Friday, April 19, 2013

Portland Upgrading Terminal for Soda Ash Exports

Work is now underway for a Kinder Morgan soda ash export facility at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 4. The work, which includes the installation of a new ship loader, removal of an outmoded structure and dredging alongside the docks, is expected to be complete in September.

Kinder Morgan committed to buy and install the new ship loader at Terminal 4 in 2012 while negotiating a new 10-year lease extension that went into effect at the start of 2013. The work is expected to cost about $9.5 million.

Kinder Morgan has managed soda ash export operations at Terminal 4 since 1998 – and under a different name when the mineral bulk facility was originally constructed in 1987. The product is exported by the world’s largest soda ash exporter, American Natural Soda Ash Corp. (ANSAC), which operates as the sales, marketing and logistics arm for three US producers of natural soda ash.

Soda ash is used in the manufacture of glass and detergents. It’s exported through Portland to countries around the world and is mined in Green River, Wyoming, home of the largest known natural deposits in the world.

Soda ash arrives in Portland loaded on trains and is then stored in a covered structure until it’s loaded onto bulk cargo ships via a ship loader conveyor system. That ship loader portion of the conveyor system is being replaced by a state of the art, high capacity loader that’s expected to increase productivity and efficiency.

In September, maintenance dredging is scheduled at the ship berths to allow unimpeded access for ships leaving Terminal 4 fully loaded. Since 2008, about 5,000 cubic yards of new sediments have accumulated to the degree that its 40-foot operating depth is close to being compromised, according to Portland. The work is being conducted under contract by the port, per its lease agreement with Kinder Morgan.

Port Metro Vancouver Monthly Traffic Down

Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest seaport, saw a total of 195,103 TEUs in March 2013, a drop from the 217,162 TEUs that port terminals saw during the same month in 2012, according to newly released data.

Of the containers traveling through the port last month, the vast majority, 177,562, were full, with about 93,100 of them being exported and 84,390 being imports. Empties accounted for 17,542 TEUs during the month, with 9,300 of those being inbound and more than 8,200 being outbound. In March 2012, Metro Vancouver moved almost 200,000 full containers and about 17,100 empties.

The year-over-year decrease in full container traffic can be attributed in part to the Lunar New Year holiday, which affects production in many Asian countries that export to western North America. Compared to 2012, the holiday celebration started later this year and the effects were pushed to March, while last year’s holiday slowed trade in February 2012.

But despite the slow month, Metro Vancouver is still ahead of last year’s pace for container movement. So far in 2013, the port has moved 642,959 TEUs, up from roughly 627,000 TEUs during the same time period in 2012.

The volumes make it the third busiest port on the North American West Coast, behind Los Angeles and Long Beach, which saw totals of 1.78 million and 1.55 million TEUs respectively, during the same first three months of the year.

5,000-Plus Construction Jobs Created by POLB in 2012

The Port of Long Beach says that its modernization projects created 5,166 new construction-related jobs in the region in 2012, more than 2,000 more than the number created the previous year.

The port mainly attributes the employment leap to the award of contracts for the design and building of the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement and an ongoing terminal makeover. In 2012, Long Beach awarded a $650 million design-build contract for the bridge project and major contracts for the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Program.

“The creation of more than 5,000 new jobs is welcome news for Southern California,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Susan Anderson Wise said. “Keep in mind that these projects are modernizing our port in order for us to stay competitive and remain a reliable economic resource that supports hundreds of thousands of permanent trade-related jobs.”

Other contracts awarded in 2012 included environmental work, security upgrades, shore power installations for terminals and other infrastructure.

The port says the job figures were calculated by examining each project to determine how many direct construction jobs are created. Estimates are then made of the spin-off jobs associated with industries that support the construction, as well as the jobs that result from construction and support industry workers spending their salaries.

The share of direct construction jobs that make up each project’s estimated job total ranges from 40 to 64 percent. The great majority of these direct jobs are located in the city of Long Beach.

In 2011, port construction contracts generated 2,985 new jobs, and in 2010, 880 were generated.
Long Beach is in the midst of a 10-year, $4.5 billion capital improvement program. Although the bridge replacement is mostly funded with state, federal and county transportation monies, the capital improvement program overall is supported primarily by the revenue generated by the shipping trade.

The port says it moves more than $155 billion in goods each year, with that cargo flow supporting over 300,000 permanent Southern California jobs.

New CFO at Port of San Diego

Robert “Bob” DeAngelis has been appointed Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer for the Port of San Diego. He took the oath of office during the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners’ Tues., April 9, 2013 meeting.

“I’m looking forward to joining the executive leadership team of the Port of San Diego,” DeAngelis said. “This is a unique opportunity to work for a public-service agency that serves as an economic engine for the San Diego region and enhances the surrounding communities in so many essential ways.”

DeAngelis will oversee the port’s Financial Services and Accounting and Business and Information Technology Services divisions. He succeeds Jeff McEntee, who’s retiring in May after 25 years with the port. He had held the CFO/Treasurer role since 2001.

DeAngelis is moving to San Diego from Utah, where he was a Senior Vice President, Operations Reporting at Teleperformance, an international business provider of customer service and technical support. His prior experience included CFO for a Teleperformance subsidiary, Vice President, Finance for and working for accounting firm KPMG, all in the Philadelphia area.

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Temple University and became a Certified Public Accountant.

“We were impressed with his experience leading finance and operations for domestic and international companies, both publicly and privately held,” POSD President and CEO Wayne Darbeau said of why DeAngelis was chosen.

The retiring McEntee joined the port in 1988. Prior to becoming the CFO/Treasurer, he was the Director of Audit, Risk Management & Safety and the Senior Director, Business & Financial Services.
He leaves the port with low debt levels and A+ credit ratings from both Fitch and Standard & Poors.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Terminals

By Kathy A. Smith

Federal, state and local regulations call for better management of possible pollutants and invasive species, while at the same time shipping lines are calling for green alternatives both for themselves and to pass along in marketing efforts to their own clients. This makes port authorities operating marine terminals along the West Coast very interested in green operations.

Bellingham Redevelopment
One of these West Coast ports is the Port of Bellingham, which operates two major marinas, Blaine Harbor and Squalicum Harbor, whose more than 2,000 slips combined make up much of the marina capacity of the State of Washington. Back in 2007, the Bellingham marinas were among the first to obtain 5-Star ratings in not only how they deal with waste materials by using environmentally friendly substances, but in outreach to the customers.

“Right now when boaters remove their trailerable boats from the water, they run their motors with clean water and clean off their boats, that material goes straight into the storm drain system, which then goes into the city sewer lines,” says Dave Warter, Marine Terminals Supervisor. “What we’re going to be doing this year is installing a filtration system that will catch materials that might be coming off the hull, like paint or residual oil from motors.” In 2009, the Port, which requires Best Management Practices for all users of their facilities, also successfully applied and received the same 5-Star rating for the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, and has done so every year since.

The Port’s environmental initiatives at the cruise terminal include sewage pumpouts for the charter vessels and a sewer line for the Alaska ferry so they do not have to discharge while in open water. A recycling plan offers a program for paper, cardboard, bottles and cans and a recycling program for monofilament net at their boat launch. Other initiatives call for using friendlier cleaning products, green light fixtures, including ballasts and bulbs, using sewer drain filters and posting signage at garbage locations on where to take hazardous waste. The Port even offers a program for signage educating the public on the sensitive waters of Bellingham Bay and decals on all storm drains stating ‘Do Not Dump!’

Warter says as far as the 5-Star program goes, “Ten years ago, you didn’t necessarily think about environmental impact on the local waterways and how it even affects the food we eat. It’s nice to have a program in place that helps you steer in a better direction, and we are constantly looking for ways we can be more environmentally-responsible.”

Michael Hogan, Environmental Analyst for the Port of Bellingham says overall, this year, the Port will construct about $1 million in energy efficiency improvements to Port facilities.

The Port is also making significant investments on Bellingham’s central waterfront to clean up historic contamination, rebuild waterfront terminals and transition underutilized heavy industrial property into productive reuse. The Port has partnered with the City of Bellingham to guide the redevelopment of a 237-acre piece of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront. The long-term vision for this former mill site is a new mixed-use neighborhood, featuring residential, commercial, light industrial and institutional uses, as well as parks, trails and a healthy shoreline.

Bellingham’s waterfront redevelopment plans include a new downtown marina. The Port will remove more than 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated treatment sludge from a 37-acre wastewater treatment lagoon, which was formerly used to treat process water from a complex pulp, paper and chemical facility. Once the lagoon is cleaned out, it will be converted into a new marina, which will include a mile of public access along the outside of the breakwater and shorelines reshaped to support salmon recovery efforts.

“When the Port makes major capital investment decisions, it strives to integrate a range of economic, environmental and community benefits into its plans and projects,” says Hogan. For example, the Port recently performed maintenance dredging in Squalicum Harbor. Rather than pay millions of dollars to transport and dispose of the dredge material offsite, the Port reused the dredge material as part of an environmental cap at a nearby clean-up site. This project supported bay-wide environmental clean up efforts and reduced the environmental footprint of the project.

Oyster Power
Since 2004, shore power has been an integral part of cruise ship facilities at the Port of Seattle. “The biggest source of emissions in most ports comes from vessels,” says Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Director of Seaport Environmental and Planning. “So shore power makes sense for cruise vessels because they call frequently and have a very large power demand.” In fact, last year, the Port saw over 200 cruise ships.

On the container side, Jones Stebbins says the Port’s ‘At Berth Clean Fuels Program’ has seen good participation and been an effective approach to reducing vessel emissions. “Between using low sulphur fuel and plugging into shore power, last year, 57 percent of the vessels calling into our port did one of the two.”

Additionally, ports in Puget Sound recently completed an emissions inventory. The Port of Seattle’s diesel particulate emissions from ocean-going vessels while at berth went down 34 percent over the past six years, and from their clean fuel incentive program, they removed more than 1,000 metric tons of sulphur from the environment. The Port is upgrading and retrofitting cargo handling equipment to be less harmful to the environment, evidenced by cargo handling diesel particulate emissions dropping by 39 percent, and emissions from trucks going down 53 percent as well over the past six years.

With respect to storm water run-off, Jones Stebbins says the Port has designed a very effective treatment using oyster shells in catch basins that has significantly reduced metals like zinc and copper from tires and brake pads. For cleaning docks, their maintenance shop developed a machine that sucks up the cleaning water with a large shop vac or vacuum truck. This prevents the dirty water from getting into the environment. The Port has also partnered on a terminal project with the local utility on lighting, which saves 1 million kilowatts a year, a savings of $100,000. And a number of the Port’s sites are brownfield developments, former industrial sites where chemicals like PCBs were used in manufacturing which Jones Stebbins says have now been addressed.

“The Port of Seattle is a vibrant and active cruise and cargo terminal which includes 32 acres of habitat the Port has restored or enhanced and we will be building an additional 40 acres,” says Jones Stebbins.

Grant Power
The Port of San Francisco predominantly serves cruise ships, with one existing cruise terminal at Pier 35, and a second under construction at Piers 27/ 29, expected to open in early 2014. The new terminal will be fully LEED-certified and will be the Port’s primary cruise terminal.

Currently, the Port sees about 60 cruise vessels a year, and has a shoreside power system at Pier 27/29 that has been in place since late 2010, which at the time was the first of its kind for cruise ships in California and only the fourth in the world, according to Jay Ach, Manager of Regulatory & Environmental Affairs, Maritime Division.

On the ship repair side, in October 2012, the Port, which owns the shipyard at Pier 70 that is leased to BAE San Francisco Ship Repair, completed installing shoreside power for the Drydock #2 and for Wharf 4 next door, providing 8,000 amps at 480 volts of power to vessels. The shipyard, originally covering a much larger area, was built beginning in the late 1800s, and there are plans to redevelop the area surrounding it, so addressing asbestos in the buildings, lead paint, soil contamination and seismic stability will be high on the agenda.

Ach says environmental regulations in California ports are some of the most stringent in the country. He believes all of the state’s ports also work hard to go beyond regulations. The California Air Resources Board, through its Transportation Fund for Clean Air and Carl Moyer programs, fund air pollution reduction initiatives. He says many of the Port’s tenants can also access these grant programs. “Our tug companies and bar pilots have replaced or upgraded engines, and one of our local dredging companies has replaced or retrofitted a lot of diesel engines using grant funds.”

Other agencies also helped with the Port’s shoreside power initiative. “We had a budget of $5.2 million for our shoreside power facility at Pier 27, and $1.9 million of that came from the Bay Area Quality Management District. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that operates the Hetch Hetchy water and power system contributed $1.3 million, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also contributed $1 million through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program. So we received $4.2 million in grant funds, with just $1 million out-of-pocket expenses for the Port,” Ach says.

He also notes that the Port’s planning and engineering groups each have participating LEED-certified professionals who work closely on energy efficiency projects. This will bode the Port well as it undertakes more development/redevelopments which now include the northern waterfront, a declared historic district with old pier shed buildings, and the move of the Exploratorium hands-on science center to Piers 17 and 19.

Mark Sisson, Senior port planner/analyst for AECOM’s California office reports that AECOM was the lead planning consultant for the development of Terminal 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia’s Deltaport, the region’s largest container terminal located at Roberts Bank.

The terminal will be largely an electric facility with electric dock cranes, cold ironing, and a large capacity rail yard that will reduce the number of trucks. The facility will be open almost 24 hours, which will also smooth out demand for trucks and support reduced emissions. Sisson says with the container yard being automated, trucks will no longer have to wait in queues to be unloaded with their engines idling. Instead, they will back up to individual container stalls where a robotic electric crane will unload them.

Terminal 2 will be a high-density terminal, with higher capacity per acre, which will include the use of clean materials that meet stringent land use regulations.

LA Monthly Container Volumes Fall Significantly in March

The Port of Los Angeles has released its March 2013 cargo volumes, and after a 17 percent surge in February cargo volumes, last month’s overall volumes fell 22.6 percent compared to March 2012.

The decrease is being attributed in part to the timing of the Chinese New Year, which slows production in Asian countries that export to the United States, as well as a vessel service that shifted out of the Port of LA.

Last month, Los Angeles saw drops in every major statistical category it monitors, including loaded inbound containers, loaded outbound and number of empties moved according to port data.

Imports dropped 28.7 percent, from 324,758 TEUs in March 2012 to 231,396 TEUs this March. Exports fell 17.9 percent, from 188,155 TEUs in March 2012 to 154,428 TEUs in March 2013.

Combined, total loaded imports and exports for March decreased 24.7 percent, dropping from 512,913 TEUs last March to 385,824 TEUs in March 2013. Factoring in empties, which decreased 14.6 percent year over year, overall, the March 2013 volume of 503,168 TEUs represented a 22.6 percent compared to March 2012’s 650,452 TEUs.

The month of declines also dragged down the port’s calendar year and fiscal year volumes to date. During the first quarter of the calendar year, POLA terminals moved 1.78 million TEUs, a drop of nearly 87,700 containers, or about 4.7 percent, from the 1.87 million TEUs of the same three months last year.

And for the fiscal year, which began July 1, Los Angeles terminals have seen 5.85 million TEUs thus far, a 3.2 percent drop from FY 2012’s 6.0 million over the same time period.

Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles can be found at:

Long Beach Monthly Cargo Volumes Rise

Overall cargo volumes rose 5.4 percent at the Port of Long Beach in March, thanks to a five-year high for exports, which were up 7.9 percent compared to the same month in 2012.

A total of 486,699 20-foot equivalent container units were moved in March, according to port data. Exports increased to 156,212 TEUs, the highest volume since June 2008.

Imports, meanwhile, were down 0.5 percent to 224,913 TEUs. The port maintains that imports slowed in March due to the Lunar New Year holiday, which affects production in many Asian countries that export to the United States.

Compared to 2012, the holiday celebration started later this year and the effects were pushed to March, while last year’s holiday slowed trade in February 2012.

The number of empties moved rose 16.5 percent year-over-year to 105,574 TEUs this past March, according to port data.

For the first three months of 2013, cargo container volumes were up 18.9 percent – including 20.3 percent higher imports, 10.9 percent higher exports and 26.8 percent more empties. The strong opening quarter was attributed in part by the port to the larger ships calling more frequently at Long Beach and the addition of service lines in recent months.

The port has also seen an increase in fiscal year volumes compared to 2012. For FY 2013, which began Oct. 1, Long Beach has moved about 3.2 million containers so far, a nearly 16 percent jump from the 2.7 million seen during the same period the year before.

The latest POLB monthly cargo numbers can be seen at