Friday, October 28, 2016

Foss Maritime VP Appointed to Obama Administration Post

By Mark Edward Nero

Foss Maritime VP of HSQE & External Affairs Susan Hayman has been nominated to the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s Board of Visitors by President Barack Obama.

The visitors board, which is made up of Congressional representatives and Presidential appointees – including two alumni – provides oversight, advice and recommendations on matters relating to the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

The administrative post is for a term of two years, beginning at the beginning of each Congress.

Hayman, who began her career with Foss in 2006 as VP of HSQE, is a 1980 graduate of USMMA and a 1986 graduate of Harvard Business School. After several years of sea-going experience, she held various key management positions within the maritime industry. She was called to active duty in the US Navy in 2002.

In his official nomination of this and other key posts, President Obama said, "I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles. I look forward to working with them."

The US Merchant Marine Academy is operated by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), one of the modal agencies of the US Department of Transportation. The Academy educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers,

US Commerce Dept. Signs Supply Chain Partnership

By Mark Edward Nero

A strategic partnership with the USC Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management aimed at improving the global competitiveness of the nation’s supply chains was signed by US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in Los Angeles on Oct. 14.

“Through this new partnership, we hope to encourage ports around the country to increase efficiency by adopting new technologies that will provide more information on the flow of goods to port users and stakeholders,” Secretary Pritzker explained. “The ability to move cargo quickly through our ports is critical to national and regional trade, economic growth, and our nation’s overall competitiveness.”

The partnership with USC Marshall will allow for collaboration on digitalization of the nation’s supply chains. “The Port of Los Angeles isn't just the nation's leading cargo port—it’s a laboratory for ideas and technologies that show how ports across America can thrive in the global marketplace for generations to come,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Los Angeles is the perfect home for this innovative partnership, and I’m proud of the critical role our port has played in making it possible.”

The first formal event of the partnership will be the Port Community IT Systems Exhibition and Technology Challenge at USC on Nov. 18-20. The gathering will open with a symposium offering leaders from ports communities and supply chain owner organizations, as well as public policy and academic experts a chance to explore how digital innovations can increase port operating efficiencies and reduce overall supply chain congestion.

“The alliance between the Dept. of Commerce, USC Marshall and the CGSCM will facilitate the crucial first step of dissecting this problem so we can move forward with modernizing global supply chain using digital technology,” Nick Vyas, executive director of USC Marshall’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management (CGSCM) and assistant professor of clinical data sciences and operations at USC Marshall, said in a statement.

Seaspan Receives Hybrid LNG-Battery Ferry

By Mark Edward Nero

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Seaspan Ferries has taken delivery of Seaspan Swift, the first of five LNG-battery hybrid ferries from Turkish shipyard Sedef.

Seaspan Swift, the first ferry of its type in North America, was designed by Vard Marine and is powered by two Wartsila dual-fuel engines and a Corvus Energy Storage System (ESS) consisting of 84 advanced lithium polymer batteries.

Construction started in early 2015; the vessel underwent sea trials in Turkey in August.

The Vard-designed single-deck ro/ro trailer ferries will be able to accommodate up to 59 trailers. The design combines dual-fuelled propulsion, hull form efficiency, and a battery backup system that provides 2,200kW for ten minutes to minimize operational costs and environmental impact.

The hybrid propulsion system also permits redundancy while operating at economical speed on a single engine. Seaspan Ferries is a commercial roll on-roll off ferry service providing transport between British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island's Nanaimo and Swartz Bay terminals. The company, based in Delta, transports truck trailers, containers, and railcars on self-propelled ferries and integrated tug-barge units.

Shippers Guilty in San Diego ‘Magic' Pipe Case

By Mark Edward Nero

Two German shipping companies that owned and operated the motor vessel Nils B pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego on Oct. 25 to one felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain an oil record book. W. Bockstiegel Reederei GmbH & Co. KG, which operated the vessel, and W. Bockstiegel GmbH & Co. Reederei KG MS, which owned the vessel, were the companies that pleaded guilty.

In doing so, the firms admitted that they failed to disclose that oil-contaminated water had been discharged into the ocean from the vessel without the use of pollution prevention equipment.

According to the plea agreement, personnel from the US Coast Guard boarded the vessel after its entry into the Port of San Diego on Aug. 5, 2014. Once on board, the Coast Guard discovered that the crew had failed to keep an oil record book for a significant period of time, modifications had been made to piping coming from the oil water separator and oil was discovered in discharge piping that should not have been present.

The defendants acknowledged that Coast Guard examiners took oil samples from the oil water separator’s overboard discharge valve and from the vessel’s sludge tank and the samples from the two locations matched.

Under US and international law, sludge is never to be discharged through an oil water separator. The Coast Guard also discovered a black hose near the oil water separator that contained light fuel oil mixed with lubricating oil. In the industry, such a hose is known as a “magic pipe.”

The defendants, in pleading guilty, admitted that the oil record book on board the vessel did not disclose any discharges of sludge between the time that the overboard discharge valve had been cleaned while the vessel was in dry dock in June of 2014 and its entry into the Port of San Diego in August.

According to the plea documents, the company and the United States agree to recommend that the court impose a total criminal penalty of $750,000, of which $250,000 will be a community service payment for the benefit of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve to further research related to the effects of pollution on the marine estuarine environment.

Sentencing for this case has been set for Nov. 3 before Judge Jan M. Adler.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

FMC Approves Shippers’ Mega Alliance

By Mark Edward Nero

After what it calls an “exhaustive” review, the US Federal Maritime Commission has concluded its investigation of the proposed Ocean Alliance, comprised of COSCO Shipping, CMA CGM, Evergreen Marine, and Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd. (OOCL), the FMC announced Oct. 21. With the review over, the alliance became effective Oct. 24.

“Today’s announcement follows an exhaustive review process by the commission that thoroughly examined all aspects of the proposed agreement to assure that competition in the ocean transportation industry would not suffer,” the FMC said in a statement. “Commissioners and commission staff extensively engaged filing counsel on a number of issues, and took advantage of the opportunity allowed for under the law to issue a request for additional information, which necessitates the filing of further documentation in support of the application."

Alliance members are now permitted to share vessels; charter and exchange space on each other’s ships; and, enter into cooperative working arrangements in international trade lanes between the United States and ports in Asia, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

“The commission worked very hard to balance the needs of not only the Ocean Alliance applicants, but all other parties involved in the intermodal supply chain, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding competition in international oceanborne common carriage, with the American shipping public foremost in mind,” Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero said.

The agreement represents a consensus of what will allow Ocean Alliance carriers to achieve efficiencies without harming the marketplace, Cordero remarked.

Seaport Alliance to Launch Container Flow Apps

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance said Oct. 24 that it is launching two new mobile applications early in November to help speed the flow of containers through port facilities and along local freight corridors, reduce idling-related air emissions and save fuel.

One app, DrayQTM, aims to give truck drivers real-time information about wait times in and around marine cargo terminals and the other app, DrayLinkTM will interconnect the drayage community to better dispatch, track and record container moves from pickup to delivery.

The apps were designed specifically for, and in partnership with, the port industry to align with the US Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Freight Advanced Traveler Information System.

DrayQ is to be the first mobile app in the market to use Bluetooth technology to provide real-time estimates of drayage truck wait times at ports and terminals. The app also provides trend information and traffic camera views. Drivers can use the app to determine the best time to enter a terminal and reduce the time spent in traffic, which helps reduce air emissions from idling and saves fuel. For dispatchers or shippers, it helps to optimize schedules and improve customer expectations.

“On a user’s mobile device, DrayQ lists the NWSA’s terminals and the real-time waits at each, including trends throughout the day,” Tim Ebner, the alliance’s liaison to the DrayQ project, explained.

The other app, DrayLink, is designed to help interconnect the drayage community by offering a single common operating tool for drivers, dispatchers, terminal operators and shippers to help move containers smarter.

Like DrayQ, DrayLink also provides real-time information on street and terminal wait times, but offers greater functionality using Google Analytics, GPS data, and geofencing that enables users to track and record cargo moves and generate useful tailored reports.

Drivers using DrayLink can view wait time information in real time in the same common format as DrayQ. Wait times are determined when the driver’s smartphone reporting GPS data passes through predefined geofences set in the streets leading to the terminal entry, within the terminal boundaries and also at any set “geofences within geofences” so that specific times within areas of a terminal yard can be monitored and recorded.

Another feature of DrayLink is the ability to receive and aggregate various sources of data feeds, such as GPS from fleet vehicles already equipped with devices, other third-party smartphone GPS apps, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensing and RFID or toll-tag data. Aggregating this available data benefits the drayage community by improving data quality and reporting accuracy.

DrayQ and DrayLink are expected to be available early November for free download and available for both iOS and Android smart phones and tablets.

Crowley Awarded Alaska LNG Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Crowley Maritime Corp. said Oct. 19 that its liquefied natural gas (LNG) services group has been awarded a contract to supply Alaska LNG from the Titan Pt. Mackenzie plant to Alaska Power & Telephone Co.’s Tok power plant.

Alaska Power & Telephone supplies local power, telephone and communication services in 40 rural Alaskan communities.

The contract, executed through subsidiary Crowley LNG Alaska, includes both product supply and technical services. With Crowley’s support, Alaska Power & Telephone is expected to expand environmental sustainability efforts by developing the capability to use LNG to supplement diesel-based power generation.

Crowley is to facilitate the transportation of LNG in a safe and reliable manner from liquefaction facilities in Alaska to the plant in tank trailers authorized by the US Department of Transportation. Once at the plant, the LNG will be re-gasified and piped to a dual fuel kit for power consumption.

“Crowley is extremely pleased to be a vital fuel supplier to Alaska Power & Telephone,” Crowley LNG Business Development Director Matthew Sievert said. “We have been working side by side with Alaska Power & Telephone for over a year now, assisting with the engineering and design to utilize natural gas and to carry out the logistics necessary to accommodate LNG delivery to the Tok plant.

BC Ferries Terminal Temporarily Closing

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the contracted ferry service provider for British Columbia, has announced that Berth One, which is the primary operational berth at its Langdale terminal, will be temporarily closed from mid-January to mid-April 2017 while marine structures are upgraded or replaced.

“BC Ferries needs to continue to invest and renew its terminal infrastructure in order to provide safe and reliable service,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering, said in a statement. “Once completed, we expect at least 20 years of dependable service from Berth One.”

During the closure, the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay service will operate out of Berth Two at Langdale terminal, which allows single-deck vehicle loading and unloading as opposed to double-deck. Therefore, two vessels will operate on approximately hourly sailings between both terminals.

Each sailing will offer about half the vehicle capacity of current service as they’ll be main-deck loads only. However, with twice as many sailings each day, the overall capacity will remain essentially the same.

Passenger capacity is expected to actually increase during the period, with two vessels providing service on the route.

In order to accommodate the berth construction, the water taxi service to Gambier and Keats Islands, provided by Kona Winds using their Stormaway vessels, will be temporarily relocated from Langdale terminal to the Gibsons Harbour Marina.

A webpage has been set up to outline the closure and give details of the alternate service on both routes. The modified schedules have also been published. Customers can visit to learn more on the alternate service, and see the ‘schedules’ tab to view the schedules of both routes.