Friday, May 6, 2016

Hueneme Port Begins New Shore Power Phase

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Hueneme launched the second phase of its grid-connected shore power system on May 2 with a ribbon cutting that celebrated another next step forward in reducing the port’s air emissions and environmental impact.

The power project allows three ships to simultaneously access shore power.

By connecting to the Ventura County, Calif. port’s grid-based shore power system, refrigerated cargo vessels calling at the port are able to shut down their auxiliary marine engines and operate on shore power in lieu of diesel fuel dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Phase I of the shore power system went online in April 2014, and has been successfully used by ships from such companies as Del Monte Fresh and Hamburg Süd, which carries products for Chiquita Fresh.

The Port of Hueneme CEO and Director Kristin Decas said shoreside power project “represents a giant leap forward for the port and the community.”

“Over the (30-year) lifetime of this project, annual emissions from refrigerated cargo vessels … will be significantly reduced,” she said.

The anticipated reductions include a 92 percent decrease in particulate matter, 98 percent decline in NOx, and a 55 percent lessening in greenhouse gasses.

“Environmental sustainability is a top priority for the port and this largest emissions reduction project in county history represents our commitment to being a good neighbor by being a strong environmental steward,” Port Commission President Dr. Manuel Lopez said in a statement.

“By utilizing grid electricity instead of the auxiliary engines on these vessels the port is not only reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides which form smog,” said Ventura County Air Quality Control District Executive Officer Mike Villegas, “but they are reducing emissions of diesel particulate matter and providing a public health benefit to their neighbors.”

Vancouver USA CEO Stepping Down

By Mark Edward Nero

After fifteen years with the Port of Vancouver USA, Todd Coleman is stepping down from his role as CEO effective May 19, he and the port confirmed May 3.

Coleman, an engineer by trade, began his career with the port in 2001, when he was hired as facilities manager. After three promotions, he was named deputy executive director in 2005. He was appointed CEO in 2012 and said at the time that he intended to lead the port for just four years.

“I believe everyone has a season,” Coleman said in a statement explaining his impending departure. “I committed to leading this amazing organization for four years, and we’ve accomplished so much in that time.” Among the accomplishments by the port under Coleman’s leadership:

• A more than doubling its acreage, growing to over 2,100 acres of industrial and ecological land along the Columbia River.

• An increase in its annual operating revenue from $32 million to $38 million.

• Improvement in the depth and breadth of cargo handled. The port now moves nearly seven million metric tons of cargo per year, including grain, automobiles, wind energy components, fertilizer, minerals, steel and wood pulp.

• The construction of a new rail entrance to the port and relocating tracks to reduce congestion and keep goods moving through Vancouver.

• The launching of redevelopment of the port’s first marine terminal – Terminal 1 – which was built in the 1920s.

In March, the port reported that 2015 was its best year ever for both revenue and tonnage in the port’s 104-year history. It saw a record $38.2 million in operating revenue in 2015, up from the previous record of $37.5 million in 2014.

“We’re on a great trajectory, and we have talented people and the right assets in place to continue achieving great things for our port and community,” Coleman said.

Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners is expected to appoint an interim CEO in the next few weeks while the port moves through the hiring process. Coleman has said he plans to spend some time with his family this summer before seeking a new opportunity.

“Todd is an incredible leader,” Port Commission President Jerry Oliver said. “He’s been a tireless advocate for the Port of Vancouver, our industry and the community. We will miss him greatly and wish him all the best.”

Oakland Extends Trial Night, Weekend Program

By Mark Edward Nero

A $1.5 million subsidy program to stimulate night and weekend business at the Port of Oakland has been extended another 60 days.

Port commissioners voted last week to continue through June 30 a fund that partially subsidizes extended gate hours. The fund had been scheduled to expire the first week of May.

Oakland International Container Terminal, which handles 67 percent of Oakland’s cargo, said May 3 that it would tap into the fund immediately in order to further expand weeknight operations.

The time extension comes as the port says it’s abandoning a traditional 8 am to 5 pm operating model.

“The old way doesn’t work any longer,” port Executive Director Chris Lytle said. “There’s too much business; we have to stay open longer to get cargo in and out of Oakland.”

Oakland International Container Terminal has operated nights and Saturdays for two months to ease pressure on busy weekday cargo operations.

It now intends to conduct additional nighttime transactions from 6 pm to 3 am Tuesdays through Thursdays during a four week trial. The new transactions include accepting containerized export loads and receiving and releasing empty containers. The expanded transaction trial begins May 10.

Other nighttime transactions already in place include refrigerated container handling; containerized import pick-up by customers using an express service known as the one-stop, free-flow program; and import pick-up for containers loaded on chassis for immediate drayage.

Extra gate hours are intended to give harbor truckers more time to pick up and deliver containerized cargo. Until recently, they had only been allowed through terminal gates on weekdays. By working nights or Saturdays, drivers can avoid lines that sometime build up on the dayside during weekdays.

Oakland International Container Terminal said it is conducting up to 600 transactions every night and 1,200 on Saturdays. Those numbers are expected to grow as more business migrates from weekday operations.

“We’re counting on harbor drivers to take advantage of these added nighttime features,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “This is what cargo owners have been asking for.”

Harley Marine Building 2 Tractor Tugs

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based Harley Marine Services said May 4 that construction of two new “enhanced” RAmparts 2400 Z-drive tractor tugs is starting at the Diversified Marine shipyard in Portland, Oregon.

They will be sister class vessels to the Michelle Sloan and Lela Franco, and are expected to enhance the company’s West Coast fleet presence.

Each tractor tug is designed to have a length of 80 feet, a beam of 36 feet and a depth of 16 feet, eight inches, and be capable of producing 70 short tons of bollard pull, with twin CAT 3516, Tier 3 propulsion engines developing a total of about 5,200 horsepower and two Caterpillar C7.1, Tier 3 generators.

The Tier 3 engines, according to Harley Marine, reduce NOx and particulate matter 74 percent better than Tier 2 models. The vessels are each to be equipped with a Markey bow winch, a barge handling stern winch and Shibata fendering. Also, sound proofing material is being been added to the bulkheads and decks to improve the quality of life onboard the vessels.

Additionally, a closed-circuit TV system is being installed in the engine rooms and could be accessed from the wheelhouse or ashore for management to monitor.

The tugs will be named Rich Padden and Dr. Hank Kaplan after long serving Harley Marine Services board member and community leader Richard Padden, and cancer researcher Dr. Hank Kaplan of Swedish Cancer Institute.

Padden has been a member of the Harley board for 30 years, while Harley Marine's annual golf tournament raises funds for Kaplan’s Kaplan Cancer Research Fund.

“These two gentleman are true champions of great causes and friends of Harley Marine Services,” Harley Marine Services Chairman and CEO Harley Franco said. “We are honored to name these vessels after them.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

$5 Million Available for Marine Highway Projects

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Maritime Administration on April 25 announced the availability of $5 million in federal funding to expand marine highway service by creating new or expanding existing services along designated Marine Highway routes.

The primary role of the funding, according to MARAD, is to create grants for projects related to documented vessels and port and landside infrastructure.

“MARAD invites applications for projects that have the added benefit of mitigating the negative impact of freight movement on communities,” the announcement reads in part. “Projects should also provide additional public benefit by addressing access to training and job opportunities, where applicable and appropriate.”

Eligible applicants must be sponsors of Marine Highway Projects formally designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

A Marine Highway Project is defined by MARAD as a planned service, or expansion of an existing service, on a designated Marine Highway Route, that provides new modal choices to shippers of cargo, reduces transportation costs, and provides public benefits including reduced air emissions, reduced road maintenance costs and improved safety and resiliency.

Grant applications must be submitted electronically using Applicants must complete the registration process before submitting an application; the registration process usually takes two to four weeks to complete, according to MARAD.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Fri., May 27. Additional information can be found in the Federal Register at

NWSA Joins Environmental Program

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership between the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, has signed on to participate in Green Marine, North America’s largest voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry.

Green Marine encourages its participants – ship owners, ports and terminals – to reduce their environmental footprint related to air quality, greenhouse gases, spill prevention, stormwater treatment, noise and other community impacts and environmental leadership.

More than 50 environmental groups and government departments/agencies support and help shape the Green Marine environmental program, along with representatives from academia and the marine industry.

“Before forming The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma worked closely together on environmental initiatives,” Jason Jordan, the director of the Alliance’s environmental and planning team, said. “Becoming a member of Green Marine enhances our ability to exchange information about environmental programs and successes with an even larger marine community.”

Green Marine, according to it’s executive director, David Bolduc, aims to continuously improve the environmental performance of its participants, and having the Northwest Seaport Alliance join sets the bar higher.

“We are also delighted to see how the Pacific Northwest marine industry is responding positively to the Green Marine certification, especially since our US office is located in Seattle,” Bolduc said.

Oregon State Seeking Research Vessel Builder

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 2, Oregon State University issued a request for information to shipyards that may be interested in the construction of a new regional class research vessel to replenish the United States academic fleet.

The design phase was recently completed by The Glosten Associates, a Seattle-based naval architecture firm, and the RFI is a chance to generate market interest and to get feedback from industry on the design and other project documents.

Oregon State said it plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) in two phases beginning this summer – a technical phase to establish a competitive pool of qualified shipyards and a cost phase to elicit vessel cost proposals.

“The request for information issued on May 2 is a chance for us to make final tweaks in the preliminary design and to open up a dialogue with industry about the project,” said Demian Bailey, Oregon State University’s former marine superintendent and a co-leader on the project. “Once we issue the RFP this summer, it will become more difficult to alter the design or other project documents.”

Oregon State was selected in January 2013 by the National Science Foundation as the lead institution to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of the vessel – and possibly up to two more.

Among the design features:

• A design of 193 feet, with a range of 7,064 nautical miles.

• A cruising speed of 11 knots, with a maximum speed of 13 knots.

• Sixteen berths designed for scientists, and 13 for crewmembers.

• The ability to stay out at sea for 21 days before coming back to port.

Oregon State said it expects to select a shipyard in early 2017 and that the National Science Foundation would assume ownership of the vessel. However, Oregon State would operate the first vessel built and conduct science missions primarily in the eastern North Pacific Ocean basin.

The first ship would likely be delivered in 2020, according to the university.

More information about the project, including renderings, is available at:

USCG Fines Washington Man for Ferry Incident

By Mark Edward Nero

The U.S. Coast Guard Puget Sound sector’s Captain of the Port has issued a $100,000 civil penalty against a Washington man who intentionally struck the ferry Tokitae with a high-powered blue laser last October.

Coast Guard investigating officers determined that Mark Raden of Freeland, Washington was aboard Washington State Ferries’ M/V Kitsap transiting between the cities of Mukilteo and Clinton on Oct. 22, 2015 when he pointed the laser at the pilothouse of Tokitae, resulting in injuries to the ferry master and chief mate.

“Firing a laser at a vessel is extremely dangerous and directly interferes with the safe movement of commercial vessels and the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct search and rescue operations,” Sector Puget Sound Captain of the Port Joe Raymond said in a statement.

Coast Guard officials are also seeking civil penalties against Raden for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of Tokitae while in transit. The final civil penalty amount is expected to be determined by a Coast Guard hearing officer in Arlington, Virginia.

In addition to laser strikes on Washington State Ferries, laser strikes involving Coast Guard helicopters and rescue boats in Puget Sound have continued to increase over the last few years, according to the USCG.

“Such strikes have adverse impacts on the conduct of Coast Guard law enforcement and search and rescue activities potentially affecting the ability to respond to a distress call or provide proper medical care of someone rescued,” the USCG said in a statement. “In addition, they can cause physical injury to any individuals struck.”