Friday, November 21, 2014

Longshoreman’s Death Halts Work
at Bay Area Ports

By Mark Edward Nero

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union conducted a 24-hour work stoppage at all seaports in Northern California’s Bay Area on Nov. 20 as a result of the death of a worker at the Port of Benicia.

Longshoreman Thomas Hoover, 57, died the night of Nov. 19 while working at a port terminal. The cause of death is still under investigation, but according to the Solano County coroner’s office, Hoover was found unresponsive and may have suffered from an asthma attack that led to cardiac arrest.

As a result of the incident, the ILWU conducted a 24-hour “safety stand down” at other area ports, including the Port of Oakland, the day after Hoover’s death, according to union spokesman Craig Merrilees.

In the past, ILWU locals in the Bay Area have typically conducted daylong work stoppages in the event of deaths of members while on the job.

The stand down meant that the loading and unloading of cargo vessels was suspended for a day and that no drayage truck traffic moved in or out of the Port of Oakland. In addition to Oakland, work stoppages were also conducted the ports of Benicia, Redwood City and San Francisco.

Military and passenger ships weren’t affected however, Merrilees said.

Full operations resumed at the Port of Oakland and elsewhere beginning at 7 am on Fri., Nov. 21.

Seaspan Awards LNG Ferries Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

British Columbia-based Seaspan Ferries Corp. has awarded the contract for construction of two new dual-fuelled (diesel and liquefied natural gas) ferries to Sedef Shipyard of Istanbul, Turkey, the company announced Nov. 19.

The 488-foot ferries, both expected to be in operation by late 2016, are designed to accommodate up to 59 trailers. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2015.

The contract award comes on the heels of an extensive and competitive procurement process that included more than 40 shipyards around the world, as well as an analysis of Seaspan Shipyard’s capacity to construct these vessels at its new Vancouver Shipyards facility.

“Our decision to have a non-Seaspan shipyard build our new ferries was not made lightly, but it was a simple decision based on capacity,” Seaspan CEO Jonathan Whitworth said, alluding to a contract the company has to build non-combat vessels for Canada’s federal government. In 2011, Vancouver Shipyards won a multi-year, multi-billion dollar project to build vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard.

“For the next five to seven years, our new vessel-building capacity will be solely dedicated to the NSPS Non-Combat vessels,” Whitworth said.

Sedef Shipyard, founded in 1975, is owned by Turkon Holdings, which provides marine transportation and shipbuilding services, along with marinas, hotels and other tourism ventures. It has built more than 175 vessels over the past four decades.

BNSF Retrofitting 11 Cargo Trains

By Mark Edward Nero

BNSF Railway, in partnership with Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and engine heating solution company HOTSTART, is retrofitting 11 locomotives with idle-reduction technology to reduce emissions and conserve fuel in Washington.

The pool of locomotives will operate out of the BNSF rail yards in Spokane, Washington and Pasco, Washington, which carry crude oil and other cargo to and from the ports in Seattle, Tacoma and Pasco.

To lower carbon dioxide emissions at the Spokane and Pasco rail yards, BNSF purchased HOTSTART’s Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) to reduce idling during cold weather. The technology keeps the engine warm and ready to restart, thereby reducing fuel consumption, oil consumption, emissions, noise and engine wear.

“We’re thrilled that our technology, developed and built right here in Spokane, will help BNSF save fuel and reduce emissions right in our own backyard,” HOTSTART CEO Terry Judge said.

In addition to the APUs, BNSF has installed Automatic Engine Start-Stop systems (AESS) that can be used in conjunction with the APU to shut down the locomotive when not needed. The railroad says that the combination of APUs and AESS can potentially eliminate most locomotive engine idling.

When all of the retrofits are complete, BNSF says, the project could reduce emissions by more than 22 tons during the six-month, cold weather operational period.

“This project is an excellent example of how technology can be used to reduce air pollution while saving a company money through significant fuel savings,” Spokane Clean Air Director Julie Oliver said.

POLB Monthly Cargo Numbers Flat

By Mark Edward Nero

Cargo container numbers rose 1.1 percent overall at the Port of Long Beach in October, compared to the same month last year, with the port saying that congestion issues likely nudged some shipments into November.

Despite the small monthly increase however, port data released this week show that Long Beach had its busiest October since 2010, due mostly to a rise in imports.

A total of 583,009 20-foot equivalent units moved through Long Beach Harbor in October, with imports numbered at 310,482 TEUs, up 4.1 percent from October 2013. Exports saw a decline of 14.9 percent to 120,445 TEUs, while empty containers jumped 11.2 percent to 152,082 TEUs.

Last month’s volumes came at the end of Long Beach’s three month peak shipping period, which is generally the busiest time of year for the port, largely due to imports arriving for the holiday shopping season.

However, the port says that congestion issues which have hit many ports on the U.S. West Coast this year have likely pushed some of the peak season shipments into November.

For the first 10 months of the year, Long Beach is up 1.7 percent overall, compared to the same period last year. October was the first month of the Port of Long Beach’s 2014-2015 fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30. More details on the POLB’s cargo numbers can be found at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Multi-Purpose Landing Craft for Bowhead

By Gavin Higgens

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, located in Freeland, Washington, recently completed the Uŋalaq, a 150-foot landing craft for Bowhead Transport Company, located in Seattle, Washington. The Uŋalaq will operate primarily in Alaska's arctic, and anywhere else needed, providing supplies and building materials to remote communities.

Nichols has built both steel and aluminum boats that operate in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for more than 45 years, and the company made use of its extensive experience in building vessels that operate in the unique conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Nichols previously built the M/V Nunaniq, a 144-foot shallow-draft landing craft that has been operating successfully for twenty years in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Lessons learned from the Nunaniq were critical in the design brief for the Uŋalaq. Paul Zankich, the naval architect with Columbia Sentinel Engineers (CSE) who is responsible for the design of the vessel, commented, "The Uŋalaq is a true workboat. It is mission designed for all weather, providing ruggedness and versatility in the Alaskan waters. This vessel is capable of traveling the oceans and delivering cargo on the beach or up shallow rivers, and was designed with considerable and comfortable quarters that can support construction and drilling exploration."

The Uŋalaq is the latest vessel to join the Bowhead fleet, and provides Bowhead with a unique set of capabilities as the vessel is designed with a low draft and is able to beach and provide access to the remotest areas of the Arctic. Many of the communities in Alaska, will benefit over the coming years with this new versatile and improved addition to Bowhead's fleet.

According to Jim Dwight, General Manager, Bowhead, "The team that worked on the Uŋalaq project, including the Nichols shipyard, and naval architect Paul Zankich and his team at Columbia Sentinel Engineering, provided exceptional expertise allowing for completion of this vessel within 12 months. Bowhead appreciates the efforts made by all team members for a successful launch. This vessel is critical in providing support to remote communities throughout Alaska. This vessel will compliment others in Bowhead's fleet in to provide much needed supplies, helping these communities prepare for the long winter months ahead."

The Uŋalaq was designed for ease of use, allowing for 20-foot containers to be driven onto the vessel via the 75 ton-capacity bow ramp, which has a 25-foot opening for beach on- and offloading. The cargo deck is 120 feet by 40 feet with multiple securing points along the deck and bulwark. The wear deck is covered in a 6-inch layer of timber to give traction for caterpillar vehicles and protection from heavy point loads.

Additional features include space for both 20-foot and 40-foot container loading onto the vessel via a crane. The Uŋalaq is able to beach for easy on and off loading of cargo, allowing the Uŋalaq to service remote areas that lack cranes or additional equipment. A stern anchor is available so the vessel can pull off the beach.

The Uŋalaq's engine room is designed for multiple redundancy and low maintenance. The triple screw propulsion system with heavily tunneled propellers and rudders allows for navigation in shallow rivers, beaching and drying out in tidal areas. The main engine and one of the generators are keel cooled with the other generator air cooled so operation can continue when the vessel is "dried out". The water maker takes water from the ballast tank so the vessel can continue to make fresh water when the vessel is in brackish or silt-loaded water.

Other features of the Uŋalaq include an expansive wheelhouse with greater visibility for docking on either port or starboard side. The aluminum deckhouse reduces weight up high and reduces maintenance for rust. The house is fully outfitted with a large crew mess and accommodation for sixteen including single cabins for the Captain and Chief Engineer. Each cabin has direct access to a bathroom with shower, sink and toilet.

Nichols provided management expertise, advanced shipbuilding skills and quality control techniques that when combined resulted in a high quality vessel completed on schedule. According to Mark Thompson, Nichols Project Manager, "By utilizing advance project management skills and expertise, the Uŋalaq project was successfully completed in 12 months, keeping to a tight production schedule. By utilizing modular construction we were able to improve access and provide a safer working environment than with conventional construction methods. We thank all of the companies involved in the project for giving us the opportunity to work with them, including Bowhead Transport, Columbia Sentinel Engineers, Elliott Bay Design Group for production engineering and the United States Coast Guard and ABS. This was a successful team effort."

Additional new construction projects currently underway at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders include a 115-foot car ferry and two 136-foot ATB tugs.

POLB Approves Anti-Congestion Measure

By Mark Edward Nero

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Nov. 13 approved the use of port property as a temporary site for empty container storage, which is expected to help to free up equipment needed to move cargo out of shipping terminals faster. The new temporary empty container depot is to be operated on 30 acres of a vacant, undeveloped area on Pier S at Terminal Island and will help put back into circulation more of the chassis that trucks use to haul cargo containers.

Because many terminals are congested due to the current peak in cargo volume and have no room to accept empty cargo containers, more space is needed to temporarily store those empties. The depot will provide a location for truckers to deliver empty containers and remove them from a chassis and then use the chassis to pick up and haul loaded containers to their destination.

The depot may begin operations as soon as late November according to the port, and will be operated by a private company, Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals, under a permit that expires at the end of March 2015.

“The depot could be ready to start accepting empty containers in two weeks, which would bring some needed relief to our tenants and the entire supply chain,” Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said. “This will help correct the chassis supply imbalance.”

The depot is one of several measures the Port of Long Beach is pursuing to relieve the congestion issues that have come with the surge of cargo since the late summer.

In addition to the depot, the port has identified a plan to operate its own chassis fleet for peak cargo shipping seasons and peak demand. Long Beach also facilitated the introduction by private chassis fleets of an additional 3,000 chassis into the local area.

The adjoining Port of Los Angeles, which has also dealt with its share of congestion problems the past few months, announced recently that its executive director, Gene Seroka, and his team have facilitated recent meetings that resulted in a new chassis distribution model to be implemented Feb. 1.

Jensen, Vigor Unveiling New Trawler Design

By Mark Edward Nero

Jensen Maritime and Vigor Industrial are expected to unveil the design for a new 352-foot catcher processor/factory trawler Nov. 19 at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.

The device is the product of collaboration between design architect Jensen, shipbuilder Vigor and three major fishing customers. The companies say the trawler is scalable and can be adapted to meet the needs of fleets in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The vessel has over 13,000 square feet of processing space and can be set up for a variety of processing needs, from surimi to fillets to fish meal. Hold volume is split between a frozen product hold and a pair of fish meal holds, for a total hold capacity of over 109,000 cubic feet. The vessel also holds 51,500 gallons of fish oil in dedicated tanks. Jensen and Vigor saw the trawler’s propulsion is configured around two ABB Azipod thrusters with 360 degree azimuthing and reversible prop rotation, providing maneuverability to stay on the fish.

Other propulsion options, such as conventional twin screw diesel-electric, are also available, the companies say. The trawl arena is enclosed below a weather deck, providing fully lighted protection for the crew, eliminating iced surfaces, and minimizing product contamination.

Accommodations are provided for a total crew of 155, and the mess area provides seating for 94. Six person staterooms are provided for a majority of the crew. All accommodations are provided on the deck above the processing space to allow separation of living and working spaces for containment of odors and noise.

“Partnership between the design architects, the shipbuilder and the customer ensures that we achieve the right balance between cost and function,” Vigor sales director Bryan Nichols said. “Vigor is proud to be working with local partner Jensen on this new fishing vessel design that will support the recapitalization of the fishing fleet here in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.”

AAPA Honors Mohr, Yoshitani

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Association of Port Authorities, which represents ports throughout the Western Hemisphere, honored three port industry leaders for their accomplishments during the AAPA’s 103rd Annual Convention and Expo, which was held Nov. 11 in Houston.

Receiving the AAPA’s “ImPORTant Service Award” was Port of Everett CEO John Mohr. Former Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani and Dr. Bory Steinberg, founder and principal of the water resources advisory firm Steinberg & Associates, and a former US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program chief, received the AAPA’s Distinguished Service Award.

Recipients of the AAPA’s ImPORTant Service Award must have served with distinction and a record of outstanding leadership on one or more of the association’s technical or policy committees for at least 10 years, including two as a committee chairman, and have at least 10 years of port management experience.

Recipients of the association’s Distinguished Service Award are honored for their dedicated efforts toward the enrichment of the maritime and port industries throughout the Western Hemisphere.

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle commended the three award recipients for their longstanding commitment to excellence to their port industry colleagues and for their leadership on seaport industry issues.

“Tay has been an active and highly engaged member of AAPA for many years, while leading the Maryland Port Administration (from 1995-1998), the Port of Oakland (2001-2004), and of course, the Port of Seattle,” Nagle said. Yoshitani retired from Seattle’s port in September after about seven-and-a-half years as CEO.

In recognizing Mohr, Nagle said that throughout his 33 years as a public seaport executive, Mohr has been a devoted and energetic contributor to AAPA initiatives, standing committees and programs.

“He’s always been willing to lend his experience as a conference speaker and session presider at innumerable programs and Congressional hearings, and served admirably as AAPA’s U.S. port delegation chairman in 2002-2003,” Nagle said. Mohr, who has been the Port of Everett’s executive director since 1997, is retiring in January 2015.

POLA Monthly Cargo Volume Rises

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles has released its October 2014 containerized cargo volumes, and the data show that overall volumes increased more than four percent last month compared to October 2013. Total cargo for October was more than 715,600 TEUs, compared to about 684,000 during the same month last year.

Container imports increased 7.2 percent last month, according to the data, rising from 346,137 TEUs in October 2013 to 370,938 TEUs in October 2014. However, exports fell 6.7 percent during the same timeframe, going from 169,568 TEUs in October 2013 to 158,181 TEUs in October 2014. U.S. exports have declined in 2014 due to weaker demand abroad and a stronger US dollar, which makes US goods more expensive.

Combined, total loaded imports and exports at Los Angeles increased 2.6 percent, from 515,705 TEUs in October 2013 to 529,119 TEUs in October 2014. Factoring in empties, which increased 10.7 percent year over year, overall October 2014 volumes of 715,682 TEUs was an increase of 4.6 percent compared to October 2013’s 684,207 TEUs.

For the first ten months of calendar year 2014, overall volumes (7,018,152 TEUs) have increased 7.5 percent compared to the same period in 2013 (6,531,374 TEUs). The port says the increase reflects the conclusion of peak season volumes and larger vessels calling at Los Angeles.