Thursday, September 3, 2015

FMC Delays Oakland Container Fee Program

By Mark Edward Nero

The Federal Maritime Commission on Sept. 2 put on hold an agreement that would authorize a container fee program at the Port of Oakland when it issued a request for additional information from the five container terminals regarding the agreement.

Under the fee program, which has been dubbed OakPass and is modeled after the PierPass program at the Los Angeles-Long Beach ports complex, Oakland terminal operators would charge container fees during peak hours.

Under the proposed program, terminals would collect an Extended Gate Fee of $17 for a 20-foot unit and $34 for all other sizes of container. The EGF would be assessed on loaded import and export containers during peak hours, defined as 7 am through 6 pm Monday through Friday.

No fee will be assessed during off peak hours, defined at 7 am through 6 pm Saturdays. Empty containers and transshipment cargo would be exempt from the fee.

OakPass, which was announced Aug. 21, was originally expected to go into effect sometime during the fourth quarter of 2015, but could be delayed by one or more quarters, depending on actions taken by the Maritime Commission.

The Commission has said it has concerns about the program being proposed based on an initial review and comments received from various stakeholders that would be impacted by the program.

Also according to the Commission, stakeholders have expressed concerns that insufficient details about how the system would work have been made available to them, and the Commission has stated that it believes additional transparency by the parties would greatly aid in its analysis of the issue.

A notice that the Commission has issued the request for additional information is slated to be published in the Federal Register next week, and at the same time, a 15-day public comment period for interested parties to comment on the proposed agreement is to be announced, according to the FMC.

After the port and terminal operators have responded to the FMCs information request, a new 45-day review period is slated to begin.

Oil Response Vessel Christened in Vancouver

By Mark Edward Nero

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Western Canada Marine Response Corp. christened its newest oil spill response vessel in Burrard Inlet on Sept. 1.

The $4.5 million G.M. Penman is a 65-foot Ocean Class oil spill response vessel built by Rozema Boat Works of Mount Vernon, Wash. Its only the fifth vessel of its kind in the world, with its sister vessels servicing offshore production platforms off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.

The 65-foot OSRVs are smaller, faster and more cost effective than older unsheltered water vessels, Western Canada Marine Response President and General Manager Kevin Gardner said in a prepared statement. The G.M. Penman provides WCMRC with improved open water rapid response and night time operations capacity.

The G.M. Penman has a recorded top speed of 26 knots when traveling to an incident. Once on-scene, the boom arms can be deployed within minutes. Two onboard Lamor skimming brushes have a combined skimming capacity of 32.8 tons per hour, according to Western Canada Marine Response. Its also the first vessel in WCMRCs fleet that can operate continuously for multiple days in open water before requiring resupplies, according to the company.

It joins WCMRCs fleet of 32 spill response vessels, including two other Rozema-built vessels the 47-foot Bay Class OSRVs Eagle Bay and M.J. Green. It will conduct sea trials in Vancouver prior to being deployed to one of WCMRCs West Coast satellite response bases.

Puget Sound Receives Its Largest-Ever Container Ship

By Mark Edward Nero

On Sept. 1, the CMA CGM Callisto, the largest container ship ever to call Puget Sound, arrived at the Port of Seattles Terminal 18 cargo container facility, an occurrence that the port says heralds the larger ships cascading into trans-Pacific trade.

With a capacity of 11,400 20-foot equivalent container units, the CMA CGM Callisto is 1,193 feet long and 150 feet wide, making it 100 feet longer than the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. Almost two Space Needles could fit end-to-end across its length.

The UK-flagged vessel holds more than 40 percent more cargo than most of the container ships that call at terminals within either the Port of Seattle or the Port of Tacoma, collectively known as the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Ships continue to get larger, and we are ready for them, Northwest Seaport Alliance Chief Executive Officer John Wolfe said in a statement. We are investing in our terminals and road and rail infrastructure to handle more cargo and the super-post-Panamax ships moving into the trans-Pacific trade.

France-based global container shipping company CMA CGM has called in Seattle since 2005.
The CMA CGM Callisto called at Port Metro Vancouver before arriving in Seattle, and is scheduled to depart Seattle this week for Shanghai.

Seattle Firm Acquires Noise Mitigation Company

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten has acquired Noise Control Engineering, a Massachusetts-based acoustical engineering firm that specializes in noise and vibration control for marine, industrial and commercial environments.

Glosten revealed the acquisition Sept. 1.

Noise Control Engineering, which will continue to operate under that name, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Glosten and will maintain its current offices in Billerica, Massachusetts and Mobile, Alabama and continue to serve its clientele as an independent group within the Glosten organization.
For over 55 years, Glosten has grown carefully, responding to the unique and challenging needs of our clients, Glosten President Jay Edgar said. Joining with NCE is an exciting next step. We are adding resources and capabilities that will allow us each to offer a more comprehensive scope of services while maintaining our individual identities and industry focus.

NCE President and founder Ray Fischer said this transition ensures the success of NCE over the long term.

We have collaborated with Glosten for over 20 years on many fascinating projects, he said. Its great to join an organization that shares our client-focused culture.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Project Launched in Honolulu

By Mark Edward Nero

Sandia National Laboratories on Aug. 28 began leading a maritime hydrogen fuel cell project at the Port of Honolulu facility of Young Brothers Ltd. to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator as an alternative to conventional diesel generators.

Following the six-month test of the fuel cell unit, the project team will analyze the project’s successes and challenges, including the operating and cost parameters needed to make a business case at other ports.

“The long-range goal is to develop a commercial-ready technology that can be widely used at other ports,” said Joe Pratt, Sandia’s project lead. “The project team sees a strong market need and desire for a fuel cell solution, not only at maritime ports but also for users who aren’t connected to a grid.”

Planning for the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project began in late 2012 with a study that determined that hydrogen fuel cells could replace diesel generators in providing auxiliary power on board and to ships at berth.

“At the point of use, hydrogen fuel cells produce nothing but water – zero pollutant emissions and no greenhouse gases,” Pratt said. “This technology could enable major commercial ports and marine vessels to lessen their environmental impacts.”

An analysis by Sandia and DOE showed that due to fluctuating loads in maritime auxiliary power applications, a hydrogen fuel cell, which only supplies power when it’s needed, is more energy efficient than a diesel engine.

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration are funding the six-month deployment of the hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator, which is comprised of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power-conversion equipment packaged in a 20-foot shipping container.

The generator has enough energy to power 10 refrigerated containers for 20 continuous hours of operation.

The unit is already providing power to refrigerated containers on shore and soon will begin powering the same refrigerated containers on Young Brothers’ barges that distribute goods to Hawaii’s other islands. Young Brothers is a Foss Maritime subsidiary.

NASSCO Launches Gas-Powered Containership

By Mark Edward Nero

On Aug. 29, General Dynamics NASSCO launched the second in a series of natural gas powered containerships during christening and launch ceremony at the company’s San Diego shipyard.
The ship, the Perla del Caribe, was built for transportation and logistics company Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

The new Marlin Class ships, constructed by NASSCO shipbuilders and measuring the same length as two-and-a-half football fields, are being built to carry cargo exports between US-owned ports.

The ships are expected to reduce particulate matter by 98 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 72 percent, the equivalent of removing more than 15,700 cars from the road, making them among the cleanest cargo-carrying containerships in the world.

As part of the ceremony, the ship’s sponsor, Emma Engle, a third-generation shareholder of TOTE’s parent company, Saltchuk, christened the ship with a traditional champagne bottle break over the ship’s hull. Alcinda Buirds, a 32-year NASSCO employee, pulled the trigger to release the ship into the San Diego Bay.

As part of a two-ship contract signed in December 2012 with TOTE, the 764-foot long Marlin class containerships will be among the largest dry cargo ships of their kind in the world powered by LNG and are expected to dramatically decrease emissions while increasing fuel efficiency when compared to conventionally-powered ships.

Upon delivery of the first vessel in late-2015, the Jones Act-qualified ships will operate between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

NASSCO is the only major shipyard on the US West Coast conducting design, new construction and repair of commercial and US Navy ships.

In the past decade, NASSCO has delivered eleven commercial ships and has orders for ten more. During this same decade, NASSCO has delivered 17 ships to the US Navy.

Research Vessel Completes Acceptance Trials

By Mark Edward Nero

The first-of-class auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel R/V Neil Armstrong, constructed at the Anacortes, Washington shipyard Dakota Creek Industries, has successfully completed acceptance trials, the US Navy reported Aug. 27.

The R/V Neil Armstrong is a modern mono-hull research vessel capable of integrated, interdisciplinary, general-purpose oceanographic research in coastal and deep ocean areas.

The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) found the ship to be “well-built and inspection-ready” after the trials evaluated the ship’s major systems and equipment, including demonstrations of the ship’s main propulsion system, dynamic positioning system, navigation, cranes and winches and communication systems.

Acceptance trials represent the cumulative efforts following a series of in-port and underway inspections conducted jointly by builder Dakota Creek Industries and government agencies throughout the construction, test and trials process. The trials are the last significant shipbuilding milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, which is expected to occur this fall.

Neil Armstrong Class AGOR vessels are 238 feet long and incorporate the latest technologies, including high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses and new information technology tools both for monitoring shipboard systems and for communicating.

These ships are expected to provide scientists with the tools and capabilities to support ongoing research including in the western Pacific and other regions across a variety of missions.

The R/V Neil Armstrong will be operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution under a charter party agreement with the Office of Naval Research. It will have a crew of 20, with accommodations for 24 scientists.

Logistics Roundtable Event Set for Sept. 3

By Mark Edward Nero

Luncheon tickets are available for the “Leadership in Logistics Roundtable” event scheduled for Thurs., Sept. 3 in Seal Beach, California.

The event, sponsored by the California Trucking Association, features a roundtable discussion on critical issues facing the movement of goods, supply chains and other logistical matters with US Rep. Alan Lowenthal and Federal Maritime Commission Chair Mario Cordero, a former president of the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission.

Also during the event, the first ever Josh Owen Memorial “Leadership in Logistics” award will be given to Fran Inman, a member of the California Transportation Commission.

The scheduled featured speaker is former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott, who will present a discussion on leadership values. Lunch-only tickets are $75 and tables are still available for purchase.

The event is being held at the Old Ranch Country Club, 3901 Lampson Ave., Seal Beach.
To purchase tickets or for more information, email California Trucking Association executive Alex Cherin at