Riverbend Marine Service Auction

Friday, October 11, 2013

Grain Handlers, Union to Resume Contract Talks

After a year of on again, off again negotiations, contracts between the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers’ Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are set to resume again in the coming weeks.

Officials with the union and the PNGHA both say they’ll renew contract negotiations during meetings to be held soon. But as has been typical of the two sides, there was a disagreement on when the talks would occur.

During the Oct. 8 meeting of the Port of Vancouver USA Commission, ILWU Local 4 President Cager Clabaugh, revealed that talks are set to reopen Oct. 21 and 22. However, Grain Handlers Association spokesman Pat McCormick has said negotiations are set for late October and in November.

The talks would be the first formal ones for the two sides since a summit during late March in Vancouver ended badly after just one day. The two sides began negotiations in September 2012.

The Grain Handlers Association is negotiating for three companies: United Grain, which has an export terminal at the Port of Vancouver; Columbia Grain, which operates a Port of Portland terminal; and LD Commodities, operator of facilities in Portland and Seattle.

The association also represents TEMCO, a joint venture between Cargill and CHS that has facilities in Kalama, Portland and Tacoma. TEMCO and the union, however, reached a five-year contract agreement last spring.

On May 4, Columbia Grain, which is owned by Japanese trader Marubeni Corp, locked out its unionized workforce because, it claims, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were purposefully engaging in a work slowdown at its Port of Portland terminal.

Similarly, United Grain indefinitely locked out its union dockworkers workers Feb. 27, 2013, after accusing a union official who worked there of sabotaging equipment in retaliation for contentious ongoing contract negotiations.

Preferred Site Chosen for Alaska LNG Project

 The Kenai Peninsula town of Nikiski, the largest cape on the southern coast of Alaska, has been selected by Exxon Mobil, BP, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada Corp. as the leading contender for the terminal site where gas would be liquefied and shipped to Asia, the companies announced Oct. 7.

The site was chosen after 20 locations were analyzed regarding the environmental and socio-economic impact of the project, as well as cost and related technical issues.

The pipeline, which could cost $45 billion to more than $65 billion to build, would span 800 miles from the North Slope to south-central Alaska. The companies haven’t yet committed to build, however, and have been seeking favorable terms on oil and gas taxes and royalties.

“The work that we have put into the site selection process gives us confidence that the Nikiski site is the lead location for the LNG plant and terminal,” senior project manager Steve Butt said. “The Nikiski site also results in a pipeline route that provides an access opportunity to North Slope natural gas by the major population centers in Fairbanks, Mat-Su Valley, Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.”

Nikiski, a town of about 4,600 people, is located 10 miles north of the city of Kenai. A liquefied natural gas plant operated in Nikiski for decades and provided exports to Japan. But ConocoPhillips and its then-partner, Marathon Oil Corp., announced in 2011 that the plant would be closed, citing market changes.

Port of Hueneme Receives Shore Side Power Grant

 A $1.7 million grant was approved Oct. 7 by the Ventura County Transportation Commission to assist with a Port of Hueneme shoreside power project. The port’s currently installing an infrastructure system to enable ocean-going vessels to plug in at berth and operate emission-free while in port.

The funding will complete the $13.5 million project. Other funding sources include $7.2 million from the port, $4.5 million from the California Air Resources Board and $250,000 from the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District.

Over the life of the project, shore power is expected to drastically reduce vessel emissions, including achieving a 92 percent decrease in particulate matter (PM), a 98 percent reduction in nitrous oxides and a 55 percent drop in greenhouse gasses.

“The measures voted today present a win-win in terms of economic development, environmental benefit and progress that improves the quality of life for our community,” said Jason Hodge, president of the Oxnard Harbor District board, which governs the Port of Hueneme.

The system is expected to extend the useful life of existing wharves for up to 30 years, according to the port.

“The VCTC fully recognizes the importance of effective policy and sound investment in our transportation network to ensure efficient freight mobility,” Transportation Commission Executive Director Darren Kettle said. “The actions by VCTC today reinforces our commitment to leveraging the County’s position in the global economy and building a network that serves as a catalyst for economic growth.”

ICTF Board Schedules Public Meeting

The governing board of the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) will conduct a public meeting at 6 p.m., Wed., Oct. 23 to discuss, among other things, the status of the preparation and future release of an Environmental Impact Report for the ICTF Modernization and Expansion Project.

The project, which is operated by Union Pacific under a sublease from the JPA, seeks to enhance the flow of truck and rail cargo through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The 148-acre facility is located about five miles north of POLA and POLB, at the northern terminus of State Highway 103. The $300 million project would be paid for by the two ports, which will recoup the construction costs through the lease to Union Pacific.

If completed, the modernization could double the throughput of the ICTF to more than 1.5 million TEUs per year by reconfiguring the yard, adding additional tracks, constructing a new gate, and improving the existing gate facility. The project would also shrink the footprint of the ICTF to 177 acres and substantially increase the buffer area between the facility and the neighboring community.

The JPA and Union Pacific have pledged to reduce air emissions and noise/light pollution through various proposals including the use of low- and zero-emissions yard equipment within the facility.

The meeting is scheduled for Silverado Park Social Hall, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach. For more information about the project or upcoming public meeting, visit the JPA’s website at www.ICTF-JPA.org.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bigger Ships: Crane Productivity Between Panamax and New-Panamax Ships

The increasing capacity of container ships is playing a large role in quay crane productivity, but not the only role.

As a key point in the international marine industry the Panama Canal allows vessels to transit between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans without having to go around the southern tip of South America. The largest ships currently able to travel through today are called Panamax, a term that has been has been in use since the canal opened in 1914. The size of a Panamax vessel is determined by the dimensions of the canal lock chambers with a length of 965 feet and width of 106 feet. This roughly translates to a 13-wide container ship with a capacity of about 4,500 TEU. The Panama Canal Authority is currently building a second set of chambers to accommodate larger vessels, and once the new set of locks opens in 2015, the definition of “Panamax” will change to “New-Panamax” which will describe container vessels about 19 containers wide and 12,000 TEU.

The cargo shipping industry is trending towards these bigger ships because of economies of scale for vessel construction and operations. Even with the limiting width of the Canal, there are even larger ships currently in play such as the Maersk Triple-E Class, which offer an enormous 18,000 TEU capacity and more than 1,300 feet of length.

For the ports, however, ever-larger container ships mean upgrading vessel accommodations and making sure productivity is kept up. Bigger ship dimensions mean longer working cycles for each container handled by a quay crane, which in turn will have a significant effect on quay crane productivity.

A quay crane’s productivity is measured by how many cycles or container moves it is able to do per hour. A typical quay crane cycle consists of the spreader moving to a ship location, picking a container, hoisting the container back to the wharf and setting the container down. For a larger ship, the spreader would need to traverse a further distance to access containers on the far side and would also have to travel further down in the hold.

An initial crane simulation study was undertaken to test the effects of vessel size, type of container and operator skill set, a quay crane simulation software developed by AECOM and Liftech that measures the uninterrupted productivity of a single quay crane. The CraneSim software takes in crane specifications and dimensions, as well as vessel width and depth in containers. The output is the theoretical maximum productivity of a specified crane working to a predefined vessel. The factors influencing the output include crane drive speeds, vessel size, location of container on vessel and wharf, type of container and skill of the crane driver.

Simulations were run with the Panamax and New-Panamax size vessels, each with single and twin picks for the type of container. Each set was modeled with a range of pick and set times from ten to twenty seconds for single picks and twenty to forty seconds for twin picks. These ranges represent an operator skill set of very good to average.

The results of the initial study show that for a very skilled operator working to just single picks, the maximum productivity could be as high as 40 moves an hour for the New-Panamax and more than 45 moves an hour for the Panamax ship. This productivity drops down to the thirties as the pick and set times increase. For the twin picks, there are two containers being lifted at a time, so the outcomes are almost double the productivity.

The constant factor with multiple pick and set times is the period it takes to move the container across the vessel after picking and before setting it down. For the Panamax ship, this is about 52 seconds and with the New-Panamax it is 64 seconds.

Overall, for a larger vessel, the crane spreader has a farther distance to travel and the productivity decreases. On average, for single moves, the difference in productivity between vessel sizes is about five moves per hour per quay crane. With four cranes serving one ship, it would be a potential loss of twenty moves per hour. As ship size increases, the spreader travel distance gets greater, and productivity per crane declines. This decrease arrayed across all cranes on all ships would be a significant drop in productivity.

Further simulations were done on the initial study with sensitivities on crane spreader hoist speeds, container placement on the vessel and container placement on the wharf. The conclusions from these can be summarized as follows:

Big ships are more sensitive to crane speed because they have more distance to cover. For example, with an increase in hoist speeds from 90 meters per minute to 135 meters per minute, the New-Panamax showed a three- to five-percent increase in productivity as opposed to a one- to one-and-a-half-percent increase with the Panamax.

Regardless of the size of the ship, there is a significant difference in working to and from the upper half of the ship closest to the wharf and below deck on the far side of the ship. On the Panamax, the productivity went up 30 to 35 percent for the “easy” section of the vessel and the New-Panamax showed a 25- to 33-percent increase. It is important to make sure productivity is calculated from an average of container moves across the ship so as not to skew the results.

Big ships are less sensitive to work position on the wharf because the increase in trolley distance takes place at maximum trolley speed, and because cranes can trolley and hoist simultaneously, big ships get more “free” trolley time while hoisting is taking place. In an example comparison of working between the legs of a crane versus the back reach, in the Panamax case, the productivity drops six to nine percent but the difference for New-Panamax ships is only about one percent
As the world industry standards for vessel size is increasing, there is a greater need for ports to expand as well. Bigger ships mean terminal changes, which will include acquiring better quay cranes to accommodate the vessels and increasing the number of cranes per ship to keep productivity levels same.

Ms. Le has worked on various marine terminal planning and analysis projects and has experience in developing simulation modeling software as well as discrete event simulation projects for the marine and oil sectors, particularly in the areas of simulation model development and data analysis.



POLA Executive Director Stepping Down

Just days after another high-ranking Port of Los Angeles executive announced his resignation, POLA Executive Director Geraldine Knatz says she’s stepping down at year’s end.

“After 42 years of dedicated service to the maritime industry here in San Pedro Bay, I have decided to retire as Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and pursue other interests,” Knatz said in a statement released Oct. 3 by the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “In a commitment to a smooth transition, I plan to remain in my position through the end of the year and support the mayor and the port in any way that I can. I am proud of the many accomplishments that our team made at the Port of Los Angeles during my tenure.”

Knatz, who was appointed executive director in 2006 by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, will probably be best remembered for playing an instrumental role in the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, which reduced port-related sulfur oxide, diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emission levels by 76 percent, 71 percent and 51 percent, respectively, between 2005 and 2011.

During her tenure, she also paved the way for the Los Angeles Harbor Commission to approve three major container terminal expansion projects and a new deep-draft marine oil terminal on Pier 400.

Knatz, who began her maritime career as an environmental scientist at the Port of Los Angeles in 1977, was managing director of the neighboring Port of Long Beach from 1999 to 2005 before returning to the Port of LA.

“I thank Dr. Knatz for her service to Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “My agenda for the port is focused on maximizing its economic impact and minimizing its environmental impact to build stronger neighborhoods in the Harbor area and across Los Angeles.”

According to the mayor’s office, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore will serve as acting general manager of the city’s Harbor Department until a permanent general manager is appointed, and Chief Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub will serve as the Interim Chief City Engineer.

The news of Knatz’ departure came just three days after Deputy Operations Director John Holmes announced he was stepping down. Holmes, who joined the port in December 2006, is a retired Coast Guard captain. At the port, he was in charge of overseeing the operations of the Los Angeles Port Police, the Homeland Security Division, emergency preparedness planning and the Port Pilot service.

Garcetti, a former City Councilman who was elected mayor in May, said in an interview with a local CBS affiliate, that the management changes at the port were due to his wanting to pick his own leadership for various positions.

“I’m looking to start a new chapter. By mutual agreement, we’re moving on with leadership here,” he told KCBS-TV.

The adjoining Port of Long Beach is also looking for new leadership- its executive director, Chris Lytle, stepped down in July to accept to same job at the Port of Oakland. Al Moro, Long Beach’s chief harbor engineer, is serving as interim executive director while the port conducts a search for a new leader.

Alaska Commercial Fishing Vessel Christened

The Arctic Prowler, the first large commercial fishing vessel built in Alaska, was christened Oct. 5 during an afternoon ceremony at Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan. The ship is the first vessel to be constructed in the Ketchikan Shipyard’s new 70,000-square foot assembly and production hall.

“Not only is the Arctic Prowler the first vessel to be built in the new Ship Assembly Hall, it is also the first factory longliner made in Alaska,” Adam Beck, President of Alaska Ship & Drydock, said.

The new vessel has 16,300 cubic feet of freezer space and the ability to both catch and process at sea, and the capability of fishing 56,000 hooks per day. It was designed and built with an emphasis on economic use of space, allowing room for fishing and factory equipment.

“As an Alaska-based company with significant Alaskan ownership, it is fitting that this vessel was built in Alaska, by Alaskans,” Larry Cotter, President of Alaska Longline and Chief Executive Officer of Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, said.

The sponsor for the christening of Arctic Prowler was Stella LeeAnne Asplund, granddaughter of John Winther, a leader in the Alaska fishing industry who spearheaded the planning and commitment to construct the Arctic Prowler in Alaska at the Ketchikan Shipyard, and was present during the start of the vessel's construction just prior to his passing in October, 2012.

“John would have been proud of his decision to build the Arctic Prowler in Alaska,” Bert Winther, John Winther’s widow, said. “He loved Alaska, Alaskans, and fishing boats, now he has the first ‘made in Alaska’ fishing boat.”

Alaska Commercial Fishing Vessel Christened

The Arctic Prowler, the first large commercial fishing vessel built in Alaska, was christened Oct. 5 during an afternoon ceremony at Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan. The ship is the first vessel to be constructed in the Ketchikan Shipyard’s new 70,000-square foot assembly and production hall.

“Not only is the Arctic Prowler the first vessel to be built in the new Ship Assembly Hall, it is also the first factory longliner made in Alaska,” Adam Beck, President of Alaska Ship & Drydock, said.

The new vessel has 16,300 cubic feet of freezer space and the ability to both catch and process at sea, and the capability of fishing 56,000 hooks per day. It was designed and built with an emphasis on economic use of space, allowing room for fishing and factory equipment.

“As an Alaska-based company with significant Alaskan ownership, it is fitting that this vessel was built in Alaska, by Alaskans,” Larry Cotter, President of Alaska Longline and Chief Executive Officer of Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, said.

The sponsor for the christening of Arctic Prowler was Stella LeeAnne Asplund, granddaughter of John Winther, a leader in the Alaska fishing industry who spearheaded the planning and commitment to construct the Arctic Prowler in Alaska at the Ketchikan Shipyard, and was present during the start of the vessel's construction just prior to his passing in October, 2012.

“John would have been proud of his decision to build the Arctic Prowler in Alaska,” Bert Winther, John Winther’s widow, said. “He loved Alaska, Alaskans, and fishing boats, now he has the first ‘made in Alaska’ fishing boat.”

Fire Breaks Out Aboard Research Vessel

An evacuation took place but no injuries were reported after an electrical fire broke out on a research vessel moored at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in the Port of San Diego Oct. 6.

The blaze aboard the British-flagged Dorado Discovery, a 321-foot ship equipped for deep-sea mineral exploration, broke out in the vessel’s storage area just before 2:30 pm and caused minor damage before being contained about 30 minutes later.

The fire may have been caused by oxygen containers that exploded, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The 20-year-old vessel, which is 321 feet long and 59 feet wide, is operated by Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., which specializes in searches for treasures and artifacts.

Odyssey conducts deep-ocean shipwreck exploration and searches oceans across the world for sunken ships.

In 2009, Discovery Channel aired a 12-part primetime series about Odyssey Marine’s worldwide explorations called “Treasure Quest.” A three-part series called “Silver Rush” premiered on Discovery Channel in 2013.

According to Odyssey Marine, the Dorado Discovery is “the first purpose-built SMS survey vessel and is “designed to support all the different types of equipment used in the exploration phase, and also in the next phases of bulk sampling, drilling, and coring of deposits.”

The company signed a long-term charter for the vessel in 2010.

APL Christens Ship at Los Angeles Port

On Oct. 4, APL welcomed the latest addition to its global fleet with the naming of a 9,200 20-foot equivalent unit containership, the APL Savannah, at the Port of Los Angeles. It was the first time ever for a ship christening to take place at the port.

“This is the first time a mayor of Los Angeles has helped christen a ship,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve, said. “I’m not just here because I enjoy champagne; I want to make sure APL and shipping industry know that you are a priority for me and my administration because more than 900,000 regional jobs depend on this port working.”

The APL Savannah is the fifth in a series of twelve 9,200-TEU vessels to be delivered to APL, the container shipping arm of Singapore-based shipping and logistics company Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).

APL Savannah and her sister ships are the largest in the APL fleet to sail between Asia and the US on the South Asia Express (SAX) service, rotating ports in San Pedro, Busan, Kaohsiung, Chiwan, Yantian and Singapore.

APL says the new 9,200-TEU series of vessels is designed for greater operational efficiency and more environmentally sustainable operations. For example, an optimized hull form reduces hull resistance and results in less fuel consumed for propulsion.

The APL Savannah’s fuel efficiency, measured by the Energy Efficiency Design Index, is certified to be 30.54 percent better than guidelines set by the International Maritime Organization.

“We are upsizing and upgrading our ships calling here, and remain firmly committed to provide our customers a competitive product with comprehensive service coverage and leading customer service,” Ng Yat Chung, Group President and CEO of NOL, said.

A ceremonial champagne bottle was broken over the ship hull by Jeannie Lavers, Director of International Transportation for Kohl’s Department Stores.