Friday, July 15, 2016

Zero Emissions Equipment Debuts at POLA Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

On July 12, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and the Port of Los Angeles announced a series of clean air initiatives and clean technology deployments aimed at reducing emissions from the Southern California goods movement industry.

Chief among the announcements was the launching of Pasha Stevedoring’s “Green Omni Terminal,” a $26 million, full-scale, real-time demonstration of zero and near-zero emission technologies at a working marine terminal in Wilmington.

At full build out, Pasha is expected to be the first marine terminal in the world expected to be able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable resources.

“This is a Wright Brothers moment,” Pasha Senior Vice President Jeffrey Burgin said at this week’s launch event. “We’re going to be the proving ground the change the paradigm of how large industrial facilities can run on clean energy.”

The demo project will be a solar-powered facility using zero and near-zero emission cargo handling equipment to move goods from ships through the terminal and to clean truck and rail transportation to their final destinations.

The technology involved in the project includes a solar-powered microgrid, energy efficiency upgrades, zero emission cargo handling equipment, charging infrastructure and a dockside vessel emissions treatment system.

The project intends to demonstrate the operational and commercial viability of electrified equipment and vehicles, plus help California reach air quality improvement goals by reducing greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions.

Equipment to be used on site includes a 1-MW solar photovoltaic system; upgrades to two wharf cranes; an on-dock emissions capture and treatment system; four electric yard tractors; two 21-ton electric forklifts; and two drayage trucks.

In addition to Pasha and the port, partners in the project include the California Air Resources Board, which has provided a $14.5 million grant; Clean Air Engineering – Maritime (CAEM), which has provided technology; and Transportation Power Inc. (TransPower), which is providing battery-electric drayage trucks and yard tractors, plus a retrofit of Pasha’s forklifts and a top handler to run on electricity.

“The Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project is a great example of moving forward to achieve greater emissions reductions from port-related sources and improving air quality for those who live in neighborhoods next to the port,” POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

Hyundai Joining 2M Alliance

By Mark Edward Nero

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) announced July 14 that it has signed an agreement with the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement (2M VSA) for providing joint service in the trans-pacific area beginning in April 2017.

The announcement comes following agreements with bondholders to adjust debt and shipowners to adjust charter-hire. The agreement is contingent upon finalizing negotiations and approval procedures in each country.

The 2M is a leading container shipping alliance comprised of the world’s two largest container carriers, Maersk Line (ML) and Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC). HMM is South Korea’s second-largest ocean carrier.

The agreement signed between HMM and the 2M carriers is binding in regards to HMM’s entry to the 2M VSA. By accessing 2M VSA network, HMM has said it would be able to strengthen its service offering and improve cost competitiveness.

Likewise, the 2M carriers say they would benefit from a reinforced service competency in Asia and improved network cover in the trans-pacific area.

“Based on the company’s sound financial structure, HMM will put its utmost efforts into improving our service offering to clients and to continue increasing operational competency in the second half of this year to continue improving profitability of our company” Hyundai Merchant Marine said in a prepared statement.

Imports Fuel POLB Container Volume Increase

By Mark Edward Nero

Rising imports fueled higher container traffic at the Port of Long Beach in June, leading to a 3.4 percent overall volume increase over the same month last year, according to newly released data.

According to the port’s data, Long Beach terminals handled 603,339 twenty-foot-equivalent units last month. Of those, 313,526 were inbound containers, a gain of 5.5 percent year-over-year.

Exports were flat for the month at 128,099 TEUs, 0.1 percent lower than June 2015, but the number of empty containers moved edged up to 161,714 TEUs, a 2.2 percent increase.

Year-to-date total volume is down 0.6 percent compared to the first six months of 2015.

Although US warehouse inventories have been lingering at high levels since 2014, contributing to a sluggish ocean trade environment, West Coast ports have been experiencing import gains in recent months.

“Our improving cargo volumes reflect the confidence that customers continue to have in the Port of Long Beach,” CEO Jon Slangerup said in a statement. “This is an encouraging sign despite soft consumer demand, high inventory levels and an evolving maritime industry as shipping lines continue to consolidate vessel services.”

In the past two years, a slow first quarter has been followed by a rebounding second quarter. US first quarter gross domestic product growth has been revised upward to 1.1 percent from a previously estimated 0.8 percent. second quarter growth could top two percent, economic experts have suggested.

The Port of Long Beach’s latest monthly cargo numbers and more details are available at

POLA Monthly Cargo Drops 6 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles fell 6.3 percent last month compared to a strong June in 2015, according to newly released data.

June’s loaded imports dropped 3.5 percent to 355,622 TEUs, while loaded exports fell 2.1 percent at 140,561 TEUs. Combined, total loaded volumes slipped 3.1 percent to 496,184 TEUs. Along with a decrease in empty containers of 14.2 percent, overall June volumes were 676,006 TEUs, a decrease of 6.3 percent compared to June 2015.

Despite the declines, however, overall cargo volumes at the POLA increased 5.9 percent for the first six months of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015. The decrease in June volumes notwithstanding, year-to-date volumes registered at 4,133,575 TEUs, compared to 3,903,521 TEUs in the same six-month period last year.

“We’re encouraged with year over year growth in the first half of 2016, even though June was not as robust as the same period in 2015 due to industry trade patterns,” Port of L.A. Executive Director Gene Seroka commented.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

MARAD Issues Report on Hybrid Tug Battery Safety

By Mark Edward Nero

The Maritime Administration on July 1 announced the availability of a report evaluating the design and construction of new battery components, as well as the risks and benefits of battery use in the power plant of a hybrid tugboat.

The assessment, which was conducted after a battery-related fire aboard a hybrid tug, looks at the benefits and risks associated with the reinstallation of batteries as part of the vessel’s hybrid power system.

In August 2012, an explosion and fire occurred in one of the lithium-polymer batteries on the Foss Maritime hybrid tug Campbell Foss, and subsequent to that fire, Foss removed the remaining batteries from the vessel and all of the lead-acid batteries on its other hybrid tug, Carolyn Dorothy. Campbell Foss was returned to service in diesel configuration without batteries, and Carolyn Dorothy was returned to service in a modified hybrid configuration that didn’t require the use of batteries.

The newly-released assessment showed that a refined design with explosion protection, structural separation from occupied spaces, specialized battery controls, and shutdown protocols improved the risk profile for the hybrid power system.

The report also demonstrated that without the battery array, the hybrid system would not achieve the tug’s full performance requirements nor the emissions and fuel consumption reductions made possible by hybrid technology.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests, according to the report, that the use of batteries in a hybrid tug system poses an impediment to more widespread adoption.

The document was developed through a partnership with Foss Maritime with funding from MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program. The META program’s designed to assist maritime stakeholders in addressing key environmental issues facing the industry.

The full report can be found at

USCG Fines 2 Puget Sound Ferry Jumpers

By Mark Edward Nero

Two men who intentionally jumped off the passenger vessel Spirit of Seattle last month face up to penalties of $2,500 each after being issued notices of violation, the captain of the port for the US Coast Guard’s Puget Sound sector said July 6.

Coast Guard investigating officers said that Nathan Keel of Tempe, Ariz. and Chanda Jatinder of Mesa, Ariz., were aboard the underway vessel on June 5 when they jumped over the rail and into the water.

Crewmembers from the vessel, which had more than 300 passengers aboard, immediately responded and recovered the individuals, according to the Coast Guard. Neither of the men suffered injuries.

Coast Guard officials have said they’re seeking penalties for violation of section 46 USC 2302 (a) of the Code of Federal Regulations, regarding interfering with the safe operations of a vessel so as to endanger the life, limb or property of a person.

“Intentionally jumping off a commercial vessel is extremely dangerous and diverts the crewmembers’ attention away from the safe operation of the vessel,” Puget Sound Sector Captain of the Port Joe Raymond said. “I have directed my staff to investigate each of these incidents and issue violations as appropriate.”

Seaport Alliance Adds 2 Leaders

By Mark Edward Nero

The entity that operates the marine cargo operating partnership between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma announced the hiring of two new managers on July 11.

Zachary Thomas has joined the Northwest Seaport Alliance to lead the Operations Service Center, and Bob Meyer has been promoted to lead port operations and manage safety.

Thomas, holds a bachelor’s degree in nautical science from the Marine Maritime Academy, brings over 23 years of experience in the maritime industry to his new position, according to the Seaport Alliance. Prior to joining the NWSA, he held a variety of positions with Ports America, most recently as general manager in Tacoma since 2014.

In his new position, he is to lead efforts to partner with stakeholders across the supply chain to improve the efficiency and cost-competitiveness of the Puget Sound gateway.

Meyer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation and business administration from the Maritime Academy, joined the Port of Tacoma in 2014 to manage the non-container facilities, a position that transitioned to the Northwest Seaport Alliance when the ports of Seattle and Tacoma formed the marine cargo operating partnership in August 2015.

In his expanded role, Meyer is to direct the operations at all port-operated terminals and rail yards, as well as the Seaport Alliance’s safety program.

Before joining the NWSA, Meyer spent nearly a decade as a merchant mariner and several years with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, most recently running the company’s Port of Brisbane terminal.

LA-LB Ports Container Fees Rising

By Mark Edward Nero

On July 8, the 13 marine terminal operators at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex announced a 1.9 percent increase in the traffic mitigation fee at the ports. Beginning Aug. 8, the container fee will be $70.49 per twenty-foot equivalent unit or $140.98 per forty-foot container.

The increase goes toward sustaining continued operation of off peak gate hours amid labor cost increases, according to the terminal operators collective.

The adjustment falls under the rules of the West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement, which state that the container fee shall be adjusted annually to reflect increases in labor costs based on maritime labor cost figures.

The Pacific Maritime Association negotiates and administers maritime labor agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

PierPass, a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the LA and Long Beach ports to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, air quality and security, launched the off peak hours program in 2005 to reduce cargo-related congestion on local streets and highways around the ports.

The “OffPeak” program established regular night and Saturday work shifts to handle trucks delivering and picking up containers at the 13 container terminals in the two adjacent ports.

Using a congestion pricing model, PierPass charges a fee on weekday daytime cargo moves to incentivize cargo owners to use the OffPeak shifts. The fee also helps pay for the labor and other costs of operating the OffPeak shifts.

According to an analysis by maritime industry consultants SC Analytics, the costs incurred by the terminals to operate the OffPeak shifts in 2015 totaled $236.2 million. During the year, the terminals received $168.9 million from the traffic mitigation fee, offsetting only part of the OffPeak program’s costs.

Since 2005, OffPeak has taken more than 35 million truck trips out of daytime Southern California traffic and diverted them to less congested nights and weekends. About half of all port truck trips now take place during the OffPeak shifts, according to terminal operator data.