Friday, October 4, 2013

Saltchuck Buying Ex Kimberly-Clark Mill Site

Seattle-based shipping and logistics, air cargo, marine and trucking services company Saltchuk Resources has signed a purchase and sales agreement with Kimberly-Clark to buy a 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront, formerly home to Kimberly-Clark’s pulp mill and tissue plant.

Saltchuk, which employs 6,500 people nationwide, including 800 in the Puget Sound region, is the parent company of Foss Maritime Co. Saltchuk also owns Tacoma-based shipping company Totem Ocean Trailer Express, and Interstate Distributor, a national trucking company.

The existing Foss Maritime yard in Seattle, located inside the Ballard Locks, is not accessible to larger ships and is too small for future expansion, something that made the larger, saltwater site in Everett an attractive long-term option, Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt noted.

“We see tremendous opportunity and potential for further growth at the Everett site, a deep water port with unrestricted waterways,” Tabbutt said in a statement. “And we believe the redevelopment of this site as a shipyard and maritime complex will contribute a vital economic base to the Everett community.”

The planned sale price has yet to be disclosed. Also, work remains to be done to close the deal. The purchase and sales agreement calls for a four-month due diligence period, followed by adequate time to close the transaction. If all goes as planned, the sale could close early in the second quarter of 2014.

Saltchuk says it plans to develop a site plan for the property as well as working with local, state and federal officials to determine the permits required to develop the site in a way that fits its needs.

“We are very excited to have a successful, thriving maritime company choose Everett to be its new shipbuilding headquarters,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “Foss Maritime ... will be a tremendous asset to the community and redevelopment of the site will generate additional opportunities in the future.”

Unsafe levels of petroleum, dioxins and other unsafe substances have been previously found in the waterway next to the mill site. Kimberly-Clark says it expects to continue cleaning up the former plant, which closed in April 2012, and hopes to further accelerate its work with the Department of Ecology to develop the final remediation plan for the site.

“We are pleased that Saltchuk emerged as the successful bidder because they are the type of prospect we were hoping to attract,” Kimberly-Clark real estate director Len Anderson said, “a well-respected company that will bring jobs and economic vitality back to that section of the Everett waterfront.”

Work on current Foss shipbuilding projects in Seattle is expected to continue at the current location over the next several years. The headquarters offices for Saltchuk and Foss Maritime are expected to remain in Seattle.

Port of Portland to Begin Car Exports to China

Following inspections by Chinese government auditors, Auto Warehousing Co.’s facility at Terminal 6 within the Port of Portland has received full approval to export Ford vehicles beginning in a few weeks.

“We are proud to be serving as the primary gateway for exports of new Fords to China and furthering our mission to provide access to international markets,” Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said in a prepared statement. “This new business will provide local jobs and economic benefits, but also fulfills a national role for Ford vehicles manufactured in plants throughout North America.”

Initial volumes are planned to be 30,000 in the first year and growing to 40,000 per year, and AWC says it plans to hire up to 50 people immediately at its 130-acre Terminal 6 facility to process vehicles and prepare them for the Chinese market.

A $2.8 million project to expand the processing building by 27,000 square feet and increase capacity to more than 110,000 vehicles annually is nearing completion. Oregon State grant funding and a $560,000 investment by AWC financed the expansion.

The Port of Portland, which has specialized in handling vehicles since 1953, is among the top three auto import gateways on the West Coast and is the fifth largest in the US.

“There is great potential to grow this business as our expertise and available capacity matches growing demand for Ford vehicles in China,” Auto Warehousing Co. President Ben Seher said. “By better utilizing transpacific car carriers returning to Asia, this will be good news for everyone involved.”

Thousands of Puget Sound Shipyard Workers Furloughed

About 3,500 civilian workers have been furloughed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington due to the federal government shutdown, according to the US Navy.

Furlough notice provisions were handed out to affected shipyard workers on Oct. 1 the day the shutdown began, and the base suspended apprentice and helper training classes.

“Due to a lapse in federal funding, many federal employees have been furloughed. Under the furlough notice provisions employees are not permitted to come to the work area while furloughed,” read a statement posted Oct. 1 on the shipyard’s official Facebook page. “Many of our apprentices, helpers, and instructors are in a furlough status therefore we have found it necessary to curtail apprentice and helper classes until the federal funding issue is resolved.”

In an online post the night before the government shutdown went into effect, Acting Commander Capt. James Lee said that about 3,500 Naval Shipyard personnel would receive furlough letters at work.

Shipyard personnel who support activities that are exempted from the shutdown continue to work, although they won’t be paid until after the shutdown ends. Lee’s post said those workers “will be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriations ends.”

The shipyard, which has a workforce of about 10,700, had recently announced it would be hiring 1,073 helper trainees, but that’s now on hold.

If the funding lapse is not resolved by Oct 6, the shipyard’s apprentice classes will be curtailed, according to the shipyard.

Jensen Maritime Awarded Tankers Construction Management Contract

Crowley Maritime Corp.’s Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering company, Jensen Maritime Consultants, has been awarded a new construction management contract for four new 330,000-barrel, Jones-Act product tankers, being built for Crowley by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.

The project is the second major construction management project that Jensen has signed since it officially announced the launch of its new, in-house construction management program. The first was the management of construction of two new fireboats for the Port of Long Beach.

With construction scheduled to begin in January, Jensen is already establishing on-site offices and personnel at the Philadelphia shipyard. Delivery of the new veteran class tankers is expected in 2015 and 2016.

Along with the growth in Jensen’s construction management business, the company has also announced some management changes. It has promoted Ray Martus to vice president of construction management, reporting to Jensen Vice President Johan Sperling. Most recently Martus was director, new construction, for Jensen. In his new role, he’ll oversee Jensen’s construction management division. He’ll remain based in Jacksonville.

Martus joined Crowley in 2008 as director of new construction and transitioned to the Jensen construction management division in 2012. Before joining the company, he had 20 years of combined shipboard and shoreside experience in marine engineering, ship operations, project and financial management and new vessel construction.

He previously worked for Carnival Cruise Lines as director of technical operations and director of shipbuilding. He also served Royal Caribbean International as marine superintendent and as a technical manager and engineer.

Jensen’s growing construction management team also includes Jonathan Smith, who in August transitioned to Jensen from Crowley as director, new construction. Smith has 35 years of vessel operations and delivery experience.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Development at Gulf Coast Ports Surges

By Jim Shaw

Ports along the Gulf Coast of Mexico are continuing to look south to potential new container business to be generated by new locks at the Panama Canal but bulk commodities such as coal, oil and gas are also driving development. The sudden oil shale energy boom has rocked the petroleum transporting industry, with the Port of Corpus Christi alone developing eight new docks and 10 million barrels of new crude storage capacity to handle Texas-produced Eagle Ford shale oil. At the same time Swiss energy trader Vitol has selected the Port of Beaumont, Texas as the location for its new LPG export terminal, while the Port of New Orleans has just inaugurated its Gulf Gateway Terminal (GGT) to handle crude oil transshipment from rail to barge.

In the container sector the Port of Houston Authority (PHA) has ordered four super-post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and three rubber-tire gantry cranes from Finland’s Konecranes for its Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals in a deal worth approximately $56 million. In Louisiana, AECOM Technical Services has started the design of a new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal (MRIT), which will enhance container-to-rail movement at the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. Breakbulk and unitized cargoes are also expanding on the Gulf and Houston-based Intermarine has concluded an $82 million sale-and-leaseback agreement for an expanded terminal handling breakbulk and project cargoes on the Houston Ship Channel. At the same time, Alabama Steel Terminals has cemented a deal with the Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) for the development of a $36 million steel handling facility at the Port of Mobile.

The deepwater offshore sector is also generating port development, particularly at Louisiana’s Port Fourchon where $75 million is being spent to develop a third slip and open up an additional 280 acres of waterfront property for the support of offshore supply vessel operations.

Alabama’s Port of Mobile has been one of the Gulf Coast’s more successfully diversified ports, handling containers as well as bulk and breakbulk commodities. During its latest fiscal year it moved more than 25 million tons of cargo and nearly 200,000 TEUs of containers. More than half of the port’s tonnage is handled at the McDuffie coal terminal, where exports have increased five percent since the installation of new equipment last year that converted an import-only berth into a combination import/export facility. The port’s container traffic, moved largely through the APM facility at Choctaw Point, has witnessed a 22 percent increase over the past year and is expected to see another surge in 2015 when a new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) is opened. Among breakbulk cargoes, steel posted a 26 percent increase over the past fiscal year and in July the port approved a concession agreement with Alabama Steel Terminals to develop a new $36 million steel coil handling facility for the auto industry. To be served by rail, truck and barge, the terminal will be constructed at Pier D2 and located on a 40-foot deep channel.

Alabama Steel Terminals, a joint venture between TriState Maritime Services and the Richardson Group of Companies, will operate and manage the facility, which will be built in two phases. The first phase will see 178,200 square feet of covered storage area built adjacent to 168,000 square feet of open storage, with three 50-ton capacity overhead bridge cranes installed. The second phase will add a 194,400-square-foot bay area equipped with three additional 50-ton capacity overhead bridge cranes. James K. Lyons, the port’s director and chief executive, said the entire facility should be complete within two to three years.

West of Mobile, the Mississippi state port at Gulfport is continuing to move forward with facility expansion after the devastation of hurricane Katrina eight years ago. Almost wiped out by the hurricane, Gulfport has been steadily rebuilding using approximately $600 million in federal relief funds. The port has recently launched its West Pier Expansion Project (WPEP) under the supervision of new port executive director Jonathan Daniels. In July, Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont agreed to lease property on the pier for another 30 years, with options to extend the agreement for up to 60 years. This will provide a long-term anchor tenant for the expanded structure, which will also support the operations of banana and produce importers Dole and Chiquita.

The port plans an estimated $80 million in improvements to seven acres on the southern tip of the pier where DuPont will expand the number of storage silos it maintains for imported ilmenite ore. The company will also install a new conveyor system to handle the mineral product, which is used in the manufacture of titanium dioxide, a pigment used in paint, paper and plastics. DuPont will pay $57 million of the construction costs involved in its portion of the project, due to be completed in 2016, while the port will pay $23 million and retain ownership of the complex.

Daniels noted that preliminary negotiations are also underway with a potential new tenant for the pier but stressed that federal relief funds will not be used for this customer nor the DuPont expansion.

New Orleans
On the Mississippi River the Port of New Orleans is planning to double its annual container capacity to 1.6 million TEUs through the build-out of the Napoleon Avenue Intermodal Terminal as well as the development of an adjacent intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF). The Louisiana port received a $16.7 million federal transportation grant last year for improvements at Napoleon Avenue and the port’s Board of Commissioners recently contracted AECOM Technical Services to begin design work on the intermodal facility. The latter will be constructed on the site of an existing 12-acre rail yard, which will be re-configured and modernized. Work is due to begin in December with completion targeted for late 2014.

“The Port of New Orleans is the only US seaport with six Class One railroads serving it,” observed the port’s President and CEO, Gary LaGrange. “This project will facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, stimulate international commerce and enhance safety all while reducing the carbon footprint of the regional and national transportation systems.”

The Port, in partnership with the Louisiana Port Construction and Development Priority Program, is matching a portion of the federal grant to help build an adjacent 4-acre container marshaling yard. Local contractor Hard Rock Construction was contracted this past summer to pave the facility. In the long term, the port of New Orleans is seeking private funds from interested terminal operators, shipping companies and private investment groups to help it complete a planned $580 million full buildout of the Napoleon Avenue terminal. Recent legislation signed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has expanded tax incentives to entice such investment.

In Texas, Swiss energy trader Vitol has made its final decision on a major LPG storage and export facility it plans to develop at the Port of Beaumont. Vitol announced in February that it intended to have the export terminal ready for business by 2014 but that date was extended into 2015 when Japanese energy company Itochu took a 34 percent stake in the project. In partnership with Itochu, Vitol plans to scour gas storage caverns out of a subterranean Texas salt dome in a $500 million project that will allow it to process up to 100,000 barrels per day of propane and butane, giving it an exporting capability of up to 3 million tons per year.

The two companies noted that the site, which has permits for up to 30 million barrels of storage capacity, can easily be expanded in a second phase of construction that would allow for the export of more than 6 million tons per year. The Port of Beaumont, which will be the loading center, has been making more than $65 million in capital improvements to support expanded cargo operations, including $28 million for new rail infrastructure that will be composed of a new interchange yard and loop track.
In May, Enterprise Products Partners said it was expanding its south Texas pipeline and storage network to better accommodate fuel exports, including the loading of Panamax tankers at Beaumont and Aframax vessels on the Houston Ship Channel. Enterprise wants to be able to accommodate up to 11 very large gas carriers (VLGCs) per month on the Gulf as LPG export volumes swell. Much of the gas will be going to Mexico and the Netherlands but Japan is also viewed as a potential customer as it seeks to diversify supplies it already receives from the Middle East.

Houston Boxes
The Gulf coast’s biggest container port, the Port of Houston, has been gearing up for more box traffic once the Panama Canal expansion project is completed in 2015. This past May, Houston ordered four super-post-Panamax ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and three rubber-tire gantry (RTGs) units from Finland’s Konecranes in a deal worth approximately $56 million.

The electric-powered STS cranes, to be the largest Konecranes has ever built, will have a lifting capacity of 66 tons and will be able to span 22 boxes across. To be semi-automated, they will also include such technical features as a Ship Profiling System (SPS), a Trim/List/Skew system and LED lights for improved eco-efficiency. The lifting machines will be shipped to the port’s Barbours Cut Terminal in late 2014 and brought on line at Wharf No. 1 during the first quarter of 2015.

The Barbours Cut facility has grown rapidly since opening in 1977 to become one of the premier box-handling facilities on the Gulf. Further development plans are expected to see at least $700 million spent to modernize and expand both its berths and equipment. The three RTGs will be delivered to Houston’s Bayport Terminal, opened in 2007 as the port’s second container facility, by the spring of next year and represent an amendment to an earlier contact with Konecranes to provide eight RTGs to the Barbours Cut terminal. Konecranes delivered its first RTGs to Houston in 2003 and at present the port has nearly 50 Konecranes RTGs in its fleet.

Houston Breakbulk
In the breakbulk sector, Houston-based heavylift specialist Intermarine has concluded the sale-and-leaseback of a breakbulk and project cargo handling terminal on the Houston Ship Channel from an affiliate of Lexington Realty Trust. The 25-year contract includes three ten-year renewal options. Lexington said the average rent during the lease period would be approximately 8.3 percent of the terminal’s purchase price of nearly $82 million. The sale/lease deal follows Intermarine’s decision to build a new operations center on the main shipping channel at Houston close to the 95-acre terminal it will be leasing.

The new building will house the shipowner’s entire technical, operations and traffic teams. “This new operations center will enable us to continue our plan of growth and expansion, but more importantly it gets all of our operations, technical and traffic teams together in one location,” said company CEO Al Stanley. The leased terminal has 2,055 feet of berthing for deepsea ships as well as a 1,500-foot-long barge facility. This will allow it to safely berth two of Intermarine’s largest heavylift vessels at the same time while handling transshipment cargo to and from ports along the intercoastal waterway.

Corpus Christi
In West Texas, the Port of Corpus Christi has found itself riding a sudden oil boom, with crude shipments jumping from zero to 340,000 barrels per day over the past two years as petroleum flows from the Eagle Ford Shale formation. New docks, pipeworks and crude oil storage tanks are being constructed at various locations around the port to accommodate the flow. These include two new docks designed to load up to six 30,000-barrel capacity barges simultaneously and two larger facilities designed to support tankers of up to 500,000-barrel capacity. In addition, the port’s Trafigura Terminal is being expanded to allow it to handle three medium-range tankers and two inland barges simultaneously.

Most of the crude being loaded is moving to regional refineries in Morgan City, Houston, Beaumont and Texas City. Beyond the Eagle Ford crude, the port has secured a major partner for its La Quinta Trade Gateway development (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, Sept. 2012), which is a multi-cargo facility being development on the La Quinta Channel. Austria-based international steel conglomerate Voestalpine announced earlier this year that it will lease part of the facility as the site for its new US direct-reduction steel plant, making it the anchor tenant for La Quinta.

The deal is subject to the successful completion and execution of agreements with various regional government partners but Mike Carrell, chairman of the Port Corpus Christi Commission, said the European company is a good fit for La Quinta. ”Voestalpine is a major international player in the steel-making and processing industry with a very strong focus on the environment,” he noted, adding that the proposed direct-reduction plant will provide both import and export cargos for Corpus Christi. When completed, the mill will produce high quality DRI and HBI (“sponge iron”) from iron ore pellets, with Altos Hornos de Mexico, a high-quality steel manufacturer south of the border, already signing up to purchase HBI from the facility.

DRI and HBI are comparable to the highest quality scrap or pig iron, and therefore are an excellent pre-material for the production of crude steel. In contrast to using pure coke-based blast furnaces, the planned direct-reduction plant will exclusively use environmentally friendly natural gas as the reducing agent. Additionally, cutting edge environmental control technology will be implemented in order to ensure a low emission iron reduction process. Voestalpine’s total investment in the complex is projected to run at about $700 million, with the plant due to come in line by 2016.

Hapag-Lloyd Names 2 New Top Execs

Two of the top management seats within shipping company Hapag-Lloyd will be filled by different people in mid-2014; Chief Executive Officer Michael Behrendt and Chief Operating Officer Ulrich Kranich are both stepping down next year.

Behrendt is expected to depart the company June 30, 2014. He was appointed Hapag-Lloyd’s executive board in 1999 and has been Chairman of the Executive Board since the beginning of 2002. During his tenure, Hapag-Lloyd became one of the five biggest liner shipping companies in the world in part as a result of the successful takeover of the liner shipping company CP Ships.

Behrendt’s successor is Rolf Habben-Jansen, 47, who has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Company effective April 1, 2014 and will assume the position of Chairman of the Executive Board on July 1, 2014.

Habben-Jansen, an experienced manager in the logistics sector, previously held positions at the Royal Nedlloyd Group and at DHL. He became CEO of the freight forwarding group Damco NV in The Hague in 2009.

Kranich will leave the company June 30, 2014. He has been a member of the Executive Board since July 2006, where he has also held the position of COO since 2008 with responsibility for the operational management of the company’s global shipping business.

His replacement, effective July 1, 2014, is Anthony J. Firmin, 59, who has worked at Hapag-Lloyd for 18 years. Currently, Firmin is a member of Hapag-Lloyd’s Executive Committee – the extended circle of management below the Executive Board – and is currently in charge of Yield Management & Network.

In a statement, Jürgen Weber, Chairman of Hapag-Lloyd’s Supervisory Board called the appointments of Habben-Jansen and Firmin “a superb choice” for the company.

“Both of them have many years of experience in the logistics and shipping sectors,” Weber said.

Del Monte, Port of Hueneme Extend Lease

Port of Hueneme and Del Monte officials have agreed to a five-year lease extension that, if completed, would give the food company nearly 40 years of residency at the port.

“The port has been a valuable partner in helping us stay competitive in an increasingly regulated business environment,” Del Monte’s port manager, Chuck Caulkins, said. “This contract modification extending our 1995 agreement includes one more five year extension.”

Del Monte arrived at the port in 1979, back when no refrigerated facilities were on hand and bananas had to be unloaded box-by-box utilizing an elevated conveyor system connecting directly into the side of the ship.

In 1995, the port built for Del Monte a 30,000 square foot refrigerated facility capable of maintaining up to 2,500 pallets of fruit at 57 degrees. In January 2005, the port completed a 56,000 square foot expansion of the original refrigerated facility, which has allowed Del Monte to better accommodate more fresh produce such as pineapple, honeydew melon and cantaloupe.

“Thirty-four years represents a lifetime in the maritime community,” Harbor Board President Jason Hodge said. “We are proud that a world class customer like Del Monte choses the Port of Hueneme for their West Coast operations.”

From a weekly maximum of 100,000 boxes of fresh produce for the regional marketplace in 1979, Del Monte now routinely handles more than 325,000 boxes of fresh bananas, pineapple, honeydews and cantaloupe, according to the company.

“Del Monte is one of our best customers, a strong business partner and a friend to the port and the community,” Port CEO and Executive Director Kristin Decas said during an announcement of the lease extension.

Port Sets Century Agenda Breakfast Date

On Thursday, Oct.10, as part of its Century Agenda Breakfast Series, the Port of Seattle will conduct a panel discussion on how to successfully compete for government contracts.

The discussion will include agency experts who will explain what they look for when awarding government contracts, followed by a Q&A.

Participants can learn how to increase their success when competing for contracts; access opportunities for women and minority owned businesses; locate open Requests For Proposals and Requests For Qualifications; discern which information they should be providing; understand the niches agencies are trying to fill; and find opportunities for disabled populations and military veterans.

Panelists include Servando Patlán, Business Diversity & Outreach Manager, Contracts & Legal Services Division of The Department of Enterprise Services; Vicki Schiantarelli, Strategic Advisor - WMBE Coordination, Environmental Justice and Service Equity Seattle Public Utilities; Frank Lemos, Founder & CEO, LDC, Inc., The Civil Engineering Group; Regina Glenn, Vice President, Multicultural and Small Business Development, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; and Luis Navarro, Director, Office of Social Responsibility, Port of Seattle.

The Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda is a 25-year strategy for building a sustainable regional economy through targeted business initiatives and partnerships with public and private sectors. The breakfast series is an extension of the agenda.

The event, which is sponsored by The Capella Group, takes place at the World Trade Center, 2200 Alaskan Way, Suite 410, Seattle, WA 98121, starting with breakfast at 7:30 am. The main program follows from 8 am to 9 am. Cost is $40 for World Trade Center Seattle members and $50 for non-members. For more information or to register, visit:

Oakland Port Calls for Federal Infrastructure Funding

The Port of Oakland has teamed up with the American Farm Bureau Federation to call for improvements in port infrastructure.

In late September, prior to the U.S. government shutdown, leaders from AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee and Oakland port officials lobbied Congress to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, promotes investment in the nation’s critical water resources infrastructure, accelerates project delivery and reforms the implementation of Corps of Engineers projects.

Historically, Congress has passed such legislation every two years to provide clear direction to the Administration and the Corps; however, no bill has been signed into law since 2007.

“It is vital to the national economy for the federal government to make much needed investments into U.S. port infrastructure,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said. “Ports need federal investment to improve infrastructure in order to be globally competitive and remain job-creating powerhouses.”

In 2012, about $6.74 billion in agricultural products were exported through the Oakland seaport to overseas customers, representing about 47.7 percent of the total 2012 value of exports leaving the port, according to data.

Before the federal shutdown, the AFBF was conducting an organizational campaign called “The Heat is On,” designed to communicate with members of Congress the importance of waterway and port infrastructure improvements, the farm bill and agricultural labor reform.

“There are no trucks or trains to Asia,” AFBF Trade Advisory Committee Chair Steve Baccus said. “In order to reach those consumers and compete in the world market, we must invest in port infrastructure.”
With the federal government partially shut down for at least the near future, the AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee says it is currently touring the West and Pacific Northwest looking at ports and transportation infrastructure.