Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Port of LA Receives Clean Terminal Equipment Grants

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles said Dec. 16 that it has secured a $5.8 million state grant to purchase and test a new fleet of 25 zero and near-zero emission yard tractors at the Everport marine container terminal.

The grant is also expected to fund a companion project to equip 100 more drayage trucks with smart technology aimed at reducing emissions by streamlining their time on the road and improving the flow of containers to and from the port complex.

The POLA was awarded the grant by the California Energy Commission, which supports freight transportation projects at California seaports under its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, whose purpose is to advance commercialization of clean fuels and technologies that cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce petroleum use and improve the health and quality of life of communities disproportionately burdened by environmental pollution.

The port is partnering with Everport Terminal Services to test 25 off-road tractors powered by either electricity or liquefied natural gas by incorporating them into the daily operations of the 205-acre marine container terminal.

Over the next three years, the port says it and its partners will demonstrate the new yard equipment and smart technology and track their operational efficiency, viability, reduction of GHG emissions and other key pollutants, and fuel savings.

Results are expected in 2018.

Other partners in the zero and near-zero-emissions yard tractor project, which will receive more than $4.8 million of the CEC funding, are:

• BYD Motors Inc., which is providing four new electrified yard tractors and retrofitting an existing electric tractor built by Balqon Corp.;

• Capacity Trucks, providing 20 near-zero emission yard tractors with LNG-powered engines manufactured by Cummins Westport Inc.; • Harbor Diesel and Equipment Inc., an authorized Capacity Trucks dealer, and.;

• Clean Energy Fuels Corp., providing renewable natural gas and mobile fueling equipment.

The remainder of the grant, almost $1 million, is to support ongoing large-scale testing of smart technology known as FRATIS, the port says.

FRATIS is a sophisticated intelligent transportation system that analyzes data from multiple sources to come up with the most efficient schedule, route and container information for drivers, dispatchers and cargo owners.

Specific technologies that are being tested include: real-time traffic information being obtained from the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; automated ETA messaging to the terminals one day in advance of truck arrival; and deployment of an algorithm which would optimize drayage throughout the day and region.

The system is designed to reduce travel times inside and outside the terminals, which in turn would reduce congestion, emissions and fuel consumption. The demonstration phase of the existing project involves 200 trucks and several trucking companies, and is expected to commence in early 2017.

Seattle-Tacoma Ports Record Biggest November Volumes in 5 Years

By Mark Edward Nero

Import and export volumes at the Seattle-Tacoma port complex last month were the strongest for a November in the last five years, according to newly-released data.

Full imports and exports for November reflect a continued solid peak season at the Northwest Seaport Alliance, with 28 percent and 23 percent increases, respectively, compared with November 2015, according to data.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which is the name for the joint operating agreement between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, said the ports had four more international vessel calls in November than it did in October, and three more than it did last November.

The top import commodities moving through the gateway include furniture, apparel, toys/games and footwear, while the top export commodities include hay, forest products, apples and potatoes.

Year to date, laden imports are up six percent to 1,268,049 TEUs, and full exports increased 14 percent to 897,785 TEUs. The year’s total container volumes are up almost two percent through November to 3,299,538 TEUs.

Year to date domestic volumes however, have been down as Alaska struggles with a decrease in oil- and gas-related project activity due to low commodity prices. November’s overall domestic volume showed an increase due to additional sailing, compared to the prior year.

In other cargo news: Seattle-Tacoma breakbulk cargo is down 24 percent year to date to 165,836 metric tons as the global downturn in agricultural, mining and construction equipment, and a strong US dollar impact volumes.

Also, log exports declined 36 percent year to date to 150,962 metric tons due to decreased demand in China and competition from New Zealand. Additionally, vehicle shipping fell 10 percent to 151,985 units for the month because of what the Seaport Alliance said were production issues as well as supply chain shifts.

POLB Releases On-Dock Rail Proposal Draft Report

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 15, the Port of Long Beach released a draft environmental study on a proposal to redevelop a rail yard to allow for the assembly of longer trains within the harbor. The study analyzes the impacts of the proposed development and mitigation measures that would address those impacts.

The proposed Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility would shift more cargo at Long Beach to on-dock rail, where containers are placed directly on trains at marine terminals. The port says no trucks would visit the facility.

The rail yard would be operated by Pacific Harbor Line, a switching railroad that has converted its fleet to clean diesel locomotives that reduce air pollution and save fuel.

“The proposed development would enhance the efficiency of goods movement at the Port of Long Beach,” Interim POLB CEO Duane Kenagy said. “This project is vital to our efforts to modernize the port and continue to lead the way in environmental sustainability.” The port’s Draft Environmental Impact Report on the on-dock rail facility is available at www.polb.com/ceqa

Comments on the DEIR are being accepted through Feb. 13, 2017, and can be mailed to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815 or emailed to heather.tomley@polb.com

Two public hearings will be held in January to offer the public an opportunity to comment in person on the document:

6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach, CA 90810; and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Port of Long Beach Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815.

More information at the proposed project and draft EIR is available at www.polb.com/PierB

Port of Oakland Exec to Head Bay Planning Coalition

By Mark Edward Nero

A Port of Oakland planning and environmental expert has been chosen as the next president of the Bay Planning Coalition. The trade group’s 36-member Board of Directors selected Richard Sinkoff to a two-year term in early December.

Sinkoff is Director of Environmental Programs and Planning at the Port of Oakland. In his new role with the Planning Coalition, he’ll lead a 200-member alliance that’s considered the voice of the working waterfront on San Francisco Bay.

It includes port authorities, dredgers, private industry and public agencies and supports policies that link Bay Area economic growth to maritime activity, goods movement and environmental protection.

“San Francisco Bay is at the heart of our economy, our environment and our region’s exceptional quality of life,” Sinkoff said in a statement. “I’m honored to lead an industrial organization that keeps all of those responsibilities in sharp perspective.”

At the port, Sinkoff manages a team responsible for implementing policies that make trade and transportation compatible with environmental sustainability. In October, he announced findings showing that the Port of Oakland has reduced diesel emissions 76 percent since 2005.