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Friday, April 4, 2014

US Transportation Secretary Names New Members to Maritime Industry Advisory Panel

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the appointment of 10 new members to the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC). Established in 2010, MTSNAC is comprised of leaders from commercial transportation firms, trade associations, state and local public entities, labor organizations, academics, and environmental groups that advise the Secretary on policies to ensure that the US Marine Transportation System is capable of responding to projected trade increases.

Four representatives from the West Coast are on the list:
  • Richard Berkowitz, Director of Pacific Coast Operations, Transportation Institute, Seattle, Wash.
  • Captain Lynn Korwatch, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Wayne Darbeau, President and CEO, San Diego United Port District, San Diego, Calif.
  • Gary Lee Moore, Interim Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.
Other appointees include:
  • Charles Fabrikant, Executive Chairman, SEACOR Holdings, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • William Friedman, President and CEO, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Gary Love, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at FAPS, Inc., Port Newark, N.J.
  • Betty Sutton, Administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), Washington, D.C.
  • Kevin Schoeben, Deputy Director, Office of Planning and Programming, Illinois Department of Transportation, Springfield, Ill.
  • William Cook, Director, Worldwide Logistics and Customs, Chrysler Group, LLC, Auburn Hills, Mich.
“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that America’s ports and waterways are capable of meeting the growing demands of moving freight in the 21st century,” said Secretary Foxx. “This advisory council will help guide us as we continue to invest in American transportation and in America’s future.”

Since 2009, this Administration has awarded over $420 million in TIGER funds to 33 ports and marine highway projects. These projects are large and small – inland and coastal, and handle 75 percent of America’s exports and imports. These investments have helped the maritime industry move these exports and imports by water, waterborne transport, and maritime industrial services, which play a vital role in our nation’s economy. MTSNAC policy recommendations have led to the expansion of the Marine Transportation System, the integration of Marine Highways in the surface transportation system and the improvement and streamlining of the Title XI ship financing process.

“This Council is an excellent example of a coordinated approach with the private sector,” Acting Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen said. “Their expertise and insight inform key decisions as we work to spark growth and ensure the greater efficiency of our Marine Transportation System.”

MTSNAC is comprised of 29 members from commercial transportation firms, trade associations, state and local entities, labor organizations, academics and environmental groups. Council members will serve 2-year terms, with no more than two consecutive term re­appointments, and approximately one-third of members' terms of office shall expire every 2 years.

The Department strives to select dynamic individuals with in-depth knowledge of their respective industries or government sectors. Members are nominated through a full and open process published in the Federal Register.

G6 Alliance Passes Regulatory Review

By Mark Edward Nero

The Federal Maritime Commission said April 2 that it has concluded a comprehensive review of the proposed amendment to the G6 Alliance Agreement, clearing the way for the agreement to move forward this week as planned.

The agreement between American President Lines, Hapag Lloyd AG/USA, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Orient Overseas Container Line expands the current geographic scope to allow G6 operational cooperation in the trades between the Far East and the US West Coast, and between North Europe and all US coasts.

The agreement authorizes the involved parties to charter and exchange space on one another’s vessels and to coordinate and cooperate transportation services and operations in order to improve efficiency and save costs.

The Commission’s unanimous decision allowed the agreement to become effective as scheduled on April 4.

The Commission said its decision was based on a determination that the agreement isn’t likely, via a reduction in competition, to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service under the Shipping Act.

“The Commission’s action on the G6 Alliance is based on an extensive, competitive analysis conducted by the Commission’s staff and comments received by shippers and other industry participants,” Maritime Commission Chair Mario Cordero said, while maintaining that the Commission will continue to review the competitive impact of global alliances.

“This alliance will considerably increase available capacity in the expanded geographic scope, and has the potential to generate operational efficiencies and positive environmental benefits,” Cordero said.
The text of the agreement can be read at http://www2.fmc.gov/agreement_lib/012194-002-P.pdf.

Growth Projected for Long Beach Port in 2014

By Mark Edward Nero

Container imports at the Port of Long Beach are expected to grow by five to seven percent this year, while exports are projected to increase four to six percent compared to last year, according to a forecast provided during Long Beach’s annual peak season forecast breakfast on March 2.

If the prediction holds up, the growth would be a moderate increase from 2013, when import growth was 2.5 percent and export growth was 2.4 percent.

Walter Kemmsies, chief economist for Long Beach-based engineering company Moffatt & Nichol, said the port has everything working in its favor, with the exception of geo-political problems and the weather, which can’t be predicted.

However, he warned that rising interest rates are expected to increase freight movement volatility.
“Higher inventory costs will increase the demand for speed,” he said.

Kemmsies was one of eight speakers during the event, which was held at the Long Beach Convention Center and attracted between 500 and 600 attendees. The other presenters included: Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Vice President Rich Dines’ National Industrial Transportation League President & CEO Bruce Carlton; Federal Maritime Commission Chair Mario Cordero; and John Kaiser, the Vice President and General Manager for Intermodal with Union Pacific.

Carlton said one issue on the horizon causing some angst is the upcoming labor negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. The current six-year pact between the two is scheduled to expire June 30 and negotiations are expected to begin in May.

“They’re watching, they’re nervous,” Carlton said of NITL members. “Everybody knows there will be some theatre.”

The contract affects about 23,000 dockworkers at ports throughout Washington, Oregon and California.

Port of Redwood City Finance Director Retiring

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Redwood City Director of Finance & Development Cynthia Hampton says she will retire effective May 12, 2014, after more than 15 years at the South San Francisco Bay port.

Prior to joining the Port of Redwood City, Hampton was controller at the Port of Sacramento for 11 years.

The port has already begun recruiting for a qualified individual to fill the position, Executive Director Michael J. Giari said.

During her tenure at the port, Hampton was instrumental in issuing two successful revenue bonds, which enabled the port to remediate a former petroleum tank farm site and construct a new, modern wharf facility, the first new wharf built at the port in 30 years, Port Commission Chair Lorianna Kastrop said.

“She also modernized the port’s accounting systems and led the port into full compliance with current government accounting standards and procedures,” Kastrop said. “he detailed financial budgeting system established by Hampton assisted the port in meeting its financial goals and achieving 15 years of profitable operations based on port revenues.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fidley Watch - Lost

By Chris Philips, Managing Editor

At press time, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, operating
on a Boeing 777-200, had been missing for 12 days
after leaving Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia bound for
Beijing, China. The flight was carrying a total number of 227
passengers and 12 crewmembers, and of course our thoughts
and prayers go out to those on the flight and their relatives
and loved ones.

Speculation as to the whereabouts of the plane and its
passengers has run the gamut from the simple to the absurd,
and we don’t presume to know any more than anyone else
about the fate of flight 370. We do, however, know the
location of the 333-meter by 38-meter MSC Fantasia. At
press time the Panama-flagged vessel had left her last port of
call, Heraklion, Greece, and was underway at 11.7 knots on
her way to Haifa, Israel, after a presumably pleasant cruise
through the Mediterranean, Aegean and Ionian Seas.
We know this because, after 9/11, the development
and implementation of maritime AIS transitioned from
a communication and collision avoidance system to a
maritime security necessity, and in 2002 IMO mandated a
class A transceiver for most large vessels over 300 GT on
international voyages, including cruise ships. These vessels
can now be tracked and identified through their onboard AIS
systems.

There are roughly 20,000 commercial airliners in service
worldwide, from large widebody jets like the 777 to small
regional aircraft. Meanwhile, based on data from 2011, there
are more than 50,000 ships worldwide of 500 GT or greater.
Each of those ships is required to carry AIS, and can be
located, in many instances, by shore-based AIS stations, and
even satellite-based AIS.

It’s still a big ocean, but it’s getting smaller with the help
of technology. It’s also a dangerous place, some parts more
than others, as is described by John-Clark Levin on page 31
of this issue. While the carriage of AIS is mandated for vessels
of greater than 300 GT engaged in international trade, the
system can be shut down or disabled by unwelcome guests
(or the crew), and enforcement while a ship is in transit is
virtually impossible. Still, the system works well, and the
technology is improving with each generation.

Apparently, some commercial airliners are equipped
with a similar (although not mandatory) system. Automatic
dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) provides data that
can be aggregated with schedule and flight status data from
airlines and airports to track a passenger jet’s speed, altitude,
heading and speed, as well as showing the international call
sign and a track of the plane’s progress. Roughly 60 percent
of all passenger aircraft (70 percent in Europe, 30 percent in
the US) are equipped with an ADS-B transponder (the Boeing
777 is one of those planes).

Whatever the sad fate of flight 370, it won’t be the same as
that of the famous ghost ship Marie Celeste or, more recently,
the Lyubov Orlova, which threw off her shackles on the way
to the breakers and wandered the North Atlantic for a year.
While neither maritime AIS nor aviation-based ADS-B are
foolproof, the great strides made in technology every year
continue to make the world a smaller, safer place, despite

some bad news now and then.

POLB Board President Slams Head of PMSA

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Doug Drummond on March 31 criticized Pacific Merchant Shipping Association President John McLaurin, saying that McLaurin was spreading misinformation about the port.

In a prepared statement read during the harbor board’s latest meeting, Drummond said he wanted to “clear up inaccuracies” spread by others, specifically mentioning McLaurin. McLaurin has been vocal over the past several months regarding what he views as an increasingly political way of doing business at both the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports.

In February, McLaurin wrote an opinion piece for the PMSA stating that as other states around the country become more aggressive in marketing their port systems, LA and Long Beach – both of which are currently searching for new executive directors – must rise to the challenge.

“Our ports need leadership with the international trade experience to lead a multibillion-dollar enterprise coupled with sensitivity to local needs,” McLaurin wrote. “We need local and state government to be partners instead of adversaries and to realize the port’s extremely important role in creating jobs and business opportunities.”

In January, during his first-ever “State of Trade & Transportation” address, McLaurin criticized the Port of Long Beach’s loss of several upper management officials over the past year, including Executive Director Chris Lytle who defected to the Port of Oakland. Other vacancies that have come up over the past two years – some of which remain open – include the positions of Deputy Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director of Trade Development and Port Operations, Director of Construction Management, Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Chief Finance Officer.

Additionally, former Harbor Commission President Thomas Fields was removed from his post by the Long Beach City Council last November at the urging of Mayor Bob Foster. The day after Fields’ departure, the Harbor Board’s then-Vice President, Nick Sramek, resigned.

Despite the various setbacks, Drummond said March 31 that the port is moving in the right direction. In recent months, the port has appointed a handful of new managers to fill vacancies and the city has approved a new harbor commissioner, although one open seat on the five-person panel remains.

The port’s search for a new executive director, Drummond said, is expected to be complete by June.

Seattle Port Keeping, Revising Fuel Incentive Program

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle said March 31 that it will continue and modify a program that provides incentives to ocean carriers and cruise lines to burn low sulfur fuel while moored in Seattles harbor.

This year, the ABC Fuels Program is changing to a “per metric ton” incentive for vessels that achieve early compliance with 2015 ECA requirements to burn less than 0.1 percent sulfur fuel while at berth. The incentive payout depends on the amount of fuel burned and could be as much as $7,400 per qualifying vessel call.

The program, now in the fifth of a scheduled five years, applies to qualifying vessels in port through Dec. 31, 2014.

The port has offered its At Berth Clean (ABC) Fuels program to ship owning customers who qualify since 2009. The program encourages voluntary reduction of vessel emissions in the harbor by incentivizing use of low sulfur fuels above and beyond the Emissions Control Area requirements.

“ABC Fuels is one of the Port of Seattle’s most effective environmental programs,” Commission Co-President Stephanie Bowman said. “By providing incentives to burn low sulfur fuel while berthed at port, we’ve been able to remove over 835 tons of pollutants from Puget Sound air.”

Since 2009, participants have received more than $3 million in incentives to burn low sulfur fuel while at berth in Seattle, and the program has eliminated more than 830 metric tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, according to the port.

More than 1,274 vessel visits representing eight container lines – APL, COSCO, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk Line, Matson Navigation, and OOCL – have participated in the program from 2009 to 2013. Four cruise lines – Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines – have also participated in the program.

Seattle Port to Hold Truck Replacement Meeting

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle says it will conduct a meeting with drayage truckers regarding the port’s new Truck Scrapping & Replacement Program, known as ScRAPS 2, later this month.

An open house is scheduled for 5:30 pm, followed by a 6 pm presentation on April 17 at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle Community College, 6737 Corson Ave. South, Seattle. Validated parking and light refreshments will be provided.

The port is expected to launch ScRAPS 2 in May. The program, partially funded by federal and state grants, is expected to provide up to $20,000 to owners who scrap old drayage trucks and replace them with trucks with model-year 2007 or newer engines. The current level of funding will provide incentives for about 180 trucks.

The project is expected to run through mid-2015 or until funds are depleted. The port says the program and application processes are still in the design stages.

Starting in January 2018, all drayage trucks accessing the Port of Seattle are required to have engines that are model-year 2007 or newer, or that meet 2007 federal emission standards. The April 17 meeting will take a look at the guidelines and application requirements for the ScRAPS 2 program, as well as provide an outlook on Seattle’s 2014 cargo business.

Those with questions about the program or upcoming meeting can call a Clean Truck Hotline at (206) 787-6888 or email cleantrucks@portseattle.org.

Foss Gets New Engineering Director

By Mark Edward Nero

Foss Maritime has promoted Michael Minnig from the position of senior naval architect to the job of Director of Engineering, the company said March 27.

Minnig joined Foss in 2012 with more than 15 years of naval architecture experience in vessel design, shipyard construction support, and project management. He has a background in vessel stability assessment, structural engineering including finite element analysis and three-dimensional modeling, according to Foss.

“Michael brings strong technical skills coupled with extensive industry experience to his new position,” Foss’ Vice President of Technical Services, Mike Magill, said. “Michael’s been a key part of our team and this promotion is well deserved.”

Minnig has previously worked for Washington State Ferries, Guido Perla & Associates, Elliott Bay Design Group, and Ingalls Shipbuilding. He’s a registered Professional Engineer -Mechanical Engineering- in the state of Washington and graduated with a Masters in Ocean Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic and State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Systems Engineering from Texas A&M University.