Friday, September 23, 2016

Foss to Receive Safety Award

By Mark Edward Nero

American Maritime Safety, a non-profit maritime trade association that facilitates the maritime industry’s compliance with international shipping protocols and US Coast Guard regulations, has chosen Foss Maritime to receive a safety award.

Foss said Sept. 19 that it will receive the award during AMS’ 2016 Annual Membership Meeting and Safety Awards Luncheon, set for Oct. 13. The awards recognize companies that uphold a commitment to manage and operate vessels that are environmentally efficient, safe and dependable, plus promote responsible maritime work practices.

Foss says its award is in recognition of the company’s efforts to build and maintain a strong culture of safety via the implementation and management of zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.

“We are honored by this recognition of our drug and alcohol policy,” Foss President John Parrott said. “Our primary concern in all that we do is to keep our employees, equipment and the environments in which we operate safe.”

Foss’ policy, which was updated in 2015, addresses the concerns of opioid abuse and other addiction issues, the legalization of marijuana in many states, and the reasons a zero-tolerance stance is essential to the company’s safety initiatives, and in meeting increasing customer demands and regulations.

“For decades Foss has built a strong reputation of being always ready. In more recent years we've added always safe,” Foss CEO Paul Stevens said in a recent video to employees about the policy. “One way that we deliver on this commitment is by upholding a drug and alcohol policy that keeps employees and equipment safe and ready for whenever we report to work.”

Oakland Cargo Volumes Up Slightly

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland reported Sept. 21 that its total cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers – increased just 1.7 percent in August. However, the port also said that a year-long rally in containerized export volume is gathering momentum.

The port’s export volume last month jumped seven percent over August 2015 totals, according to data. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since a 7.1 percent rise in April. Oakland has now increased export volumes seven times in eight months this calendar year, with its total 2016 export volume 8.8 percent ahead of last year’s pace. The port’s total volume through the first eight months of 2016 is up 4.6 percent over 2015.

“We’ve had solid cargo production across the board,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But so far in 2016, exports are the star performers.”

The port attributed much of the export increase to a softening U.S. dollar. As the currency weakens, American exports become more affordable overseas.

The Port of Oakland watches export trends closely because exports make up more than half its total cargo volume – the highest ratio of any US West Coast port. The port is near California’s Central Valley and most of its wine-producing areas; Oakland provides growers from those regions a gateway to markets in Asia.

Oakland said it is hopeful that its run of export success will continue into the fall, as agricultural exporters are forecasting good harvests this year resulting from more plentiful rainfall last winter.

Complete cargo statistics for the port are available at

NWSA Monthly Cargo Volumes Grow

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, said Sept. 16 that its total marine cargo container volumes last month were the highest for an August since 2012.

The gains were made on the strength of full containerized imports and exports alike, according to the Alliance.

Full imports improved four percent compared to August 2015, while full exports surged 15 percent month over month. Year to date, full imports are up three percent to 879,435 TEUs and exports increased 13 percent to 625,523 TEUs.

However, the Seaport Alliance says, year-to-date total container volumes through August are flat, falling less than one percent to 2,322,999 TEUs.

“The persistent decline of empty containers and lagging domestic volumes continue to drag down total container volumes,” the Alliance said in a statement regarding the numbers. Meanwhile, empty containers have fallen nearly 22 percent year to date, while domestic volumes are down three percent.

Hanjin Shipping’s filing for receivership did not impact the alliance’s August cargo volumes, according to the Alliance. The receivership was filed Aug. 31.

In other freight news: breakbulk cargo is down 29 percent year to date to 128,545 metric tons as the global downturn in agricultural, mining and construction equipment, and a strong U.S. dollar impact volumes.

Also, log exports fell 48 percent year to date to 92,840 metric tons, with decreased demand in China and competition from New Zealand cited as being among the causes.

Additionally, auto movements fell five percent to 119,758 units as vehicle manufacturers move factory locations and shift the supply chain.

The Alliance’s cargo volumes for August 2016 can be found at The cargo statistics for the same month are available at

POLB Names Interim CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On Sept. 21, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners appointed the port’s Capital Programs Executive, Duane Kenagy, to the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Kenagy will fill the shoes of Chief Executive Officer Jon Slangerup, who announced Sept. 8 that he is leaving the port to become Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a Canada-based aviation technology company.

“Jon Slangerup leaves behind a legacy that has positioned us very well for the future,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said. “The Commission is confident that Duane Kenagy will continue to lead the port on a trajectory of excellence moving forward.”

Kenagy, who joined the port in 2014, oversees nearly $4.5 billion in construction and improvement projects, the largest infrastructure investment of any port in the nation.

He has more than 35 years of engineering and design project management experience in the US and overseas, and administers the replacement of the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge and the redevelopment of the Middle Harbor Container Terminal, each budgeted at nearly $1.5 billion. Another $1 billion is budgeted for rail improvements to increase the movement of goods via rail.

“The Board is extremely pleased to have Duane Kenagy serve as our Interim CEO. He is highly respected by all of the Commissioners, very well regarded in our industry, and well-liked by the port staff,” Guzmán said.

Prior to joining the port, Kenagy worked for engineering consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol, and was a key player in the Alameda Corridor rail project.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Board of Harbor Commissioners, our tenants and customers, and the talented team here at the Port of Long Beach to continue our strong tradition of service and innovation,” Kenagy said in a statement. “I am fully committed to helping this great organization transition to the new Chief Executive at the conclusion of the Board’s search.”

His salary is proposed at $275,000 with duties to begin next week.

Kenagy is not a candidate for permanent appointment as Chief Executive, according to both he and the Port Commission. The Board of Harbor Commissioners issued a Request For Proposals this week to select a firm to conduct an international search for its next permanent CEO.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NASSCO Christens Petroleum Tanker

By Mark Edward Nero

On Sept. 17, General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening ceremony for the fourth ECO Class tanker for American Petroleum Tankers under construction at the company’s San Diego shipyard.

US Representative Juan Vargas spoke at the ceremony, and the ship’s sponsor, Melissa DeVeau, christened the ship with the traditional break of a champagne bottle alongside the ship.

“This state-of-the-art vessel will be another welcome addition to our growing fleet – one that will provide safe and reliable transportation for our customers in the decades ahead. We applaud our partners at NASSCO for making this day possible,” American Petroleum Tankers President Rob Kurz said. The ECO Class tanker Bay State is the fourth of a five-tanker contract between NASSCO and American Petroleum Tankers, which calls for the design and construction of five 50,000 deadweight ton, LNG-conversion-ready product carriers with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity.

The 610-foot-long tankers are equipped with a new “ECO” design, which provide an upgrade in fuel efficiency. The first three ships of the ECO Class program for APT – the Lone Star State, the Magnolia State, and the Garden State – are delivered and in service. The fifth and final ship under the contract is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

All five tankers were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of Busan, South Korea.

“We celebrate the significance of the Bay State and her sister ships in the ECO Class program,” General Dynamics NASSCO Vice President & General Manager Kevin Graney said during the christening. “Upon each respective delivery, the ships constructed as part of this partnership with American Petroleum Tankers will join the ranks as some of the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly tankers in the world.”

Monthly POLA Volumes 2nd-Highest Ever

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles handled 798,932 TEUs in August 2016, making it the port’s strongest month since 2006, according to recently released data.

Additionally, last month was the second busiest month in the port’s 109-year history, eclipsed only by October 2006, when the port handled 800,063 TEUs, according to data released Sept. 15.

In August, loaded imports increased 0.9 percent to 411,366 TEUs compared to the previous August.

Loaded exports increased 6.3 percent to 153,005 TEUs. Combined, total loaded volumes grew 2.3 percent to 564,271 TEUs.

With a slight increase in empty containers of 0.2 percent, overall August volumes were 798,932 TEUs, an increase of 1.6 percent compared to August 2015.

“Strong numbers on both our import and export cargo during the industry’s peak season indicates confidence in our ability to meet supply chain expectations,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

For the first eight months of 2016, LA’s year-to-date volumes rose 4.3 percent compared to 2015, according to data released Sept. 15. Year to date, overall cargo volumes have increased 4.3 percent to 5,620,400 TEUs compared to the same period in 2015.

Current and past data container counts for the Port of LA is available at:

Monday, September 19, 2016

WSDOT Christens New Ferry

By Mark Edward Nero

On Sept. 14, the Washington State Department of Transportation christened Chimacum, the fleet’s third Olympic Class vessel, during a ceremony at Vigor Industrial’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle.

The christening marks the Chimacum’s final stage of construction and its preparation for sea trials. Among those who spoke during the event were Gov. Jay Inslee, Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

“The Washington state ferry system is among the best in the world. I am so pleased that the Chimacum is being built efficiently, on-budget and ahead-of schedule” Inslee said. “This is great for the state’s taxpayers and our maritime industry.”

The 144-car Chimacum is expected to begin its sea trials in early 2017 and start carrying passengers on the Seattle/Bremerton route next spring. The Washington State Transportation Commission selected the vessel name in 2014 to honor the gathering place of the Chimacum people, which is now the present day town of Chimacum near Port Townsend.

Chimacum joins a hard-working fleet that connects people and communities as part of our state’s integrated, multimodal transportation system,” Millar said. “Washington’s marine highways carry more than 24 million people every year, so it’s critical for us to replace our oldest ferries and plan for the future.”

Chimacum is the third of four funded Olympic Class ferries that replace the aging, midcentury-era Evergreen State Class vessels. The first Olympic Class vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, started service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route in June 2015. Suquamish, the fourth vessel in the class, is under construction at Vigor and is expected to enter service in 2019.

Seattle Port Approves Solar Project

By Mark Edward Nero

On Sept. 13, the five-person Port of Seattle Commission approved funding for design of the port’s first-ever solar demonstration project, a task at Fishermen’s Terminal that’s included as part of the replacement of net-shed roofs that house fishing nets and gear for the North Pacific Fishing Fleet.

The demonstration project is being designed to help the port gain in-house knowledge about the benefits and challenges of solar projects, including installation, operation and maintenance, according to the port.

Planners estimate that the net-shed solar panels could produce 11,000 kW of electricity per year, reducing carbon emissions by 279 pounds in the first year. The project could be in place by the end of 2017, according to the port.

“As we explore innovative policies to guide the reduction of our carbon footprint, I am encouraged that this demonstration project could lead the way for additional solar project opportunities at the port in the future,” Port Commissioner Fred Felleman said.

Solar power has increasingly piqued the interest of Port Commission which, earlier this year, convened an Energy and Sustainability Committee to guide the port’s policies related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency.