Friday, February 3, 2012

Canadian Maritime Employers, Union Reach Accord

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 514, which had been working without a contract since March 2010, has reached an agreement on an eight-year deal with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association.

Although the newly-agreed contract is for eight years, it’s retroactive to the end of the previous deal, according to the BCMEA representative Greg Vurdela, and expires on March 31, 2018, the same date as the BCMEA’s contract with Local 500, which represents longshore workers and marine surveyors.

The contract, which was tentatively agreed to by both parties in mid-January, was ratified at the end of month. It was partially brokered by the Canadian Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which provides dispute prevention and resolution assistance to unions and employers.

Canada’s Labor Minister, Lisa Raitt, said in a Jan. 31 statement that the contract would ensure long-term stability at British Columbia’s seaports.

“We are committed to sustaining and strengthening Canada’s global reputation as a dependable and efficient shipping gateway that businesses can depend on,” she said. “And with this agreement our trading partners can be assured that Canada is open to business and can be relied upon to meet the import and export demands of the 21st century.”

The BCMEA is comprised of about 60 members companies that conduct business on Canada’s West Coast, while Local 514 represents about 500 ship and dock foremen at all ports in British Columbia.

Study: Oakland Diesel Emissions Down 50 Percent

There’s been a dramatic reduction in air pollution from sources at the Port of Oakland since the port implemented stricter air quality policies in 2008, according to a new report by the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies.

The study reveals a 50 percent decline in diesel particulate matter emissions from drayage trucks and a 40 percent decline in nitrogen oxide emissions in the harbor area following implementation of the clean trucks component of the port’s Comprehensive Truck Management Program, or CTMP.

“This study indicates that we are on the right path,” port Executive Director Omar Benjamin said. “We have been and continue to work with our partners to achieve our goal that, by the year 2020, the Port of Oakland will have cut the health risk from diesel particulate matter at our seaport by 85 percent.”

UC Berkeley measured ambient conditions in the port area where there’s concentrated truck traffic. Air samples were taken in November 2009 and June 2010. The data were used for an independent, academic and peer-reviewed study that looked for changes in diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emissions from drayage trucks in the area.

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners unanimously adopted a major maritime air quality policy statement in March 2008, along with actions to reduce diesel emissions that are related to health risk.

The CTMP is part of the port’s overall Maritime Air Quality Improvement Program – a master plan regarding long-term strategy, initiatives, programs and projects to reduce health risk related to seaport sources of diesel pollution.

BNSF Announces Nearly $4 Billion in Upgrades

BNSF Railway on Feb. 1 announced it plans to spend about $3.9 billion on capital improvement measures in 2012, including railway acquisitions and terminal, line and intermodal expansion.

“Investment in BNSF’s rail freight infrastructure… will ensure our infrastructure remains strong and improve the efficiency of our operations,” BNSF chairman and chief executive officer Matthew K. Rose said in a statement announcing the move.

The largest portion of the money, $2.1 billion, is slated to go toward BNSF’s core network and related assets. The railway says it also plans to spend about $1.1 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions.

The program also includes about $300 million for federally mandated positive train control and $400 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.

The company says its expansion and efficiency projects are primarily focused on coal routes to improve velocity and throughput capacity, and a new intermodal facility at Kansas City.

“BNSF remains committed to making the necessary investments to maintain and grow the value of our franchise's capacity to meet customers’ needs and to provide the nation's supply chain with more efficient freight transportation,” Rose said.

BNSF, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, operates in 28 US states and two Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California.

Dole, Port of San Diego Finalizing New Lease

The Dole Food Co., which had been considering a move from the Port of San Diego to the Port of Hueneme up the California coast, has apparently decided to stay put.

The company, which for most of the past decade has been the San Diego port’s biggest tenant, says it is in talks to remain at the port.

Dole began a 20-year lease with San Diego in 2002, but is eligible to break its lease this year. Representatives for both Dole and the port said this week, however, that Dole has formally stated its intention to remain at the port.

Dole, which is the port’s only container tenant, imports an estimated 185 million bananas every month. About 100,000 TEUs of Dole produce, mostly bananas and pineapples, moved through the port’s 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in the last fiscal year. That produce accounted for about 82 percent of the port’s cargo tonnage last year, according to port officials.

Port officials say a deal for a 25-year lease extension isn’t yet done, but that negotiations are expected to be complete by the end of March.

The Port of San Diego is Dole’s sole entryway into the US market. Shipments to and from Ecuador depart every seven to eight days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

West Coast Yards Deliver Diversity in 2011

By Chris Philips

January 2012

The electric ferry Buena Vista, built by Portland, Oregon’s Diversified Marine, draws two feet of water and relies on a cable from shore to power her electric motors. Photo by Kurt Redd courtesy of Diversified Marine.

West Coast shipyards were moderately busy in 2011, and although the world economy is still shaky, an interesting group of new tugboats, ferries and barges were built last year, and similar vessels are on the ways for 2012.

One of the most unique vessels delivered last year was a cable-guided electric ferry, designed by Seattle’s Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), built to carry passengers and vehicles across Oregon’s Willamette River at Buena Vista, South of Salem. The new ferry, funded partly through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, replaces a diesel-powered version that had been in service for more than 50 years. Buena Vista was built by Diversified Marine, in Portland Oregon, and was delivered in May, ahead of schedule, to Marion County, the ferry’s owner and operator.

The 99-foot by 38-foot steel ferry has a capacity of six vehicles and 49 passengers. Because shallow river conditions required that the hull be only four feet deep, the boat only draws two feet of water, so the propellers are mounted on the sides of the vessel, rather than underneath, for protection.

The ferry is powered by electricity provided from the shore on a cable that runs across the river. That electricity powers motors providing 80 HP of output to the propellers mounted on each side of the boat.

Having delivered the Buena Vista, Diversified is now putting the finishing touches on an 80-foot by 36-foot, 5,360-HP azimuthing stern drive tug, designed by Capilano Maritime Design Ltd. of North Vancouver. To be christened Sommer S, the new tug is due for delivery to Shaver Transportation early this year. At press time, Diversified has started construction on another tug, this one a 120-foot by 35-foot boat designed by Seattle’s Jensen Maritime Consultants for Harley Marine Services, to be delivered later this year.

British Columbia’s Capilano Maritime also designed another significant ferry delivered last year. The new boat, christened the M/V Ken Eichner-2, was built by Alaska Ship & Drydock, Inc, in Ketchikan, Alaska and delivered to the State of Alaska in April.

The new 117-foot by 48-foot boat will serve as a link between the Greater Ketchikan International Airport and the City of Ketchikan, working alongside the M/V Oral Freeman, delivered by the same yard in 2002. The Ken Eichner-2 accommodates 149 passengers, and the vehicle deck has room for 23 cars or two large semi-trailers and eight cars.

A pair of 850-HP Cummins KTA 38 MO Tier 2 engines powers the double-ended boat, driving one conventional propeller at each end and providing a service speed of eight knots.

An off-centerline starboard-side deckhouse allows for easier loading and unloading of large trucks, and is balanced by 15 long tons of fresh water ballast.

The Ken Eichner-2 is the fourth vessel built by Alaska Ship & Drydock, which has been selected as the construction manager and general contractor for a new Alaska-class ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System. The Ketchikan company has been selected to manage the $120 million Alaska-class ferry project, which will likely bring 129 full-time, year-round jobs to the yard, along with another 79 supplier and contractor jobs to the local community.

More Ferries
In a joint venture with Freeland Washington’s Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders, two ferries were delivered by Vigor Shipyards (formerly Todd Pacific Shipyards) last year to complete a three-boat order from the State of Washington. The 274-foot by 64-foot M/V Salish, the second boat of the Kwa-di Tabil class (or “little boat” in Quileute), began service in July, while the third and final 64-car boat, the M/V Kennewick was delivered later in the year, but three months ahead of schedule, and begins service this month. The first boat, M/V Chetzemoka, began service in November 2010, the first replacement for a series of 80-year-old vessels, which were removed from service in late 2007 due to extensive hull corrosion.

The design of the new boats was based on the Island Home, a ferry operating in Massachusetts between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, designed by Seattle’s Elliott Bay Design Group.

The Salish and Kennewick share the same design as the Chetzemoka, incorporating two EMD 12-710G7C-T2 marine diesels, each producing 3,000 HP at 900 rpm, driving conventional shafts and propellers, one at each end. While the first boat received controllable-pitch wheels, the two subsequent boats have fixed pitch propellers.

The boats each have a capacity of 750 passengers and 64 vehicles and a service speed of 15 knots. The hull sections, built by Vigor, were floated out and towed to Nichols, which fabricated and attached the aluminum superstructures, and returned the vessels to Vigor’s Everett shipyard for fitting out and then on to Washington State Ferries’ Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility.

On completion of the three-boat contract, Vigor announced a $115 million contract with the State of Washington to build a new 144-car ferry as the prime contractor, with Nichols Bros. acting as a subcontractor, providing the superstructure. Other contractors will include Seattle’s Eltech Electric and Tacoma’s Jesse Engineering. The new boat will be delivered in mid-2014.

New Tugs
In June, Foss Shipyard in Rainier, Oregon, delivered the 76-foot by 32-foot shallow-draft tug Capt. Frank Moody to Alaska petroleum distribution company Delta Western. The tug, which draws only 3.5 feet, will be used for the company’s fuel service deliveries to the river and coastal communities of Western Alaska waters. Like recent shallow-draft tugs delivered by Diversified and Oregon’s Fred Wahl Marine Construction, Capt. Frank Moody has a steel hull and aluminum house to reduce weight. The new tug is powered by three Caterpillar C18 engines, each rated at 479 hp, driving conventional propellers in tunnels.

The new boat, designed by BMT Fleet Technology and Foss’ technical services team, is primarily intended to push fuel barges throughout Alaska’s river and coastal regions, but the boat is also fitted with a Markey TES-20 electric towing winch to perform conventional stern towing tasks.

M/V Capt. Frank Moody has accommodations for eight, featuring state-of-the-art navigation, communications, and safety equipment.

Tacoma’s JM Martinac Shipbuilding Corp delivered three new tugs to the US Navy in 2010, and launched three more in 2011, but only one of those has been delivered: the YT-805 Seminole, which was delivered to the US Navy in Yokosuka, Japan via heavylift ship from Tacoma, Washington.

The other two newbuilds, YT-806 Puyallup and YT-807 Menominee, will be delivered in early 2012, by which time the yard will have completed the six-boat contract.

The Robert Allan-designed Z-Tech 4500 ASD tugs are being built for Pacific Tugboat Services of Long Beach, California, who are acting as the prime contractor for the delivery of the vessels to the Navy.

Like the first three tugs, the Seminole is configured to offer ship assist services to surface ships as well as submarines, and is equipped with underwater fendering as well as a forward-mounted JonRie ship-handling hawser winch.

Power for the boat is provided by a pair of Caterpillar 3512 diesel engines providing 1,810 HP each at 1,600 rpm, driving Schottel azimuthing stern drives with Kort nozzles. This configuration provides 42 tons of bollard pull ahead, 45 tons astern and a running speed of more than 12 knots.

The tugs are intended for deployment to ship assist/escort Naval vessels in the Pacific Northwest and Yokosuka, Japan.

Another tug to enter service in 2011 was the 120-foot by 35-foot Arctic Titan, launched by Western Towboat in November. The new vessel is the 6th Titan-class boat, designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants, and will be put to work towing barges from Alaska Railbelt Marine terminals in Seattle to Whittier, Alaska. The new boat is powered by the latest Caterpillar 3516 Marine Tier 3 engines, offering higher fuel efficiencies and lower emissions. The engines provide a combined 5,000 horsepower to Schottel azimuthing stern drives.

The carefully fitted boat offers 13 berths, a fully equipped galley and custom varnished woodwork.

High Speed Craft
Just down the Lake Washington Ship Canal from Western Towboat is Seattle’s Kvichak Marine Industries, builders of high-speed aluminum monohulls and catamarans for private and government use. The busy yard recently constructed and delivered a 25-foot push boat to Seattle City Light for operation with the service barge at the utility’s Diablo Dam in the North Cascades.

The in-house design is constructed of marine grade aluminum alloy plate and extrusions. Two vertical push knees at the bow are padded by 6-inch D-section rubber, and a 1,500-lb davit with manual winch is mounted on the stern.

The push boat is powered by twin John Deere 330-HP turbocharged diesel engines with stainless steel props in enclosed nozzles, offering a speed of 8 knots while pushing the barge, and a bollard pull of 10,280 lbs.

The new push boat’s draft is 3-feet, 5-inches and the boat can carry a crew of three.

The yard also recently delivered a final five Military Preposition Force (MPF) utility boats to the United States Navy, completing their final contract order. Kvichak has delivered a total of 33 of the MPFs to the Navy since February 2006, and the vessels are in operation worldwide.

The 40-foot by 14-foot landing craft are propelled by twin Cummins QSM11 engines rated for 660 HP at 2,300 rpm, driving Hamilton 364 water jets through ZF 325 marine gears, and offering a loaded flank speed of 38 knots and a lightened flank speed of 42 knots.

The boats have a house-aft configuration, with a powered bow door and high-level engine suctions for beach deployment.

Another vessel delivered last year was the distinctively painted, 74-passenger AquaLink II for Long Beach Transit (LBT) in Long Beach, California. Designed by Incat Crowther, of Australia, this is the second vessel built by Kvichak for Long Beach Transit, the first of which was delivered in 2001. Both vessels are operated by Catalina Express and are used to shuttle visitors and commuters between the Long Beach downtown/waterfront area to Alamitos Bay Landing.

The new 65-foot by 24-foot fully-enclosed aluminum catamaran is powered by twin Cummins QSM 11 diesel engines, each rated for 610 HP at 2,300 rpm, offering a service speed of 25 knots with a crew of two.

Another high-speed aluminum boatbuilder, this one in Sedro Wooley, Washington, recently delivered a 28-foot by 10-foot river patrol boat to an international client to use in riverine patrol applications. Workskiff builds sturdy, welded aluminum utility boats in sizes ranging from 17 feet to more than 40 feet, and recently acquired the patents, plans and trademarks from the former Aluminum Chambered Boats. Workskiff is one of the primary providers of oil spill response boats to the US Navy, and is currently building a series of 25-foot RIBs for the Illinois department of natural resources, and an Aluminum Chambered Boat design for Tongass National forest.

Workskiff’s recently delivered River Patrol Vessel (RPV) is based on the company’s 28-foot to 38-foot cabin/patrol series. Designed specifically to meet the requirements of shallow-water maritime law enforcement and security agencies, the new patrol boat draws between 20 and 24-inches of draft. Twin Yanmar 315-HP diesel engines coupled to New Zealand-built Saro surface drives allow the boat to operate in areas with thick waterborne vegetation, while offering speeds of up to 34 knots.

The new boat is fitted with gun mounts and ballistics protection for safety, lifting eyes and a beaching plate for utility and air conditioning and a marine toilet for the comfort of the crew.

All of the company’s boats are constructed of heavy-duty 5086 aluminum plate.

When new tugs are built, new barges often follow, and 2011 was no exception. In April, Portland, Oregon-based US Barge delivered an EBDG-designed combination deck and tank barge, Cauneq, to NorthStar Gas LLC, an Alaskan Petroleum Distributor. The 162-foot by 44-foot barge is capable of carrying up to 200,000 gallons of fuel plus deck freight in waters tributary to the Bearing Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean. The main deck offers more than 3,000 square feet of space and can accommodate a minimum of 7 standard 20-foot ISO containers. With a hull depth of only 6 feet, the barge can operate in waters as shallow as 3 feet. The barge went to work in May, making deliveries to the Yukon, Kuskokwim and Western Alaska Costal Regions.

In October, Portland, Oregon’s Gunderson Marine christened the KS 10, a 258-foot by 45-foot, 3,000-cubic yard split-hull hopper barge built for The Dutra Group in San Rafael, California.

Seattle’s Harley Marine Services had two barges delivered this year – one built by Zidell Marine, in Portland, Oregon and one built down the river at US Barge, also in Portland. The first of the two, Dale Frank Jr., delivered by Zidell in October, is a 289-foot by 78-foot double hull petroleum barge, capable of carrying 52,000 barrels. The Betsy Arntz, a 241-foot by 64-foot barge capable of carrying 24,500 barrels of intermediate fuel oil and 7,000 barrels of marine diesel, was delivered by US Barge in November.

Port of Longview Commissioners Ratify EGT, ILWU Deal

The Port of Longview’s three-member commission on Jan. 27 agreed to the parameters of a proposed settlement that ends a months-long battle between grain terminal operator EGT and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

“It’s a relief that this taking place, and that we can get back to doing what we do best – servicing ships and making a lot of money for the community,” Commissioner Bob Bagaason said.

The dispute stemmed from the company using the services of a union other than the ILWU at the terminal, which is a $200 million joint venture between Bunge Ltd, ITOCHU International and STX Pan Ocean.

Members of ILWU Local 21 had contended that its contract with the Port of Longview required that the 25 to 35 jobs inside the terminal go to ILWU labor. The company, however, said its lease agreement with the port does not specify ILWU workers, and members of Operating Engineers Local 701 had been working at the terminal.

As part of the conflict, ILWU members and supporters picketed the facility throughout last summer. During some pickets, protesters stormed the facility, cut brake lines on rail cars and dumped grain from the cars, among other things, which led to dozens of arrests on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.

A federal trial on the dispute had been scheduled to begin in March, but on Jan. 23 the office of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire announced that it had negotiated an agreement between the two sides.

Among the stipulations in the agreed-upon contract:
• All workers would have to be dispatched from the Local 21 union hall.
• Each worker at the terminal would be required to have at least a year of grain-handling experience.
• Both sides would drop all pending litigation, including unfair labor practice claims.
• The ILWU must request that no outside groups picket EGT.

The last stipulation is a reaction to calls from the Occupy movement and Cowlitz Wahkiakum Central Labor Council to picket the first incoming grain ship at the terminal, which is expected next month.

Notably, there’s no stipulation that relieves the ILWU from responsibility for damage inflicted at the terminal during last summer’s protests. In September, the union was ordered by a US district judge in Tacoma to pay $250,000 in compensation to EGT and local authorities for the damage caused.

The union is appealing the fines.

Disney Cruise Line Moving Out of Port of LA

It’ll be anchors away at the end of the year for Disney Cruise Line, which has decided to call it quits on a permanent home at the Port of Los Angeles.

The company announced Jan. 24 that at the end of this year, it’s shifting its 964-foot, 2,700-passenger vessel Disney Wonder from its current homeport in LA to the East Coast.

It was just in January 2011 that the Disney Wonder was repositioned in LA from its former base in Port Canaveral, Florida under a two-year deal that carried a three-year option.

The ship’s final West Coast voyage is scheduled to depart Dec. 2. After that, the Wonder would be repositioned in Miami, where it would be used starting Dec. 23 for cruises to the Bahamas and the western Caribbean.

Disney says the ship will return to the West Coast next year when it’s used for summer cruises from Vancouver, Canada to Alaska. Also, one voyage aboard the Wonder from the Port of LA to Vancouver, Canada is scheduled for May 2013.

Rebecca Peddie, a spokeswoman for Disney Cruise Line, said in a written statement that the shift is due to the company testing new itineraries from year to year, but cruise industry observers have speculated that the move from LA is being blamed on a continued decline in interest in cruises to Mexico, which has suffered from widespread violence over the past five years, due mostly to warring by rival drug cartels.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines discontinued trips to Mexico from LA in 2010.

After the port loses Disney, it would still have three other companies with ships homeported at Los Angeles: Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Overall, more than a dozen cruise lines call at Los Angeles’ World Cruise Center throughout the year, according to the port.

Port of Seattle Has 3rd Biggest Traffic Year Ever

For just the third time in its history, the Seattle Harbor handled more than two million 20-foot equivalent units in one year during 2011, according to newly-released Port of Seattle data.

A total of 2.03 million containers moving through the harbor last year, which was down almost 108,000 TEUs from the record 2.1 million shipped the year before, but was still good enough to be the third-largest recorded volume in the port’s history.

The second-busiest year in the port’s history was in 2005, when 2.08 million TEUs passed through.

Linda Styrk, the port’s managing director attributed the near-record year to several factors.

“We have the capacity and the facilities to handle 10,000 or more TEU container ships, we have excellent intermodal infrastructure and regional distribution facilities, and we continue to work with our customers collaboratively to keep the business here,” she said.

Exports increased in 2011, the port also saw the addition of new shipping lines, services, and trade lanes while empty container positioning remained strong.

According to Seattle’s data, the port was the sixth largest US port – and seventh in North America – in terms of TEUs during 2011; the largest port in Washington state in 2011 in terms TEUs and dollar value; and the ninth largest US port in 2011 in terms of dollar value.

Port of Oakland Appoints New Executives

Jean Banker has been appointed to the position of Deputy Executive Director at the Port of Oakland. In her new position, she is responsible for assisting the port’s executive director, Omar Benjamin, in the planning, developing, organizing and directing the port’s activities.

Previously, Banker had managed the finance and administrative services for the port’s Maritime Division, a position she’d held since August 2007. Before working at Oakland, she spent 13 years as deputy director of capital programs for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Her promotion was effective Jan. 23.

Additionally, the port has named Chris Chan its engineering director. In his new role, he oversees the port’s engineering division, which consists of five departments: Project Design and Delivery – Aviation; Project Design and Delivery – Maritime; Engineering Services; IT; and Utilities.

He joined the port’s engineering division in 1990, and most recently managed the Engineering Services Department as a principal engineer. His official start date was Dec. 26.

“Both Jean and Chris were selected through a rigorous search for senior managers that resulted in hundreds of applicants,” Benjamin said in a statement released by the port. “They are our colleagues, and being promoted from within the organization, which demonstrates the high caliber of professionals that we have here.”