Friday, May 3, 2013

Iron Ore Exports Begin at Long Beach Port

A dockside ceremony was conducted April 30 to commemorate the launch of a venture by scrap metal exporter SA Recycling to distribute iron ore from the Port of Long Beach.

SA Recycling is working with CML Metals Corp. to send iron ore from mines in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah to Asia in order to meet the growing demand for raw materials in the booming overseas steel industry.

The iron ore exports, which began earlier this spring, are the first from Long Beach in 40 years.

“I’m really excited about it,” SA Recycling President and CEO George Adams said. “The price of iron ore is starting to rise to the point where you can afford to mine it and ship it to China, South Korea, Malaysia and other Asian markets.”

At prices nearing $140 per metric ton, iron ore is a rising commodity in the US economy. The raw material is abundant in the western US and the demand in Asia’s rising.

After a year of planning, SA kicked off the venture by loading and sending its first 50,000-ton shipment of the raw material to China in late March. The company and port say that if market demand remains strong, SA Recycling could export more than a million tons of iron ore this year.

“The (Long Beach Harbor) Commission appreciates our industry partners’ efforts to find new business, especially export business, at the port,” Commission Vice President Thomas Fields, who attended the ceremony, said. “We’re delighted that the port was able to assist SA in expanding into the iron ore market.”

SA Recycling has operated a break bulk terminal at Pier T for more than 15 years, and also operates a scrap metal export facility at the Port of Los Angeles. It’s the largest scrap metal processor in the southwestern United States, operating a total of 55 recycling facilities in three states and recycling more than 2.5 million tons of scrap annually, according to the company.

Maersk Line Hires Microsoft Exec

Maersk Line has hired Stephen Schueler as its Chief Commercial Officer, effective May 27. Schueler, a 46-year-old American, comes to Maersk from Microsoft Corp., where he was the head of global retail sales and marketing.

He takes over for former Maersk Line CCO Lucas Vos, who submitted his resignation in February after seven years with the company. Vos’ last day was May 1.

Schueler had only been with Microsoft since August 2012, but prior to that, he spent more than 20 years with Procter & Gamble, where he utilized his sales and management skills in a variety of roles across Europe, South America and Asia before becoming the company’s head of global retail sales.

“Stephen has developed and led the global sales operations of two of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies with great results. We are focused on improving the way we sell our services to customers in order to reach volume and profit targets and Stephen brings valuable insight that we hope to leverage,” Maersk Line CEO Søren Skou said. “Combined with extensive international sales experience, he is exactly what we are looking for to further strengthen the Maersk Line sales force.”

With Maersk Line, Stephen will be responsible for over 9,000 Maersk Line employees in 125 countries, which includes the global country organizations and all global sales, customer service and communication related tasks.

He’s also expected to focus on sales efficiency, value selling and customer needs, according to Maersk.

New President/CEO for Maher Terminals

Maher Terminals, which operates a facility at the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, has appointed Gary Cross as its new president and chief executive officer. Cross had been one of the company’s executive vice presidents the past two years.

He joined Maher in 1978 as a management trainee and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his tenure with the company, joining the sales and marketing team in 1996, before the head of marketing and business development in 2009 and finally an executive vice president in 2011.

“Gary rapidly rose to the top as the most appropriate choice to lead the Maher organization forward with his impactful leadership and experience,” Deutsche Bank head of operating assets Enrico Sanna, who took part in the hiring process, said.

Cross replaces the company’s most recent CEO, John Buckley, who had held the job since November 2007.

Maher Terminals operates the 59-acre Prince Rupert intermodal container handling facility, as well as a terminal at the Port of New York-New Jersey. The company is also developing a 315-acre container terminal and intermodal rail facility on Canada’s east coast which would be located on a 14,000-acre industrial reserve on the Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia.

It would be similar to Maher’s Prince Rupert terminal in that it’s specifically designed as a high volume Intermodal container transfer facility.

Town Hall Meeting on Port Competitiveness Scheduled

The Center for International Trade & Transportation (CITT) is conducting a town hall-style meeting Wed., May 15 on efficiency and competitiveness in the maritime shipping industry.

The annual CITT meeting is planned for 6 to 8:30 pm in the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach. This year’s theme is “Efficiency and Competitiveness: Securing Cargo and Jobs.”

The purpose, according to event organizers, is to define what makes a port competitive.

“The pressing industry issue of the year determines the topic we address,” CITT Executive Director Marianne Venieris explained. “The audience feedback collected at previous events gives us a good indication of issues that need clarification in an educational setting. CITT’s Policy and Steering Committee makes the final decision on the topic for this event.”

Panelists for this year’s event include Jeff Coppersmith, president of Coppersmith Global Logistics; Michael Podue, President, Marine Clerks Association, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63; Alan McCorkle, Senior Vice President, APM Terminals; Vic La Rosa, CEO/President, Total Transportation Services; and Roger Rowe of the West Long Beach Association community group.

Setting the stage for the panel discussion will be a video illustrating the complexity of the supply chain and how decisions made at one point along that chain can have far-reaching impacts.

“Our goal is to help the audience discover how efficiency across the supply chain impacts the region’s economy, affects the community, and provides job opportunities,” Dr. Thomas O’Brien, CITT’s Director of Research and this year’s town hall moderator, said. “We’ll also discuss how local decisions affect national and global competitiveness.”

Admission is free. For more information on the event, call the CITT office at (562) 985-2872 or visit

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Illinois DOT Recapitalizes River Ferry Fleet

By Greg Jose

Nestled between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers north of St. Louis, Calhoun County is a picturesque rural peninsula of rolling hills, cornfields and peach orchards. Surrounded by river for all but a 17-mile-wide strip of land at its far north, the county is a virtual island, with a single bridge and four vehicle-ferry routes serving as its only other connections to the mainland.

Two of these ferry routes are free to users, and operated 24/7 by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The Brussels Ferry is located about one mile west of Grafton, near the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge and the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The Kampsville Ferry operates from the town of Kampsville in the northern part of the county.

The IDOT ferry fleet employs an unconventional vessel configuration. Vehicles and passengers are carried on non-powered barges that are certified to carry anywhere from 12 to 18 vehicles and 63 to 149 passengers. The barges are conveyed by push boats mated to the barge midship via a trailer hitch-like pivot lug linkage. This configuration enables good controllability and a degree of interchangeability and redundancy between the agency’s three push boats and four barges.

Often in the summer months, and at other peak times throughout the year, long lines of vehicles build up at the landings and a second ferry unit is placed into service. To better meet demand and retain capacity in the event of a vessel going out of service, IDOT embarked on a process to upgrade its fleet to employ two dedicated, serviceable units at each of its two route locations.

This process began in earnest in January 2010, when IDOT contracted with Art Anderson Associates (AAA) to conduct a trade-off study examining new ferry options, prepare the engineering plans and specifications for the new ferry unit, and provide inspection and support services during construction. AAA is a Bremerton, Washington-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm with a market emphasis on ferries and passenger vessels, and offered IDOT a compelling set of qualifications.

The trade-off study examined three distinct ferry schemes: a tug-barge unit of the same basic size and configuration as IDOT’s previous newest ferry unit, the Belle of Calhoun and 18-car Barge 2000; a similar, but larger tug-barge unit carrying 21 cars; and a double-ended ferry boat with a 24-car capacity. The study analyzed traffic patterns, potential tug and barge modifications, construction and life-cycle cost, safety and maneuverability, regulatory compliance, reliability, the shore-ramp interface, and interchangeability with other units in the fleet.

Weighing all these factors and after review and input from IDOT, the study ultimately concluded that a new tug-barge unit, slightly larger and with more horsepower than the Belle of Calhoun/Barge 2000 unit is the optimal solution. While this recommended configuration was estimated to cost more to construct and operate than the Belle of Calhoun/Barge 2000 unit, its advantages include increased capacity for future traffic growth, smaller queuing lines during peak periods, and a higher traffic threshold before putting a costly second unit into service.

Following IDOT acceptance of the recommendation, AAA proceeded into the engineering design phase, developing the set of plans, specifications and cost estimates necessary to bid the project. The solicitation for construction of the new unit was published in December 2011. IDOT received contractor bids and selected Massman Construction of Kansas City as the Prime Contractor, who subcontracted with Serodino Inc. to fabricate the new unit at Serodino’s Shipyard facility in Guild, Tennessee.

The new 60-foot Push Boat, christened Liberty Belle, employs twin 8.1L, 300-HP John Deere PowerTech diesel engines powering two ducted propellers via twin-disc reduction gears, and a single 30-KW Northern Lights auxiliary diesel generator for ship service loads. The new barge, named Barge 2012, is 136 feet in length (168 feet with ramps extended) and is certified to carry 21 vehicles and 149 passengers.

The unit is operated by a two-person crew of a Master and Deckhand. The Master uses the Liberty Belle’s twin propulsion drives and control surfaces to maneuver the barge via the midship tow linkage. At each landing, the Master pivots the Liberty Belle around the linkage to change directions for the next crossing and a stern latch is pneumatically deployed to firmly connect the push boat to the barge. At each end, the ferry ramps align, deploy, and contact a shore landing ramp; the ferry is tied off; and the vehicle safety barrier lowered to allow vehicle unloading and loading.

Dockside trials for the new ferry unit commenced on November 27th, followed by operational trials at the Brussels crossing. Delivery to IDOT is expected by the time of publication of this issue. IDOT is also moving forward with procurement of a second ferry unit of the same design as part of its fleet recapitalization program, and recently awarded the construction management contract for that follow-on effort to Art Anderson Associates.

The IDOT project has expanded Art Anderson Associates’ ferry vessel design portfolio and is a key success in the firm’s strategy to expand its geographic reach beyond its traditional west coast market. “We know Midwest operators have different needs than those on the coasts,” said Ralph Duncan, Vice-President of the firm’s Marine Group, “and our industry focus on design of cost-effective, reliable small passenger and vehicle ferries is a great fit for this market.” The firm’s recent experience includes similar small ferry work for Clackamas County (Oregon), Pierce County (Washington) and Kitsap Transit (Washington).

Greg Jose is the Manager of Corporate Image and Opportunity at Art Anderson Associates. He leads business development and project management for ferry transportation planning projects and is responsible for the firm’s overall marketing campaigns and programs.  

Tacoma Top US Seaport for Growth in 2012, Report Says

The Port of Tacoma’s 28.7 percent increase in container traffic during 2012 made it the top US port for growth during the year, and one of just a handful of ports that saw substantial growth during the 12-month period, according to a newly released report.

The report, by trade intelligence company Zepol Corp., analyzes the activity of the top 20 ports in the country. Tacoma was 10th on the list in overall container traffic and fifth among West Coast ports, after Los Angeles (4.1 million TEUs), Long Beach (3.0 million), Oakland (765,185) and Seattle (761,227).

Tacoma had a total import value of more than $35 billion, according to the report, with the leading products, in terms of vessel value, imported through the port being passenger motor vehicles, gearboxes for motor vehicles and video game consoles.

Motor vehicles had a total vessel value of about $2 billion. The total vessel value for gearboxes was next, at $1.2 billion.

Although Tacoma ranked 10th on the list in number of containers moved, it was the only West Coast port that saw an increase in traffic and one of only two ports in the country two see a double digit year-over-year jump. The other was Virginia’s Port of Norfolk, which saw 10.2 percent more TEUs than the year before.

Regarding the other West Coast seaports, Los Angeles’ traffic declined 0.8 percent in 2012 compared with the year prior; Long Beach’s container movement fell 2.5 percent; Oakland was down 2.0 percent; and Seattle’s traffic dropped 5.9 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Despite LA’s total TEUs being down from 2011 by 0.8 percent, the total value of goods was up five percent, reaching over $241 billion, according to Zepol. Of the thousands of goods imported by vessel to Los Angeles, the top products, in terms of vessel value, were passenger motor vehicles. Vehicles made up almost five percent of total imports to LA, and were valued at over $11.7 billion.

About 55 percent of LA’s total import’s during 2012 came from China.

The total value of goods imported to Long Beach was over $65.2 billion, about nine percent higher than 2011.

Unlike Los Angeles, Long Beach’s top product imported was petroleum oil. Port terminals brought $7.8 billion worth of it last year, according to the data.