Friday, July 10, 2015

Four West Coast Ports Receive Environmental Awards

By Mark Edward Nero

The environmental sustainability commitments of the Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma seaports have earned them the Inbound Logistics Green Supply Chain Partner honors.

The Puget Sound and San Pedro Bay facilities were four of seven US ports honored. Seattle and Tacoma were recognized for their efforts to reduce seaport-related emissions through the comprehensive Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy program, as well as restoring habitat and find solutions to manage stormwater runoff.

LA and Long Beach were honored for their joint Clean Air Action Plan and Clean Trucks Program, which they formulated in 2006 to reduce emissions. The ports have committed to reducing diesel particulate emissions, NOx, and SOx by double digits in the coming years.

Trade magazine Inbound Logistics honored 75 organizations from various trade sectors this year, including ports, truckers, railroads, shipping lines, freight forwarders and air cargo carriers. Other honorees included Matson Navigation, Maersk Line and Union Pacific.

“The G75 list represents 75 visionaries who have demonstrated a long-standing history of driving efficiencies in their customers’ operations and an internal commitment to be as lean and green as possible,” Inbound Logistics editor Felecia Stratton said.

The complete list of award recipients is listed in the magazine's June issue.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Real Estate Attorney Named
to Oakland Port Board

By Mark Edward Nero

Real estate attorney Joan Story is set to join the Port of Oakland Board of Port Commissioners on July 11 after being appointed this week by the Oakland City Council.

The City Council on July 7 appointed Story, a partner in the international law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, to a four-year term. During the same meeting, the Council also reappointed incumbent Port Commissioner Cestra “Ces” Butner to an additional term.

“We are delighted that Joan Story is joining the Board of Port Commissioners to strengthen our deliberations and policymaking with her skill and experience,” Board President Alan Yee said in a prepared statement. “We’re also grateful that Ces Butner will continue to provide us with his vision and leadership.”

Story has over 35 years of experience representing developers, foreign and institutional investors and corporate users of commercial real estate. She graduated from Occidental College and also received a Master’s in Political Science from UCLA and a law degree from the University of California at Davis. She’s also a former member of The Trust for Public Land California Advisory Board.

“It’s a privilege to join the Board of Port Commissioners,” Story said. “The port is vital to the economic health of the East Bay and I’m eager to help guide its future with my new colleagues.”

“I’m excited by the opportunity to continue supporting the Port and the people of Oakland,” said Butner, a local business owner and Oakland resident since 1981. “And I look forward to working with Joan Story – her expertise in real estate and land use planning will be critical in our future decision-making.”

Port St. John Awarded Infrastructure Funding

By Mark Edward Nero

The Canadian government has awarded $68.3 million in federal funding for a project to modernize Port Saint John’s Westside terminals under the National Infrastructure Component of the New Building Canada Fund, it was announced July 8.

The $205 million project involves improving and consolidating the Rodney and Navy Island terminals to allow the port to accommodate larger vessels. New operational systems and technology are also planned for installation to enhance cargo-handling capabilities.

The project covers a 60-acre area: 25 acres are slated be transformed into container storage, 10 acres into a multipurpose yard, with the rest used for terminal access roads, stevedoring operations, trans-loading and cargo-consolidation warehouses and lay-down areas for break-bulk and project cargoes.

The main channel at the port is also being deepened from 8.4 meters (27.5 feet) to 10 meters (32.8 feet) as part of the project.

Port Saint John is a year-round, deepwater port that handles an average of 28 million tons of diverse cargo annually.

The funding is conditional on the project meeting applicable federal eligibility requirements.

This is the first announcement under the National Infrastructure Component of the New Building Canada Fund in New Brunswick. This component is providing $4 billion in financial support for projects with far reaching benefits for Canadians. It supports infrastructure of national significance that has a strong impact on Canada’s competitiveness, productivity and economic well-being.

Maersk Orders Nine 14,000-TEU Vessels

By Mark Edward Nero

Maersk Line on July 8 signed a new building contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries for nine vessels with a capacity of 14,000 TEUs each. The agreement includes an option for up to eight additional vessels.

The vessels will have a length of 353 meters (1,158 feet).

The contract, which has a value of $1.1 billion, was signed by HHI Chief Operating Officer Sam H. Ka and Maersk Line COO Søren Toft during a ceremony at Maersk Line’s Copenhagen headquarters.

This is the third new-building order in Maersk Line’s investment program, which was announced in September 2014. The order follows the seven 3,600 TEU feeder vessels and eleven 19,630 TEU Triple-E vessels announced earlier this year as part of Maersk Line’s $15 billion investment in new-buildings, retrofitting, containers and other equipment.

“I am very pleased about this order for which we have taken a new approach. The vessels will be designed to operate in and perform efficiently across many trades and not just designed for one specific trade. They will help us stay competitive and make our fleet more flexible and efficient,” Toft said.

The nine vessels are expected to join Maersk Line’s fleet in 2017 and sail under Singaporean flag.

Since 2002, HHI has delivered more than 50 container vessels to Maersk Line, including 22 WAFMAX (West Africa Maximum) vessels of 4,500 TEU, which were delivered in 2011-13.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Air Board Approves Ship Emissions Capturing System

By Mark Edward Nero

Clean Air Engineering-Maritime on July 1 said it has received California Air Resources Board approval for the first commercially ready ship emissions capturing system, called the Maritime Emissions Treatment System (METS).

The METS is mounted and deployed from a barge positioned alongside ships berthed at the Port of Los Angeles. The system is positioned over vessels’ smoke stacks and captures and treats more than 90 percent of particulate (PM), NOx, SO2 and related diesel pollutants emitted.

The Air Board testing, which began in 2014, included performance evaluations of the METS on five separate vessels for a minimum of 200 hours. CARB approved the system by executive order on June 26.

The proprietary treatment technology was developed in collaboration with Tri-Mer Corporation of Owosso, Mich., a supplier of catalytic ceramic filter systems. METS is the first CARB-approved alternative to plugging in to shore-side power – also called cold-ironing.

“The METS-1 will have an immediate, direct and positive impact on the communities surrounding the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” CAEM President Nick Tonsich said. “In the long term, given the fact that there are so many ships in the world’s fleet without cold-ironing capability, the METS system could have a profound impact on the entire shipping industry and our global environment.”

The Port of Los Angeles has been a leader in development of technologies to control at-berth emissions. Currently, 24 berths at the Port of Los Angeles are equipped for shore power, the most of any port in the world. Using shore power while at berth eliminates upwards of a ton of NOx emissions per vessel per 24-hour period. Similar results have been demonstrated by the new METS alternative.

Partial funding for the METS project came from a $1.5 million grant from the Port of Los Angeles’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) to TraPac, LLC, a Port of LA container terminal. TraPac contracted with CAEM to conduct research and develop the METS project. TraPac has entered into a service agreement for use of the METS-1 at TraPac on all vessels that are not capable of using an existing Alternative Marine Power (AMP) system. Provisions in the TAP grant make it possible for the Port of Los Angeles to receive repayment of the grant proceeds.

Port of Olympia IDs Chemical Spill Cause

By Mark Edward Nero

A hydrogen peroxide spill that caused a temporary evacuation at the Port of Olympia the morning of Jan. 27 was caused by a ball valve that ruptured after a buildup of the chemical, according to the port’s environmental programs director.

The spill occurred at a new stormwater treatment plant that had just opened at the port about a month prior. The leak originated from a pipe entering a 3,300-gallon tank. It contained a ball valve that, because it was unvented, released 9,600 gallons of hydrogen peroxide, environmental programs director Alex Smith told the Olympia Port Commission during its June 22 meeting.

Hydrogen peroxide, which is used to bring the pH factor in stormwater to normal, entered storm drains in and around the port and caused a vapor to rise from the drains and a building, according to the state Department of Ecology.

This led the Olympia Fire Department to evacuate a quarter-mile area as a precaution, and the port and a few nearby businesses were evacuated for about three hours and another six-to-eight businesses within 20 city blocks were sheltered in place during the incident.

Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid that is potentially explosive and not suitable for ingestion in high concentrations due to the potential for causing irritation to the mucus membrane, eyes and skin. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident however.

The port plans to build a large containment area in the event of another spill and on June 22 approved an engineering and design contract with a Texas-based contractor.

Seattle Port Hires Labor Relations Head

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Seattle CEO Ted J. Fick has hired David Freiboth as a member of the port’s executive team, effective July 16.

In his new role of Senior Director of Labor Relations, Freiboth will be responsible for providing strategic direction and guidance for labor relations, playing a major role in supporting workforce development throughout the Puget Sound region.

Freiboth will report directly to the CEO. He is also expected to work to build and enhance communication between a wide range of labor unions and the Port of Seattle. Nearly half of the port’s 1,800 employees are represented by 20 different labor union locals and 22 bargaining units, with an additional six union locals comprising its external labor relations, according to the port.

Before being hired by the port, Freiboth was Executive Secretary of the M.L. King County Labor Council since 2006 and was responsible for representing 125 affiliated local unions, advising national labor leadership, managing local staff, and serving as primary spokesman for labor locals.

Prior to that, he spent more than 10 years as the CEO of the Seattle Inlandboatman’s Union, representing more than 3,500 members in the public and private sector.

POLB Named Top North American Seaport

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach was named the best seaport in North America at the recent Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards in Hong Kong, hosted by the shipping trade publication Asia Cargo News.

The award, which was given June 24, recognizes the best ports as judged by importers, exporters, and logistics and supply chain professionals. Long Beach was the only West Coast port up for the award.

In the past, the program was organized by another publication, CargoNews Asia. If viewed as a continuation of those awards, this is the Port of Long Beach’s 17th time in the last 20 years winning the Best North American Seaport honors. Last year, Long Beach won the Best Green Seaport award based on its environmental record.

More than 15,000 industry professionals participated in the nomination and selection of winners. Awards also are given in many categories, including best shipping lines, container terminals, air cargo terminals, airports and rail haulers.

Other awardees this year included OOCL, which was named best transpacific shipping line and Evergreen Marine, which was named best global shipping line. Hamburg Sud won the Best Green Shipping Line award.

The full list of 2015 winners can be seen at