Friday, September 9, 2016

POLB CEO Stepping Down

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup is resigning from his post in order to take a position as chairman and CEO of an aviation technology company, he revealed Sept. 8. His last day at the port is set for Oct. 28; he starts his new job Oct 31.

Slangerup joined the POLB in June 2014 as the replacement for former Executive Director Chris Lytle, who left the port in 2013 – after less than two years in the top job – to accept a similar position at the Port of Oakland.

With his new job, Slangerup returns to his roots in the private sector; prior to his tenure at Long Beach, he spent two decades as a president, CEO and/or director of both public and private companies, ranging from technology startups to a subsidiary of FedEx Corp.

During the final seven years of his 20-year career with FedEx, he was President of FedEx Canada.
“I wish to thank the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the opportunity I’ve had to lead the Port of Long Beach and our exceptional team of managers and professionals,” Slangerup said in a prepared statement announcing his pending departure. “The experience of helping guide the port through our industry’s swiftly changing and often uncharted waters has been both an exciting challenge and a great honor.”

Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzm├ín said Slangerup brought “tremendous leadership, creativity and executive experience” to the port.

“His innovative vision and ability to lead in times of change and growth have made a marked difference in the history of our beloved port,” she said. “I and my fellow commissioners wish Jon continued success in his new role.”

An interim CEO has yet to be named, and the port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners has not yet established a timeline regarding its search and hiring a new CEO. But whomever wins the job would be the port’s fifth permanent or interim leader since 2011.

The others were Dick Steinke, who retired in 2011 after 14 years as executive director; Lytle, who left for Oakland in July 2013; Al Moro, who served as interim director from June 2013 to June 2014; and Slangerup, who will now leave after 28 months in the position.

Car Carrier Companies Conjoining

By Mark Edward Nero

Two car carrier companies, Norway-based Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding and Wallenius Lines of Sweden said Sept. 5 that they’ve signed a letter of intent to establish a new, combined ownership structure.

The new entity, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA will, the companies said in a statement, “form a more efficient management structure and enable further synergies between the joint ventures.”

The letter of intent states that the parties will combine their ownership in three jointly owned entities: shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) and American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier, of which they will own 100 percent; and EUKOR Car Carriers, of which they would jointly own 80 percent.

The parties have also agreed to merge the ownership of the majority of their vessels and affected assets and liabilities.

“Changing market dynamics and pressure on margins enforce a fundamental change in how we manage our joint ventures, especially within the shipping segment,” Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA Chair Thomas Wilhelmsen and Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA Chair Diderik Schnitler said in a joint statement regarding the reasoning behind the proposed changes.

“The markets in which the jointly owned entities operate are going through rapid change and require a more agile and efficient business model,” Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA President and CEO Jan Eyvin Wang explained. “In addition to establishing a common owner and governance structure, the proposed merger is expected to enable synergies between $50-100 million by combining the assets and harvesting economies of scale, including more optimal tonnage planning, and administrative, commercial and operational efficiencies between the entities.”

The final terms and ownership level are expected to be confirmed with the announcement of a final agreement by year’s end. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Maersk, MSC to Fill Transpacific Void

By Mark Edward Nero

Global shipping companies Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) each issued word on Sept. 7 that they’ll launch new weekly transpacific trade services soon in attempts to partially fill the void left by the recent collapse of Hanjin Shipping.

Maersk Line’s new TP1 service, which will complement existing Transpacific sailings, is scheduled to launch Sept. 15.

The service will call at Yantian, China; Shanghai, China; Busan, South Korea; and Los Angeles/Long Beach. It will have six vessels with a capacity of 4,000 TEU per week deployed.

“We are responding to increased demand in the Transpacific,” Klaus Rud Sejling, head of Maersk Line’s East-West Network, said. “With supply chains disrupted, many customers are approaching us for transport solutions for their cargo.”

MSC’s new service, like that of Maersk, launches Sept. 15 and is designed to assist shippers, following Hanjin’s announcement that it was entering into receivership.

MSC’s additional sailing, which the company is calling MAPLE, is to be made up of six vessels of 5,000 TEU capacity each.

In order to cover the anticipated high initial demand, the first two sailings will call Yantian, China; Shanghai, China; Busan, South Korea; and Long Beach, California.

After that, the calls are scheduled to take place at the ports in Busan; Shanghai; Yantian; and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Hanjin, the world’s seventh largest container carrier, filed a receivership application with the Seoul, South Korea Central District Court on Aug. 31 seeking court receivership after losing the support of financial institutions that had been providing it credit.

The company also stopped accepting new shipments in the wake of the filing, including at the Port of Long Beach’s Total Terminals Intl., in which it owns a majority stake.

Coast Guard Mitigates Sunken Fishing Vessel

By Mark Edward Nero
US Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology personnel have completed pollution mitigation on a 77-foot fishing vessel that sank at the Westport, Oregon marina on Sept. 5, spilling thousands of gallons of fuel into the water.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River’s incident management division contracted Global Diving and Salvage to remove an estimated 4,000 gallons of diesel from the vessels fuel tanks, with the money coming from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Initial reports stated that there were about 1,000 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the sinking, but that proved not to be the case.

“We are pleased that we were able to recover 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel from this vessel and were able abate the pollution threat,” the Coast Guard’s federal on-scene coordinator representative, Chief Petty Officer Bradley Bennett, said. “We always respond to the maximum potential spill and not to the quoted amount on board for this exact reason.”

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received the report of the sunken vessel around 6:40 a.m. on Labor Day from members at Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor, who had verified the initial notification received from marina staff. Ecology and Port of Grays Harbors staff deployed oil spill containment boom and cleanup pads around the sunken vessel.

There were no reported injuries during the incident.

The fishing vessel’s owner and marina personnel will continue salvage efforts of the vessel, according to the Coast Guard.

Holland America Bringing 7th Vessel to PNW

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based Holland America Line says it is redeploying ms Oosterdam from Europe to Alaska for the 2017 summer season in order to support the increasing demand for summer cruises.

The addition brings the number of Holland America Line ships in the region to seven, with Oosterdam joining ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam for a total of 135 Alaska departures.

Also in 2017, Holland America celebrates its 70th year exploring Alaska. During the year, the cruise ship Eurodam will replace ms Westerdam sailing from Seattle. The addition of another Signature Class ship means more new restaurants and venues will be available for guests to enjoy on Alaska sailings, the cruise line said.

“Adding Oosterdam to the region in 2017 will allow even more guests to join in celebrating the exciting milestone of our 70th year in Alaska,” Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford said. “As Seattle’s hometown cruise line, we’re thrilled to be sailing three ships from our local home port for the next Alaska season.”

Oosterdam is slated to sail 21 seven-day cruises round trip from Seattle, from April through September. Eurodam will depart Seattle on 22 round trip seven-day cruises, while Amsterdam is scheduled to sail one seven-day itinerary from Seattle followed by nine 14-day voyages.

Oosterdam’s seven-day round trip Seattle itineraries will call at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tacoma Port Extends LNG Plant Feasibility Period

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Tacoma said Sept. 2 that it has extended by two months the feasibility period for a proposed 30-acre, $250 million liquefied natural gas plant that would be operated by developer Puget Sound Energy.

Port commissioners originally authorized the lease with Puget Sound Energy on Aug. 21, 2014, and the two-year feasibility period was originally to end Aug. 31, 2016. The new amendment extends the feasibility to Oct. 31, providing additional time for Puget Sound Energy to secure permits before construction begins.

Puget Sound Energy proposes to build the LNG facility to support TOTE Maritime Alaska’s plan to retrofit its ships to use the cleaner burning fuel, as well as provide natural gas for household use during peak demand periods.

Within the feasibility period, PSE would have to pay $50,000 to pull out of the lease, although no cost would be owed if the cancellation was attributed to environmental reasons the utility did not cause.

If and when the plant moves into the construction phase, Puget Sound Energy would pay the port $146,000 per month. The amount would rise to $212,445 monthly when the plant goes into full operation.

The facility, which could begin operation in 2019, is planned to produce 250,000 gallons of LNG per day, storing the product onsite in an eight million gallon tank.

An update on the lease is expected to be provided during the port’s Sept. 15 commission meeting.

BC Ferries President/CEO Stepping Down

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries President and CEO Mike Corrigan is stepping down from his role as President and CEO, effective March 31, 2017, at the completion of his current contract, BC Ferries’ Board Chair Donald Hayes announced during the company’s annual public meeting on Aug. 19.

An executive search has already commenced to identify Corrigan’s successor, with the Board considering both internal and external candidates.

“Mike has been with BC Ferries for the past 13 years and has had a distinguished career throughout that time,” Hayes said. “Mike is leaving the company in a very good place and has done an outstanding job as our President and CEO for the past almost five years.”

Corrigan said the decision to leave BC Ferries wasn’t an easy one to make.

“It is never easy to step down and let someone else take the helm. So I’m stepping down with mixed emotions, because my time at BC Ferries has been tremendously rewarding and satisfying, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of people – and a very supportive Board. But I am at a stage in my career that I feel it is time to pursue new opportunities.”

Hayes said that the Board appreciates the lengthy notice Corrigan provided, and has a plan in place to ensure the transition to a new CEO is a smooth one.

BC Ferries, under contract to the Canadian Province of British Columbia, is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal BC.

All-American Marine Lands Tour Boat Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Bellingham, Wash.-based boat builder All American Marine and Seattle-based tour company Argosy Cruises have sealed a deal for AAM to build a 125-foot aluminum monohull for operation in Puget Sound’s Elliott Bay.

New Zealand-based naval architectural and engineering firm Teknicraft Design participated in the design of the vessel.

“The value of Teknicraft and All American Marine design teams working closely together to build us a quality boat, made the design and construction process absolutely seamless,” Argosy Cruises President & CEO Kevin Clark, said in a statement.

Argosy has said it intends to primarily deploy the new vessel on a route to ferry passengers between their Seattle waterfront location at Pier 55 and their long-standing concession at Tillicum Village on Blake Island State Park. The vessel will also be adaptable to provide private event charters.

The contract with Argosy Cruises will mark the first keel laid at All American Marine’s new shipyard, currently under construction in Squalicum Harbor at the north edge of Bellingham Bay. AAM says it expects to open the new state-of-the-art 57,000-square-foot boatbuilding facility in January 2017.

The Port of Bellingham is developing the new site to further support All-American Marine’s ability to take on and pursue larger vessel projects with hulls over 100 feet in length alongside their regular production of mid-sized monohulls and catamarans.

The new monohull will be certified under the latest US Coast Guard Subchapter-K regulations to carry 500 passengers. Two Scania DI 16-080M main engines will provide propulsion power, with auxiliary power supplied by Northern Lights 65kW and 40 kW generators.

“We have been working hard to reach this point and are truly excited about the comprehensive design and features that this new boat will offer to Argosy while moving the bar for our future designs,” AAM CEO Matt Mullett commented.

Hanjin Ships Denied Port Access

By Mark Edward Nero

Roughly half of Hanjin Shipping’s container vessels have been blocked from ports since the South Korean firm filed for bankruptcy protection last week, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

The number of vessels stranded just offshore includes three near the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, while one was stranded near the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia.

Hanjin, the world’s seventh largest container carrier, filed a receivership application with the Seoul, South Korea Central District Court on Aug. 31 seeking court receivership after losing the support of financial institutions that had been providing it credit.

The company also stopped accepting new shipments in the wake of the filing, including at the Port of Long Beach’s Total Terminals Intl., in which Hanjin owns a majority stake.

In a statement, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners said the port was engaged in “round-the-clock monitoring” of the situation.

A South Korean receivership in many ways parallels US receivership and bankruptcy procedures, according to receivership law specialist Richard Ormond.

“Because many of Hanjin’s customers are located in the United States, i.e. businesses that manufacture overseas and import their goods here, there will be a need for a parallel US based legal proceeding,” Ormond explained. “Otherwise their goods and the Hanjin assets will be subject to the proceeding in South Korea—possibly denying US located creditors their due process.”

A judge in California has already ordered the arrest of the containership Hanjin Montevideo in Long Beach over unpaid fuel bills totaling $488,750 owed to World Fuel Services, according to Reuters.

Lawyers acting for two other firms applied to a court in California on Aug. 31 to have Hanjin's assets in the US, including cash and property totaling more than $3 million, seized to pay outstanding rental payments on two Hanjin ships.