Thursday, August 20, 2015

Seattle Port Names Interim Maritime Division Director

By Mark Edward Nero

Lindsay Pulsifer, General Manager of Marine Maintenance for the Port of Seattle, has been selected as the ports Interim Maritime Division Managing Director.

She fills the void that opened with the departure of former Maritime Division Managing Director Linda Styrk, who in July accepted a new position as Executive Director for the Puget Sound Pilots, the group that works with ship captains to safely direct vessels into and out of harbors and waterways.

In her new role, Pulsifer will be responsible for directing the strategic and daily operations of Maritime Environmental Services, Harbor Services, Marine Maintenance, Industrial Properties and Cruise Operations until a permanent Maritime Division Managing Director is selected.

Lindsay has demonstrated strong support for talent development, keen business acumen, and organizational guidance during periods of change, port CEO Ted Fick said.

Pulsifer, a port employee for more than 30 years, holds a masters degree in business administration from the University of Washington.

It is an honor to be selected to lead the Maritime Division during this period, she said in a prepared statement announcing her new role. I look forward to working with a great crew as we navigate through new waters.

A national search will be conducted for a permanent replacement for Styrk, according to the port.

Puget Sound Monthly Container Volumes Grow

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volumes through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma collectively known as the Northwest Seaport Alliance are continuing to post year-over-year gains. Container volumes at the ports grew nearly eight percent last month compared to July 2014.

The ports collectively moved 296,349 TEUs in July, a 7.9 percent increase from the 274,593 containers moved in July 2014.

Through the first seven months of the year, the NWSA has handled about 2.08 million TEUs, a four percent year-to-date increase over last years 2.0 million.

Strong volumes of full import containers powered a three percent year-to-date gain in containerized imports to 823,695 TEUs between January and July. Export containers grew nearly six percent during the same seven months to 733,150 TEUs, propelled by a high volume of empty containers being sent back to Asia.

The news isnt all good, however: full export containers struggled in July, falling nearly 14 percent on the year, something that the ports says is the result of a stronger US dollar and softening economies in Japan and China.

Drought and extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest have also challenged Washington states agricultural output.

In other year-to-date cargo news: auto imports jumped nearly eight percent to 109,950 units at the ports, while breakbulk volumes were down less than one percent to 162,090 metric tons.
Grain exports were down almost 12 percent to 3,690,251 metric tons.

More information about the ports current and historical cargo volumes is available at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/July2015_ContainerVolumes.pdf

Jensen Develops LNG Barge Concepts

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based Jensen Maritime, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime, said August 19 that it has developed two new liquefied natural gas bunker barge concepts that are fully customizable to meet customers needs.

The first concept involves outfitting an existing barge with an above-deck LNG tank. The concept can be further modified, according to Jensen, to accommodate more than one type of product, if a customer has a need for multiple liquid transfers.

The company says advantages of this design include a fast turnaround and a reduced need to invest in specialized assets if a customer has short-term LNG requirements.

The second concept is for a purpose-built, new bunker barge. The design features an LNG tank nestled inside the barge and also has the latest safety features and efficiencies.

We understand that customers have very different needs when it comes to LNG, company Vice President Johan Sperling said. Whether LNG is required for the long or short term, or in larger or smaller quantities, Jensen has a bunkering solution.

Bunker barges are seen by Jensen and Crowley as an innovative solution for the maritime industry, which is currently struggling with the decision over which to develop first LNG infrastructure or vessels.

These barges are an ideal resource for those who have LNG needs at ports not located near an LNG terminal or as an alternative to over-the-road transportation, the company said in a news release.
An artist rendering of the vessel designs is available at Crowleys website.

POLB Sets Monthly Cargo Record

By Mark Edward Nero

Cargo container volumes surged through the Port of Long Beach in July, with an 18.4 percent increase over the same month in 2014, making July a record month for the port.

After a slow start at the beginning of 2015, the gains in July mark the fourth time in the last five months that cargo totals have climbed significantly higher.

Port terminals moved 690,244 TEUs in July, an increase of 18.4 percent compared to July 2014. Imports jumped to 345,912 TEUs, a 16.2 percent increase from last July.

Also, exports increased an impressive 15.9 percent to 143,875 TEUs despite the stronger U.S. dollar, which has made U.S. exports relatively expensive overseas.

July makes the fourth time in five months that the port has seen import gains July (18.4 percent), May (4.8 percent), April (7.3 percent), and March (42.1 percent).

Through the first seven months of the current calendar year, Long Beach cargo numbers are edging higher, with total cargo up 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year, imports up 1.4 percent and exports down 10.9 percent.

The port says the results are an indication that the US economy is growing, and the stronger dollar is giving retailers the confidence to order more products from overseas to stock their shelves for consumers. The National Retail Federation has forecast three-to-five percent gains for the back-to-school and early holiday shopping seasons.

The good news for Long Beach is in contrast with the Port of Los Angeles, which saw its containerized cargo business decrease by more than two percent in July compared to the same period last year. The POLA handled 699,127 TEUs last month, compared with more than 717,400 during the same month in 2014.

More details on the cargo numbers are available at www.polb.com/stats.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ABB Equipping Maersk Ships with Optimization Software

By Mark Edward Nero

Power and automation group ABB is working with weather forecasting service MeteoGroup to equip 140 Maersk Line container ships with advisory software to optimize routes, boost maritime safety and protect precious cargo.

The advisories will be based on factors including the vessels’ hull design and the weather and could help them avoid conditions that could be harmful to the ship, its crew or its cargo.

The deal will see ABB combine its motion-monitoring, forecasting and decision-support software with MeteoGroup’s plug-in software. Once fitted on Maersk Line ships, this is expected to enable captains to define on-board loading conditions, and more accurately determine areas of the ocean where their ship’s motion is likely to exceed threshold values.

Routes could then be optimized automatically to skirt adverse conditions.

“Both MeteoGroup and ABB take great pride in the fact that we are delivering an onboard advisory tool for the world’s biggest container shipping company,” said Heikki Soljama, managing director of ABB’s Marine and Ports business unit.

ABB’s advisory suite, which is also deployed aboard liquefied natural gas tankers and the world’s biggest cruise ships, includes a three-dimensional hydrodynamic database for each individual hull type. This means ABB’s software, together with MeteoGroup’s plug-in, produces very accurate calculations about how a ship will respond to dynamic weather and ocean conditions.

The resulting routing advice takes into account not only environmental conditions such as wind, currents and swell but also the effect these changing conditions may have on the ship’s behavior.

Oakland Container Volumes Up Slightly

By Mark Edward Nero

Imports extended their growth streak to five straight months at the Port of Oakland in July, according to newly released data. The port said April 14 that containerized import volume jumped 8.7 percent last month from a year ago.

Overall July volume in Oakland – including both loaded and empty containers – was up one percent compared to July 2014. The gains were in full cargo moved, however: the port moved nine percent fewer empty boxes in July than it did the same month a year ago.

Exports were up marginally during the month, according to the data. The July 2015 export volume increased 0.94 percent over last year; it was the first monthly improvement in Oakland exports this year.

The numbers reflect continued recovery after a slow start to the year. Volumes at all major West Coast ports dropped in January and February. Oakland imports have been on the rise ever since.

The port said a shortage of longshore labor slowed vessel operations in July. Some ships waited 36 hours to berth. Since then, additional dockworkers have joined the labor pool, the port said, adding that a backlog of vessels has significantly decreased since early August.

“We’re working hard to regain momentum,” Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said.

Oakland terminals moved 1.29 million TEUs from January through July of this year, which is a 6.3 percent decline from the same seven month period in 2014.

FEMA Awards POLB Security Grant

By Mark Edward Nero

The security division of the Port of Long Beach has been awarded $3.4 million in grants to fund ongoing projects that protect the port.

The grants, awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, go toward enhancing port security systems such as physical security equipment and monitoring and detection systems and improving the resiliency of port security systems.

“FEMA’s grant money will help us carry out important security projects and enhance our abilities to work with our security partners at the port,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzm├ín said in a prepared statement.

FEMA, which is part of the US Department of Homeland Security, offers the grants for port security initiatives, and recipients like the Port of Long Beach must provide at least 25 percent of the cost of the project.

The Long Beach Harbor Department’s security division partners with local, state and federal law enforcement and security and emergency-response agencies including the Long Beach Police and Fire departments, FBI, US Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard.

Security has been a priority at Long Beach, as well as at the adjoining Port of Los Angeles, since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Over the past 14 years, security operations at the port have been enhanced by $136 million in grants received.

POLA Container Volumes Down in July

By Mark Edward Nero

Containerized cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles decreased by more than two percent in July 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to newly released data.

The port handled a total of 699,127 TEUs last month, compared with more than 717,400 during the same month in 2014.

Imports decreased 3.5 percent, from 363,393 TEUs in July 2014 to 350,627 TEUs in July 2015. Additionally, exports declined 16.4 percent, from 163,294 TEUs in July 2014 to 136,402 TEUs in July 2015.

Combined, total loaded imports and exports decreased 7.5 percent, from 526,688 TEUs in July 2014 to 487,029 TEUs in July 2015. Factoring in empties, which increased 11.2 percent, the overall July 2015 volume of 699,127 TEUs was a 2.5 percent drop from July 2014.

July was the first month in the Port of Los Angeles’ fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

For the first seven months of calendar year 2015, the overall container volume of 4.60 million TEUs was a drop of 3.5 percent compared to the same period in 2014, when port terminals handled 4.76 million containers.

Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp.