Friday, March 18, 2016

Seaspan Receives $65 Million in Shipbuilding Contracts

By Mark Edward Nero

The Canadian government on March 14 announced the signing of two new contracts valued at more than $65 million with Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards as part of the government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy is a federal effort to renew the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard.

The contracts with Vancouver Shipyards are expected to help pave the way for future construction of the Canadian Coast Guard’s offshore oceanographic science vessel and the Royal Canadian Navy’s joint support ships at Vancouver Shipyards by enabling Seaspan to initiate early discussions with potential suppliers and purchase necessary material and equipment.

With the new contracts now in place, specialized parts such as propulsion systems, scientific equipment, generators and steel can be ordered prior to start of construction.

“Today is an exciting day for Seaspan and marks a major milestone for the National Shipbuilding Strategy as we continue to rewrite shipbuilding history in Canada,” Seaspan Shipyards President Brian Carter said. “This announcement is a strong reminder of the progress being made under the NSS. Its impact will continue to increase opportunities for Canadian companies and provide jobs for Canadians that flow from our delivery of vessels to the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.”

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards says it has awarded $380 million in contracts to date to suppliers in Canada, and that over 160 Canadian companies have already benefited from the investments.

It is estimated that Seaspan’s National Shipbuilding Strategy work will create more than 2,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs annually and produce almost $290 million per year in Gross Domestic Product for Canada’s economy.

Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award

The 2016 Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award Selection Committee is accepting nominations for this year’s award to be announced at the Seattle Propeller Club’s May Maritime Festival breakfast.

Nominations must be received by April 14, 2016 and may be e-mailed to Nominations should include specific achievements of the candidate, particularly those impacting the Puget Sound maritime community, and a brief biography of the nominee. Industry segments represented by past recipients include steamship lines and agents, shipyards, tug and barge operators, marine architects, passenger and fishing vessel operators, port authorities, stevedores, and organized labor. Several paragraphs about the nominee are sufficient.

Feel free to contact Rich Berkowitz at (206) 443-1738 with any questions about the award nomination.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

POLB Hires Three Division Managers

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission on March 14 approved the appointments of new directors for the port’s Finance, Surveys and Transportation Planning divisions.

Maurina Lee, previously the Harbor Department’s controller, will become the Director of Finance. She has been controller since March of last year and was previously finance manager for the city of Downey from 2006 to 2015.

The port’s Finance Division oversees an annual budget that is $829 million this fiscal year. It is part of the Finance and Administration Bureau.

Robert Seidel, who has been the chief surveyor for the Port of Long Beach since 2006, will be the new Director of Surveys. The division, part of the Engineering Services Bureau, checks depths in the harbor to support safe navigation and assists port operations in areas such as utility markings, property rights and construction projects.

Seidel began working for the port in 1992 as part of an 18-month internship. He returned to the port in 1997.

Allison Yoh is being promoted to Director of Transportation Planning from the position of transportation policy manager, a post she has held since February 2015. The Transportation Planning Division is part of the Planning and Environmental Affairs Bureau. It oversees transportation planning studies, assists with managing port-related traffic, administers grants and develops transportation policy.

Prior to joining the port in 2013, Yoh was associate director of two research centers at UCLA focusing on transportation policy.

The three appointments are effective March 19.

Crowley Loses Alyeska Pipeline Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

It has provided marine services in Prince William Sound since 1990, but Crowley Marine Services will not be retained to provide oil spill prevention and response services in Valdez and Prince William Sound when its contract expires June 30, 2018.

Crowley bid, but was not chosen by Alyeska to retain the entire scope of the current contract, the company revealed March 17. The company declined to provide further details, saying it was prohibited by bidding process rules.

The winning bidder has not yet been publicly announced.

Crowley has been under contract with Alyeska since the inception of the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) in 1990. SERVS was created in 1989 to prevent oil spills and provide oil spill response and preparedness capabilities for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and Alaska crude oil shipping companies.

SERVS personnel, working closely with the US Coast Guard, monitor vessel traffic so tankers can safely travel through the Sound. Five state-of-the-art tugboats guide tankers through the Valdez Narrows and Hinchinbrook Entrance.

Two tugs depart with every tanker, loaded with oil spill response equipment such as boom, skimmers and smaller work boats. Currently, there are 17 vessels, 230 mariners and 17 shoreside administrative personnel working together to provide service to Alyeska in Valdez.

Crowley has said that it is “fully committed to continued professional service and full compliance” as the marine service provider until the end of June 2018, and that it will be engaged in any transition process.

“We bid this contract very aggressively and are extremely disappointed that we were not selected to retain this business,” company Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley said. “We have been assured that this outcome is the result of a very competitive landscape and is not a reflection of Crowley’s qualifications or record. We will continue to work constructively with Alyeska through the duration of our contract.”

“Over the next couple of years,” said Rocky Smith, Crowley senior vice president and general manager, petroleum distribution and marine services, “we will look for opportunities to redeploy our Valdez personnel and marine assets in new endeavors when our contract expires.”

Oregon Port Trade Recommendations Offered

By Mark Edward Nero

An Oregon trade cooperative has released a report with recommendations that it says can help Oregon businesses facing logistics challenges due to the loss of weekly Port of Portland Terminal 6 container service and changes in the maritime and transportation industries.

The goal, according to the International Trade and Logistics Initiative, is to help Oregon businesses move freight to markets and compete globally. Recommendations included in the International Trade and Logistics Report fall into the following four categories:
• Resolution of Terminal 6 labor-management issues and restoration of weekly container service.
• Operational enhancements and actions to improve the existing logistics system.
• Strategic investments in freight logistics to sustain services.
• Policy actions to enhance Oregon trade and improve the transport of goods.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown launched the International Trade and Logistics Initiative -- a partnership of the Port of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Business Oregon and the Oregon Department of Agriculture – in April 2015. Its mission: to identify trade-related, freight logistics solutions to help small- and medium-sized businesses across the state stay competitive.

More than 88 percent of Oregon exporters are small- and medium- sized businesses, according to state data, and many of these businesses are believed to be experiencing increased transportation costs, longer transit times, reduced reliability, and loss of markets and market share due to various factors, including the loss of weekly container service at Terminal 6, something that took place in April 2015 due in part, to labor strife and productivity issues.

“Terminal 6 captured 53 percent of Oregon containerized exports and imports in 2014,” Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said. “The port recognizes the urgency of this issue and has been actively working with our partners and Oregon shippers to find interim freight solutions and restore service.”

Existing support to shippers currently underway includes the creation of a drop yard for the monthly Westwood container service at Terminal 6, the restart of an upriver barge-rail shuttle to connect with farmers in eastern Oregon, southeastern Washington and Idaho; and exploration of both a container reuse pilot and intermodal rail facility for mid-Willamette Valley shippers.

The International Trade and Logistics Initiative’s full report is available at

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Port of Seattle Names COO

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick has promoted Dave Soike, the port’s Aviation Director of Facilities and Capital Programs, to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, the port revealed March 11.

Soike has worked for the port for nearly 36 years, beginning as a junior engineer and quickly advancing into positions in project management, maritime and aviation. Most recently he led more than 375 employees in Aviation Facilities and Infrastructure, Aviation Maintenance, and the Aviation Building Department and Conference Center. Soike holds a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Washington State University and a Master’s in business administration from the University of Washington.

Reporting to Soike will be the Centers of Expertise for Environment and Sustainability, Strategic Initiatives, and Capital Development, as well as Police and Emergency Management.

Additionally, Soike is expected to serve as Acting CEO whenever Fick is absent.

Fick announced his intention to add a COO in early 2016 as part of a reorganization designed to enable him to focus more on regional collaboration, economic development, and internal talent development.

“Over his career, Dave has demonstrated a talent for building relationships with diverse audiences, a strong track record delivering effective large-scale and complex projects, and the ability to drive new strategic initiatives,” Fick said, adding that Soike’s knowledge and experience can help the port meet its job creation goals and strategic initiatives, such as long-range planning and environmental stewardship.

POLA Has Busiest February in History

By Mark Edward Nero

Just days after the Port of Long Beach reported the busiest February in its history concerning container volumes, the adjoining Port of Los Angeles can now state the same.

The POLA handled 713,721 TEUs in February 2016, a whopping 42 percent increase compared to the same month last year. And not only was it the busiest February in the port’s 109-year history, it came on the heels of its best-ever January volumes.

“Back to back record months to start 2016 indicate consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and strong shipper confidence in our terminal and supply chain partners to deliver on speed and efficiency,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a prepared statement.

February 2016 imports surged 46.6 percent to 372,744 TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports increased 11.1 percent to 146,488 TEUs in February. Total loaded imports of 519,233 TEUs increased 34.5 percent compared to the previous year. Empty containers increased 66.7 percent to 194,487 TEUs.

Combined, February overall volumes totaled 713,721 TEUs, a 42 percent increase compared to the same month in 2015. By comparison, the neighboring Port of Long Beach on March 9 reported moving 561,412 TEUs in February, a 35.9 percent increase over the same month last year.

February volumes at both ports were buoyed in part by U.S. importers bringing in products from Asia ahead of the Lunar Year, which began Feb. 8 and slowed production for several weeks in China.
The surge in February deliveries is expected to result in softer import volumes in March.
Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at:

CLIA Appoints New President/CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On March 14, the Cruise Lines International Association announced that its Global Executive Committee has appointed Cindy D’Aoust as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

“I am honored to take on the official role of President and CEO of CLIA, representing cruise lines, travel agencies and agents, and executive partners across the globe,” D’Aoust said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it is important for the cruise industry to collaborate and create a stronger global voice. I look forward to building on the organization’s current success and delivering on our mission to be the unified global organization that helps our members succeed by advocating, educating and promoting for the common interests of the cruise community.”

D’Aoust joined the cruise industry trade association in December 2014 and had served as the organization’s acting CEO since August 2015, after then-CEO Thomas Ostebo stepped down from the position due to “personal reasons” after only about a month on the job.

Ostebo came to CLIA from the US Coast Guard, where he served as a Rear Admiral. His appointment had followed the January 2015 departure of former CLIA President and CEO Christine Duffy, who took over as president of Carnival Cruise Line in February 2015.

As the new permanent CEO, D’Aoust brings with her more than two decades of experience in the hospitality and travel industries, including a leadership position at meeting planners and event industry group Meeting Professionals International, where she served as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing global operations, marketing and member services. She held other senior roles with meetings management services company Maxvantage and Maritz Travel.

“Cindy has proven to be an extremely valuable and knowledgeable member of our executive team,” Global CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein said.

Seattle Grand Jury Indicts Shipping Companies

By Mark Edward Nero

A grand jury in Seattle has indicted two shipping companies and two engineers for alleged crimes related to the illegal discharge of oily wastewater from a Cyprus-flagged cargo ship.

The vessel is a 15-year-old bulk carrier known as the M/V Gallia Graeca, according to US Attorney Annette L. Hayes, who revealed the indictment on March 10.

The ship’s operator, Angelakos S.A., its owner, Gallia Greaca Shipping, and two engineers are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on March 24. Angelakos is a Panama company, while Gallia Greaca Shipping is based in Cyprus.

According to the indictment, the M/V Gallia Graeca travelled from China to Seattle in October 2015, and during the voyage, a pollution-control device known as an oil water separator was inoperable, resulting in the accumulation of untreated oily water.

The defendants operated the equipment in a way that bypassed safeguards that prevent the discharge of oily water, resulting in the discharge of more than 5,000 gallons of contaminated water on Oct. 16, 26 and 27, 2015, the indictment claims.

The indictment also alleges that the defendants concealed the incidents from the US Coast Guard by making false statements to inspectors, and making false statements and omissions in the ship’s record book.

When Coast Guard inspectors asked the engineers to operate the oil water separator during the inspection, the engineers did so in such a way that the equipment appeared to be working properly even though it was not, according to the US Attorney.

The two engineers and the two companies operating the ship are charged with falsification of records, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, with concealment of material information, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, which is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment.

Each count of conviction is also punishable by a $500,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by the US Coast Guard and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The full indictment can be seen and downloaded at