Thursday, May 23, 2013

POLA Trade Program Receives Presidential Award

The Port of Los Angeles’ Trade Connect program has earned the nation’s highest honor for promoting American export trade, the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service. The port was among the 2013 honorees recognized for export sales or service during a May 20 ceremony at US Department of Commerce’s Washington, DC headquarters.

Trade Connect is an outreach program that offers a series of workshops to small and midsize American companies to educate them on the opportunities, costs and requirements of exporting their goods and services.

Training ranges from introductory courses on the basics of commercial transactions, foreign markets, financing, documentation and logistics, to advanced seminars on international demand for specific products and emerging global consumer markets.

The Port LA launched Trade Connect in 2007 in response to the imbalance between US spending on foreign goods and sales of US products to international markets. This imbalance is reflected in ships leaving the port with load factors generally lower than 50 percent.

Since its inception, Trade Connect has held more than 150 workshops and events attended by more than 15,000 people, according to the POLA. The program also has participated in trade shows in Hong Kong and Japan and has drawn nearly 5,000 people to exhibits showcasing California companies and their products.

“It is organizations like the Port of Los Angeles that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services,” US Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, who presented the award, said.

Port Deputy Executive Director of Development Mike Christensen and Director of Trade Development Jim MacLellan, who started and manages the Trade Connect program, accepted the award in Washington, DC on the port’s behalf.

US companies are nominated for the “E” Award through the Department of Commerce’s US and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which helps US exporters. Qualifications for the award include four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.

Monday’s ceremony marked the second time the Port of Los Angeles has received the “E Star” Award for excellence in promoting export trade. President Ronald Reagan awarded the honor to the port in 1983.

Seattle Maritime Environmental, Leadership Awards Presented

Crowley Maritime Corp. received the award for Comprehensive Environmental Management Programs during the annual Marine Environmental Business Awards May 16 in Seattle, and other local and regional companies and individuals were also honored during the event.

The awards spotlight maritime industry businesses in the Pacific Northwest for their environmental leadership and commitment to and support of Port of Seattle anti-pollution initiatives.

Crowley Maritime was lauded by the awards’ sponsors for the company’s early interest in keeping Puget Sound waters clean as well as its strong culture of environmental stewardship, which began decades ago with a commitment to spill management. The company’s ongoing environmental leadership has been recognized over the years by national and local governments, as well as major ports on the US West Coast.

This year’s award for Environmental Initiatives went to Harley Marine Services for its new energy efficient and environmentally friendly world headquarters, the Harley and Lela Franco Maritime Center. Among other environmental features, the facility is Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, demonstrating the company’s commitment to continual improvement in environmental performance.

The awards were presented at the 62nd Annual Maritime Festival Luncheon during the annual Seattle Maritime Festival, which is sponsored by Vigor Industrial, the Port of Seattle and the Seattle Propeller Club.

The Seattle Propeller Club also presented annual awards recognizing leadership in the maritime community during the luncheon. The winner of the 2013 Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award was Marine Exchange of Puget Sound Executive Director Capt. John Veentjer, who was recognized for his long and distinguished career.

The Propeller Club’s 2013 Public Official of the Year Award is Capt. John Dwyer, Officer In Charge, Marine Inspection and the Chief of the Inspection Division at US Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

The award recognizes the contributions and support of a local, state, or federal policymaker or official who has demonstrated an understanding and appreciation for the maritime industry and those who earn a living from it.

Grand Alliance Shift Still Affecting Seattle TEU Volumes

Port of Seattle container volumes were down 27.8 percent in April 2013 vs. the same month in 2012 and down 21.6 percent year-to-date, according to the port, with the cause being attributed to the lingering effects of Seattle’s loss of the Grand Alliance of shipping lines last summer.

Seattle terminals saw a total of 130,426 TEUs last month, compared with more than 180,700 in April 2012, according to newly-released port data. For the year to date, the port has seen 518,390 TEUs, compared with 660,844 during the same four months last year.

In July 2012, the Alliance began three new calls each week at the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminals.

Since the shift, Tacoma has seen year-over-year container volume increases while Seattle has experienced the opposite. The shift is expected to impact Port of Seattle year-over-year container volume comparisons until mid-year.

With the Grand Alliance volume shift factored out however, Seattle says its full inbound volumes were up 2.8 percent in April, and that full outbound volumes are up 4.3 percent for the year to date.

As a region, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma were down 6.0 percent for April 2013 vs. 2012 and up 1.4 percent YTD, according to data.

Long Beach Port Updating Energy Strategy

The Port of Long Beach says it is instituting a new energy policy to increase its efficiency, conservation, resiliency and renewable energy.

“When we look at our future energy demands due to shore power, zero-emissions programs and more, it’s imperative that we increase our energy security,” Harbor Commissioner Rich Dines, Chair of the Commission’s Energy Subcommittee, said. “This energy policy will guide the creation of an energy program that will improve the environment and business continuity at the port.”

The port says the energy policy was created in anticipation of increasing demand for electricity at Long Beach with air quality improvement programs such as shoreside power, which allows massive cargo ships to shut down diesel engines and plug into landside electricity while at berth.

In coming years, the port says, air quality efforts will continue to fuel demand for electricity at the port, as will the introduction of cutting-edge marine terminal equipment that runs on electricity and not diesel fuel.

“Just as our environmental initiatives have changed the way we think about construction, operations, maintenance and properties, this energy policy adds another lens we look through when making decisions as it relates to energy in the future,” port Director of Environmental Planning Rick Cameron said. “We want to be efficient and we want to be innovative, because this keeps us competitive.”

The program will also look at improving ways to keep the port operating in the event of a crisis that could impact the flow of electricity to the port.

Long Beach says it will collaborate its efforts with port tenants, utilities, other city departments, industry stakeholders, labor unions, the Port of Los Angeles and others.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Propulsion: Is LNG the Future?

By Jim Shaw

The move toward using liquid natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel is continuing to gain momentum as new environmental regulations are enacted and bunkering facilities are expanded. According to a recent forecast by MEC Intelligence, a market insight firm that focuses on the maritime sector, nearly 10,000 vessels could be adopting LNG propulsion by 2020 compared to less than 100 today. Prior to MEC’s forecast, classification society Det Norske had predicted that LNG would become the dominant fuel source for all merchant ships within 40 years. The reason for such growth is strict emission regulations requiring the reduction of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) to 0.1 percent in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) by 2015 and 0.5 percent globally by 2020. The key compliance options available for vessel operators are either adoption of new types of fuel, such as LNG or low sulphur marine gasoil, or by using “scrubber” technology on existing heavy fuel oil (HFO) burning powerplants. LNG, besides becoming cheaper as new sources are opened up through fracking, cuts carbon emissions by about 25 percent, SOx by almost 100 percent and NOx by 85 percent. However, other technologies are also being explored. These include the use of liquid hydrogen as a fuel to generate power within a combined fuel cell and battery system as well as solar panel and automated sail systems. At the same time a new range of extremely efficient low-speed two-stroke diesel engines is being introduced as more operators take up slow steaming.

Latest LNG Ships
To date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. Because of this, most development has centered in northern Europe where some LNG bunkering capability was established for the offshore oil industry and local ferry businesses several years ago. In 2011 Sweden’s Tarbit Shipping placed its LNG-burning product tanker Bit Viking in service along the Norwegian coast after repowering the 25,000-dwt ship with Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines. Last year the world’s first LNG-powered coaster, the 2,650-dwt fish food carrier Høydal, also began operating off Norway. At the same time Stavanger-based Island Offshore christened the 96-meter-long Island Crusader as the world’s first PSV to use fully dedicated LNG-burning main engines. Earlier this year Finland’s Viking Line began operating the 56,000-gt cruise ferry Viking Grace between Turku and Stockholm using dual-fuel main engines burning LNG as the dominant fuel. Later this year Buksér og Berging AS of Norway will place the world’s first LNG-fueled tugboats into operation at Norwegian ports.

Geographical Expansion
Although Norway has been a significant innovator of LNG propulsion the trend has been expanding internationally, with Italy’s Lauro Shipping recently entering into an agreement that will see a series of gas powered passenger/auto ferries developed for Mediterranean use based on Rolls-Royce’s “Environship” program. This will be the first use of the Environship concept in a passenger vessel and the design will include LNG-burning Bergen engines as well as wave piercing bows and combination Promas propeller/rudder systems, the latter to enhance both fuel efficiency and maneuverability.

In Australia, Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd has already completed the world’s first LNG-burning high speed passenger/auto ferry for operation by South America’s Buquebus on the Buenos Aires - Montevideo run. The 50-knot vessel, with a capacity of 1,000 passengers and 140 vehicles, is the first high speed commercial craft to be powered by gas turbines using LNG as the primary fuel, while marine distillate is retained for standby and ancillary use.

In North America, Canada’s Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) has ordered an 800-passenger/180-car LNG-powered ferry from Italy’s Financtieri for delivery in late 2014. Designed to operate on the St. Lawrence River, it will be North America’s first ferry to be powered by LNG, although Washington State Ferries, BC Ferries and New York’s Staten Island Ferries have all announced plans to begin using the fuel through retrofit programs.

LNG Container Ships
In the commercial cargo sector Seattle’s Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) surprised the world’s shipping community last year when it ordered two 3,100-TEU LNG-fueled container carriers from the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard at San Diego. The twin ships will operate on the relatively short run between the US mainland and Puerto Rico when delivered in 2015 and 2016. South Korea’s DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), is assisting TOTE in the design of the vessels and will provide a patented LNG fuel-gas propulsion system for the ships. This system incorporates the MAN ME-GI dual-fuel main engine, which works by simultaneously burning HFO and LNG. In the minimum fuel and maximum gas mode, around 10 percent of the fuel burned is oil.

DSME has also been working with CMA-CGM of France on the design of a much larger 14,000-TEU vessel that would incorporate the MAN ME-GI engine but with a higher output of 72,285 kW. Capable of being employed on long haul routes, the ship would be fitted with a 22,490-cubic-meter capacity LNG storage tank and a 4,430-cubic-meter capacity heavy fuel tank to give a sailing range of approximately 25,000 miles. Although there would be a loss of cargo space equivalent to about 440 TEUs for the two fuel tanks this would be more than offset by the enhanced fuel economies and lower emissions achieved.

LNG Tankers
LNG carriers have long been using LNG as a fuel by simply using their own cargo’s “boil off” gas but Dutch shipping company Anthony Veder is now having a pair of 4700-cubic-meter capacity Liquefied Ethylene Gas (LEG)/Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tankers built in China that will use LNG as a fuel but will not transport it as a cargo. To be completed by China’s Avic-Dingheng Shipbuilding Co. Ltd for operation in the North Sea when delivered toward the middle of next year the twin 99.95-meter by 17.20-meter vessels will make use of a propulsion package being furnished by Wärtsilä in which the main and auxiliary engines will be capable of operating on both LNG and marine diesel. The LNG fuel will be carried in two deck-mounted tanks, each holding approximately 100 cubic meters or about 53,000 gallons. The dual-fuel technology will allow the ships to sail without restriction in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) and Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECAs).

Wärtsilä is also developing a new 117,000-dwt Aframax tanker design that would be propelled by the company’s heavy fuel oil (HFO) burning two-stroke X62 engine. In this case, an integrated Wärtsilä exhaust gas scrubber would be incorporated, with the main engine, auxiliary engines and auxiliary boilers all exhausting through it in conjunction with a Selective Catalytic Reduction system installed before the main engine turbocharger. These systems would effectively reduce NOx emissions and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions to such an extent that the vessel could meet the upcoming 0.1 percent sulfur limit to be imposed in 2015, even while burning HFO having a sulfur content of 3.5 percent.

LNG Bulk Carriers
Although no LNG-fueled bulk carriers have been built yet the first order may be just around the corner. Last year Lloyd’s Register gave Approval in Principle (AIP) to a new “Clean Sky” bulk carrier design that would feature a gas-powered propulsion system. The design was drawn up by Chinese shipbuilder COSCO and Greek shipowner Golden Union in cooperation with Lloyd’s. The initial design focus of the project was on a 290-meter-long, 81,000-dwt Kamsarmax bulker that would offer shipowners the flexibility to choose dual, or tri-fuel engines able to burn heavy fuel oil (HFO) or diesel, as well as LNG. The LNG would be carried in a single, 1,160 cubic meter capacity type-C tank that would sit aft on the vessel’s port side. The fuel would be fed to a MAN B&W 6S60ME C-8.2 – GI Tier II main engine that would give a service speed of 14 knots.

Lloyd’s noted that, to date, LNG-as-fuel research, technology development and newbuilding activities have focused on specific niche sectors such as ferries, offshore vessels and short sea or inland trades but that the Clean Sky project “paves the way” for take-up in the deep sea bulk trades. “This moves the industry far beyond the concept stage,” said Nick Brown, Lloyd’s Register Area General Manager and Marine Manager, Greater China, who noted that the AIP came only after exhaustive risk investigations by Lloyd’s into the gas containment and bunkering systems. COSCO, an experienced builder of Kamsarmax ships, feels it is now ready to build an LNG-powered bulker and its first customer may likely be Golden Union.

LNG Cruise Ships
LNG is also being looked at in the cruise sector and Finland’s Wärtsilä has come up with several ship designs that feature LNG propulsion. Last year Wärtsilä introduced the design of a 65,000-gt ship that followed an earlier project, accomplished in cooperation with shipbuilder STX Europe, covering a larger 125,000-gt vessel. The Finnish company said it chose the smaller size this time around because it sees an increasing demand for such tonnage among both large and small operators.

Beyond dual-fuel diesel/electric drive, which would see LNG tanks situated below the ship’s lido area at the stern, and shafted rather than podded drive, the Wärtsilä cruiser would feature a hull beam of 141.5 feet (43.2m) to give better stability and allow the construction of higher cabin decks. However, the superstructure of the proposed vessel would be abbreviated in length, thus requiring only four main fire zones while providing space aft for a low open deck with a large swimming pool. A service speed of 19 knots would be furnished by two 8MW electric propulsion motors driving fixed-pitch propellers. Power would be generated by two Wärtsilä 6L50DF and two Wärtsilä 8L50DF main engines. These would run primarily on LNG, but with marine diesel as a standby.

Safe Bunkering
The Wärtsilä cruise ship’s LNG would be stored in three double-walled tanks, each with a capacity of 465 cubic meters, housed in the stern area below the pool deck and between the tender boats. In this location the 35-meter length of the tanks would not interfere with the ship’s required watertight bulkheads. As the average daily LNG consumption for a typical cruise would be about 45 tons, or 105 cubic meters, the vessel would be able to make a 12-day cruise without refueling. LNG bunkering would be accomplished via the open mooring deck at the stern while tank ventilation would be through a pipe running to the top end of the superstructure and venting at more than 10 meters above the uppermost deck. The stern location for the tanks is considered beneficial from a safety standpoint because there would be no cabins located above the bunkering station and large windscreens around the pool area would prevent passengers from accidentally creating a source of ignition by tossing cigarettes or matches overboard. Nevertheless, Wärtsilä realizes that the technology involved in the LNG bunkering process must be foolproof and that a network of safe LNG bunkering stations must still be created in the proposed operational areas before its LNG-powered “clean cruiser” can head to sea.

First LNG Bunkering Tanker
A prototype operation for bunkering LNG-fueled passenger ships has already started in Europe where the world’s first LNG bunkering tanker, Seagas, has been delivering fuel to the world’s largest LNG-powered ferry, the 2,800-passenger Viking Grace, since February. Prior to its conversion by the Fiskerstrand BLRT yard in Norway Seagas was the local 1974-built car ferry Fjalir. Now equipped with a single 170 cubic meter cryogenic storage tank, the little tanker moves LNG from Linde’s LNG’s processing facility near Nynäshamn, Sweden to the Port of Stockholm where the 56,000-gt Viking Grace is refueled at the end of nearly every round-trip with 70 tons of gas transferred in 60 minutes. Until the arrival of Seagas, refueling of the ferry had been done by road tanker but this was considered an unsatisfactory method due to safety and environmental concerns. While Viking Grace can make three round-trips between Stockholm and Turku, Finland without re-fueling, Seagas has been refueling the ship six days a week.

Longshoreman Killed When Truck Plunges Into Bay

Operations were temporarily shut down at the Port of Oakland on May 17 after a truck being driven by a longshore worker was apparently knocked into the water by a piece of machinery.

Longshoreman Manuel Stimpson, 78, of San Francisco had worked at the port for about 47 years when he was killed after the truck plunged into the San Francisco Bay.

“He’s a very loved man, he’s like a father to all of us,” Frank Gaskin, a business agent with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 said of Stimpson following the accident.

According to ILWU representatives, Stimpson was working as a clerk and helping direct the placement of containers when the truck went into the water near Berth 30 at the TraPac terminal at 1:36 pm.

The vehicle became stuck in the mud about 50 feet below surface and it wasn’t until about 2:40 pm that port divers were able to pull his body from the truck, according to police. The submerged truck was also recovered.

As is traditional in incidents that result in fatalities, the ILWU suspended work at the port for 24 hours following the accident.

The occurrence is under investigation by the union and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state governmental body commonly known as Cal/OSHA.

Last week’s death was the second fatal accident at the port in seven months. In October 2012, a mechanic performing maintenance on a crane died Oct. 24 after being caught in and crushed by a piece of heavy equipment. Prior to that, however, there hadn’t been an incident at the port resulting in a fatality in at least five years, according to Cal/OSHA.

SSA Pacific Awarded New West Sacramento Master Lease

The Sacramento-Yolo Port Commission, which operates the Port of West Sacramento, has negotiated a new master lease of its West Sacramento maritime facilities with terminal operator SSA Pacific. The new lease, which takes effect July 1, 2013, replaces an existing terminal operations management contract between the two parties.

The new master lease shifts all maritime-related operational expenses to SSA. The port says this now enables it to reduce administrative costs and focus on development of its real estate assets.

“We’re redefining and redesigning the port and this is a critical first step,” Port Commission Chair Mike McGowan said during the commission’s May 15 meeting.

The lease is for a minimum of five years and can be extended by five-year increments to a maximum of 20 years. Minimum annual rent payments to the port start at $650,000, however the lease provides for additional revenues to the port as shipping tonnage increases.

Also part of the agreement, the port is relieved of $850,000 in existing debt to SSA, and SSA agrees to purchase the port’s existing air credits related to bulk cargo handling for $50,000.

“The new lease arrangements will allow SSA to further expand our role, attract new investment, and increase business through the port, which will be good for the City of West Sacramento and increase jobs in the area,” SSA President Mark Knudsen said in a statement.

Port of Hueneme COO Application Deadline Nears

May 22 is the deadline to apply for the open Chief Operating Officer position within the Oxnard Harbor District, which owns and operates Port of Hueneme.

The Chief Operations Officer oversees the Harbor District’s Maritime Operations Division and is responsible for managing the day to day activities of the maritime interests of the District and providing feed back to the CEO and Port Director regarding operations and management of the marine terminal systems, operations and facilities.

The COO’s responsibilities also include management of the marine terminal operations, services and contracts for the accommodation and promotion of commerce, navigation, or fishery in the Harbor District. The COO’s focus is on strategic, tactical, and short-term operations management. The person chosen for the position will be responsible for the design, operation, and improvement of the marine terminal systems and facilities that support the Harbor District’s maritime customers and users.

The annual salary range is between roughly $106,700 and $169,000. Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume and provide five references. Applications can be dropped off in person or sent via email, fax or the US Postal Service.

More information on the position and how to apply can be found on the port’s website at