Friday, November 4, 2016

Zero Emission High-Speed Passenger Ferry Feasible: MARAD

By Mark Edward Nero

It’s technologically possible to build and to operate a 150-passenger, high speed, zero emission hydrogen-powered ferry and its associated hydrogen station in the current regulatory environment, according to a newly-released feasibility study by the US Maritime Administration.

However, the report also states that the current ferry design has a cost premium compared to a conventional diesel ferry.

The study examined the technical, regulatory, and economic feasibility of a high-speed passenger ferry powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells and its associated hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay.

Cost reduction strategies specific to the vessel design and strategies for leveraging developments in the fuel cell technology are now being explored, according to MARAD.

The study was funded through MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program and conducted by Sandia National Laboratories. It’s part of ongoing work by the Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program and the maritime industry to conduct research, testing, validation and documentation of fuel cells for marine applications.

The full study can be found at:


PMA, ILWU Meet Regarding Contract Extension

By Mark Edward Nero

Representatives with the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union met Nov. 1 in San Francisco for the first of what could be a series of meetings regarding a possible contract extension, both sides have confirmed.

Both parties also say that they’ve agreed to resume talks on an extension at a future date to be mutually agreed upon.

Any extension would be to the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement between the two sides 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.

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

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

The early start to these contract talks came at the behest of the employer group, which earlier this year made the initial request to discuss the possibility of an extension to the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement. In August, more than 100 union delegates representing ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington convened to consider and approve the request.


LA, LB Ports Partnering on Supply Chain Conference

By Mark Edward Nero

In an effort to streamline and optimize supply chain efficiency in the maritime industry, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are partnering with the US Dept. of Commerce and USC Marshall School of Business to host the first-ever Supply Chain Digital Transformation Conference Nov.18-20.

The event kicks off with a one-day symposium at USC, where industry leaders, academics, transportation experts, port executives, digital influencers and policy makers will come together to discuss data sharing innovations and new technologies for digitizing the supply chain.

The conference will also include opportunities for exhibitors to showcase products and services related to port community IT infrastructure.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be among speakers kicking off the symposium, which will also include presentations by Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, Port of Long Beach Managing Director Noel Hacegaba, and industry executives from GE Transportation, IBM Watson, Amazon, Google, Intel and Cisco, among others.

Day Two of the conference features a 24-hour “hackathon” at USC Marshall’s new state-of-the-art Jack and Frank Fertitta Hall. Teams of start-ups and student developers will be invited to compete for cash prizes totaling $15,000 with the challenge of creating new applications and technology innovations for port community IT systems.

Winning teams will be announced at the closing ceremonies on Nov. 20.

Conference registration can be completed online at

For more information, contact USC Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management Associate Director Eric Chow at or (213) 821-0093.

BC Ferries Launches ‘SeaForward’ Sustainability Program

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the contracted service provider responsible for ferry service along coastal B.C., announced on Nov. 1 the launch of an initiative that the company says brings together the company’s existing environmental activities, conservation efforts, community investments and new sustainability endeavors under a single program called SeaForward.

“The goal of SeaForward is to reduce BC Ferries’ environmental footprint, improve the sustainability of our operations, engage our employees and support coastal communities,” said Corrine Storey, the company’s vice president of customer services and leader of the new program.

“With support from all levels within BC Ferries, SeaForward embraces our common appreciation for the sea, land and air, and our passion for protecting it. SeaForward provides opportunities for our employees to identify improvements we can make to our environmental and social performance,” she added.

According to BC Ferries, the SeaForward program has three primary components: Sustainable Operations, Conservation and Community Well Being. The three key initiatives include efforts to increase composting and recycling, the tracking of whale sightings in association with the BC Cetacean Sightings Network, and BC Ferries’ employees actively participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up. All activities under the SeaForward program will be monitored and measured to determine the impact they have on the company’s environmental and social performance, the company has said.

“As a major BC company that transports passengers and goods along coastal British
Columbia, we have long recognized our responsibility to provide ferry services in the safest, most efficient and environmentally sustainable manner possible,” offered Storey.

Initially, SeaForward will be driven by employees, with a goal of inviting passengers to participate in some initiatives as they’re developed and as metrics are put in place to evaluate their success.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hanjin Ship Docks at Vancouver After Weeks in Limbo

By Mark Edward Nero

Hanjin Scarlet, a containership that had been anchored in legal limbo near the Port of Prince Rupert since its owner filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of August, has finally docked – but not at Prince Rupert.

The vessel reached shore at the Port of Vancouver in British Columbia on Oct. 27, Canadian news media outlets have reported.

Hanjin Scarlet is one of two Korean ships that had been stranded in Canadian waters for two months, the other ship being the Hanjin Vienna, which is currently anchored near Victoria, BC.

Roughly half of Scarlet's crew of about 25 will have to stay with the ship for some time to maintain it, but are expected to be paid for their time.

Prince Rupert Port Authority spokesman Michael Gurney told the CBC that the Scarlet would offload all its North American cargo at Vancouver. The vessel will not proceed to Seattle, as was originally planned, before returning across the Pacific.

Canadian federal court records show four pending legal cases against the Scarlet, brought by Singamas Petroleum, Prince Rupert Port Authority, Pacific Pilotage Authority Canada and terminal operator DP World Prince Rupert.

Proceedings in the suit brought by DP World show that the vessel remains under arrest, but that the court granted special leave to move the vessel to one specified location for unloading.

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.

Tuna Vessel Operator Guilty of Pacific Ocean Oil Dumping

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 27, an American tuna fishing company that regularly unloaded its catch in American Samoa, was convicted and sentenced for discharging oil into the South Pacific and for maintaining false records.

The company, Guam-based Pacific Breeze Fisheries LLC, owned the F/V Pacific Breeze, a tuna purse seiner that was responsible for the pollution.

Pacific Breeze Fisheries admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the waters off American Samoa without the use of required pollution prevention equipment. The discharges occurred on at least two occasions, in 2014 and 2015, before the vessel brought fish to a cannery in the port of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Pacific Breeze Fisheries also admitted that between October 2013 and July 2015, its senior engineers regularly failed to accurately record the transfer and disposal of oil waste in the vessel’s oil record book. As a result, tons of oil sludge, waste oil and oily bilge water that were produced by the vessel remain unaccounted for.

The company pleaded guilty before US District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan for the District of Columbia to four felony violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, for failing to accurately maintain an oil record book and for illegally discharging oily bilge water into the South Pacific.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the company will pay a $1.6 million fine, in addition to a community service payment of $400,000 for use in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

Also, although Pacific Breeze Fisheries doesn't currently manage any active fishing vessels, the company also agreed to implement an extensive environmental compliance plan in the event it resumes operations.

On Oct. 25, the former F/V Pacific Breeze Chief Engineer Jeon Seon Han pleaded guilty in the District of Hawaii for his role in obstructing the US Coast Guard inspection of the vessel in American Samoa in 2015.

Han admitted to lying to US Coast Guard inspectors about the disposal of sludge and to ordering the disassembly of an illegal discharge system before the inspection. Sentencing for Han is scheduled for February 2017.

Oakland: Port Diesel Emissions Down 98 Percent in 10 Years

By Mark Edward Nero

Diesel emissions from drayage trucks serving the Port of Oakland dropped 98 percent between 2005 and 2015, and ship emissions fell 75 percent during that same timeframe, according to an annual emissions inventory released by the port Oct. 28.

The results indicate the port is advancing its 2008 commitment to reduce seaport-related diesel health risk by 85 percent by the year 2020. The port said that an analysis of its 2015 Emissions Inventory shows a 76 percent decrease in total diesel emissions at Oakland. “This is a significant achievement,” said Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning at the port. “The reduction in seaport diesel emissions is important because it’s closely related to reducing health risk for our neighboring communities.”

According to the port’s study, truck diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions have decreased from 16 tons in 2005 to 0.4 tons in 2015, while overall DPM emissions decreased from 261 tons to 63 tons.

DPM exposure has been linked to increasing health risk for lung cancer.

The port and environmental consultant Ramboll Environ compiled and calculated emissions data for 2015 from ships, harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, trucks, and locomotives.

In addition to DPM from trucks being down 98 percent, DPM from locomotives, cargo handling equipment, oceangoing vessels and harbor craft were down 89 percent, 82 percent, 75 percent and 53 percent respectively, according to the data.

The port listed a number of contributing factors to its emissions improvements, including: a $38 million grant program to upgrade and replace the oldest trucks operating at the port; a ban on trucks that aren’t compliant with statewide emissions requirements; and shipping lines switching to cleaner burning, low sulfur fuel.

Also cited as a reason was a $60 million project to construct a power grid that ships can plug into at berth rather than relying on auxiliary diesel engines.

“The work and investments by the port and our partners have nearly eliminated port truck emissions and greatly reduced other emissions,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said. “But we’re not done – we’ll keep working to minimize the potential impact that trade has on our community.”

The port first placed a big emphasis on diesel emissions reductions with its 2009 Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan, which was adopted to reduce the health risk from diesel emissions.

TraPac Oakland Terminal Expansion Could Begin This Month

By Mark Edward Nero

Work could begin later in November to nearly double the size of the Port of Oakland’s second-largest marine terminal.

TraPac LLC said Oct. 31 that it’s ready to begin construction on a 57-acre expansion at the Port of Oakland’s Outer Harbor. The port's Board of Port Commissioners approved the project at an Oct. 27 meeting.

TraPac has signed a new 14-year lease with the port to grow from 66 to 123 acres. It will add two vessel berths to the two it already operates. The terminal operator said a larger footprint will help it absorb additional cargo volume.

“With this expansion, we’re making a long-term commitment to our customers and to the Port of Oakland,” TraPac Oakland General Manager Mike Porte said. “Now that the approval process has concluded, we’re eager to get on with the necessary improvements, and we’ll be doing so aggressively.”

TraPac is growing into property adjacent to its existing terminal. It said construction on a new entrance gate could start later this month. Refurbishment of the remaining acreage would follow soon thereafter, the company added.

TraPac, which is based in the Los Angeles area and handles about 20 percent of the containerized cargo volume shipped through the Port of Oakland, has said it expects to complete the improvements within 10 months.