Friday, March 8, 2013

San Diego Mayor Reveals Major Port Development Plan

In a March 6 speech to the city’s economic development committee, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner presented a plan to add 6,000 waterfront jobs by the year 2020, while reducing waterfront pollution by 20 percent during the same timeframe.

“My vision for the port, which I intend to develop as a regional asset, with the help of my fellow mayors from National City, Chula Vista, Coronado and Imperial Beach, contemplates an economy that combines our region’s ‘green’ sectors – alternative energy, efficiency technology – with the ‘blue’ sectors – maritime trade, ship building, defense, ocean research – into an ‘aqua’ economy,” he said.

The ‘aqua’ jobs, Filner said, would span blue-collar, white-collar and green-collar jobs; would be well-paying; oriented toward the water; and include “innovations for sustainability.”

The plan focuses on five strategic areas: increasing global trade; strengthening ties with the US Navy, which has a strong presence in and around the San Diego Harbor; investment in roads, rails, bridges and other forms of infrastructure; develop a “marine highway” for short sea shipping; and revitalize the area’s fisheries by building a San Diego version of Pike Place Market, which overlooks the waterfront in Seattle.

Filner also said he would like to see several marine-based technology and intellectual pursuits started, including a “PortTechSD,” which would be created in the mold of the PortTechLA technology incubator system; a partnership between the city’s Youth Development Office and the maritime industry to expand economic opportunities for young San Diegans; and the establishment of a Clean Water Technology Center and a Maritime Robotics Center.

“I have identified a multi-faceted approach that focuses on targeted strategic objectives, by working with many of our best regional leaders at all levels of government and by embracing and growing one of our finest assets: the Port of San Diego,” Filner said.

For his plan to come to fruition, the mayor would need the support of the seven-member Board of Port Commissioners. San Diego appoints three members of the panel, but the other four are chosen by the neighboring cities of National City, Chula Vista, Coronado and Imperial Beach.

In his speech, Filner said San Diego should set minimum qualifications for its appointees to the board and that representatives should at least have several years of professional experience in the maritime, real estate, hospitality, cruise, sustainability or diplomatic fields.

In January, Filner vetoed two City Council appointments to the board; the positions remain unfilled.

New Seattle Port Commissioner Named

Microsoft attorney Courtney Gregoire has been chosen to fill the seat on the Port of Seattle Commission that was vacated earlier this year by Gael Tarleton, who was elected to the Washington House of Representatives.

With Microsoft, Gregoire supports the firm’s worldwide sales group. She joins the port after serving as the director of President Obama’s National Export Initiative and other high-profile work to support economic development.

She also previously served as deputy chief of staff to Commerce Secretary John Bryson and legislative director to Sen. Maria Cantwell. She has degrees from Harvard Law School and Willamette University.

“Courtney brings unparalleled accomplishments and relationships that will advance the port’s mission to create family-wage jobs by growing trade. We’re excited to welcome her to our team,” Commission President Tom Albro said.

The Commission will soon begin a second public process to fill the seat of Rob Holland, who’s resigning from the Commission effective March 15. A decision on the seat is expected to be completed in late April or early May.

The port says finalists not chosen for Tarleton’s position will be automatically considered for the second position unless a finalist chooses to end their candidacy. Any of the applicants for the first vacancy will also be considered if the candidate advises the Commission Office of continuing interest.

The Commission is accepting applications for Holland’s seat until noon on March 22. Application packets are available on the Commission website at

On March 26, the new applicants will be asked to address the Commissioners for three minutes or submit a written statement. Returning applicants may address the Commissioners if they so choose, but an appearance is not necessary.

Both seats will be on the November ballot, with the election for Holland’s position filling the seat for four years. The winner in the race for Tarleton’s seat would serve until 2015.

Merchant Marine Academy Honors Crowley CEO

Crowley Maritime President, Chair and CEO Tom Crowley recently became an honorary alumnus of the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) earlier this month during a special banquet held in his honor.

In front of over 130 guests, including past and present Crowley employees and USMMA graduates, the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation, along with its affiliated Jacksonville, Florida chapter, recognized Crowley for his years of support of the academy and its cadets at the University Club in Jacksonville, Florida.

“This is an immense honor for me, not just because this is one of the most important and outstanding institutions of higher learning, but because one of our company’s core values is ‘Our People,’ and many of our people have their roots with this academy,” Crowley said in a speech during the event. “It’s because of them, and those who will come after, that I will always support the US Merchant Marine and its mission to develop maritime leaders.”

Crowley has supported the USMMA through the establishment of the USMMA Scholarship Program funded by the Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship, which since 1994 has provided $10,000 in scholarships funds annually to USMMA cadets. Crowley has also supported men and women at the USMMA with internships and jobs after graduation.

During the event, several USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation members, including President James Tobin and Chairman of the Board of Directors Charlie Hill, thanked Crowley and his company, and presented him with a special portrait of a racing sailboat on Long Island Sound painted by fellow alumni.

Crowley, a graduate of the University of Washington, was previously honored by the USMMA in 2003 with an honorary doctorate degree during commencement exercises in Kings Point, NY.

Seattle’s Green Gateway Award Winners Honored

APL Ltd., Maersk Line, Matson Navigation, COSCO Container Lines, Royal Caribbean Intl., Celebrity Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line have been announced as winners of the Port of Seattle’s annual Green Gateway Partners Awards.

The awards, now in their third year, recognize the environmental achievements of the port’s cruise and containership operators. This year’s winners were honored Feb. 28.

“It’s great to have customers who not only understand that we have to work toward continuous improvement, but demonstrate a clear commitment to do so,” Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani said in a statement.

The Green Gateway Partners Awards set as a minimum requirement participation in the port’s At-Berth Clean Fuels program or use of shore power. These and other environmental activities are assigned point values and depending on the number of points earned, Green Gateway Partners can achieve one of three recognition levels – gold, silver or bronze.

The awards and scoring system are conducted by analysts from Cascadia Consulting Group and Glosten Associates.

This year, for the first time in the awards’ history, the port awarded a platinum-level award for the commitment to environmental sustainability, with Holland America receiving the recognition.

The Green Gateway Partners Awards are so named due to the Port of Seattle’s declared role as “the Green Gateway” for maritime trade between Asia and the American Midwest and East Coast. A 2009 study showed that for cargo originating in much of Asia and bound for a wide range of destinations across the United States, routes through Seattle resulted in lower carbon emissions than other routes.