Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ferry Crashes Into Pier, Passengers Hospitalized

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard is investigating an allision that occurred when a passenger ferry struck a piling at Pier 41 in San Francisco the evening of Oct. 12.

The Peralta, operated by Blue & Gold Fleet, allided with a piling while backing out of the terminal at Pier 41 at about 5:45 p.m. Ten passengers sustained minor to moderate injuries, mostly neck and back pain, and were taken to a local hospital for evaluation, according to the Coast Guard.

One passenger told the local ABC affiliate during the accident’s aftermath that children aboard went “flying” around the ferry after the accident. More than 200 people are believed to have been onboard the vessel during the incident.

The Peralta was temporarily taken out of service after inspectors and investigators from Coast Guard Sector San Francisco boarded the ferry, but the vessel was later cleared to be put back into service. No structural damage to the Nichols-built ferry was found, just minor paint damage; damage to the piling at Pier 41 was also found to be minor.

Blue & Gold Fleet, which bills itself as “the Bay Area’s largest and premier provider of tourist attractions,” provides bay cruises, sightseeing tours and private cruises in addition to ferry services. The company’s based at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

Although the cause of the incident is still under investigation, the ABC affiliate reported that the cause has been determined not to be mechanical and that the investigation’s now focused on the crew.

Former Shipyard Land Up for Sale

By Mark Edward Nero

The land that formerly housed the JM Martinac Shipbuilding Co., which operated in the Tacoma area for 90 years until it was foreclosed on last summer, is now up for sale.

The nearly seven-acre property was bought at an auction in July by a limited liability corporation led by Alaskan Leader Fisheries, which then put the property on the market in mid-September for about $8 million.

The property, which includes two shipbuilding ways, multiple boat sheds, an office building and several storage buildings, saw the production of boats ranging from giant tuna clippers to tugs. More than a year ago, the yard’s owner began to have financial problems and was unable to pay off a $6 million loan from Alaskan Leader, a fishing company with offices in Lynden, Wash. and Anchorage, Alaska.

Alaskan Leader moved forward with last summer’s foreclosure action after the overdue payments and failure to pay taxes on the property put Martinac in default of its loan agreement.

The JM Martinac Shipbuilding Corp. was founded in 1924 on the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma and is believed to have built more than 250 vessels during its 90-year history.

The sale of the property is being handled by commercial real estate company Colliers International.

Vancouver USA Port Selling Acreage

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 14, the Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners approved the sale of 9.6 acres in an industrial park it owns to steel tubing manufacturer Maruichi Northwest, a subsidiary of Maruichi American Corp.

The buyer plans to create an advanced manufacturing facility that would become the first development in the Port of Vancouver USA’s Centennial Industrial Park, a 108-acre light-industrial site in southwestern Clark County.

Maruichi Northwest says it plans to invest more than $30 million in land, facilities and equipment for a structural steel tubing mill and that it expects to initially hire 20 to 25 workers to manufacture structural and ornamental steel components.

“It makes a lot of sense for Maruichi to locate at the Port of Vancouver,” port CEO Todd Coleman said in a statement regarding the sale. “Farwest and Genie are big local customers, we’re looking at an estimated 5,900 hours of longshore labor on the docks per year, and we’ve also talked about working with existing tenants like TriStar Transload to meet Maruichi’s rail loading needs. It’s a smart move all around.”

Facility construction is expected to begin in spring 2015, with full completion and operation expected in late 2015 or early 2016.

“(Maruichi) has been thinking about this Northwest operation for a long time, I would say more than 10 years,” Maruichi American Corp. president Sho Morita said. “It wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of where, because the time has come.

The port and Maruichi say they expect to begin the process of selling and developing the property later this fall.

POLA Container Volumes Up 9 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles has released its September 2014 containerized cargo numbers, and in September 2014 overall volumes rose nine percent compared to September 2013, according to the data, which was released Oct. 16.

Total cargo for September was 775,133 TEUs, making it the busiest single month at the Port of LA since August 2006. The increased volume, according to the port, reflects peak season volumes and larger vessels calling at POLA terminals.

Container imports during the month increased 11 percent, going from 370,786 TEUs in September 2013 to 411,507 TEUs in September 2014. Additionally, exports rose 0.20 percent, rising slightly from 150,380 TEUs in September 2013 to 150,679 TEUs in September 2014.

Combined, total loaded imports and exports increased 7.9 percent, from 521,166 TEUs in September 2013 to 562,185 TEUs in September 2014. Factoring in empties, which increased 12.2 percent year over year, overall September 2014’s volumes (775,133 TEUs) were up nine percent compared to September 2013’s 710,892 TEUs.

For the first nine months of calendar year 2014, overall volumes (6.3 million TEUs) have increased 7.8 percent compared to the same period in 2013 (5.84 million TEUs), according to port data.

For the fiscal year, which began July 1, the port has moved 2.25 million TEUs so far, a 5.3 percent jump over FY 2014’s 2.1 million TEUs.

Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NRF Urges PMA, ILWU to Agree

By Mark Edward Nero

Six months after it sent a letter to the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union urging them to hammer out a labor contract, the National Retail Federation has done so again.

In a letter sent to both management and labor, NRF President and CEO Matt Shay said “the lack of a new labor contract between PMA and the ILWU is having a big impact on port productivity, particularly in Southern California.”

He also suggested that at a minimum, both parties should extend the expired contract through November “in order to reinstate arbitration agreements, which are preventing many issues at the ports from being addressed.”

“Finalizing a new labor contract is an absolutely critical component to working through the backlog of shipping containers now piling up at West Coast ports,” Shay wrote. “We are deeply troubled by the fact that no apparent progress has been made in the negotiations since August, when the PMA and ILWU announced a ‘tentative deal’ on health benefits.”

“Whether intentional or not,” Shay wrote, “the fact that neither the PMA nor ILWU has made any public progress report in more than a month is sending a very troublesome and disconcerting signal.”

The PMA and ILWU have been negotiating a new six-year contract since mid-May. The previous six-year labor pact, which covered almost 20,000 longshore workers at 29 ports up and down the West Coast, expired at 5 pm on July 1, but although no contract extension has been ratified, both sides initially agreed to keep operating under the provisions of the recently expired contract.

The NRF’s Oct. 10 letter came six months after a mid-April letter to Pacific Maritime Association Chairman and CEO James McKenna and International Longshore & Warehouse Union President Robert McEllrath written on the behalf of the millions of businesses the NRF represents, urging the two sides to come to a quick agreement for the sake of the U.S. economy.

Truck Chassis Owners Adding to LA/LB Fleets

By Mark Edward Nero

As a result of talks aimed at relieving congestion at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, two truck chassis leasing companies, DCLI and TRAC, say they’ll add more than 3,000 chassis to their local fleet over the next few weeks to match supply and demand.

“We need to increase the utilization of the more than 100,000 chassis in the San Pedro Bay port complex,” Long Beach Harbor Commission Vice President Rich Dines said. “Mega container ships with 10,000-plus total moves per call have added pressure on our chassis pools and far too many chassis sit idle on a daily basis. Interoperability of equipment through a ‘gray’ chassis pool will help relieve port congestion and improve the balance of supply and demand throughout our terminals.”

As a landlord port, Long Beach doesn’t control issues such as chassis management, but does take a leadership role as a facilitator when needed. Dines currently chairs a harbor board subcommittee charged with improving port efficiency. In addition to chassis-related issues, he and Commissioner Lori Ann Farrell are discussing a range of productivity issues including rail, truck turn times and terminal productivity and guiding policy-level solutions.

“Increasing inbound rail movement of export cargo and developing ‘short haul rail’ will help ensure an ample amount of chassis return to port for import delivery,” Dines said. “It is time we take a systems approach to moving cargo and we will start by building a better chassis model.”

On Oct. 7, the Port of Long Beach announced a congestion relief team headed by Chief Executive Jon Slangerup to facilitate solutions to port-related congestion. One of the issues the team identified was the container chassis imbalance.

FMC Fines NVOCCs for Shipping Act Violations

By Mark Edward Nero

The Federal Maritime Commission said Oct. 10 that it has fined seven companies – including two on the West Coast – a total of $503,000 for alleged violations of the Shipping Act.

The fines and other penalties were placed on five non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs), two unlicensed transport businesses and one vessel-operating common carrier.

Among the penalized companies was China Container Line Ltd., a licensed and bonded NVOCC and freight forwarder located in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., outside of Los Angeles.

Commission staff alleged that China Container Line violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation at less than applicable rates by misdescribing commodities and misrepresenting the names of shipper accounts under certain service contracts.

Under the terms of the compromise, China Container Line and its Shanghai-based branch jointly paid $100,000 in penalties.

Also fined was FCC Logistics Inc., doing business as GOF Logistics Group. FCC Logistics is a licensed and bonded NVOCC located in the Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Dominguez. Commission staff had alleged that FCC Logistics violated the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation at less than applicable rates by means of improperly accessing service contracts to which it was not a party, and by misdescribing commodities and misdeclaring the names of shipper accounts under certain service contracts. Under the terms of the compromise, FCC Logistics paid a $70,000 fine.

The other penalized companies, which faced similar accusations, include Atlanta-based ABC Trucking; Tampa, Fla.-based Sea Central Shipping; Taiwan-based Orient Star Transport; and Eastern Car Liner, headquartered in Tokyo.

The penalties came out of investigations conducted by Commission representatives in Miami and Los Angeles, plus the FMC’s Washington DC headquarters staff.

All accused parties settled and agreed to penalties, but were not required to admit to violations of the Shipping Act or the Commission’s regulations.

Boater Registration Open for POLA Holiday Parade

By Mark Edward Nero

Boaters are now eligible to register for the 52nd Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade, taking place at 6 pm Sat., Dec. 6, in the Port of Los Angeles Main Channel.

Officials and community leaders will take part in the parade as judges or passengers on about 60 parade boats. Vessels of all shapes and sizes are eligible to participate, including powerboats, sailboats, tall ships and harbor working craft.

The vessel entry fee for the parade is $30, which includes one admission to the parade awards brunch on Sun., Dec. 7 at the Los Angeles Yacht Club in San Pedro. Awards brunch tickets are also available for $20 online or $25 at the door. Trophies will be awarded in the categories of Theme, Traditional, Humorous, Holiday Spirit, Best Animation, Commercial, Most Original, Children’s Choice, Judge’s Choice and Grand Marshal’s Award.

Yacht Clubs will vie for the Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the club with the most entries.

The deadline for boater registration is Wed., Dec. 3; registration can be performed online at

The Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade, which is sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles, starts in the East Basin near Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and takes about 90 minutes to cover the entire parade route through the Los Angeles Main Channel.

For more information regarding the parade, sponsorship, or awards brunch tickets, visit or contact Donna Ethington at (310) 549-8111.

The Center for International Trade and Transportation Town Hall Meeting 2014

Bigger ships. E-commerce. 3-D Manufacturing. Rising energy costs. Emerging markets. The way the world trade is changing. And changes halfway around the world have impacts on the ground here in Southern California. Are we prepared?

Join the Center for International Trade and Transportation for the 2014 CITT State of the Trade and Transportation Town Hall meeting to discuss what changing trends mean for the economy, the environment and the future of our region as a trade gateway.

The 2014 Town Hall features new Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup and Peter Friedmann of the Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Associations. And the evening will begin with a new video from the award-winning CSULB media team that sets the stage for the evening’s discussion.

For more information, contact Alix Traver at or (562) 985-2876.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Carpenter Performing Arts Center, CSULB
6200 Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA
Admission is free.