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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

TIL Inks Deal to Replace Hanjin at POLB

By Mark Edward Nero

New cargo business could be coming to the Port of Long Beach’s largest terminal soon after the port’s harbor board approved an agreement to replace a vessel operator that declared bankruptcy four months ago.

On Dec. 22, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners okayed the move by a subsidiary of vessel operator Mediterranean Shipping Co. to take over sole control of the long-term lease of the port’s 381-acre Pier T container terminal.

MSC previously held a minority stake in the lease for Pier T, which is the terminal where over a quarter of the port’s container cargo is moved.

The port says the new agreement with MSC subsidiary Terminal Investment Ltd. (TIL) also guarantees the accelerated installation of ship-to-shore cranes capable of handling the world’s biggest container ships.

TIL takes control of Pier T from Hanjin Shipping, the South Korean ocean carrier that declared bankruptcy on Aug. 31. In 2015, Hanjin accounted for about 12 percent of the containers that moved through Long Beach. The deal comes at a crucial time, Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said.

“With all of the changes that have taken place in the shipping industry in recent years, certainty is very important,” she remarked. “Although we regret the loss of a long-term partner in Hanjin Shipping, we look forward to the opportunities that Terminal Investment Limited, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Hyundai Merchant Marine and their ‘2M Alliance’ partners will bring to Long Beach.”

Earlier this month, Terminal Investment Limited announced that it had signed an agreement to purchase Hanjin Shipping’s stake in the terminal operator at Pier T.

The new pact also requires installation of two new cranes capable of handling container ships with capacities of 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units within three years.

NW Seaport Alliance to Bid on Navy Ship Berthing

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 19, the Northwest Seaport Alliance held a special meeting to approve a plan under which the Alliance would join Foss Maritime in an effort to win a contract to berth the USNS Bob Hope at a North Harbor terminal. Should Foss and the NWSA be successful in winning the bid, the ship would berth at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. The Navy plans to run the ship on shore power while at berth, according to the Alliance.

The 951-foot long USNS Bob Hope, which has a beam of 106 feet and a maximum draft of 34 feet and 10 inches, is the first ship in the US Navy's first class of large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSR), and is part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC).

The primary mission of such ships is to transport shore-based equipment and supplies in support of military and humanitarian operations. They participate in recovery efforts in the event of a widespread natural disaster.

The vessels are operated by 30 civilian mariners who work for a private company under contract to MSC, and up to 50 embarked military personnel who monitor and maintain the equipment being transported.

The ships are maintained in reduced operational status, which means they’re operationally ready in four days. The Seaport Alliance, which is the name of the maritime operating agreement between the Seattle and Tacoma seaports, has said that this type of interim use for Terminal 5 is part of a plan to diversify cargo and maximize terminal use.

A contract to berth the vessel could bring in about $500,000 annually, according to Alliance staff. But it would in no way, the Alliance has said, interfere with a current terminal modernization plan.

Oakland Monthly Container Volumes Up Slightly

By Mark Edward Nero

Although an 11.5 percent increase in full container imports was a boon for the Port of Oakland last month, it was offset by a nearly 24 percent drop in empty exports, resulting in just a 2.3 percent rise in overall cargo volumes compared to the same month last year.

Data shows that November’s 11.5 percent containerized export volume increase was the third straight month of double-digit growth and the 10th time exports have risen this year.

The port has said that exports are surging despite a strengthening dollar that makes American products more expensive overseas. Strong Asian demand for California farm products, wine and other beverages is spurring the rally, according to the port.

“If you listen to conventional wisdom, exports should be facing headwinds,” Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But the clamor overseas for high-quality American commodities hasn’t peaked, so our volumes keep climbing.”

The port said it shipped 85,915 TEUs last month, which is its second-highest total of 2016, after October’s 89,400 units.

Through 11 months of this year Oakland export volume is up 10.3 percent, while containerized imports are up 4.5 percent and total loaded container volume has increased 7.4 percent.

Port data shows that exports have accounted for 52 percent of its loaded cargo volume in 2016, while imports account for the other 48 percent. The port’s complete 2016 TEU volumes data can be seen at http://www.portofoakland.com/port/seaport/facts-and-figures/

POLA Names New Deputy Police Chief

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles has appointed Michael Graychik as its deputy chief of police. Graychik was sworn in to his new position at the Dec. 15 Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners meeting.

In his new role, Graychik is to oversee emergency management, marine and patrol, and support service operations at the Los Angeles Port Police. He will also serve as a member of the Port Police executive team and report to Port Police Chief Tom Gazsi.

Graychik has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, having started his career as an officer at Los Angeles World Airports. In 1986 he transferred to the Port of Los Angeles and has held numerous positions during his three decades of service at the port.

He fills the position that became vacant when Gazsi was promoted from deputy chief to Port Police Chief in December 2015. Gazsi’s promotion came as a result of then-Chief Ronald Boyd being indicted in April 2015 on federal tax evasion charges. Boyd pleaded guilty in February 2016.