Friday, August 26, 2011

OPINION: The Enemy of Good

By John Berge, Vice President Pacific Merchant Shipping Association

It has been 15 years since the publication of the National Research Council’s Stemming the Tide – Controlling Introductions of Nonindigenous Species by Ship’s Ballast Water. It pulled the lid off the uncomfortable reality that ballast water, which is so essential to keeping ships upright and in one piece, could also be the source of bio-invaders causing havoc in port ecosystems around the planet.

A lot has changed in those 15 years, beginning with the adoption of ballast water management for virtually all vessels, and now the next leap forward with installation of ballast water treatment systems. This technology has made enormous strides in just the last few years, achieving organism reductions on the order of 10,000 times the source ballast water. While we now have a good idea of the capabilities of ballast water treatment, just as importantly we better understand the limitations of this technology, and our ability to measure success.

Unfortunately, public policy adopted in California has failed to keep pace with science, and we are now seeing the classic situation of the pursuit of perfection becoming the enemy of the good.

California legislatively adopted discharge standards in 2007. Those standards are essentially 1,000 times more stringent than the International Maritime Organization D-2 and the pending US Coast Guard Phase 1 standard. We have watched patiently as time has passed, hoping that treatment technology could advance to the point of meeting California’s aspirational standard before 2012, when the vast majority of new-builds will be require to meet that standard.

Although there has been mounting evidence over the last couple of years as to the limitations of both treatment and testing methodologies, it was the publication of the US EPA Science Advisory Board’s (SAB) report in July that put the question of treatment system capabilities to rest. The SAB report was unequivocal in its findings: while 5 types of ballast water management systems (BWMS) demonstrated the ability to meet the IMO D-2 standard, “no current BWMS types can meet a 100x or 1,000x discharge standard”.

One would think that the findings of the nation’s ballast water experts would settle this issue, but the staff of the California State Lands Commission (Commission) continues to cling to the existing state standard. Rather than recommend changing it to reflect reality, they are instead recommending that the state maintain its unfeasible and immeasurable standard – and as a way out, develop a compliance verification protocol for their standard that ensures full compliance by industry.

In other words, they are going to fake it – which they essentially acknowledge. All of this effort comes at a time of a much-publicized effort by California state legislators to review unnecessary and redundant regulations.

We appreciate the Commission staff’s desire to keep ship owners on the right side of the law, but who benefits from an unattainable standard that can be complied with only through false compliance verification? Certainly not the people of California, who deserve to know the real implications of ballast water discharges into state waters as opposed to a misleading and false sense of security from a faked standard. Nor does the ship owner, who is ultimately liable under the federal Clean Water Act, for meeting a discharge standard that the world’s scientists have concluded cannot be met by any system available for installation.

The State Lands Commissioners have the opportunity on September 1 to recognize the realities for treating ballast water discharges, and recommend the adoption of the IMO standards that truly represent the best mitigation that today’s technology can achieve. To do otherwise will be to ignore accepted science and put California on the wrong side of this debate.

Long Beach Port Approves $16.9M Transfer of Port Funds to City Hall

The five-member governing board for the Port of Long Beach on Monday approved a City Hall request for the transfer of nearly $17 million in port funds to the city and agreed to draw down the port's ample cash reserves to pay for the majority of the amount.

The annual transfer, which is permitted under the city charter, is based on 5 percent of the port's previous fiscal year operating revenue.

The $16.9 million transfer for FY2012 was formally requested by City Hall on July 5. The transfer has been opposed by six port industry trade associations.

The port board approved transferring the funds in a 4-1 vote, but added the caveat that it be made in four equal quarterly payments over the city's 2012 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Last year, the board approved making the FY2011 transfer in a single lump sum at the request of City Hall.

Originally conceived as an emergency financial boost for the revenue-strapped city more than 15 years ago, the annual port-to-city transfer has been requested by City Hall and approved by the port ever year since. Monday's vote was the first time since the port began making the annual transfers that a port commissioner voted "nay" to a transfer.

The transfer funds, under state law, must go into the city's Tidelands Operating Funds and can only be used within the tidelands (coastal) areas of the city for very specific maritime, maritime-related recreation, and environmental uses. The funds cannot be mixed with the city's general fund or used for general fund purposes.

City Hall claims that the tidelands accounts, which are managed by city officials, are in danger of going broke and that a backlog of more than $300 million in capital improvement projects in the tidelands areas currently exists.

Immediately prior to the board's discussion Monday on the transfer, a related item was also considered.

The port board was informed by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, which operates the 20-mile-long Alameda Corridor cargo rail line servicing the port, that the authority required $2.95 million from the port in FY2012 to cover a debt service shortfall on the $2.4 billion corridor, which opened in 2002. ACTA had expected to ask for another $5 million from the port, but reported that it would not need funds beyond the $2.95 million.

After approving the ACTA funds, the port board turned to the city transfer and how to pay for it. Port board freshman Doug Drummond made a motion that the $16.9 million transfer to the city be made as requested and that the port's FY2012 budget be increased by $11.9 million – the amount of the transfer minus the $5 million ACTA no longer needed from the port but which the port had already budgeted.

Drummond failed to receive a second on his motion, but Commissioner Rich Dines, who along with Drummond joined the board two weeks ago, moved that the transfer to the city be approved with no budget details, to which Drummond offered a second.

Commission President Susan Wise moved for an amendment to Dines motion, calling for the transfer to the city to be made in four equal quarterly installments over FY2012.
"We're moving into a time of uncertainty," Wise said, referencing the weakening national economy and slowing trade numbers. "I want the port to have some flexibility."

Commissioner Thomas Fields agreed.
"I think it only prudent that we follow Commissioner Wise's amendment because we are moving into some perilous times."

Commissioner Nick Sramek pointed out that two weeks ago the port board asked City Hall to provide a prioritized list of tidelands-area projects on which City Hall planned to spend the transfer funds.

Sramek indicated that the request prompted a recent memo to the port board from City Hall, one which – while Sramek did not detail the exact contents – clearly did not include the information the port board had sought.

"The city is asking us for $17 million, I just thought it would be common courtesy to provide us with the information. They said they have it. That they could provide it. And they just choose not to provide it," Sramek said.

Sramek added that he could not support the transfer and ultimately voted no. He pointed out that the port plans to borrow $300 million for capital projects this year, an amount that will rise to $1.5 billion over the next five years.

"It's been different in the past. We haven't had to borrow money like this. We really need to be careful...especially looking at the economic numbers, trade going down and competition going up," Sramek said. "We really need to be careful with what we do with our dollars and make sure they are really channeled in the right areas."
Sramek referenced the city charter language regarding the transfer, pointing out that the port board could reject the transfer request if the funds are needed for capital projects in the port.

"If we are borrowing $300 million this year, that says we need money for capital projects," Sramek said.

Drummond, who initially refused to support Wise's amendment to make quarterly payments, said that the port should make the transfer in one lump sum, as originally requested by City Hall. He argued that if economic conditions worsened and the port needed to make up the $16.9 million of the transfer, the port should just slow down development and spend less on the nearly $630 million budgeted in FY2012 for capital projects.

As comparison, the $17 million for the transfer is equal to the port's entire FY2012 budget amount allocated for installing ship-to-shore electric power at the port's largest container terminal; just over the amount the port plans to spend on all port security projects in FY2012; and, just over what the port plans to spend on a major rail track realignment project.

Drummond added that contemplating changes to the transfer is a "mistake" that will only create "continued bad will with the city."

Members representing two of the opposed industry groups, the Propeller Club and the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, reasserted their positions to the board, saying that keeping the $16.9 million in the port – where it can create jobs and increase the port's competitiveness – is a more prudent decision.

The final vote by the board approved the transfer in four equal quarterly payments, which port staff said city officials had already indicated would not be a problem. The port board also agreed to draw down the port's substantial cash reserves by $11.9 million to pay for the majority of the transfer, with the rest being made up by the $5 million already budgeted to cover now un-required payment to ACTA. The draw down will still leave the port with more than 600 days of operating funds in the port's cash reserves.

The port FY2012 budget faces approval by the City Council – and a possible wielding of the mayor's budget line item veto power – early next month.

Freight Rates Pose Uncertainty for Long Beach Port

Volatility in trans-Pacific freight rates, trade volumes, and the global economy promise to keep market conditions at the Port of Long Beach uncertain for the rest of the year, according to a presentation by port staff on Monday.

While the port's container volumes for fiscal year 2011 – which ends Sept. 30 – remain 10.2 percent higher than FY2010, monthly volumes have swung between negative and positive territory several times since January.

In the short term, port Director of Trade Relations Don Snyder said, the major concern is that of vessel capacity and freight rates.

Snyder, speaking to the five-member port governing board, said that there appear to be some similarities developing between what occurred in 2009 and what is occurring this year.

"The problem that we saw in 2009, and we are starting to see again in 2011, is that utilization – how full the ships are – is starting to sink again," Snyder said.

He pointed out that at a certain level of utilization, typically around 90 percent, carriers go from profitability to non-profitability very rapidly.

"When you start hitting that level or lower...the [carriers] start looking at the freight rate as a way to keep their vessels loaded," Snyder said.

"So when utilization goes down, freight rates go down as the carriers react to the market place."

As an example, Snyder pointed to the Shanghai Freight Index to the West Coast which has declined steadily from about $2,900 in August 2010 to about $2,200 this August.
"This, plus decreased volume levels, leads to [carrier] losses and declining financial results," Snyder said.

Most of the carriers are reporting losses this year as they did in 2009. To balance their sagging financials, Snyder said, many carriers have or will be eliminating services and some have even withdrawn from markets altogether.

Predicated by this turmoil, Snyder said that volume uncertainty will remain through the end of the year.

On a positive short-term note, the retail sector, which drives about 90 percent of the port's import demand, is still forecasting a strong fall season for US trade, albeit tapering off through the end of the year.

The long term view for Long Beach also holds some concerns, according to Snyder, but also some positive news for the port.

On the down side, he pointed out that world vessel capacity is growing somewhere between 4 percent and 8 percent a year, while less than 2 percent to 3 percent of the global fleet will be reaching their potential lifespan annually during the same period.

The concern, Snyder said, is that if capacity once again outstrips demand as it did in 2009, freight rates could be pushed down even further. While carriers are trying to schedule new vessels based on demand, the problems, Snyder said, is that demand can swing rapidly in the short term while the process to acquire a new vessel takes many years.

On the brighter side for the port, Snyder pointed out that between 42 percent and 48 percent of all new vessels set for delivery through the end of 2013, and 61 percent of those in 2014, will be 10,000-TEU vessels or larger. And while these megacarriers will all be able to fit through the new Panama Canal locks set to open in 2014, there are very few East Coast ports currently able to handle vessels of this size.

Snyder said that this major increase in the larger vessels, which many Long Beach facilities can already handle, coupled with additional infrastructure development at the port to increase that capability, bodes well for Long Beach in the long term.
The port is forecasting an average 5.2 percent annual increase in trade for the combined Long Beach and Los Angeles ports over the long term, but port staff are cognizant that changing economic conditions may require this number to be adjusted in the near future.

Tacoma Port Box Volumes Up Across Board

Total monthly container volumes did an about-face in July at the Port of Tacoma, swinging back into positive territory after two months of declines.

The port handled a total of 122,322 TEUs in July, a 3.9 percent increase over July 2010.

On the import side, port officials reported moving a total of 41,380 loaded inbound TEUs in July, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year.

On the export side of the ledger, the port handled a total of 26,897 loaded outbound TEUs in July, a 23.5 percent jump over the year-ago period.

The port remains in positive territory for the year-to-date, reporting a total of 842,500 TEUs handled since the start of the year, a 2.6 percent increase over the January-to-July period in 2010.

On the non-containerized side, the port in July boasted monthly growth in four of five non-containerized cargo categories compared to last July.

The largest increases for July were: total log tonnage handled was up 107 percent, breakbulk cargo was up 74.2 percent, and autos were up 51.2 percent. Grain handling also increased 1.5 percent compared to the year-ago period. The one decrease was in gypsum tonnage, which was down 16.7 percent for the month over July 2010.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Southern Yards Winning New Orders

By Jim Shaw

The hull of Crowley Maritime’s first Ocean-class tug, Ocean Wave, was recently moved out of its building bay while its house with navigation bridge waits in the background. Photo courtesy of Crowley.

The shipbuilding and shiprepair industry along the Gulf Coast has seen the loss of some big and small names over the past few years, including Island Boats and Superior Boat Works on the smaller side and such large enterprises as Atlantic Marine and Bender Shipbuilding & Repair. However, one of the biggest names to go this year was Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, which was spun off from parent company Northrop Grumman Corporation at the end of March as Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).

HII has operations in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California but its primary business divisions are the recently renamed Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions, the former located at Newport News, Virginia and the latter with yards at Pascagoula, Mississippi and Avondale, Louisiana. The troubled Avondale yard has already been marked for sale or closure when its final vessel is completed in 2013.

The consolidation trend is expected to continue as a decade-long building boom for Jones Act commercial ships nears an end and government work for the US Navy, Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers declines due to budget cuts. Nevertheless, several yards, such as Austal, Edison Chouest and Swiftships, are expanding facilities, while others, including Eastern and VT Halter, are building for export. Although last year’s moratorium on oil drilling, and this year’s heavy flooding along the Mississippi, have interrupted some forward momentum, most yards remain optimistic for the future.

Conrad Industries
One builder hard hit by this year’s flood waters has been Conrad Industries, which was forced to temporarily discontinue operations at its Morgan City facility due to high water in May. Vessels under construction at the yard, as well as key pieces of equipment, were moved to higher ground. The interruption came as Conrad’s business has been growing, with its order book standing at $112.3 million by April 1 compared to only $48.9 million for the same period last year.

Johnny Conrad, company President and CEO, said new construction was on the rise but that repair work had been hit by last year’s moratorium. “Our vessel construction segment continued the improvements that began during the third and fourth quarters of 2010 with the increases in our backlog,” Conrad reported, but went on to say that the company’s repair segment had been “negatively affected” by the slowdown in activity in the Gulf of Mexico related to the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Looking to the future, Conrad remarked that he was “optimistic” about long-term prospects, with market conditions “much improved compared to last year.” but that there still remains some uncertainty about shorter-term demand, particularly in the repair segment.

Another yard under water for several weeks this past spring was the Swiftships facility at Morgan City, Louisiana. Employees at the yard worked through May, and into early June, to protect vessels and equipment from flooding due to the opening of the Morganza Spillway, but the sandbagging effort was largely unsuccessful. Swiftships president Calvin Leleux said about $15 million worth of equipment and under-construction hulls had to be moved to other locations until the water receded.

Just before the high water hit the company had received a $42 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the construction of three more 35-meter patrol boats for the Iraqi navy, with options for an additional three. Fortunately, there has been little disruption to this ongoing contract, with the lead unit of the series, P-301, delivered at the end of last year and the second and third boats, P-302 and P-303, departing before the high water arrived.

Even in the middle of the flooding the fourth and fifth craft, P-304 and P-305, managed to make their get-away and are expected to be operational in Iraq later this summer were they are due to take over patrol duties currently being performed by units of the US Navy.

Ingleside Yard
While Swiftships has been expanding its facilities at Morgan City to handle the on-going patrol boat order it has also been looking at the possibility of building a much larger yard at Ingleside, Texas. This would be on former military land now controlled by the Port of Corpus Christi and would allow the company to significantly add to its capacity to construct both small and large vessels.

The demand for more space has been increased by the winning of several additional military contracts, including a US Army order awarded in March for three prototypes of “bridge ships”, a new type of small craft that can be off loaded from a truck and used to push pontoon bridge sections into place for vehicle crossings. The Army wants to build more than 400 of these small boats and Swiftships has already built previous craft that exceed all the vessel’s requirements. As a part of this contact it is working with Cummins Diesel and a German firm to develop an engine that uses the same type of fuel as used in most other Army equipment. This would help minimize fuel types needed in the field.

Swiftships has also won a $20.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract covering the design and construction of four 28-meter coastal patrol craft (CPC) for the Egyptian Navy. Under the award, the company will provide two co-assembly kits and two co-production kits to support the building of at least four CPCs, with 75 percent of the work to take place at Morgan City and the other 25 percent in Alexandria, Egypt.

VT Halter
Another yard building for Middle East export is VT Halter’s Pensacola, Mississippi facility where the keel was laid in April for the first of four Fast Missile Craft (FMC) for the Egyptian Navy. The FMCs have been designed to perform a variety of patrol and strike functions and will allow Egypt to maintain the security of its coastal regions. Each of the high-speed vessels will be 62 meters in length and will feature state-of-the-art control technology plus high maneuverability.

The total Egyptian Navy FMC project is valued at approximately $807 million and the first boat is expected to be delivered by the middle of next year.

Halter is also building two units for the US Navy, with the keel for the future USNS Maury (T-AGS 66 ), an oceanographic survey ship, laid in February. Although already completed, the future USNS Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25), a missile range instrumentation ship, is currently receiving additional work because of several faults found by the Navy during pre-delivery inspections.

More ATBs
In the commercial sector Halter’s yard at Escatawpa, Mississippi has been contracted to build an ATB push tug for Bouchard Transportation’s new ATB tank barge being finished by Bollinger. The 4,000-HP tug will be similar to others Halter has built for the New York-based company and will measure 112 feet by 35 feet. An Intercon Coupler System will be used to connect the boat to the barge, with both units due for delivery by the latter part of next year.

Halter is also completing the last of a large number of ATB tugs and barges it has been building for Crowley Maritime. In 2010, the tug Innovation and barge 650-9 of this series were delivered as the ninth of ten 185,000-barrel capacity ATBs ordered, with the tenth unit to be handed over shortly. All have been certified by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s Green Passport program. This ensures that all potentially hazardous materials that are part of the original construction have been identified and will be properly disposed of when the units cease trading. The passport also applies to three larger 330,000-barrel capacity ATB barges that are being finished for mating with pushtugs being built by Washington State’s Dakota Creek Industries. The first of these units is scheduled to enter service later this year.

Eastern Shipbuilding
Another southern yard building up experience in the construction of “green” vessels is Eastern Shipbuilding at Panama City, Florida. During the recent launching of the offshore supply vessel (OSV) Harvey Supporter, which is due to be handed over to Harvey Gulf International in November, Harvey Gulf announced that it had reached agreement with Eastern covering the construction of a 310-foot multipurpose light construction vessel to be built to high environmental standards. The LCV300-type vessel Harvey Deep-Sea will be ENVIRO+, Green Passport (GP) certified, as will the Harvey Supporter, with both boats having been designed by STX Marine.

Harvey Deep-Sea is scheduled to be delivered by April 2013 and will feature accommodation for 71 persons along with a 165 ton AHC deck crane, moonpool, helideck and ROV hangar. In addition to these two boats Harvey Gulf also plans to have two dual-fuel platform supply vessels built, both capable of operating on either LNG or diesel.

All of these “green” ships are to be constructed with environmentally friendly materials that can either be completely recycled, or broken down without harm to the environment at the end of their service lives. Eastern has also obtained a $241 million loan guarantee from the Maritime Administration covering the construction of five OSVs for Boldini S.A. of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a project that is expected to take place over the next thirty months.

Edison Chouest Offshore
Another southern firm expanding its fleet, and its yards, is Galliano, Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore. After several years of negotiations, construction is expected to start shortly on a $29.5 million 320-foot drydock that will be based at the company’s LaShip facility being built at Terrebonne, Louisiana.

Most of the yard is finished but construction of the drydock has held up progress, with the only bidder for the structure, Gulf Island Fabrication, coming in at more than $5 million over budget. LaShip has since agreed to add $6 million to the $24 million in public and private economic-development incentives being provided for the project, with completion of the structure now expected in about 15 months.

When placed in service the dock may be used to launch Edison Chouest’s largest ship built to date, a 361-foot Arctic-class supply and anchor-handling vessel being completed for Shell. In addition, Edison Chouest has announced plans to build eight more deepwater platform supply vessels for its own account, three of which are already in the early stages of construction. These units are in addition to a 25-ship construction program now in progress at the company’s other US and overseas yards.

“Our goal is to maintain our position as the preeminent solutions provider in the market, both domestic and international,” said Edison Chouest Offshore’s Vice President of Operations, Dino Chouest, of the newbuildings.

At Lockport, Louisiana the Bollinger shipyard placed the first of the new Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters it is building for the US Coast Guard in the water during April. The 154-foot Sentinel class, based on the Damen Stan Patrol 4708 design, is capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and will be armed with one stabilized remotely operated 25mm chain gun and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. In addition, they will carry a 40-knot rigid inflatable boat (RIB), which can be rapidly deployed using a stern launching system that is already in service on Bollinger-built 87-foot Marine Protector class cutters.

In the commercial sector Bollinger is continuing construction of four new Ocean class tugs for Crowley Maritime (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, June 2011) as well as a new ATB tank barge for Bouchard Transportation. The 146-foot by 46-foot Ocean class, to be christened Ocean Wave, Ocean Wind, Ocean Sun and Ocean Sky, will be powered by twin Caterpillar C-280-12 Tier II engines developing 10,880 HP while the Bouchard barge will be a 55,000 barrel OPA’90 compliant product carrier configured for ATB use.

To measure 317.5-feet by 70-feet the twelve compartment Bouchard barge will be fitted with an Intercon coupling ladder and will be mated to a pushtug to be built by the VT Halter group.

Austal USA
Yet another Gulf Coast yard building new facilities is Austal USA, of Mobile, Alabama, where the company is doubling its module manufacturing facility by adding 740,000 square feet of space while also adding a 426ft x 134ft x 108ft final assembly bay and 110,00 square feet of office space. The new construction is being forced by the winning of major construction contracts, one within the US Navy’s Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program and the other covering the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) project, now under Navy control.

In June, the names for the first two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) of the 10-ship series were announced as USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Montgomery (LCS 8). The future USS Coronado (LCS 4) is already under construction at Mobile while the lead ship of the trimaran program, USS Independence (LCS 2), was commissioned last year.

Also under various phases of construction at the yard are the 103-meter JHSVs Spearhead (JHSV 1) and HSV Vigilant (JHSV 2). These catamaran-hulled vessels are similar to the Austal-built WestPac Express, which has been operated by the US Marines for the past ten years, and will be capable of carrying 700 short tons of cargo at an average speed of 35 knots.

The Navy has apparently rejected the two Hawaii SuperFerries that Austal built for commercial service, as both of these vessels are now up for sale by MARAD.

Los Angeles Port Study Finds Dramatic Reductions In Port-Area Pollution

Port of Los Angeles officials on Thursday released the port's 2010 Inventory of Air Emissions, which details dramatic drops in levels of all port-generated air pollution compared to levels recorded in 2009.

The report found a sizable 41.9 percent drop in total particulate matter (PM) generated by port activity compared to 2009 levels, and an even more dramatic 72.3 percent drop in total PM over levels recorded in 2005 when the port first conducted an emissions inventory.

The 2010 edition of the report also marks the fourth straight year that the port-funded annual analysis has detailed significant reductions in port-generated pollution.

In addition to drops in total PM levels, the annual emission inventory showed dramatic reductions in all major pollutant categories compared to 2009, including all three individual PM categories, the oxides of sulfur category (SOx) and the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) category.

Diesel particulate matter (DPM) was down 42 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 levels, PM10 levels were down 41.7 percent and PM2.5 levels were also down 42 percent. Particulate matter, the largest of which is most clearly seen as soot in engine smokestacks, is linked to various respiratory problems. The three categories cover increasingly smaller particulates, with PM2.5 being the smallest, and according to most respiratory health officials, the most serious impactor of the three to human health.

Port-generated SOx levels in 2010 were down 45 percent compared to the previous year, and 2010 NOx levels were down 27 percent. SOx and NOx are both related to various respiratory ailments. NOx is also a precursor of smog.

The nearly 230-page port analysis also compared 2010 port-area pollution levels to 2005 levels – the year the port's first emissions inventory was compiled. This comparison attempts to provide a pre- and post-picture of the impacts on pollution reduction afforded by the port's ongoing omnibus environmental program – the Clean Air Action Plan – which was implemented in 2006.

The port's 2010 DPM levels have fallen 72.7 percent from 2005 levels, while PM10 and PM2.5 levels have both fallen 72.2 percent.

The port's 2010 SOx levels have dropped 76.8 percent since 2005 and 2010 NOx levels in the port-area are 52.8 percent lower than those seen in 2005.

The emissions inventory analyzes port-area emissions from forklifts, locomotives, ships, trucks, tugboats and other equipment that move cargo at the port.

The inventory's results were reviewed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“The air quality in the Los Angeles Harbor is improving as a result of the substantial investments by the port, its tenants and other port-related businesses have made in recent years by purchasing cleaner equipment and participating in a variety of emission-reduction initiatives,” port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said.

A similar report released less than a month ago by the neighboring Port of Long Beach found si9milar reductions in all pollutants, both compared to 2009 and over the five-year period between 2005 and 2010.

The primary contributing factors for the major reductions, according to both ports, were the ubiquitous use of lower-sulfur fuels by all waterfront equipment – especially the ocean-going ships – and the continued phasing out of the oldest ports-servicing trucks under the port's Clean Trucks Plan that began in 2008.

Other factors include an expansion and high compliance rate of a voluntary vessel speed reduction program where most ships slow down to reduce air pollution within 40 miles of the Port, and the continued changeover of yard equipment and the port-servicing Pacific Harbor Line locomotive fleet.

The full 2010 Los Angeles emissions inventory is available on the port website at The previously released Long Beach inventory for 2010 is available at

Tacoma Port Board Cites Austerity in Rejection of Lobbyist Salary Increase

The governing board for the Port of Tacoma has rejected a negotiated contract with the port's state capitol lobbyist that would have included an annual raise of just over $15,000 a year.

The board praised the port's lobbyist, Lisa Thatcher, for her past work, but said that given the current economic times such a raise could not be justified.

The port recently sought bids on the lobbying contract and Thatcher, who has represented the port in Olympia since 2007, was selected as the winner. The contract, as subsequently negotiated by port officials with Thatcher, would have raised the lobbyist's monthly retainer from its current level of $4,345 to $5,600 – an additional $15,060 a year. By comparison, the monthly retainer for the Port of Seattle state capitol lobbyist is $6,500 a month.

The Tacoma port board, however, tabled the approval of the contract by a 4-1 vote.
The board noted that port CEO John Wolfe recently rejected an annual salary increase, citing the national economic situation and the fact that other port workers have seen little to no salary increases for some time.

The board asked Wolfe to renegotiate the contract with Thatcher to include a smaller increase. The current contract with Thatcher will remain in place until a new contract is renegotiated.

SoCal Ports Release Road Map to Zero-Emission Vehicle Usage

The Southern California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles on Monday issued a report detailing the road map the two ports will follow to evaluate and implement zero-emission technology to reduce air pollution generated by ports-servicing trains, trucks and yard equipment.

The report concludes that there are currently no zero-emission technology options being considered that are ready for full-scale implementation.

"There is no off-the-shelf technology or stand-alone strategy ready to launch to achieve zero emissions at the ports or throughout the region," commissioners from both ports were told by staff at a joint commission meeting on the topic in July. "This effort will require technological innovation, multiple approaches, and regional partnerships."

Currently existing technologies being looked at by the port include all-electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen-fueled Class 8 big rigs and yard tractors, all-electric locomotives and/or electrified-train systems, and fixed cargo moving systems such as magnetic levitation systems.

While the ports conclude that no system is currently ready for implementation, the new report states that demonstration and test projects will continue on many of the technologies.

The report categorized the technologies into two major groups: near-term and long term. Technologies that stand a chance of being implementable within three years, including electric and hybrid-electric trucks and yard equipment, were categorized as near-term. Those with a longer than three year implementation outlook, such as electric trains, are considered long-term.

While the report sets forth the road down which the two ports hope to move as far as zero-emissions vehicles are implemented at the ports, the reports does not rise to the level of a full plan.

Stockton/West Sacramento Barge Project Receives Further Government Funds

The California inland port at Stockton has received another infusion of cash to complete a plan that will shift hundreds of truck-borne containers a week from area freeways to barges shuttling between Stockton and the Port of Oakland.

The Port of Stockton's so-called marine highway project, which also includes barge service to the further-inland West Sacramento port, received a $750,000 grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District last week.

While air quality agencies like SJVAPC typically invest in programs that replace or improve direct sources of pollution, like truck engines, the prospect of eliminating up to 600 truck trips a week from the Oakland-Stockton/West Sacramento route was enough to garner the new funds. The federal government has already pitched in $30 million for the project, which is expected to begin operation in early 2012.

Under the plan, the Stockton port – located about 75 miles inland from San Francisco Bay – will install two 140-ton gantry cranes to load and unload the two weekly barge trips. The barge, which can carry up to 350 containers, would travel along the Stockton Deepwater Ship Channel that connects the Stockton/West Sacramento ports with the Bay Area.

The target is to reduce emission generated by the more than 1,600 daily truck trips between the Central Valley ports and Oakland.

In addition to the gantry cranes, the Stockton port will also see the construction of a container staging area dedicated to the barge service. In West Sacramento, the project calls for the installation of a gantry crane and the construction of a distribution center. The Oakland port will receive funds through the project to install "ship-to-shore" power at several berths. Ship-to-shore power systems allow vessel operators to shut down an ocean-going vessel’s auxiliary diesel engines while in port, dramatically cutting the per-call emissions generated.