Friday, August 12, 2016

Vancouver USA Rescinds BioTech Lease

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners on Aug. 9 voted unanimously to cancel the lease of biotechnology company AbSci LLC at Terminal 1, saying that the location is no longer adequate to meet the company’s needs.

AbSci originally planned to relocate from its offices in Portland, Oregon, to the port’s waterfront development at Terminal 1 this spring. The port would have provided renovated office and lab space in the former Red Lion Vancouver at the Quay Hotel.

However, AbSci’s continued rapid growth due to significant industry interest in its protein manufacturing platform means further investment in the port’s interim facility at the former hotel no longer meets the company’s needs.

“We’re pursuing an aggressive schedule for redevelopment at Terminal 1, which includes eventual demolition of portions of the Red Lion,” interim port CEO Julianna Marler explained. “AbSci is growing and needs a facility that can support that growth and expansion into the future.

“It’s unusual for us to rescind a lease, but it’s important we support AbSci and our economic development partners as we all work to bring life sciences companies and jobs to Southwest Washington,” she said.

The port is currently working through a planning and concept development plan process for Terminal 1, the port’s 10-acre waterfront redevelopment in downtown Vancouver. The port has said it’s pursuing an aggressive schedule; demolition of existing structures could begin this year and the first phase of construction could start in late 2017.

Port Director of Economic Development Katy Brooks said that work is still proceeding with private developers to attract life science businesses to Terminal 1, and that biotech at the waterfront is still a real possibility.

Going forward, we’ll support our partners and the community infrastructure necessary for this industry to thrive in our region,” she said in a statement.

Hueneme Welcomes 1st Post-Panamax Ship

By Mark Edward Nero

A paradigm shift in how the widened Panama Canal is expected to bring a new class of vessels to the Port of Hueneme was commemorated recently as Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines company leaders and port officials greeted the port’s first post-Panamax ship.

Post-Panamax, or vessels that previously could not fit through the Panama Canal, is the new standard vessel size based on the width of new locks that recently opened at the Canal.

The Port of Hueneme says the maiden voyage of the M/V Thalatta marks a new milestone to support the port’s and its industry partners’ environmental agenda. Thalatta is one of newest high efficiency roll on/roll off HERO class vessels designed to increase capacity and flexibility while reducing emissions.

The ship is fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system that reduces sulfur emissions to below 0.1 percent in compliance with environmental regulations and removes 70 percent of particulate matter, which also significantly reduces nitrogen oxide emissions.

Using a new scrubber based technology, the vessel generates a steam based release at berth instead of diesel exhaust, making the vessel one of the greenest in the global ro/ro fleet.

The Thalatta measures almost 200 meters (56 feet) long, 36.5 meters (120 feet) wide and features five liftable car decks, which allows for multiple configurations and a wide variety of customer cargo. The vessel can transport up to 8,000 car equivalent units. With the increased beam, the Post Panamax vessels carry an additional 2,000 ro/ro units.

Thalatta is the second in a total of eight HERO post-Panamax vessels that commenced service for WWL in 2015.

Thalatta’s sister ship Themis is anticipated to arrive at the Port of Hueneme in September.

Seaport Alliance Gives Peak Season Tips

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the business operating entity consisting of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, has issued a list of seven tips to help its tenants and customer deal with the peak shipping season this summer and early fall.

The tips offered are:
  • Utilize extended gate hours. The NWSA is partnering with terminal operators to support extended gate hours during peak season. The Alliance recommends taking advantage of the additional hours of operation when highway and port traffic is light, allowing trucks to access gates quickly. A schedule of extended hours is available at
  • Adjust warehouse receiving hours. A number of local warehouse facilities in the Puget Sound region have extended their hours of operation during the traditional peak season to receive loads. This ensures they have cargo available to start the day shift and return empties in time to avoid additional per diem or demurrage charges.
  • Communicate frequently with local chassis managers on your current and forecasted needs. Providing a forecast of your chassis needs can ensure availability when and where you need them.
  • Return empty chassis’ as soon as possible, which ensures chassis are available for your next load.
  • Review truck dispatch schedule to ensure your schedule is running as efficiently as possible.
  • Make sure to keep all supply chain partners in your communication loop, and connect with your supply chain and transportation providers often. Information sharing can improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve performance.
  • Check the terminal status updates, cargo availability and booking status to avoid delays at the gate for your trucker. Trucker updates can be found at www.

More details about each individual tip is available at

Tacoma Commission Ponders Lease Criteria Changes

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Tacoma Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed policy that would require additional public meetings before they authorize certain development leases.

The policy change, which was proposed by Commission President Connie Bacon during the commission’s July 21 meeting, would apply to any project that:
  • Stores, processes or manufactures, with the intent to distribute, fossil fuels, including oil, petroleum-based fuels, natural gas and coal on more than 10 acres of port land, or;
  • Uses more than 1 million gallons per day of water, or;
  • Emits more than 10 thousand metric tons per year of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalent) or more than 10 metric tons per year of any individually listed hazardous air pollutants or 100 metric tons per year of any other regulated air pollutants, or;
  • Uses more than 26 megawatts of electricity.

The full the proposed policy changes can be read at
Commissioners are expected to discuss the policy at three upcoming meetings: an Aug. 15 work session with selected members of the commission and Tacoma City Council; the Aug. 18 regular commission meeting; and the Sept. 15 regular commission meeting.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the proposal Sept. 15.

All three meetings will be held at the Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road, Tacoma. Public comment is welcome, according to the port.

Agendas and meeting times can be found on the port’s website:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Navy Licenses Willard Marine Boat Design

By Mark Edward Nero

Anaheim-based boat manufacturer Willard Marine has executed a licensing agreement with the US Navy for a Willard Marine boat design to serve as the guideline for the Navy’s new 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB) government project.

The licensing agreement allows the US Navy to utilize Willard’s Sea Force 1100, US Navy model RIB design to create an all-new Navy 11-meter RIB.

The new RIBs would be used in the Navy’s American fleets around the world. The agreement also allows select international militaries to purchase the vessels through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programs.

The Navy said it pursued the licensing agreement with Willard Marine in an effort to “maximize commonality between the old and new 11m RIB platforms, minimize time and money spent on boat operations training, maintenance, repair and service.”

For 27 years, Willard Marine has designed and built US Navy shipboard RIBs that are 7 and 11 meters in length featuring a wide variety of propulsion, deck and outfitting arrangements.

Through the US Navy FMS program, Willard has also provided Sea Force 1100 RIBs to foreign militaries such as Lebanon, Mexico and the Ukraine.

“We are honored that the largest and most prestigious Navy on the globe has chosen a Willard Marine design to serve as their guideline for the new 11-meter RIB design,” Willard Marine President and CEO Ulrich Gottschling said in a statement.

“The US Navy and our allies who leverage the FMS program to procure this boat are assured of a proven, seaworthy design,” he added.

Since its founding in 1957, Willard Marine has developed world-class watercraft for the US military, Department of Homeland Security, foreign governments, law enforcement agencies, search and rescue organizations and private companies. The company also builds commercial vessels originally designed by SeaArk Marine and Crystaliner.

Vancouver Drayage Truck Standards Go Into Effect

By Mark Edward Nero

Environmental requirements that Canada’s Port of Vancouver believes will have an immediate impact on air quality and public health in the densely populated Lower Mainland recently went into effect for container trucks serving the port.

Effective Aug. 1, all trucks registered in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Truck Licensing System are required to have either a diesel oxidation catalyst or diesel particulate filter installed in order to gain access to port facilities.

Currently, there are about 1,750 trucks performing around 30,000 container trips weekly along truck routes in the region and most trucks in the system are already compliant.

To fulfill requirements and maintain port access, trucking companies and independent owner-operators must provide verification of their truck engine age or proof that retrofits have been made to older trucks. Since the August 1 deadline, around 100 trucks that were in the Truck Licensing System are no longer permitted to access port facilities, according to the port.

“Modernizing the port’s truck fleet is just one way we are contributing to efforts that address climate change and protect the health of local citizens,” port Vice President of Planning and Operations Peter Xotta said.

The installation of diesel oxidation catalysts on trucks with 2006 model engines or older will reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter, a known human carcinogen as defined by the World Health Organization, by about 20 percent.

Truck engines built from 2007 onwards with diesel particulate filters produce 90 percent less diesel particulate matter than older engines, while trucks built from 2010 onwards are known to produce 20 times less nitrogen oxide, a key component of smog, than older engines.

Oakland Port Has Busiest Month in a Decade

By Mark Edward Nero

July 2016 was the busiest month in 10 years at the Port of Oakland as far as container volumes go. On Aug. 8, the port said it handled the equivalent of 223,619 TEUs last month, the most since it lifted 227,996 20-foot containers in August 2006.

Cargo volume was up across the board, according to the port, including both imports and exports. The port says it believes the upswing may signal hope for the upcoming peak shipping season.

“The numbers are encouraging and with holiday shipments set to commence, this could be the start of something good,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said.

Among the positive signs last month in Oakland were that total container volume jumped 8.8 percent from July of 2015; and that export volume, up 3.6 percent, increased for the sixth time in seven months, strengthening Oakland’s status as a to-Asia gateway.

The rise in empty container volume is attributed by the port to shipping lines repositioning boxes to prepare for an anticipated uptick in peak-season cargo.

The port said it received 153 visits from container ships in July, up from 136 vessel calls during the same month a year ago.

The port also speculated that its increased numbers could quiet speculation that the newly widened Panama Canal threatens West Coast port volume. Larger canal locks opened July 1, coinciding with Oakland’s cargo surge. The port’s total cargo volume is up 6.4 percent through the first seven months of 2016. Exports are up 9.1 percent in that span and imports have risen 8.6 percent.

POLA to Partner with Local Colleges

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles is partnering with two local colleges on the framework for creating refined global logistics curricula at the campuses, as well as lecture and internship opportunities to help prepare students for new and emerging trends in port logistics.

California State University Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles Harbor College and the Port of LA are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at 9 a.m. Aug. 10 at the port’s Downtown Harbor Pier, adjacent to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Signing the MOU will be POLA executive director Gene Seroka, Cal State Dominguez Hills President Willie J. Hagan and Harbor College President Otto Lee.

“The logistics field is growing rapidly in the US because organizations need logisticians to analyze and coordinate the efficient transportation of goods in a global economy,” G. Keong Leong, associate dean in CSUDH’s College of Business Administration & Public Policy, said in a prepared statement. “Partnering with the Port of L.A. would be great for the university since our students will have access to internship and career opportunities there.”

The MOU creates a comprehensive partnership among all three entities: at the port, 15 paid internships will be offered annually for Dominguez Hills students studying global logistics and related fields, and both campuses will partner with the port to incorporate additional on-site learning at the port operations and other facilities. POLA employees will also serve at both campuses as guest lecturers for select global logistics and related courses. At the campuses, the schools will work together to align their global logistics curricula and undergraduate courses, plus review and refine global logistics and related courses on an ongoing basis.

Both campuses will also consult with POLA annually regarding topics to be integrated into their courses, and will collaborate on an agreement to provide a formalized pathway for Harbor College global logistics students to transfer to CSUDH.