officials to eradicate a potentially devastating agricultural pest led to the destruction of environmentally sensitive wetlands on the Tacoma Tideflats.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency filed the lawsuit April 1 in US Western District Court claiming that actions by the port, three contractors and the state of Washington, led to the clearing of 4.4 acres of wetlands at the Hylebos Marsh in late 2008 and the discharge of dredged material and organic debris into the Hylebos Waterway – all without the required federal environmental permits. The suit also highlights an earlier incident in 2006 where the port allegedly destroyed a nearby acre of wetlands.

The EPA is seeking nearly $33 million in penalties and the restoration of the affected wetlands by the defendants.

According to the EPA, the tract – located between the Blair and Hylebos waterways – was composed of wetlands that provided wildlife habitat and prevented contaminants from entering Puget Sound. The tract contained mature forested wetlands prior to the damage.

The filing claims that in October of 2008, the port contracted with New York-based DEMCO, Inc., to conduct “clearing, grubbing, and subsequent leveling of [Hylebos Marsh].” DEMCO then subcontracted with Tacoma-based contractor Waka Group to perform the work.

The port was attempting to eradicate an invasive vineyard snail infestation on its property at the request of the US Department of Agriculture and Washington State Department of Agriculture. The wetlands area was described at the time as "ground zero" for the infestation.

Officials from the Washington Department of Agriculture told the Tacoma News Tribune in September 2010 that the vineyard snail had potentially serious economic impacts to the state's wheat, hay and barley crops if the pest was not contained within the wetlands and eradicated. If the port lost the at-the-time three-year battle with the snail, said WDA officials, the state's cereal crops could be quarantined and lose their annual multi-million value as exports.

However, according to the EPA, the USDA order to the port stated that plowing and grading was only acceptable in non-wetland areas.

The EPA also alleges that the US Army Corps of Engineers informed the port that mechanized land clearing for snail eradication in wetlands would require a permit under the Clean Water Act.

According to the filing, "between approximately October 2008 and November 2008, the Port of Tacoma and/or persons acting on its behalf used excavators, bulldozers, trackhoes, and other mechanized land-clearing equipment to discharge dredged material and organic debris to approximately 4.4. acres of wetlands at Hylebos Marsh."

The discharged material and debris included, "rocks, dirt, and biological materials, all of which constitute 'pollutant[s]," the filing said.

At the time, the port was faced with the potential that the snail clean up could threaten the progress of the since-abandoned $1.2 billion NYK Blair-Hylebos container terminal. Moving to eradicate the snail as quickly as possible to avoid a possible federally forced shutdown of construction due to the infestation, the port proceeded with the wetlands excavating and grading without a permit.

The EPA investigation into the 2008 incident also uncovered over an acre of destroyed wetlands the port filled in August 2006 adjacent to the former Kaiser Aluminum Smelter. The port and its Kent, Wash.-based contractor Scarsella Brothers used heavy equipment to dump approximately 1,920 cubic yards of "soil, rocks, asphalt and concrete" into 1.13 acres of the wetlands, according to the EPA suit. This work was allegedly conducted without the proper federal permit.

The EPA points out that the affected wetlands drain directly into Commencement Bay, a major South Puget Sound waterway and that Puget Sound is an environmental priority for EPA in the Pacific Northwest. Wetlands like Hylebos Marsh, the EPA said, play a critical filtration role in preventing dangerous contaminants from entering Puget Sound.

The lawsuit seeks to force the port and other defendants to restore the wetlands areas cited as well as pay fines that have accumulated to approximately $32.7 million. The EPA is also seeking reimbursement of all legal costs arising from the case.

The port has not commented publicly about the suit, however, in the past the port has not defended its actions to move forward in 2008 on the snail eradication project.

“Honestly, we just blew it,” port environmental manager Tony Warfield told the News Tribune in September 2010.

Since 2008, the port director has been replaced and new procedures to track environmental issues on construction projects have been implemented by the port.

The port, which was served with an order by the EPA in September 2010 to restore the Hylebos March wetlands, has offered to swap restored wetlands areas nearby to compensate for the damaged wetlands at the heart of the suit.