Friday, December 16, 2016

Maritime Commission Approves Major New Carrier Alliance

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 14, the Federal Maritime Commission announced that it has concluded its review of the proposed “THE Alliance” and is allowing it to go into effect as of Dec. 19.

The so-called “THE Alliance” is comprised of five different container shipping companies: Hapag-Lloyd; K Line; MOL; NYK; and Yang Ming. THE is an acronym for Transport High Efficiency.
Under the terms of the deal, “THE Alliance” members are permitted to share vessels, charter and exchange space on each other’s ships and enter cooperative working arrangements.

The scope of the agreement applies only to trade lanes between the United States and other nations. Cargo moved by carriers in “THE Alliance” that does not originate or terminate in the United States isn’t covered by this agreement.

Attorneys for “THE Alliance” submitted the application to establish the agreement to US authorities on Nov. 4, after which the Maritime Commission made no requests for additional information, thereby clearing the way for the agreement to come into force within the initial 45-day review period.
The Commission said its members’ vote to allow the agreement to become effective followed “a period of substantive and constructive discussion” with the parties.

“I am very cognizant of the concerns industry stakeholders had regarding provisions in this agreement, particularly those related to information sharing and joint procurement,” Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero said. “This office will continue to carefully focus on the impacts of the carrier alliance restructuring that is taking place in the shipping industry.”

POLB Monthly Container Volumes Drop Steeply

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach says shifting alliance routes and the Hanjin bankruptcy continued to affect its container volumes last month, resulting in container traffic being 13.8 percent lower than during the same month last year.

A total of 534,308 TEUs moved through the harbor last month. Of that amount, 270,610 were imports, which was a drop of 11.8 percent from November 2015’s imports. Exports declined 3.1 percent to 120,897 TEUs last month, while empty TEUs numbered 142,801, 24.2 percent off.

Through the first 11 months of 2016, Long Beach has moved 6.22 million TEUs, which is 5.6 percent behind the same point last year and far behind the adjoining Port of Los Angeles’ 8.0 million TEUs during the same 11-month time period.

The late-2016 numbers are a sharp contrast from when the port experienced its second-best November ever in 2015. Last November was part of a six-month run of gains, at the end of which Long Beach ended the year above seven million TEUs for only the third time in its history.

This year, however, the port has faced challenges as ocean carriers have merged, reorganized into new alliances and realigned routes. Additionally, a major customer, Hanjin Shipping, declared bankruptcy at the end of August.

Hanjin represented 12.3 percent of Long Beach’s containerized volume and held a 54 percent stake in Total Terminals International, the operator of Pier T, one of the port’s largest, most modern terminals.

Despite the declines, however, Long Beach remains the second-busiest North American seaport, behind the Port of LA. The latest monthly Long Beach cargo numbers and more detailed cargo numbers are available at

Bollinger Delivers Alaska Cutter to USCG

By Mark Edward Nero

Bollinger Shipyards has delivered the USCGC John McCormick, a Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the US Coast Guard. The FRC will be stationed in the 17th Coast Guard District in Ketchikan, Alaska and will assist in defending US interests in the Alaskan maritime region.

The 154-foot patrol craft is the 21st vessel in the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC program, and the first FRC to be stationed at Ketchikan, Alaska. Previous cutters have been stationed in the 7th Coast Guard District in Florida or San Juan, Puerto Rico, and two have been stationed in the 5th Coast Guard District in Cape May, NJ.

To build the John McCormick, Louisiana-based Bollinger used an in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708. It has a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art command, control, communications and computer technology and a stern launch system for the vessel’s 26-foot cutter boat.

The vessel is named after Coast Guard hero John McCormick, who was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal on November 7, 1938 for his heroic action in affecting the rescue of Surfman Richard O. Bracken in treacherous conditions in the outer breaks on Clatsop Spit, near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Coast Guard took delivery on Dec. 13 in Key West, Florida and is scheduled to commission the vessel in Ketchikan, Alaska in April, 2017.


POLA Registers Another Record Cargo Month

By Mark Edward Nero

For the second straight month, containerized cargo flowing through the Port of Los Angeles has surpassed all-time volumes for a North American port, newly released data show.

Port of LA terminals processed 877,564 TEUs the data show, eclipsing October 2016’s all-time record of 814,574 TEUs. November volumes were up 23.6 percent compared to November 2015.

Overall container volumes were 877,564 TEUs last month, led by a 26 percent surge in empty containers, followed by a 25 percent jump in exports to 177,359 TEUs and a 22 percent imports increase of 22 percent to 437,050 TEUs.

“We are grateful to the cargo owners who see the value in this trade corridor, and to our container terminal customers, labor and other supply chain partners who, working together, efficiently processed this extraordinary surge of holiday season cargo,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

Total cargo volumes through the first 11 months of 2016 stand at 8,060,246 TEUs, an increase of seven percent compared to the same period last year, and far ahead of the 6.2 million units shipped through the adjoining Port of Long Beach during the same 11-month time period.

So far for the calendar year, which began July 1, the POLA has seen 3.9 million TEUs, an 8.15 percent jump over the 3.63 million units moved during the same five-month period last year.
Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles are available at

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Seaspan Receives Dual-Fuel/Hybrid Ferry

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 9, British Columbia-based Seaspan Ferries Corp. announced the arrival of Seaspan Swift, the first of two new dual-fuel/hybrid ferries, to its fleet.

The new vessel, currently docked at the company’s Tilbury Terminal in Delta, B.C., arrived after an eight-week journey that spanned 10,661 nautical miles following its construction at a shipyard in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 489-foot ferry, which can accommodate up to 59 trailers, is expected to undergo a series of regulatory inspections and crew training programs throughout December before entering operation on Jan. 2.

Seaspan Swift, along with its sister ship, Seaspan Reliant, mark the first vessels added to the Seaspan Ferries fleet since 2002. Seaspan Reliant, the company’s second dual-fuel/hybrid ferry, is nearing completion and undergoing testing and trials in Turkey, is expected to arrive in Tilbury in early 2017, the company says.

Earlier this month, Seaspan Swift, with assistance from engineering company Vard, gas distributor FortisBC and ship deliverer Redwise, was successfully bunkered for the first time, using a tanker truck to deliver LNG on board the vessel.

Seaspan Ferries operates a fleet of seven ferries out of five terminals in British Columbia, and supplies more than 50 percent of all cargo to Vancouver Island.

Massive Floating Dry Dock Arrives in San Diego

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 8, BAE Systems received a new 950-foot-long, 55,000-long-ton floating dry dock at its San Diego shipyard. The dry dock, BAE says, is part of the company’s $100 million investment in the yard to service the anticipated increase of US Navy ships on the West Coast.

The new floating dry dock arrived at the company’s shipyard towed by the ocean-going and salvage tug POSH Terasea Eagle.

Over the next two months, the BAE Systems team says, it plans to complete final assembly, installation, testing, and certification of the dry dock, which is expected to be operational in early 2017. The first ship to be serviced in the dry dock will be the San Diego-homeported amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans.

“We have made the strategic investment to meet the ship repair needs of the Navy,” BAE Systems Ship Repair Vice President and General Manager Joe Campbell said in a statement. “With two large dry docks now in our shipyard, we’ll enhance the San Diego industrial base’s ability to repair warships in their homeport, providing the key maintenance and modernization work needed for the ships’ continued service to our nation and the stability for the ships’ crews.”

The new dry dock is 950 feet long, 205 feet wide and has a lift capacity of 55,000-long-ton ship weight, making it capable of accommodating amphibious assault ships, auxiliary ships, cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships, transport dock and dock landing ships, and select commercial vessels.

It uses all electric power and its environmental features include LED lighting throughout the structure; a non-toxic underwater hull and ballast tank coating; storm water recovery systems; closed-loop salt water fire protection and cooling systems; and air-cooled emergency backup generators.

POLA Breaks Ground on $15 Million Improvement Project

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 8, the Port of Los Angeles joined local officials and community leaders to kick off construction of the Harbor Boulevard Roadway Improvements Project, a reconfigured three-street intersection at Harbor Boulevard, Seventh Street and Sampson Way in San Pedro.

The street realignment is in preparation of the planned San Pedro Public Market, slated to open in 2020 at the current Ports O’ Call Village plaza site on the San Pedro section of the LA Waterfront.

“The redevelopment of Ports O' Call will have a positive ripple effect for the entire Harbor Area community,” L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino said.

The realignment is expected to improve both vehicular and pedestrian access with a new traffic signal at the intersection of Harbor Boulevard, Seventh Street and Sampson Way, bike lanes, landscaping, outdoor lighting, and walkways.

In addition, the new intersection would also provide another point for connectivity to other LA Waterfront attractions, including the World Cruise Center, Battleship Iowa and Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

“Realigning Harbor Boulevard and Sampson Way is another significant step in a series of projects,” L.A. Harbor Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi Jr. said. “Once this is completed, we’ll be rolling right into the next phase – construction of an all-new Town Square at Sixth Street, another waterfront promenade and a new public access recreational boat dock.”

During construction, both Harbor Boulevard and Sampson Way are expected to remain open, with partial lane closures from Seventh to 11th streets. Once the realignment is complete, Harbor Boulevard would flow into the Ports O’ Call Village seaside plaza, with direct access to the LA Waterfront.

Construction of the new roadway is expected to be completed in 2018 at a total project cost of $14.8 million, paid by the Port of Los Angeles, including $4.9 million in grant funding from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

POLA Wins Creativity and Innovation Award

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Public Works Association’s Southern California Chapter has named the Port of Los Angeles winner of the APWA’s Creativity and Innovation BEST award for the port’s Berths 142-147 Trapac Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) project.

The $71 million project included construction of a new semi-automated on-dock rail yard at TraPac Container Terminal, with the yard featuring eight working tracks, concrete foundations to support up to four new rail mounted gantry cranes, a train-in-motion warning system, automatic rail switches and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment.

A $20.7 million California Transportation Commission grant went toward funding for the project.

“We are extremely proud to be singled out for this prestigious award,” said Tony Gioiello, deputy executive director of the port’s Development Group, which includes the port’s construction, maintenance, engineering and goods movement divisions. “This project exemplifies the port’s continued investment in innovation that keeps us relevant and competitive in today’s fast-paced international trade arena.”

The American Public Works Association, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 29,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA promotes professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA has 63 chapters in North America, with APWA Southern California Chapter being one of nine in the state.

The Southern California Chapter of APWA grants awards to public agencies for public works projects or programs demonstrating resourcefulness and imagination.