Friday, October 23, 2015

Willard Marine Gets Research Vessel Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Anaheim-based boat builder Willard Marine has been awarded a contract by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to produce a 20-foot rigid hull inflatable boat for the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center to facilitate their fisheries and marine mammal research in the Pacific region.

Willard Marine says it will provide a slightly modified version of its Sea Force 730, a military-grade, aluminum, rigid hull inflatable boat that’s designed with a deep-V hull for stability in rough sea conditions.

The research vessel designed for NOAA will be fitted with both lift fittings and a lift sling that are designed for hoisting 6,700-pounds of weight with a 6:1 weight ratio safety factor.

Twin Honda 115hp outboard engines will propel the vessel throughout the Hawaiian islands, Guam and other areas in the Pacific as NOAA conducts scientific sampling, including bottom fish collection, remote sensing survey, marine mammal population survey and dive operations.

The collar is designed to be closed-cell foam with a polyurethane sheathing that covers the foam, according to Willard Marine. Additionally, the company says it will provide a complete davit for deploying and recovering scientific equipment. The davit, which will have a mount for attaching winches/pot pullers, would be removable from the mounting bracket when not in use.

Eight removable SCUBA tank holders and an aluminum engine guard will also be installed, and personnel recovery cutouts will be provided on both sides of the collar.

Delivery of the vessel is scheduled for the summer of 2016.

Pollution-Scrubbing Tech Approved

By Mark Edward Nero

The California Air Resources Board has approved a new technology by an LA-area company that uses specialized barges that connect to the exhaust ports of container ships to scrub pollution.

Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc. can now market AMECS to vessel operators as an alternative to container ships plugging into the electrical grid to reduce emissions while at berth.

Container and cruise ships must significantly reduce at-berth emissions to meet state regulations, but the existing “shore power” option requires retrofits to each vessel. According to ACTI, the AMECS barge system can meet the state standards by removing 90 to 99 percent of harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter without requiring vessel retrofits.

The California Air Resources Board’s approval of AMECS on container ships now allows ACTI to begin the process of testing the system on other vessel types.

In 2013, the Port of Long Beach provided about $2 million in seed money to help test the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, or AMECS.

“We’re thrilled any time we can find more tools to reduce emissions and continue to improve community health. That’s why we fund projects like the demonstration and testing of these new technologies, through our Technology Advancement Program,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in reducing air pollution, and we are nurturing new technologies like these to help us do even more.”

POLB Official Addresses Congressional Committee

By Mark Edward Nero

Federal officials should forge a comprehensive strategy to defend the nation’s ports from cyber attacks, Port of Long Beach Security Services Director Randy Parsons told a US House of Representatives committee in testimony earlier this month.

Parsons, appearing before the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, said the maritime sector must adapt to a new threat environment that could include cyber events impacting key cogs in the nation’s economy.

“Protecting US ports must be a core capability of our nation,” Parsons said. “Focusing on the development of strategic policies and guidelines is sorely needed. A roadmap that provides guidance but flexibility for industry decisions makes sense and will strengthen our national cyber security posture.”

The Port of Long Beach, the second busiest container port in the US, participated in the hearing as part of October’s National Cyber Security Month. The hearing, titled “Protecting Maritime Facilities in the 21st Century: Are Our Nation’s Ports At Risk For A Cyber Attack?,” was streamed live online on Oct. 8. Also testifying during the 90-minute hearing were officials from the US Coast Guard, the US Government Accountability Office and the ports of Brownsville and Harlingen, located in Texas.

Video of the hearing is archived at

Puget Sound Container Volumes Trend Upward

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volumes through the Northwest Seaport Alliance, i.e. the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, improved five percent through the third quarter of 2015, according to recently released data.

Full containerized imports and empty exports fueled the seventh-straight month of growth as retailers increased inventories to prepare for the holiday shopping season, port data shows. Import volumes increased nearly five percent year-to-date to 1,088,615 TEUs during the quarter, and exports jumped nearly nine percent to 982,206 TEUs. Domestic volumes remained flat, up just one percent on the year.

However, full export containers suffered in September, down four percent compared to the September 2014, as a stronger US dollar, decreasing demand from China and weaker economies overseas continue to impact the export market.

Through the first nine months of the calendar year, the alliance has handled nearly 2.8 million TEUs and is on pace to top last year’s 3.4 million TEUs, according to data.

Auto imports also continued to post gains – a trend that is expected to continue as next year’s models begin to arrive. Nearly 140,000 auto units crossed the ports’ docks through September, a jump of nearly four percent.

Breakbulk cargo has been stable according to data, and is up half a percent to 196,923 metric tons year-to-date.

The Sept. 2015 container volumes data is available at and the latest cargo statistics can be found at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

POLA Volumes Down Nearly 6 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

September 2015 container volumes at the Port of Los Angeles were down nearly six percent compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the port Oct. 15.

Although the POLA handled a total of 730,306 TEUs last month, it was still down 5.8 percent from the same month last year. September 2014 was among the strongest months for container shipping in the port’s history.

“While we fell short of last September's exceptional volume of 775,000 TEUs, I’m encouraged by the productivity our terminals and supply chain partners have demonstrated over the past six months,” Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “We are experiencing a consistent pattern of larger ships and more efficient cargo conveyance at volumes that are market leading.”

Imports decreased last month by 9.4 percent to 383,963 TEUs in September 2015 and exports declined 17.5 percent to 124,286 TEUs. The number of empty containers moved during the month increased 9.4 percent during the month however, with the empty containers going mostly overseas to be filled with goods coming to the U.S. in preparation to be sold during the holiday season. For the first nine months of 2015, the overall container volume of 6.11 million TEUs represents a 2.9 percent drop compared to the same period in 2014.

For the fiscal year, which began July 1, volumes are down 1.5 percent compared to the same three months in the previous fiscal year.

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

Two New Commissioners Join Port of Portland

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 14, the nine-person Port of Portland Commission welcomed new commissioners, Alice Cuprill-Comas and Gary Young, both of whom were nominated by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate.

Cuprill-Comas of Portland is a transactional lawyer and is currently legal counsel at Oregon Health & Science University. A member of the Oregon, Washington and Texas State bars, she was in private practice for more than 15 years, most recently as a partner at Ater, Wynne, LLC in Portland.

She has also served as general counsel to Prometheus Energy Co., an alternative fuels company with international operations headquartered in Seattle.

Young is a native Oregonian and has lived in the Portland area all his life. Since 2013, he has been the business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 4,400-member local. He is directly involved in contract negotiations, health and welfare and pension trusts, as well as being politically active on behalf of the membership he serves in regards to legislation that affects wages, hours and working conditions.

Young and his wife, Carla, live in Boring.

Cuprill-Comas replaces Commissioner Paul Rosenbaum, who was the Commission’s vice president, and is CEO and board chairman of SWR Corp. Young replaces Commissioner Bruce Holte, a longshoreman and member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Rosenbaum and Holte were both termed out earlier this year after two four-year terms on the board.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Transport Secretary Releases Freight Strategic Plan

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 18, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx released the draft National Freight Strategic Plan, which offers specific policy proposals and solutions to address the growing challenges of moving freight in America.

The draft plan was unveiled by Foxx in Seattle. He was joined for the announcement by Sen. Maria Cantwell at Seattle Public School Headquarters.

The draft proposes solutions and strategies to address the infrastructure, institutional and financial bottlenecks that hinder the safe and efficient movement of goods, plus identifies successful programs already in place to improve freight planning and investment, and proposes new programs and ideas that could make more progress possible.

“With an increasingly competitive and complex global marketplace and a deteriorating transportation infrastructure that is unfortunately showing the effects of age and underinvestment, the need for us to have a national freight plan could not be more urgent,” Foxx said.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, freight shipments last month reached an all-time high and 30.4 percent higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession. Concerns remain within the US government that the country’s infrastructure can’t accommodate continued growth: In the next 30 years America’s population is expected to grow by 70 million people, while freight traffic is expected to increase by 42 percent by 2040.

Specific strategies include:

• Ensuring dedicated freight funding. The draft plan emphasizes the importance of a dedicated freight program to improve the movement of freight and meet regional economic demand. It would also require or incentivize State Freight Advisory Committees, State Freight Plans, and cross-jurisdictional/cooperative planning.

• Identification of major trade gateways and multimodal national freight networks/corridors. The Dept. of Transportation is releasing a draft Multimodal Freight Network map to inform planners, private sector stakeholders, and the public about where major freight flows occur and where special attention to freight issues may be most warranted.

• Continuing to support local, state, and interagency collaboration, including close cooperation with port authorities, private sector stakeholders, and agencies in Canada and Mexico; sharing best practices for freight planning; supporting advisory committees and public forums with stakeholders; and encouraging effective use of funding available at the national level.

Other strategies outlined include: development and deployment of newer and more advanced freight data resources; improvement of safety and support of the adoption of new transportation technologies; and development of the next generation freight transportation workforce.

“Congestion on rails, surface streets, and at our ports across the Pacific Northwest costs businesses billions of dollars a year and gives an edge to competitors around the globe. The National Freight Strategic Plan means places like Seattle and Tacoma will be part of our national strategy to quickly move products through traffic congested areas,” Cantwell said. More information about the draft plan is available at

POLB Surpasses Pollution Reduction Goals

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach has surpassed every air pollution reduction milestone set for 2014 by its San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, according to an analysis released Oct. 13.

The latest annual inventory of port-related air pollution emissions found the port’s efforts to reduce pollution have cut diesel particulates by 85 percent since 2005, surpassing the Clean Air Action Plan goal for 2014 of a 72 percent reduction. The CAAP, created in 2006, outlines strategies to significantly reduce pollution from ships, locomotives, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft that move cargo.

In addition to the drop in diesel emissions, smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have dropped 50 percent and 97 percent respectively, according to the analysis. The corresponding goals for the year are 22 percent and 93 percent.

The reasons for the air quality improvements include the Clean Trucks Program, low-sulfur fuel regulations for ships, increased use of shore power for cargo ships and the port’s Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program.

The 2014 levels of diesel particulates and sulfur dioxides improved from 2013 levels, when overall reductions were measured at 82 percent and 90 percent, respectively. However, nitrogen oxides increased slightly in the study, down 50 percent in 2014 compared to 54 percent in 2013.

Officials attributed the nitrogen oxide change to more passenger cruise ship calls -- 234 calls in 2014 compared to 123 the year prior -- and increased emissions from container ships at anchorage due to the traffic congestion last year.

“When the Clean Air Action Plan was adopted almost 10 years ago, the port made a promise to the community to reduce air pollution and to be a better neighbor,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement. “While our work is not finished, these results show our commitment to living up to our responsibilities as the Green Port.”

For the complete emissions inventory, go to