Friday, August 26, 2016

Pasha Automotive Begins San Francisco Port Calls

By Mark Edward Nero

On Aug. 22, the Port of San Francisco and Mayor Edwin Lee welcomed Pasha Group subsidiary Pasha Automotive Services for the first ship call to unload 500 automobiles being transported by truck to Northern California dealerships.

The call was at Pier 80, the port’s 69-acre cargo terminal in the southern waterfront. The terminal consists of about 69 acres of cargo laydown space, two warehouses and four deep-water berths.

“Pasha Automotive’s transformation of Pier 80 reopens our city as a national hub for shipping and trade,” Lee said. “The revival of a once thriving industry ushers in a new era of commerce at the Port of San Francisco.”

The port’s new 15-year lease agreement with Pasha Automotive allows the import and export of vehicles by ship at Pier 80, with on-terminal automobile preparation and detailing services.

Port officials said they believe the agreement with Pasha Automotive could transform Pier 80 from an underutilized asset to a thriving marine terminal creating new revenue for the port and significant economic and employment benefits for the city.

“This marine terminal agreement signifies a new beginning for cargo operations at the Port of San Francisco,” said Willie Adams, president of the San Francisco Port Commission. “We want the world’s shipping community to know that the Port of San Francisco is open for business.”

Pier 80 is expected to employ about 50 longshore workers during vessel operations, and as automobile processing reaches capacity, it’s anticipated that 150 new employees would be hired and trained. It is expected that Pier 80 could receive about 96 ships per year, shipping roughly 150,000 vehicles. The Pasha Group, a family-owned and operated company headquartered in the Northern California city of San Rafael, is a multi-faceted transport company with shipping services from the US West Coast and Hawaii. Pasha Automotive currently operates automobile marine terminals in San Diego and Grays Harbor, Washington.

“As a company, we are committed to ensuring that maritime uses are supported, and that our country’s valuable waterfront assets receive the investment they need to serve commercial, not just recreational uses,” Pasha Automotive Senior Vice President of Services John Pasha said.

POLB Pollution Up 1 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Lingering effects from ships at anchor during a period of traffic congestion in early 2015 had a negative effect on air quality at the Port of Long Beach last year, according to the port’s latest annual air emissions inventory, which was released Aug. 23.

The 2015 annual inventory of port-related air emissions, conducted by an independent consultant, found the port’s aggressive actions to curtail pollution have decreased diesel particulate matter by 84 percent since 2005, a slight decrease from the 85 percent reduction reported in 2014. Sulfur oxides were 97 percent lower, the same level reported in 2014.

Smog-forming nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases were down 48 percent and 14 percent, respectively, compared to the 50 percent and 21 percent numbers, respectively, in the prior year.

Meanwhile, annual container traffic increased seven percent, or 296,000 TEUs, during the same period.

The numbers are comparable to those at the Port of Los Angeles, which released its own annual emissions report Aug. 18. At LA, overall, diesel particulate matter remained down 85 percent from all sources related to port operations, replicating a record set in 2014. Likewise, sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions were down 97 percent, nearing total elimination. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions were down 51 percent, one percent shy of the 52 percent reduction rate in 2014.

Long Beach officials attribute their port’s rise in emissions to an unusual number of vessels at anchor due to terminal congestion through the first quarter of 2015. While at anchor, ships use auxiliary engines to run essential systems instead of plugging into shore electrical power available at berth.

“The latest emissions inventory shows the effects of last year’s congestion and increased ships at anchor,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzm├ín said. “While we’ve had challenges, we continue to be committed to reaching our goal of zero-emissions operations.”

The annual emissions inventory is reviewed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The complete emissions inventory conducted by independent consultants can be found at

USCG Rescues 2 From Sinking Boat

By Mark Edward Nero

A US Coast Guard boat crew rescued two men after their 14-foot boat ran aground and began taking on water near Desdemona Sands at the mouth of the Columbia River on Aug. 23.

A 29-foot response boat crew from Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Wash. pulled the two men from their sinking boat minutes before it capsized using an emergency heaving line and took them to Skipanon Marina in Warrenton, Oregon with no reported injuries.

The Coast Guard response originated when watch standers at Sector Columbia River received a 911 relay call at 1:12 p.m. from a concerned mariner saying a small Smoker Craft with two people on board had run aground and needed assistance.

The boat crew launched in response but had to maintain a 20 to 30-foot distance to avoid shoal water. The crew was able to rescue the men, who were wearing life jackets, by using the heaving line to pull the men through the water and onto the Response Boat-Small.

“Life jackets were an essential part of this rescue,” the coxswain for the case, Petty Officer First Class Mike McQuade, said. “If the men had not been wearing them, we probably would not have been able to save them before their boat sank.”

The weather at the time of the rescue was reported to be two-to four-foot waves and 15 mph winds, the USCG said.

Port of Portland Awarded Expansion Grant

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Portland and tenant Auto Warehousing Co. have been awarded a $2.6 million grant by the Oregon Department of Transportation to partially fund a $7 million expansion of auto handling facilities in the Rivergate Industrial District near Terminal 6, the port said Aug. 22.

Plans call for Auto Warehousing to develop a new 18.9-acre storage and staging yard to support the continued growth of export vehicles.

Auto Warehousing leased 130 acres at Terminal 6 in 2005 and currently handles the import of Hyundai vehicles into the US and the export of Ford vehicles manufactured in North America bound for China and Korea.

Export volumes have grown steadily in the last several years, bringing the total vehicles moved by Auto Warehousing to 126,000 in the last 12 months. Across the Port of Portland marine terminals, auto shipments were up 14 percent during the previous fiscal year, which ended in June.

Last week, the Portland Port Commission approved a lease to Auto Warehousing for the expansion lot with an initial eight-year term and four five-year options. If all options are exercised, the lease would extend to April 2045.

The port committed $871,300 to the project with the tenant providing matching funds of $3.5 million. That amount, along with the $2.6 million state grant, equals the project’s total $7 million cost.

“Exports are the real success story,” the Port of Portland’s director of marine marketing, Sebastian Degens said, “not just for the Port of Portland, but for the whole American automobile industry. International export is a boost to the economy here, as well as in the heartland where the manufacturing takes place.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Port of Vancouver Cargo Traffic Slides

By Mark Edward Nero

Total cargo at Canada’s largest port for the half-year ending June 30 was 66.0 million metric tons, an overall decrease of 5.9 percent over the same period in 2015, according to data released Aug. 19 by the Port of Vancouver.

According to the port authority’s 2016 mid-year statistics report, a softened global economy, the weakened Canadian dollar, and some containerized cargo shifting back to United States ports following an extended labor disruption on the US West Coast last year were all factors contributing to lighter than usual traffic through the port.

Despite the short-term slowdown, forecasts show that long-term growth in trade is expected to continue to boost the Canadian economy.

“The slight decrease in cargo volumes in the first half of 2016 is expected, given the record year we experienced in 2015 and the softening global economy,” Vancouver Fraser Port Authority President and CEO Robin Silvester explained. “The long-term outlook for Canadian trade is one of growth, and the port will be ready to handle increased volumes through Canada’s West Coast.”

The half-year results represent a softening of volumes in all major commodities except grain, where increases in barley (up 41.8 percent) and canola (up 40.1 percent) contributed to overall growth in that sector.

In the container sector, volumes weakened in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, when the port had experienced a temporary surge of cargo in 2015 as shippers moved freight through Canada due to traffic congestion caused by labor disruptions at US West Coast ports. Between January and June 2016, 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units moved through Vancouver, a decrease of 6.5 percent from the same period in 2015, a record-breaking year. Compared to 2014, 2016 volume is up 1.3 percent.

Unions Oppose Tanker Escort Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Maritime labor leaders who say they’re concerned about the safety of Prince William Sound and the creation and retention of good-paying Alaska jobs expressed concerns on Aug. 22 about a contract announced last month between Alyeska Pipeline Services Co. and shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore.

Under the contract, Edison Chouest Offshore is to provide marine tanker escort and spill prevention and response support in Prince William Sound, including the Valdez Narrows through Hinchinbrook Entrance.

“We’re insisting that state and local authorities take a much closer look at this agreement, which was negotiated behind closed doors with the goal of cutting costs and cutting corners,” Alan Cote, president of the Inlandboatmen’s Union said. “Alaska workers and citizens deserve due diligence and transparency before putting human and natural resources at risk.”

Alyeska, owned by oil giants BP, Conoco and ExxonMobil, announced in July that it has decided to replace Crowley Marine, despite the company having provided oil tanker escort and oil spill response services for 25 years without serious incident.

The transfer of operations to Edison Chouest Offshore has raised both economic and environmental concerns, says the union, particularly in light of the company’s role in the Kulluk oil rig disaster, a December 2012 incident in which Kulluk drifted aground after the icebreaking anchor-handling tug Aiviq lost the tow in heavy weather. Although the Kulluk was recovered, the damage was heavy enough that Shell decided to scrap the vessel in 2014.

Aiviq was built and operated for Shell by Edison Chouest, which is based in Louisiana, but has an Alaska presence. Alyeska and Edison Chouest have said that a vigorous vetting process took place before the deal between the two parties was sealed.

Alyeska also cited Edison Chouest Offshore’s safety record, in-depth experience and technical capability, management systems and equipment options as important considerations in its decision to issue the new contract.

However, Don Marcus, president of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots denigrated the agreement as being a result of cost cutting.

“Edison Chouest is a financially troubled company that eliminated more than 2,000 jobs in 2015 and forced deep wage and benefit cuts this year. Rather than using crews experienced in Alaska’s unforgiving maritime conditions or hiring Alaskan workers, they plan to bring Gulf Coast workers off of layoff and give them the difficult task of operating in Prince William Sound,” Marcus said.

The new contract calls for a transition plan of about 24 months.

POLA Emissions Report Shows Continued Progress

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles has largely continued to preserve clean air gains that have reduced key pollutants, lowered health risk in surrounding communities and improved the quality of life in the greater Los Angeles area, according to the latest release of an annual report.

The detailed inventory’s latest findings, which were publicly revealed Aug. 18, are based on data collected during calendar year 2015 and reviewed by regional, state and federal air regulatory agencies.

The results show the port continues to exceed its 2023 targets for reducing diesel particulate matter and sulfur oxides (77 percent and 93 percent, respectively) and is within striking distance of its 2023 target of reducing NOx emissions 59 percent.

The port also held the line on reducing the health risk of port-related emissions by lowering them 85 percent.

The baseline for the levels is 2005, the year before the port adopted a massive environmental effort known as the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan.

Overall, diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions remain down 85 percent from all sources related to port operations, replicating the port’s record set in 2014, according to the report. Likewise, sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions are down 97 percent, nearing total elimination. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions are down 51 percent, just one percent shy of the 52 percent reduction rate in 2014.

The emissions inventory also shows that greenhouse gas emissions were 10 percent below the 2005 baseline, but the 2015 GHG emissions were higher than port emissions in 2014, when they were 16 percent below the 2005 baseline. The increased 2015 GHG emissions are mostly attributed by the port to congestion issues experienced in the first part of 2015. With congestion now behind it, the port says it anticipates a return to larger GHG emissions reductions for 2016, as it continues its efforts to achieve a goal of reducing GHGs 80 percent by 2050, based on 1990 levels.

Cargo handling equipment upgrades played a key role in offsetting congestion-related emissions in 2015, as the upgrades helped diesel particulates remain stable compared to 2014 with only a small increase in NOx emissions.

Replacing and retrofitting off-road terminal equipment has been a mainstay of the Clean Air Action Plan since its inception, and the use of the cleanest available engines jumped to 45 percent of all cargo handling equipment, up from 30 percent in 2014.

The POLA’s full 2015 air emission inventory can be seen at

Cruise Industry Details Environmental Efforts

By Mark Edward Nero

The Cruise Lines International Association has released its 2016 Environment Sustainability Report, which details the state of the industry’s environmental initiatives and what it says is its ongoing commitment to sustainable voyaging. The report, released Aug. 10, outlines cruise lines’ continuing efforts to collaborate with environmental stakeholders, develop new technologies and engage the maritime sector in best environmental practices and policies.

Highlights from the report include:

• Some cruise ships recycle or repurpose nearly 100 percent of the waste generated on board — by reducing, reusing, donating, recycling and converting waste into energy.

• Cruise ship waste management professionals recycle 60 percent more waste per person than the average person recycles on shore each day.

• Cruise ships utilize ecological, non-toxic coatings on ship hulls to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 5 percent.

• The cruise industry has pioneered advanced wastewater treatment systems that can produce cleaner water than the wastewater systems of most coastal cities in the United States.

• Cruise line association members have invested over $1 billion in advanced emissions technologies and alternative fuels.

The full 2016 Environmental Sustainability Report can be viewed at