Friday, August 19, 2016

Doorae Shipping Guilty of Faulty Recordkeeping

By Mark Edward Nero

On August 18, United States District of Hawaii Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi accepted the guilty plea of a South Korean maritime operations company and sentenced the company to a $275,000 fine and three years’ probation for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to maintain an accurate oil record book.

It was Doorae Shipping Co.’s second conviction by a US court this year.

The information to which Doorae most recently pled guilty is regarding the company’s operation of the marine vessel B. Pacific, a petroleum oil tank ship registered under the flag administration of the Marshall Islands.

Information produced to the court established that from between July 8, 2016, through July 14, 2016, during a Port State Control examination conducted by the US Coast Guard, employees of Doorae Shipping presented the B. Pacific’s oil record book to representatives of the Coast Guard knowing that it failed to document or acknowledge that about 5,400 gallons of oil-contaminated bilge water had been stored in an unapproved void space neither designated nor appropriate for the storage of oil and other ship generated liquids. Additionally, the oil record book also failed to document the location of about 8,400 gallons of machinery space oil-contaminated bilge water.

It was just four months ago, in April 2016, that Doorae Shipping was convicted and sentenced to pay $950,000 in fines and penalties for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships after committing another criminal violation of the act.

“This failure to properly follow the law with respect to maintaining an accurate and truthful oil record book requires another conviction and sentence commensurate with Doorae’s conduct,” United States attorney for the District of Hawaii Florence Nakakuni said.

“Environmental crimes are a serious threat to the health of our oceans,” said Capt. Mike Long, Coast Guard captain of the port for Honolulu. “This case sends a clear message that violators will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.”

Seaport Alliance Monthly Volumes Up Slightly

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, says that strong import volumes last month suggest peak shipping season is just around the corner.

Full imports jumped nearly 12 percent last month compared to July 2015, according to data released Aug. 17.

Full export containers also followed last month’s trend, surging more than 17 percent month over month on the strength of agricultural products. Total container volumes in July edged up two percent month over month.

Cargo owners are forecasting a three to five percent increase in volume during peak season, when retailers build up inventories ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Anticipating the increase, the Seaport Alliance earlier this month launched a program to help extend gate hours at international terminals to reduce congestion and keep cargo flowing through the peak.

Through the first seven months of the year, total Seattle-Tacoma container volumes are flat, at just about two million TEUs. However, full import container volumes grew nearly three percent year-to-date to 760,923 TEUs, while full exports marked a nearly 13 percent year-to-date gain to 542,258 TEUs.

Domestic volumes remain sluggish, down three percent year-to-date to 448,357 TEUs, something the Seaport Alliance blames on the weakened Alaskan economy.

In other cargo news, auto imports dipped nearly three percent year to date in July, and breakbulk cargo continues to struggle, down 33 percent due to the strong dollar and slowing economic growth in China.

Navy Awards Vigor Ship Overhaul Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Navy has awarded Portland, Oregon-based Vigor Marine a $9.3 million contract for a 71-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187).

The Navy’s Military Sealift Command in Norfolk, Virginia is the contracting activity. Work is to include general services, clean and gas free tanks, ballast tank blast and paint, cargo tank blast and paint, cargo and ballast tank close up survey, expansion joint structural steel replacement and port and starboard main engine 72,000-hour overhaul.

Also included: starboard main engine coupling and shaft brake replacement, dry docking, underwater hull blast and paint, propeller maintenance, 15-year tailshaft inspection and repair underway replenishment quad cargo gear survey blocks and sheaves.

The contract was procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website; Vigor Marine’s offer was the only one received.

Funds in the amount of $9,319,391 were being obligated at the time of award, and the contract also includes options, which, if exercised, could increase the total contract value to $9.6 million.

The work is to be performed in Portland, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 19, 2016.

Crowley Veteran Promoted to Newly-Created Position

By Mark Edward Nero

Crowley Maritime announced Aug. 15 that veteran company executive Eric Evans has been promoted to the newly-created position of vice president of strategy, a job that will focus on facilitating long-term growth through external business partnerships, including mergers and acquisitions.

Evans joined Crowley in 1987 in Seattle as an accountant and manager of management reporting for 11 years, supporting the West Coast businesses and taking various short-term assignments in Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico.

In 1997, he took an assignment as administrative manager in Caracas, Venezuela, for Crowley’s oilfield logistics company and was there for two years. He moved to Crowley headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida to serve as the projects manager and finance director from 1999 to 2001 for the company’s contract services and international operations, then moved to Seattle in a similar role.

In 2009, he moved back to Jacksonville to support Crowley’s petroleum services, technical services, and petroleum distribution and marine services business units. He was promoted to his most recent position as vice president of finance and planning in 2010.

Evans will continue to be based in Crowley’s Jacksonville, Florida headquarters and will report to Carl Fox, senior vice president of corporate services.

The project management organization, which is focused on analysis and strategy execution, will report to Evans.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

ILWU, PMA Entering Early Contract Negotiations

By Mark Edward Nero

By majority vote on Aug. 11, more than 100 delegates representing International Longshore and Warehouse Union members at ports along the US West Coast voted to enter into discussions with representatives of the Pacific Maritime Association regarding a contract extension.

The extension would be to the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement between the ILWU and PMA that was ratified in May 2015. The agreement, which was announced in February of last year, came together after nine months of occasionally contentious talks between the union and management.

The current contract, which was made retroactive to July 1, 2014, runs through June 30, 2019.

It was the employer group that made the initial request to discuss the possibility of an extension to the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement. The more than 100 delegates representing ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington convened last week to consider and approve the request.

With the consent, union leadership will now meet with the PMA and report the initial results back to membership. “The caucus made a tough decision under current circumstances amid a wide range of concerns and opposing views on how to respond to PMA’s request,” ILWU International President Robert McEllrath said in a statement. “This is a directive to go and have discussions with the PMA and report back to the membership, and we’ll do just that, with the wellbeing of the rank and file, our communities, and the nation in mind.”

Negotiations regarding the previous contract extension didn’t begin until weeks before the contract’s July 1, 2014 expiration and dragged on several months before an agreement was eventually hammered out.

Cargo Volumes Slip at POLA

By Mark Edward Nero

Overall cargo volumes slipped 1.6 percent at the Port of Los Angeles in July 2016, falling from 699,000 TEUs a year ago to under 688,000 last month, according to data released by the port Aug. 12.

The slide, the port has stated, is mostly due to a decline in the shipment of empty containers.

The news wasn’t all bad, however. July 2016 imports at the Port of Los Angeles climbed five percent compared to the previous year. And for the first seven months of 2016, year-to-date volumes have increased 4.75 percent compared to 2015.

“As retailers prepare for consumer needs during the holiday season, we’re encouraged to see import volumes increase,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “We are prepared along with our supply chain stakeholders to handle cargo with speed, efficiency and first-class service as we kick off our traditional busy season.”

Last month, loaded imports increased 5.15 percent to 368,696 TEUs compared to last July.

However, loaded exports dropped 2.87 percent to 132,490 TEUs. Combined, total loaded volumes grew 2.9 percent to 501,186 TEUs.

With a decrease in empty containers of 11.9 percent, overall July volumes were 687,891 TEUs, a decrease of 1.6 percent compared to June 2015.

Year to date, overall cargo volumes have increased 4.75 percent at the Port of LA, rising to 4,821,467 TEUs.

Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles are available at

Seaport Alliance Launches Extended Gate Times

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, said Aug. 15 that it is launching a program that will reimburse terminal operators up to $2 million total to extend gate hours at its international container terminals during peak season.

The program recompenses terminal operators for some of the costs to operate flexed gates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch gate hours Monday through Friday during peak season. It also provides one off-shift gate per week. Off-shift gates are after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or any shift on Saturday or Sunday.

With cargo owners forecasting a three to five percent increase in volume during peak season, which starts in late summer and continues through early fall, the Seaport Alliance says it intends to help the marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial area and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently.

“We applaud the NWSA efforts in working on turn times and congestion to keep both the seaport and the shippers in the Northwest viable,” said Laura Daniels, ocean shipping coordinator for Anderson Hay & Grain Co.

“Longer gate hours would help, as well as alternating labor to work through breaks and lunch time,” Mary Anne Levine, global logistics & customer relations for Calaway Trading, said. “I welcome the ports’ recommendation to open late gates, which will provide some needed relief from congestion,” said Richard Perket, senior director of global logistics for Christopher & Banks Corp. “It is critical to my business that we keep these marketed goods on time to marry up with marketing and promotions that have been planned for months.” The program kicks off the week of Aug. 22 and is expected to last up to 12 weeks.

POLB Monthly Cargo Dips

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volume at the Port of Long Beach was down 7.7 percent in July 2016 compared to the same month in 2015, when harbor terminals handled a record amount of cargo.

Dockworkers moved a total of 637,091 twenty-foot-equivalent units last month. Imports totaled 325,608 containers, a 5.9 percent year-over-year decrease, while exports numbered 142,812 TEUs, a slight drop of 0.7 percent, according to data released Aug. 12 by the port.

The number of empty containers shipped fell to 168,671 units last month, 15.9 percent lower than July 2015, which to date is the port’s strongest July on record. Coming off 2015’s record year – the third-highest in the port’s history – volumes of empty containers at the Port of Long Beach are down 1.9 percent through July.

“Due to continued market uncertainty and high inventory levels, the traditional holiday peak season is off to a slow start and several national forecasts have been revised downward to reflect this softness in cargo movement,” the port said in a prepared statement regarding the numbers.

For the fiscal year to date, volumes are actually up one half of one percent, to 5.75 million TEUs from 5.72 million. FY 2016 began Oct. 1 for the POLB. The port’s latest monthly cargo numbers and recent statistical data are available at