Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vancouver USA Terminal Redevelopment

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA’s Terminal 1 Waterfront Development master plan is moving forward. On June 9, the Vancouver City Council approved the massive redevelopment project at the birthplace of the port on the Columbia River.

When fully developed, Terminal 1 will feature nearly 950,000 square feet of new office, retail and commercial space, housing, hotels, a public marketplace, low- and high-dock access and a link to the Renaissance Trail.

The development also is expected to generate 800 new jobs and nearly $93 million in state and local taxes over 25 years, according to the port.

“This is an exciting project,” said port CEO Julianna Marler. “It’s a different kind of development than we typically do, but it still achieves the port’s mission of economic benefit to the community. The jobs, tax dollars and activity down at the waterfront will complement our beautiful downtown and create a ripple effect of benefit in the region. We appreciate the City Council’s support of Terminal 1 and look forward to working together to build a community resource and destination we can all be proud of.” The master plan will now go before the Washington State Department of Ecology for review and decisions on shoreline permitting.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see this develop into what will be its future,” said Vancouver’s Downtown Association Executive Director Lee Rafferty. “There’s a very strong and wonderful history there, but the future is very bright, as well, and I think Vancouver’s downtown is going to be much better off because we have strong partners at the port.”

Container Record Set

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles became the port with the most container throughput in the western hemisphere last week when it welcomed its nine millionth TEU in 12 months with Evergreen Line’s Ever Sigma container ship.

"Nine million TEUs is a major milestone for Los Angeles, and it’s only fitting that Evergreen Line, a longstanding customer, discharged the box that set this new Western Hemisphere record," said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. "Their operation in Los Angeles is an example of how our customers and supply chain partners are continually adapting to the changing dynamics in the marketplace."

The 12 months measured for this new record is based on the port’s fiscal year, which spans from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.

"As a Port of Los Angeles tenant and partner for more than 50 years, Evergreen is proud to be the shipping line that delivered the nine millionth TEU during this 12-month period," said Evergreen, Roy Amalfitano, Vice Chairman of Evergreen Shipping Agency (America) Corp. "Congratulations to everyone involved, including captain and crew of the Ever Sigma, the ILWU labor workforce and the Everport terminal management team in Los Angeles. Los Angeles remains an important and strategic gateway for Evergreen, and we look forward to growing our business via the Port of Los Angeles."

In 2006, Los Angeles became the first port to go beyond eight millions TEUs in annual throughput.

San Diego Development Deadline

By Karen Robes Meeks

Stakeholders will have more time to provide feedback on the future of waterfront development. The Board of Port Commissioners for the Port of San Diego agreed to extend the timeline of the Port Master Plan Update to allow more input of key policy issues.

As a result, the Draft Port Master Plan Update is expected to be released in October.

“We are focused on completing a Port Master Plan Update with clear guidance on land use that will give greater certainty to developers and other plan users going forward,” said Port Commissioner Ann Moore. “As we pursue this worthy goal, we want to do it right and that means taking the time we need to engage our stakeholders.”

About 6,000 acres encompasses the Integrated Planning initiative, a roadmap for baywide planning and development for the next 50 years. That initiative will result in an update to the Port Master Plan, which will “create certainty for developers and other community members by codifying a vision for how future projects will fulfill public goals, including public realm uses such as parks,” according to the port.

For more, visit https://www.portofsandiego.org/integrated-planning.html.

San Pedro Bay Clean Air Plan

By Karen Robes Meeks

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles plan to release their joint draft Clean Air Action Plan 2017 Update on July 19.

The public will have until September 18 to weigh in in writing, in addition to a workshop for public comment scheduled for 5 p.m. on August 30 at Banning’s Landing, 100 E. Water St. in Wilmington.

Adopted in 2006, the plan is the twin port’s living blueprint for improving the region’s air quality by curbing the pollution generated by operations at the ports. That includes pushing for cleaner equipment and procedures for vessels, trains and trucks.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia strengthened their commitment to the landmark plan, which includes initiatives to further lower at-berth emissions and start a zero emissions drayage truck pilot program in the coming years.

Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners will meet in November to approve the final CAAP 2017 Update. For more, visit www.cleanairactionplan.org or email caap@cleanairactionplan.org.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pick for Port

By Karen Robes Meeks

Interested in weighing in on who will lead the Port of Seattle?

The public has until today, June 23, to participate in an electronic survey on selecting the port’s next executive director to replace Ted Fick who resigned in February.

“The Port of Seattle is one of our region’s greatest public assets, and we want our next executive leader to have a strong public service ethic,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, who co-chairs with Commissioner Fred Felleman the hiring selection process. “We encourage the public to be a part of this process from the very beginning.”

The port commission hired Seattle executive search firm, Herd Freed Hartz, to conduct a regional search. The next executive director, who is expected to be selected in the fall, will lead a port with roughly 1,800 employees and a $1 billion budget. “The executive director will lead the port staff and execute the commission’s vision that port assets generate strong financial returns while creating economic opportunities that are socially responsible and broadly shared throughout the region and protecting our environment,” Gregoire said. “Selection of a publicly minded new executive committed to these priorities is essential to the port’s long-term success in serving the diverse communities of King County.”

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PortSearch.

New San Diego Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michael Zucchet became the newest Port of San Diego commissioner when he took the oath of office June 15.

He joins the seven-member board, three of which represent San Diego, and one each for the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City. Zucchet was appointed to represent San Diego.

Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, welcomed him on behalf of the commission and said he looks forward to Zucchet’s perspective and expertise.

“Mr. Zucchet brings a wide array of skills and interests that will benefit our communities, the environment, our businesses, and most importantly, our residents and visitors to the San Diego waterfront,” Valderrama said.

Zucchet is general manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, the union representing city workers. He previously worked for the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, and for the San Diego City Fire Fighters as legislative and community affairs director. Additionally, he represented District 2 on the San Diego City Council.

Zucchet, who earned a master’s degree in environmental economics and policy from Duke University, was a renewable energy economist with the Energy Information Administration of the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He also worked with Santa Barbara nonprofit Environmental Defense Center and was president of the San Diego League of Conservation Voters.

“Mr. Zucchet’s public sector experience and background in environmental economics will serve us well as we approach the final stages of our Port Master Plan update,” said Rafael Castellanos, vice chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “His expertise will complement and increase the Commission’s capability as we strive to balance the diversity of interests on our vibrant waterfront.”

Port of Portland Development

By Karen Robes Meeks

On June 14, the Port of Portland Commission approved the sale of 19 acres of Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park (TRIP) to the Clayco real estate development, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers whose clients include Pfizer, Coleman, Amazon and Walgreens.

Clayco’s preliminary site concept features a 344,000-square-foot facility that can accommodate up to four industrial users for manufacturing, distribution and offices, according to the port.

The sale is the latest in the revitalization of TRIP, a 700-acre brownfield redevelopment. Earlier this year, the port approved the sale of 74 acres for an Amazon fulfillment center, bringing 1,500 jobs.

“This investment is another example of TRIP’s evolution from a brownfield site into a thriving job center,” said Keith Leavitt, port chief commercial officer. “We expect this development to follow suit in attracting nationally known companies that will bring quality jobs to our region.”

Once home to the Reynolds Metals Co. aluminum plant, the industrial park had been declared a Superfund site in 1994 and remained inactive. When the Port purchased the property in 2007, it was annexed into the city of Troutdale and cleaned up by Alcoa. So far, the port and stakeholders have spent more than $130 million to buy and redevelop the site, including a 90-acre wetland mitigation area, according to the port.

“Within the dynamic Pacific Northwest market, the TRIP development is a premier site that enhances our industrial portfolio,” Clayco Western Region Vice President John Banchero said.

“We see significant opportunity in the site with close proximity to the FedEx Ground hub, the Amazon fulfillment center, I-84 and the Troutdale Airport. When completed, the state-of-the-art facility and its location are guaranteed to attract today’s top modern industrial, logistics and fulfillment users.”

High Speed Bow Thrusters

By Karen Robes Meeks

The bow thrusters within San Francisco Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s newest high-speed catamaran ferry came from marine electronics design and manufacturing company WESMAR.

The longtime marine electronics and thruster manufacturing company installed its WESMAR system into Hydrus, a 135-foot, 400-passenger ferry that was delivered to the transportation authority last month.

The ferry features two WESMAR hydraulic V2-12 dual prop, counter rotating bow thrusters, one in each hull. Each system includes three control stations in the pilothouse.

The system is designed to give extra power needed for high-speed ferries such as the Hydrus, which operates at a service speed of 27 knots.

The WESMAR’s were installed for dockside maneuvering and to assist with on and off-loading, critical to achieving fast turnaround times, ensuring ferry runs stay on schedule.

“The Hydrus and the additional vessels coming on-line over the next few years will help us meet the increased need for ferry service and realize our strategic plan: a robust network of 44 vessels, serving five times today’s ridership by 2035, with wait times of 15 minutes or less during peak commute hours,” said Nina Rannells, executive director of the transportation authority. Hydrus will travel the Central Bay routes of San Francisco to Alameda, Oakland and Harbor Bay. It’s the first of four ferries to join the fleet in three years. All will have the same design and be equipped with WESMAR systems, according to the company.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kalama Methanol Permits Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Kalama has secured two key permit approvals from the Washington Department of Ecology that would allow for the construction of a proposed facility for manufacturing and exporting methanol.

The state department recently approved a conditional use permit and granted water quality certification for the project, which would be built on about 100 acres of industrial property at the north end of the port’s marine industrial park.

The methanol plant and marine terminal project is allowable under the state’s Shoreline Management Act and Cowlitz County’s shoreline master program as long as it meets environmental protection standards, according to the state.

The facility is expected to produce up to one million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year to make methanol from natural gas. Under the conditional use permit, the port and Northwest Innovation Works will need to lessen greenhouse gas emissions that come from the methanol plant by 1.7 percent annually from the first year it is fully operational until emissions level off in 2035.The port says most of emissions associated with the condition are outside shoreline jurisdiction and added that the project would significantly lower GHG emissions by using Ultra-Low-Emission gas methanol instead of coal methanol.

The permit also requires putting in place on-site dredge disposal standards to protect water quality since the plant would be built near the Columbia River, though the methanol plant would have a system that recycles manufacturing process water to avoid discharges to the nearby river.

These permits are part of several more the port will need in order to construct the facility.

The marine terminal – which would be built, owned and operated by the Port of Kalama – would be used mainly by Northwest Innovation Works and available to other ships for lay berth use, according to the port. It would feature a dock, berth, loading equipment, utilities and a stormwater system. Methanol vessels coming to the terminal would be able to hook up to pollution-reducing shore power.

According to the state department, the facility would be able to produce 10,000 metric tons of methanol daily from natural gas once operational.

New Long Beach Fireboat Stations

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach harbor commissioners last week agreed to invest in the construction of two new fireboat stations by approving engineering design services for the projects.

Commissioners approved $50.1 million for Fireboat Station No. 15 to be built on the Main Channel and $51.6 million for Fireboat Station No. 20, which will be constructed in the port’s Inner Harbor.

“These fireboat stations will safeguard the Port and our customers in this new era of big ships,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “They will provide the best waterside response possible, maximize landside firefighting coverage and serve as a home for our new, state-of-the-art fireboats. With ships more than doubling in size in the last decade and cargo traffic breaking monthly records, this is a needed upgrade to Port safety.”

Each fireboat station will feature living quarters, a garage for firefighting equipment and a full waterside wharf with enclosure for the fireboat. They will also include water- and energy-efficient technology and other environmental-friendly features.

Station No. 15 is expect to be completed in 2020, with Station No. 20 opening a year later.

Port of Los Angeles Suggests Air Quality Measures

By Karen Robes Meeks

An updated draft environmental impact report released Thursday by the Port of Los Angeles is suggesting a series of sustainable measures to curb “unavoidable significant impacts in air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and ground transportation” at China Shipping’s terminal at Berths 97-109.

This supplemental draft updates a 2008 environmental impact report (EIR) that was created when China Shipping North America affiliate West Basin Container Terminal wanted to expand its terminal, which the port approved. The project was completed in 2013.

To offset the impacts, the EIR called for China Shipping to purchase cleaner cargo handling equipment and zero emissions trucks, and conduct a yearlong zero emissions demonstration with at least 10 pieces of cargo-handling equipment.

But according to the Daily Breeze, the L.A. port said in 2015 that many of the clean-air requirements have not yet happened.

This draft report evaluates the terminal’s continued operation under adjusted mitigation measures, considering that cargo movement is higher now than it was in 2008.

Modified measures would include that ships must be able to use alternative maritime power (such as shore power) while docked at the port by January 1, participate in the vessel speed reduction program and replacing diesel-powered equipment with electric models.

The public has a chance to weigh in on the draft report until July 31. An open meeting will take place on July 18 at the Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro. For a copy of the draft EIR, visit https://www.portoflosangeles.org/EIR/ChinaShipping/DSEIR/dseir_china_shipping.asp

Customs Offers Cross-Border Agreements

By Karen Robes Meeks

More than a dozen California and Washington-based businesses and agencies have been tentatively selected by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for new reimbursable service agreements designed to promote economic growth in cross-border trade throughout the nation, the CBP announced recently.

These agreements – made possible through Section 481 of the Homeland Security Act, 2002 – allow selected entities to reimburse CBP for expanded services such as customs, agricultural processing, border security services and support services at ports of entry.

Those tentatively selected for these partnerships include:
  • APM Terminal Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • California Cartage Company (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • California United Terminals, Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • Eagle Marine Services, Ltd (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • FCL Logistics, LTD (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • International Transportation Services, Inc. (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Long Beach Container Terminal LLC (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District (Hueneme, Calif.);
  • Price Transfer, Inc. (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Price Transfer, Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • Total Terminals International, LLC (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Total Terminals International, LLC (Seattle, Wash.);
  • TraPac, LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • West Basin Container Terminal (Los Angeles, Calif.); and
  • Yusen Terminal LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.)

“With increasing demands placed on CBP operations across the nation, innovative solutions like the Reimbursable Services Program allow us to keep pace while ensuring the safety and security of the travelers and cargo arriving to the United States,” said Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “The selection of these new partners reinforces CBP’s commitment to supporting opportunities for economic advancement and increased service.”

Friday, June 16, 2017

Busy Box Month for Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles reported the busiest May in its 110-year history, moving 796,216 TEUs last month, according to latest numbers released by the port Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

That’s 3.4 percent more than in May 2016, which had also been a record month.

The port handled 413,021 TEUs in imports last month, a 3.1 percent increase from the same time last year, and 169,639 TEUs in exports, a 4.4 percent jump from May 2016.

In the first five months of 2017, total cargo volumes are 3.75 million TEUs, an 8.5 percent spike when compared to the same period in 2016.

“We continue to see balanced year-over-year growth both on the import and export side of our operations,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles. “With nearly one million jobs — one in nine jobs in the region — tied to San Pedro Bay port complex operations, we continue to focus on supply chain efficiency, optimization and sustainability.”

“Zero” Emissions Goals for LA, LB

By Karen Robes Meeks

Mayors representing the nation’s two busiest seaports spoke Monday, June 12, 2017, of aggressive goals to invest in clear air technology and transition the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach toward zero emissions.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia appeared at San Pedro’s downtown harbor to sign a joint declaration strengthening their commitment to the landmark Clean Air Action Plan, including plans to further lower at-berth emissions and start a zero emissions drayage truck pilot program in the coming years.

“Our ports are the engines that power our economy — they must also be the forces that drive our region toward a greener, more sustainable future,” Garcetti said. “I am proud to stand with my fellow Climate Mayor Robert Garcia today, as we renew our commitment to cleaning our air, and moving boldly toward our goal of zero emissions goods movement at the ports.”

Garcetti and Garcia are among the 292 mayors who are part of Climate Mayors, leaders who endorse adopting in their cities the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement. The group, which Garcetti co-founded in 2014, has quadrupled since President Donald Trump recently announced plans to pull the US from the Paris agreement.

Garcetti and Garcia also launched a new Climate Mayors initiative called the Green Ports Collaborative, which would bring together cities and ports to establish shared environmental standards, demonstrate future demand for zero emissions equipment and trucks, work with manufacturers to produce the vehicles and technologies needed, and take other collaborative action to green ports across the US.

“With the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach ranked as the nation’s two largest ports, it is crucial to double down on our commitment to combating climate change by achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and by committing to zero emissions goals for the Clean Air Action Plan,” Garcia said. “The success of our Ports has proven that you don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy. I look forward to working with Mayor Eric Garcetti and making our cities models for climate action.”

The twin ports, which generate $398 billion of economic activity annually, will announce a timeline and process for CAAP within 15 days, and complete the update of the plan by November. A CAAP Implementation Stakeholder Advisory Group made up of government, maritime, community and other stakeholders will be formed to oversee the 2017 update.

Strong May for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach reported on Monday June 12, a strong May for goods movement, handling 648,287 TEUs for a 1.2 percent increase from the same period last year.

Port officials are in part crediting new vessel-sharing alliances for last month’s cargo movement, which had been the port’s second-highest May in a decade.

"Last May was a great month, so we're encouraged that we did even better this year," said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. "Our strong belief is that if we continue to build the most modern facilities of any port in the United States and provide the best service, the customers will come."

The port also moved 336,594 TEUs in imports, 1.8 percent more than May 2016. Meanwhile, it handled 14.3 percent fewer export containers, with 118,786 TEUs.

For the first five months of 2017, cargo traffic has risen 4.1 percent in Long Beach.

"The new alliances are making more efficient use of our terminals with their deployments," said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. "Beyond that, the strong U.S. dollar is growing our imports, but not helping our exports. Still, we’re in line with our projections for the year, and the Port is in a strong position as we head into the peak season."

Fast Response Cutter Commissioned in Juneau

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the US Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco (WPC 1122), the 17th District’s second 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, was commissioned in Juneau, Alaska.

The second of six Sentinel-class cutters that will be calling Alaska home is named after Dam Neck Life-Saving Station’s Keeper Bailey Barco, who was given a Gold Lifesaving Medal on October 7, 1901, for his efforts in rescuing the crew of the schooner Jennie Hall.

Barco took command of the Jennie Hall on December 21, 1900, when it ran aground in a winter storm off Virginia Beach, Virginia. He and his crew safely returned five survivors.

The new patrol vessel Barco features advanced technology for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It also can launch and recover standardized small boats from its stern, according to the Coast Guard.

Several officials were scheduled to attend the commissioning, including the cutter’s sponsor Carol Lash Push, Bailey Barco’s great-granddaughter.

Attendees also included Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, 17th District commander, Rear Adm. Michael McAllister; Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander, Capt. Shannan Greene; and cutter Bailey Barco’s commanding officer, Lt. Frank Reed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oakland Imports Up

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland reached its highest volume of containerized imports in nearly two years, according to latest statistics released by the port June 9.

Imports reached 82,440 TEUs last month, a 1.4 percent jump from May 2016, which saw 81,293 TEUs. It was the most the port took in since August 2015, when it moved 82,492 TEUs.

“Our import volume has been up four consecutive months,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “That’s encouraging as we head into the traditionally busy summer-fall peak season.”

About 48 percent of containers that move through Oakland are imports.

Meanwhile, the port handled 78,585 TEUs in exports, down 6.4 percent from 83,969 TEUs.

In terms of overall volume, which include imports, exports and empty containers, Oakland handled about 211,020 TEUs, just about the same amount of cargo it moved in May 2016 with 211,769 TEUs.

The port, however, is encouraged by the 2.2 percent growth of its overall volume in the first five months in 2017. Although the number of ships coming to Oakland was down 7 percent, the vessels that are visiting are much larger. Weekly visits to Oakland include megaships that can carry up to 14,000 TEUs.

Toys Seized

By Karen Robes Meeks

A shipment of hundreds of children’s toys violating consumer safety and trade laws were seized at the Port of Tacoma, US Customs and Border Protection announced last week.

Officers confiscated 720 four-piece Light Dive Sticks for violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, 900 Bubble Gun with Lights, and 1,500 22-inch Water Cannons for violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act, according to the agency.

“The enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at protecting consumers, especially children, at U.S. ports of entry remains a very high priority for CBP,” said Mark Wilkerson, director of CBP Field Operations at the Area Port of Seattle. “We will identify, stop and seize such merchandise at every opportunity. By working to stop the movement of illicit goods across our borders we meet a critical mandate.”

New West Coast Liner Service

By Karen Robes Meeks

CMA CGM, the world’s third largest shipping carrier, has recently launched a new weekly service along the western coast of the US, Central and South Americas.

The AZTECA service, which began May 24 in partnership with the German shipping company Hamburg Sud, will travel to US ports in Long Beach and Oakland; Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Acajutla, El Salvador; Corinto, Nicaragua; Buenaventura, Columbia, and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica.

The service allows CMA CGM to link Central and South America’s agricultural food industry and empowers growers to ship perishables such as bananas and avocados to North America.

Existing connections from regional hubs allow Central America exporters to benefit from competitive transit times with Asia, according to CMA CGM, which sees the service as a way to strengthen its network on the Pacific Coast of the Americas.

Safe Aleutian Navigation

By Karen Robes Meeks

Residents of Western Alaska are moving towards establishing an Aleutian Islands Waterways Safety Committee to bring together diverse waterway users to talk about and recommend safe navigational practices that work with existing regulatory requirements.

“The waterways safety committee will provide a valuable and on-going forum to discuss mutual navigational safety, mobility and environmental protection concerns where shipping activity is expected to continue to increase,” said Capt. Paul Albertson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We look forward to working with both public and private stakeholders.”

A convening workgroup will develop the committee’s organizational mission and geographic scope and nominate the first board of directors who will establish the committee and various workgroups.

“The formation of the waterways safety committee will encourage dynamic cooperation among maritime stakeholders that will further enhance the good work completed during the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment after the Selendang Ayu incident,” said Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty.

The Selendang Ayu, a bulk cargo ship carrying soybeans, ran aground off Unalaska Island in western Alaska in 2004 after reporting engine failure. A breaking wave engulfed a rescue helicopter, causing it to crash into the ship and kill six crewmembers. The vessel then broke in half, causing a large oil spill.

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Business at Grays Harbor

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Grays Harbor’s Satsop Business Park recently welcomed its newest tenant with the grand opening of Overstock.com’s “Evergreen” Customer Care Call Center.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and other lawmakers were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new 20,000 square feet of office space that the online company began leasing in December.

“Overstock’s grand opening celebration was a testament to the amazing local and regional partnerships that helped this occur on such an expedited timeframe,” said Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. CEO Dru Garson. “It was great to see representation from all of the various partners at the event along with all of the enthusiastic, smiling faces of the new Overstock.com employees.”

Overstock.com, which began the hiring process in January, started taking calls in early May.

“We are thrilled to welcome Overstock.com as a partner and tenant at the Satsop Business Park and even more excited to see 150 individuals coming to work here every day,” said Business Development Manager Alissa Shay. Satsop Business Park, which recently earned the Outstanding Job Creator Award from the Washington Public Ports Association, is a mixed-use facility two hours away from Seattle that is home to more than 30 businesses and 600 acres of developed land and buildings.

The Grays Harbor Public Development Authority, which developed the site, transferred the park’s management and assets to the Port of Grays Harbor in January 2013.

Faster Clearance at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

After an extensive facility expansion, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently reopened its Global Entry Enrollment Center at the Port of Long Beach.

The newly revamped center, which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers, will now allow CBP officers the room to conduct 200 appointments daily and expand from two to up to five officers, according to the agency.

“This expansion will significantly reduce appointment wait times for conditionally approved applicants in the Los Angeles area, including the encompassing five counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.

Considered the nation’s first seaport Global Entry Enrollment Center when it opened in March 2014, the center has conducted nearly 44,600 appointments.

The expanded facility allows the CBP to meet the growing demand of Global Entry enrollment. In fiscal year 2016, more than 389,000 travelers used Global Entry kiosks at international airports within the Los Angeles area, according to the agency.

“The new center reflects the LA/Long Beach Seaport commitment in improving the customer service experience as Global Entry continues to attract thousands of new applicants,” said LaFonda Sutton Burke, CBP Port Director of the LA/Long Beach Seaport.

Cleaner Exhaust for Matson Alaska

By Karen Robes Meeks

Hawaii-based shipper Matson has been investing more than $700 million in facility upgrades and purchases in the last two years to enter the Alaskan market, according to a May 23 story by the Alaska Dispatch News.

Matson recently announced that it has added a pollutant-capturing system on container ships traveling between Tacoma to Alaska. The system apparently sprays down water treated with sodium hydroxide into the exhaust system, while ships sail, and collects and treats the wash water into a 5,000-gallon tank below the engine room to neutralize the compounds.

It is the latest in a series of investments by Matson, who in 2015 acquired Horizon Lines' Alaska operations and then cargo hauler Span Alaska a year later. Both acquisitions totaled $669 million, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

The Hawaiian shipper also spent more than $50 million to outfit its Alaska fleet and operations, and in 2015 replaced an old container crane in Kodiak. In addition, Matson added workers to its Alaskan operations, which now employs more than 300 people.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Vancouver USA Development Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Vancouver USA’s master plan for the Terminal 1 Waterfront Development will go before the Vancouver City Council on June 19, a significant step toward redeveloping the historic site.

This follows Hearing Examiner Sharon Rice’s recent recommendation that the council approve the master plan. “Our project team worked very hard to develop a thorough and complete master plan,” said port CEO Julianna Marler. “The result has been a smooth process, and we appreciate the positive affirmation from the City of Vancouver. We look forward to going before City Council in June as we move our vision for Terminal 1 toward reality.”

For the last two years, port officials and consultants NBBJ and BergerABAM have been seeking input from stakeholders and the community to develop the plan and guide it through the city’s approval and permitting processes.

At a May 4 public hearing, representatives for the port testified before the hearing examiner, who is tasked with reviewing the master plan to determine its compliance with municipal code as well as city and state shoreline regulations.

Rice verified the project’s compliance and on May 23 recommended that the council endorse the master plan. The port is in the midst of redeveloping Terminal 1, a 10-acre property on the Columbia River built in the 1920s with the city. The site, known as the birthplace of the port, was the location of the first warehouse. Plans to reimagine Terminal 1 could include a public marketplace, new hotel, retail and commercial space, visitor amenities and a link to the Renaissance Trail.

If the council endorses the plan, developer Vesta Hospitality could start building a new AC Hotel by Marriott in 2018.

Port of LA Budget Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles’ $1.17 billion budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 was approved by harbor commissioners last week.

The fiscal plan for the nation’s busiest seaport includes a $97.7 million Capital Improvement Program, with nearly 43 percent of that dedicated to terminal improvements.

Those projects include:

• $11.2 million to upgrade World Cruise Center Alternative Marine Power;

• $8.1 million to enhance Yusen (YTI) terminal with improvements such as a rail expansion of its Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (which will boast its on-dock rail capacity by 25 percent); and

• $2.0 million toward environmental documentation and the design of infrastructure improvements and terminal reconstruction at EverPort, among other smaller projects.

The port will also spend $18.2 million on public waterfront and enhancement work, including the Harbor Boulevard Roadway Improvement Project and design of the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade near Banning’s Landing.

“As we have consistently done over the last several years, this budget has been carefully aligned with the port’s strategic plan objectives, which continue to serve as an important guide for our spending and investment decision-making,” said Harbor Commission President Vilma Martinez. “This budget keeps us on track to assure that we reach our long-term vision and mission, and continue to be the economic engine that drives growth and jobs in the region.”

The 2017-2018 budget also projects a 5.6 percent growth in cargo volumes from the previous budget year, up 2.8 percent from last year’s estimates.

The port, which reported record cargo volumes in 2016 with nearly 8.9 million TEUs, has already seen a 10 percent jump in cargo in the first quarter of 2017.

“Our unprecedented cargo volumes over the last 15 months are evidence that our focus on supply chain efficiency and cargo handling improvements are paying off,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We continue to earn the confidence of shippers and are encouraged by the strength of our supply chain partners. This budget will help us stay laser-focused on targeted infrastructure improvements, technology solutions and strategic resource use to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our marine terminal customers and the carriers they serve.”

New San Francisco Harbor Engineer

By Karen Robes Meeks

Rod K. Iwashita has recently been named Chief Harbor Engineer for the Port of San Francisco.

Iwashita, who officially took over the role May 15, is tasked with developing, planning and overseeing the port’s engineering division of more than 25 employees.

The division handles building and encroachment permits, engineering and architectural design, facilities assessment, construction management, and project management and other responsibilities.

“Rod is an experienced engineering manager and marine structures engineer. He will be a great addition to the port's executive leadership team and I'm proud to welcome him to our hard-working and talented port staff,” said Elaine Forbes, Port of San Francisco executive director.

“His expertise in seismic analysis and retrofit design of piers and wharves, development of waterfront sites and inspection and rehabilitation of marine structures will ensure the port successfully delivers critical engineering assignments, including the Seawall Resiliency Project and the Mission Bay Ferry Landing in order to keep our waterfront safe and vibrant,” Forbes said.

Before arriving at the port, Iwashita worked at Moffatt & Nichol as a supervisory engineer since 1995. In that role, he supervised structural engineers and worked on project development and management with an emphasis on structural and seismic engineering of piers and wharves; inspection and rehabilitation of structures; mooring and berthing analyses and advanced structural analysis, according to his bio.

Iwashita has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in science from UC Berkeley and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers standards committee for the seismic design of piers and wharves, ASCE 61.

Port of Hueneme Birthday

By Karen Robes Meeks

This year, the Port of Hueneme celebrates 80 years as “the port that farmers built.”

The central California port started many years earlier with farmers determined to create a harbor for shipping their agricultural products by sea.

Richard Bard, known as the "Father of the Port of Hueneme," continued his father’s efforts of turning the Oxnard-based land into a deep-water commercial port.

When the PWA rejected their loan proposal, Bard and local farmers decided to build Port Hueneme themselves. The community created the Oxnard Harbor District on April 29, 1937. The district’s commissioners proposed a $1.75 million bond to fund the building of the port, which was done without federal funding. State lawmakers would help kick-start port construction that year.

Ironically, federal funding would come in the 1940s when the US government temporarily turned the port into a naval base. More than $6 million was spent on 5,205 lineal feet of wharfage, 550,000 yards of dredging, 1,200,000 square feet of building, and 36 miles of railroad.

By the time the war ended, Hueneme was moving 150,000 tons of cargo monthly.

Business would boom with the arrival of autos to the port in the 1970s.

Today, Hueneme is a niche market port for cars, fresh produce, fish, bulk liquids and general cargo and moves about $8 billion in goods. The port also generates $1.1 billion in economic activity and 10,226 trade-related jobs.

Friday, June 2, 2017

San Diego North Embarcadero Project of the Year

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego announced May 31 that its engineering department won the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s 2016 “Project of the Year” award for its emergency wharf repair on the North Embarcadero.

The repairs were necessary after an excursion vessel crashed into the seawall at one of the busiest areas on the San Diego Bay waterfront in March 2016.

The project to rebuild the area was completed 60 days after the accident and restored a highly used walkway, and the appearance of the historic structure. Everything was accomplished with minimal downtime for lessees and without environmental incidents.

“This one-of-a-kind project is an exemplary public works activity that brought out the best from the Port, our engineers, and the contractor,” said Ernesto Medina, chief of engineering for the Port of San Diego. “Located at the front doorstep of San Diego, the project required speedy execution to provide a safe walkway for the public and restore business for our tenants who operate right there on the waterfront.”

Built in 1928 as part of the historic Navy Pier, the structure is located at the intersection of the USS Midway Museum, San Diego Bay harbor cruise facilities, and Harbor Drive.

The honor, acknowledged at the local APWA’s annual awards luncheon May 11, was one of five awards earned by the engineering team.

The emergency wharf repair project and other “Project of the Year” award winners from other chapters will be eligible for an “Outstanding Project of the Year” award that will be announced at the APWA’s fall dinner.

“The Port’s engineering team deserves this recognition from the local APWA chapter,” said Port Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “The great work they do at our various facilities, parks, and more benefits the public, our tenants, and our Port.”

More Rail for Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

At a meeting with railroad stakeholders last week, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle made his case for more rail business.

Lytle attended the North American Rail Shippers Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco, California, where the port chief not only talked about the environmental advantages of reducing truck pollution through rail use, but also spoke of the potential growth in its rail business and the port’s recent efforts to raise its rail game.

Some of the projects mentioned includes the completion in late 2016 of a $100 million rail storage yard with 41,000 feet of tracks in proximity of Oakland marine terminals, an ideal location for export shippers.Lytle painted a picture of 100-car grain trains arriving in Oakland, where cargo would be transferred to ocean containers.

Then he mentioned the Cool Port Oakland, a 300,000-square-foot refrigerated facility slated to open in mid-2018.

The warehouse, which will be able to accommodate 36 refrigerated rail cars at once, will become the turning point for the Midwest beef, pork and chicken exports to Asia as the transfer of refrigerated meat from rail cars into cold shipping containers, - will take place in this closed environment.

In addition, city-owned property that used to be part of the Oakland Army Base has the potential to become a port rail yard.

“We have two outstanding partners at the Port in the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads,” Lytle said. “And everyone in Oakland would like to see more cargo move in and out of the city on the rails than over the road.”

Homeland Security Bow Thruster

By Karen Robes Meeks

Longtime Seattle-based marine electronics design and manufacturing company WESMAR recently announced that its 75-horsepower Hydraulic Stainless Steel Dual Prop Bow thruster will be part of a custom aluminum ferry designed and built for Homeland Security’s Long Island coastal waters.

The 118-foot-long, quad-screw ferry, which will be delivered later this year, is a diesel propelled crew boat style vessel with a welded aluminum mono hull and a 6-foot draft. WESMAR’s Dual prop bow thruster will give the ferry maneuvering and docking ability.

Gulfstream Shipbuilding, which won the contract to build the boat, partnered with naval architect C. Fly Marine Services, and WESMAR, who was represented in the contract by Birney Rouselle, Skipper Engineered Products LLC, Harahan, LA, a division of (WESMAR dealer) Donovan Marine.

When completed, the new ferry, which has not yet been named, will be able to carry up to 148 passengers and crew along with fire engines, support vehicles and freight on its rear cargo deck. It will be certified US Coast Guard Subchapter T, under 100-gt.

New Deputy Executive Director for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

On May 23, the Port of Long Beach announced the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners' appointment of Duane Kenagy as the new deputy executive director for the Port of Long Beach. Kenagy previously served as interim chief executive while port officials conducted their seven-month search for a new leader following the resignation of Jon Slangerup.

Slangerup left September 8 to lead a Canada-based aviation technology firm. In April, the port named Mario Cordero its new executive director.

“Duane provided exceptional leadership during an important transition period at the Port of Long Beach,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement. “It was exactly what the Board was hoping for, and this appointment is a reflection of Duane’s value and service. He will be an important adviser to Mario as the Port navigates important changes in the shipping industry.”

Kenagy is a maritime veteran with more than 35 years of experience in engineering and project management in the US and abroad. He worked for engineering consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol, where he was instrumental in the building of the Alameda Corridor rail project.

In 2014, he became the port’s Capital Programs Executive tasked with overseeing its major modernization projects, including the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the redevelopment of Middle Harbor.

“Duane has done a commendable job leading the Port for these last eight months,” Cordero said. “I’m excited to work with someone who is so respected by the Commission, Port staff and our customers. His long history of guiding big maritime infrastructure projects will continue to be invaluable as we build the Green Port of the Future.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seattle Port, Norwegian Cruise Lines Reopen Pier 66 Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 23, the Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings publicly debuted the renovated Bell Street Cruise Terminal at the port’s pier 66 building. About $30 million dollars in improvements were made to the terminal as part of a joint agreement.

The newly refurbished facility features three times the square footage within the same walls, and is custom designed to handle the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss, which will be the largest cruise vessel on the West Coast, arriving in time for the 2018 season.

“Together, we have increased usage capacity by more than 300 percent, created a plush new lounge for suites guests, enlarged the space for all guests awaiting embarkation and much more, allowing for the vacation experience to begin as soon as our guests step foot inside the terminal by providing a seamless, comfortable and stylish ship-to-shore experience,” said Howard Sherman, executive vice-president of Onboard Revenue and Destination Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH).

The port signed a 15-year lease with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in August 2015 that secures berth space for NCLH ships in Seattle for the full term of the lease, and provides passenger volume guarantees estimated to bring $73 million dollars of revenue to the port.

Under the lease, Norwegian manages the cruise operations at Pier 66 and has priority rights to the cruise vessel berth throughout the cruise season. The port then operates the facilities the remainder of the year.

“We have a long history with Norwegian from when we first started in the Alaska cruise market over 15 years ago, and we are thrilled with their unprecedented investment,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman explained. Terminal improvements include a modified elevated passenger boarding bridge and a new gangway that’s expected to arrive in early 2018. The brand new state-of-the-art 140-foot gangway will feature incredible floor-to-ceiling transparent walls, immediately connecting guests to stunning views of Elliot Bay.

Seattle’s cruise business currently leads all cruise homeports on the US West Coast in passenger volume. Each homeported vessel generates $2.7 million to the local economy, according to the port. More information is available at www.portseattle.org/cruise.

Port of Portland Picks New Executive Director

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Portland Commission said May 23 that it has selected Curtis Robinhold as the next executive director for the Port of Portland. Robinhold, currently Portland’s deputy executive director, will replace outgoing Executive Director Bill Wyatt, who’s retiring on June 30.

“Our goal was to find an experienced, well-rounded candidate to lead the port into the future,” Port Commission President Jim Carter explained about the selection. “We were looking for someone with demonstrated skills in stakeholder engagement, consensus building, business acumen and team development, and believe Curtis met all our goals for the search and the new executive director.”

Robinhold was hired as deputy executive director in December 2013. It was a newly-created position at the time, the job was never announced by the port and no search to fill it was conducted. Wyatt told The Oregonian newspaper during the time of Robinhold’s appointment that the hiring was part of a long-term succession plan.

The Port Commission’s process earlier this year for selecting the new executive director included initial interviews by an advisory group, which consisted of representatives from labor, the environmental and business communities. The group recommended three final candidates to the Commission – Robinhold, as well as Jonathan Daniels, the executive director and CEO for the Mississippi State Port Authority, and Stephanie Dawson, the chief operation officer for the Port Authority of New York, New Jersey. On May 10, the Commission interviewed them before the final selection was made May 23.

Wyatt announced his retirement in mid-January. He was first chosen to lead the port in 2001 and he began work just weeks after the September 11 attacks. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber for seven years.

Robinhold was Kitzhaber’s chief of staff from 2011 until being hired by the port in late 2013.

Commercial Fishing Vessel Runs Aground in Southern California

By Mark Edward Nero

A commercial fishing vessel ran aground during the early morning hours of May 28 near Ventura Harbor, about nine miles north of the Port of Hueneme in Southern California, according to the US Coast Guard.

Members of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara and Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor responded to an unnamed 36-foot commercial fishing vessel at about 1 a.m. after it ran aground near the mouth of the Santa Clara River.

The Coast Guard said that personnel with Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara led the response and investigation efforts, with the aid of Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, Ventura Harbor Patrol, Ventura Fire Department, and the Oxnard Fire Department.

The Coast Guard said that it was working on the safe removal of the vessel and its contents, and that the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

The boat’s fuel was removed Sunday and the vessel was towed back into Ventura Harbor Sunday night at high tide for inspection and damage repair.

No injuries or pollution were reported, according to the USCG.

Crowley Receives Alaska Safe Truck Fleet Award

By Mark Edward Nero

Alaska-based Crowley Fuels has been honored with the ConocoPhillips/Alaska Trucking Association “Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year” award in the Line Haul Division (fleet size under 50 units) for performing at an elite safety level, the company announced May 23.

ConocoPhillips/ATA presented the award to Crowley Vice President Laura Yellig during the ATA’s annual Safety Awards Banquet last month in Anchorage.

The Safety Awards Banquet, dually hosted each year by the ATA and ConocoPhillips, is an event to recognize carriers that have the best safety performance.

In being considered for the “Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year” award, the Crowley team was evaluated and ranked on several 2016 statistics, including: total number of miles driven, the company’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration CSA fleet scores, accident frequency, and overall Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rate.

Last year, drivers of Crowley’s fleet of more than 100 vehicles, which includes 27 line haul trucks, drove almost three million miles while delivering more than 150 million gallons of petroleum products to communities across Alaska, according to the company.

“Our highway staff earned the honor by doing their best every single day, often in incredibly challenging conditions,” Yellig said in a statement.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Proposed Trump Budget Would Impose Maritime-Related Funding Cuts

By Mark Edward Nero

This week, the Trump Administration released its proposed budget for 2018 and among the proposals listed was the elimination of the US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

The program, which provides funding to port, road, rail and transit projects nationwide, awarded US ports $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements last year.

The proposed budget also calls for a steep cut to the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at $100 million, and which provided 35 port security-related grants in fiscal 2017. The program’s funding would be reduced by 52 percent, to $47.8 million.

Trump has also proposed drastically decreasing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants. DERA grants help ports make investments in clean diesel equipment and reduction strategies. Funds help businesses buy newer, cleaner-burning trucks, locomotives and vessels. DERA grants are currently funded at $60 million, while Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget calls for only $10 million in funding.

American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle said that his organization, which represents the interests of seaports across the US, has issues with the proposed cuts.

“We’re concerned about the significant reductions proposed for fiscal 2018 in many of the programs critically important to ports, such as TIGER discretionary grants, HMTF (Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund) outlays, port security grants, and assistance in reducing diesel emissions,” Nagle said in a statement.

AAPA has called for $66 billion in federal funds for port-related infrastructure over the next decade to “ensure US job creation, economic growth, safe and secure ports and tax fairness.” On the water side, AAPA has recommended investing $33.8 billion to maintain and modernize deep-draft shipping channels, and $32 billion to build vital road and rail connections to ports and improve port facility infrastructure.

Activities at US seaports account for more than a quarter of the nation’s economy, support over 23 million American jobs and generate more than $321 billion a year in federal, state and local tax revenue, Nagle said.

Seattle Port Commissioners Approve Railroad Funding

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle Commission on May 23 approved transportation funding for Kent’s South 228th Street grade separation (overpass) project that will help relieve traffic congestion caused by railroad crossings.

According to the port, the project will improve regional connections between thousands of businesses, employers and 40-million square feet of warehouse and industrial space.

The $595,000 in funding contributes to an overall project cost of $25 million.

“The Port of Seattle recognizes the need to keep freight, and all other traffic, moving throughout our region,” Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said in a statement. “Grade separations like these are critical to remove traffic bottlenecks, especially areas in the Kent Valley that handle the second largest freight and cargo volumes on the West Coast.”

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke said that the success of both the Port of Seattle and the Kent Valley’s manufacturing, warehouse and distribution activity depends upon connections to the Seattle and Tacoma ports, and increasingly to Sea-Tac Airport.

“Kent’s South 228th Street has been designated as a key freight route, attracting port customers who value timely access,” she said. “The elimination of the chokepoint at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing will help ensure our region’s future as a premier manufacturing and distribution center of world-wide importance.”

New Auto Staging Lot Opens at Port of Portland

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 24, representatives from the Port of Portland, Ford Motor Co. and the Auto Warehousing Company (AWC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new 18.9-acre storage and staging yard to support the port’s growth of export vehicles.

The lot, which can hold close to 3,000 vehicles, features porous pavement to minimize stormwater runoff and energy efficient LED lighting.

The Oregon Department of Transportation awarded a ConnectOregon grant of $2.6 million to the port and Auto Warehousing in 2016 to fund part of the $7 million lot expansion.

AWC leased 130 acres at the port’s Terminal 6 in 2005, and currently handles the import of Hyundai vehicles into the US and the export of Ford vehicles manufactured in North America bound for China, the Philippines and South Korea.

Export volumes have grown steadily in the last several years, according to port data, with more than 50,000 exports moving through Portland in 2016. A total of 291,000 vehicles – imports and exports – rolled through Portland’s terminals last year, representing an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

Port of Oakland: Vessel Calls to Southeast Asia Up 50 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Direct vessel calls from the Port of Oakland to countries in Southeast Asia are up 50 percent this spring, Oakland officials said May 23.

Direct weekly vessel calls to Southeast Asia have risen from 10 to 15 since April 1, port Executive Director Chris Lytle said.

Highlights from the past several weeks include the first direct vessel service between Oakland and Jakarta, an increase from two to four weekly voyages linking Oakland with the Port of Laem Chabang near Bangkok, and an additional weekly Singapore call enabling more cargo to be transported from nearby Cambodia to Oakland.

“Southeast Asia is a dynamic region with significant export potential and increasing demand for US products,” Lytle said. “It’s imperative that we position ourselves to serve this market.”

He also added that Oakland’s growing Southeast Asian presence coincides with changes to shipping line alliances as 11 leading ocean carriers realigned in April, sharing vessel services to control costs. One outgrowth of their restructuring was heightened emphasis on Oakland-Southeast Asia trade.

Shipping lines have been drawn to Southeast Asia due to shifting trade patterns, Lytle said. The region has grown as a manufacturing center for US markets, he pointed out. Meanwhile, its growing middle class populations have increased demand for US products. The result has been an uptick in two-way trade, which could translate to more business for ocean carriers.

California is the largest US exporter to Southeast Asia, with almost $16 billion in exports just last year, supporting over 87,000 jobs, according to Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, an advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Three-Vessel Fire in Alaska under USCG Investigation

By Mark Edward Nero

The cause of a fire aboard three fishing vessels, the 57-foot Seaborn, the 56-foot Pacific Lady and the 49-foot Julia Kae, which occurred at a marina in North Cove in Craig, Alaska is under investigation, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said May 21.

The Craig harbormaster and fire department contained the fire, and there were no injuries reported, according to the USCG. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan investigators responded to the scene to monitor for signs of pollution, investigate the cause of the incident and assess extent and cost of damage. The Pacific Lady has a maximum capacity of 1,500 gallons of fuel, while the Julia Kae and the Seaborn have 3,800 and 2,000 gallons respectively, according to the USCG.

Sheening was minimal, according to the Coast Guard, but boom was deployed around two of the vessels as a precaution.

The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. May 21.

Vigor Delivers Low Emission Catamaran for San Francisco Service

By Mark Edward Nero

Hydrus, the first in a series of 400-passenger catamaran ferries for the Water and Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) in San Francisco, California, is completed and has entered service. Built by Vigor in Seattle, Washington, the Hydrus is the first of a new class of vessel, with additional ferries to follow.

Hydrus is powered by a pair of MTU 12V4000M64 EPA Tier 3 main engines, each producing 1,453 kW. It is one of the earliest passenger vessels to enter service with advanced exhaust aftertreatment, a system that ensures the vessel not only complies with the latest US emissions regulations, but is one of the lowest-emission ferries currently operating in North America.

Marine engineering design for the vessel was completed by Incat Crowther, which worked with suppliers to create an efficient layout for the system that minimizes noise ingress to the cabins and has minimal effect of passenger flow and operations. Hydrus has a top speed of 29 knots and a service speed of 27 knots under full load, according to Incat Crowther.

Vigor began construction on the first of two WETA ferries in this class in the spring of 2015. Following trials of the first vessel, two additional vessels were ordered by WETA.

“It’s an efficient design and very environmentally friendly,” Vigor Ballard General Manager Tim Kolb said. “The four Vigor vessels will play critical roles in maintaining service reliability in WETA’s planned expansion of the ferry service on the San Francisco Bay,” WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells said.

Hydrus is expected to be joined mid-2017 by a second vessel, Cetus, with a further two vessels due in 2018

Seaport Alliance: Pier 4 Reconfiguration Nearing Halfway Mark

By Mark Edward Nero

The reconfiguration of Pier 4 at the Port of Tacoma, which consists in part of redeveloping it to allow larger containerships to berth, is taking shape on the General Central Peninsula in the South Harbor.

Since awarding the contract to Manson Construction Co. and launching the first phase of the project in May 2016, the 1,724-foot pier nears its halfway mark, says the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the marine cargo operating partnership between Tacoma and the Port of Seattle.

Crews are working heavily on pier construction and installing underground utilities, including electrical, communication, sewer and stormwater treatment, according to the Seaport Alliance.

In February, Manson wrapped up the first phase of the pile driving, which set up the foundation for the structure that could serve two 18,000-TEU container ships once completed.

“Bigger ships require bigger cranes, and bigger cranes require a stronger foundation to evenly distribute the load,” Port of Tacoma Senior Project Manager Trevor Thornsley said. “Building the pier is all about providing enough support to handle the heavy cranes and the heavy load of the trucks, straddle carriers and the equipment that run on the pier.” Each pile, varying from 70 to 170 feet in length, is driven underwater in a neat row formation, and the segments are then bound together with rebar and concrete to create a thick platform called a pile cap.

Once pile caps are built, the crew places 25-foot-wide deck panels between them and fills any gaps with more concrete. At the end of the project, the pier will be covered with three to six inches of pavement.

The second phase of pile driving is slated to resume in July, with the completion of the full project anticipated for a spring 2018, according to the Seaport Alliance.

Seattle-Tacoma YTD Cargo Volumes Up Eight Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Total container volumes at the Seattle and Tacoma seaports were steady for the month of April, according to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, as new ocean carrier alliance deployments took effect, thereby resulting in 0.5 percent growth over the same month last year, while year-to-date volumes were up eight percent.

April international container volumes performed well, with 110,821 TEUs shipped, full imports grew six percent compared to April 2016. The ports cites retailers continuing to rebuild inventory levels and a favorable market outlook fueling import demand as causes for the increase.

Additionally, full exports were up one percent to 77,558 TEUs, according to data. Empty exports grew 81.5 percent as ocean carriers began repositioning empties to Asia in preparation for peak season. Total international TEU volumes, including empties, jumped eight percent compared to last April.

Last month’s full imports brought year-to-date volumes to 462,427 TEUs, up 11 percent. Full exports grew five percent to 324,743 TEUs, while total international containers, including empties, increased 12 percent year to date.

However, total domestic volumes last month were down 21 percent compared to April 2016. Also last month, breakbulk cargo was down 10 percent, to 55,119 metric tons year to date, due to soft market conditions; and autos, at 53,925 units year to date, slipped 13 percent compared to the same time last year, a reflection, the port said, of weakening US demand and shifting manufacturing locations.

Additionally, log volumes were up 165.3 percent, to 94,547 metric tons, over the same time last year, something driven by consistent demand from China according to the Seaport Alliance.

Friday, May 19, 2017

New Electric Crane Debuts at POLA

By Mark Edward Nero

SA Recycling, Southern California’s largest recycling operation and exporter of scrap metal, unveiled a new electric mobile crane at its Port of Los Angeles terminal this week.

A live demonstration of the crane was held during the May 15 event, which was attended by numerous port officials, as well as various public officials, or their designated representatives, including members of the state Assembly and US House of Representatives.

The $6.3 million Liebherr 550 electric crane replaces a model year 1987 diesel ship-loading crane, and is the port complex’s first electric mobile ship-loading crane for non-container cargos. The crane was acquired in part through a $1.3 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, as part of efforts between the Port of LA and its customers to transition to cleaner equipment.

The port has said the crane is expected to eliminate 74 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), three tons of particulate matter (PM), three tons of hydrocarbons (HC) and 14 tons of carbon monoxide (CO) over the life of the equipment.

Foss Maritime Hires New Vice President

By Mark Edward Nero

Foss Maritime has brought on Grant Johnson as the company’s new Vice President of Health, Safety, Quality and Environment (HSQE), the company announced May 15. Johnson will be responsible for overseeing, growing and strengthening HSQE performance in support of Foss’ culture of safety.

Johnson comes to Foss from TechnipFMC, a Houston-based international energy services provider, where he served in various capacities including Director of Worldwide Fleet Management, Asset Technical Director, and most recently as manager of the company’s contract with Texas-based Marine Well Containment Co.

Before joining TechnipFMC, Johnson held various positions with BP’s Alaskan, Shipping and US Gulf of Mexico businesses. He began his career working as a US Coast Guard licensed engineering officer aboard commercial, military sealift and government vessels in domestic and international trade.

“We were impressed by Grant’s keen personal interest in providing improved safety for people and the environment, as evident in his work throughout the maritime industry,” Foss President and CEO John Parrott explained in a statement. “His experience, expertise and working knowledge are just what we need.”

Johnson is also an active participant in industry committees and working groups, including currently serving as Vice-Chairman of the Coast Guard’s National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee and previously serving as Co-Chair of the Offshore Operators Committee’s Marine Transportation and Security Committee.

He graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy with a degree in Marine Engineering, holds an MBA from Rice University, and served 20 years in the US Navy Reserve, achieving the rank of commander.

Oakland Port Begins Raising Height of Ship-to-Shore Cranes

By Mark Edward Nero

Work has begun at the Port of Oakland to heighten four massive ship-to-shore cranes used to load and unload container vessels.

On May 15, the port confirmed that the 366-foot cranes would be raised 27 feet over the course of a nine-month project. Oakland has said taller cranes will be better able to reach containers stacked high above decks on modern-day megaships.

“This is a commitment to the future of shipping in Oakland,” John Driscoll, the port’s maritime director, said. “Vessels are getting bigger and bigger and we’re providing the infrastructure to keep them coming our way.”

The port is raising the cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal in partnership with terminal operator SSA Marine. The cost of the project is estimated at $14 million.

The port also said that crane-raising is part of an overall effort to strengthen Oakland’s competitiveness among West Coast ports. Other projects underway or expected to begin soon include doubling the size of nearby TraPac marine terminal, building a 287,000-square foot refrigerated cargo transport, and developing the first 27 acres of a seaport logistics complex that could attract additional imports and exports.

Last week, technicians began the work by pulling the first three-million-pound unit off its guide rails. In a 90-minute procedure, it was shuttled to the eastern edge of OICT’s Oakland Estuary dock, which is where the rest of the work is expected to take place, starting in June.

Over a nine-week period, engineers will brace the crane on supports, cut away its lower legs and affix extensions. They will then return the heightened crane to duty before withdrawing the next one, probably in August according to the port.

POLA, GE Launch Digital Maritime Shipping Project

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles and GE Transportation are launching, on a trial basis, a platform that digitizes maritime shipping data and makes it available to cargo owners and supply chain operators through secure, channeled access.

The digital solution has launched on a pilot basis at APM Terminals with Maersk Shipping Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. Also, major retailers such as The Home Depot and Lowe’s, among others, are participating in the project. “It promises to provide not only advanced visibility but a collaborative view of data for all the stakeholders across the ocean supply chain,” the statement read.

Initial performance results are expected in July.

“By working together to share data in a secure and controlled environment, we have already seen the potential for tremendous benefits for importers, truckers, shipping lines, terminals, chassis providers and the entire supply chain,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Greater insight leads to better planning and lower cost, all of which have a direct impact on every company that is involved in international trade.”

“Our work with the Port of Los Angeles has the potential to transform how ports across the country, and even the world, operate, driving productivity from ship to shore and from the terminal to the customer,” said Jamie Miller, GE Transportation president and CEO. “It’s an honor to partner together on a game-changing solution that could have industry wide implications.”

GE has posted a six-minute video on YouTube regarding the project. It shows how disparate data sources are being integrated from players across the supply chain to create a single source of information for the entire shipping process., It highlights how port operators are working with the Port of LA by sharing information that provides early cargo visibility which brings increased efficiency into how cargo moves into, within and out of the port at all levels from shippers, terminal operators, trucks to railroads. The video -is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VWIQAx1Cnc. Ongoing updates about the pilot are available at http://getransportation.com/port-of-la.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pasha Hawaii Selects Builder for New Containerships

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 11, 2017, Honolulu-based Pasha Hawaii announced the selection of Texas-based Keppel AmFELS, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, for the construction of two new liquefied natural gas-fueled containerships, with the option to order two additional vessels.

The new US Jones Act vessels will carry 2,525 TEUs, including a fully laden capacity of 500 45-foot containers, 400 refrigerated containers, and 300 40-foot dry containers, with a sailing speed of 23.0 knots. Delivery of the first vessel is expected in the first quarter of 2020, with delivery of the second vessel in the third quarter of 2020.

Pasha confirmed that the new vessels will operate fully on LNG from day one in service, which should dramatically reduce environmental impact and increase fuel efficiency. Energy savings will also to be achieved with a state-of-the-art engine, an optimized hull form, and an underwater propulsion system with a high-efficiency rudder and propeller.

“We look forward to working with an extremely qualified shipyard, based in the United States,” company President and CEO George Pasha, IV said. “Pasha Hawaii is a firm believer in the Jones Act, and is proud to support our shipyards and the highly skilled workers who make valuable contributions to this important industry on a daily basis.”

Pasha Hawaii is a wholly owned subsidiary of the family-owned global logistics and transportation company, the Pasha Group, one of the nation’s leading Jones Act shipping and integrated logistics companies.

2,900 Gallons of Oily Water Removed from Oregon Barge

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard oversaw the removal of nearly 3,000 gallons of oily water from the bilges of a 1940s-era crane barge during a response last weekend at a site on the banks of the Columbia River near Goble, the USCG revealed May 15.

The removal of the oily water from the Amazon, a 170-foot crane barge, was a preemptive measure taken to prevent possible environmental damage to the Columbia River at a site currently being monitored by the Coast Guard and the Oregon Departments of Environmental Quality and State Lands.

Personnel from the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Incident Management Division opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to remove the oily water upon a recommendation from the Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team during a site assessment and hazard categorization visit on May 9 and 10.

Contractors pumped out 1,800 gallons of the oily-water mixture on May 12 and another 1,100 gallons on May 13 from bilges, ballast tanks, fuel tanks, aft and forward spaces, and above and below deck plates.

“The initial purpose of our site visit was to assess the need for future operations, however, it was quickly determined the Amazon posed a substantial threat of an oil discharge and required immediate action,” USCG Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Madjeska, chief, Incident Management Division Sector Columbia River, explained. “The vessel is in very poor material condition, and is slowly taking on water through open hatches.”

The barge Amazon is one of 26 vessels currently being assessed and monitored during the eviction process of Clay Jonak and Roger Ison, who lease the site on the Columbia from the Oregon Department of State Lands. The agency informed the two men of the lease termination in March. They have until May 30 to safely remove their property from the site.

The Coast Guard will oversee the cleanup of any remaining oil or hazardous material left on site after May 30.

Port of Oakland Seeing More Cargo, But Fewer Ships

By Mark Edward Nero

A shipping industry trend toward bigger, more efficient container vessels is paying off at the Port of Oakland.

The port’s 2017 container volume through April was up 2.8 percent over last year, while at the same time, the number of vessels arriving was down 5.6 percent, according to data released by the port on May 12. Numbers also show 539 ships visiting Oakland in the first four months of 2017, compared to 571 calls during the same period in 2016.

The upshot is that fewer but larger ships are carrying more cargo to Oakland, easing dock crowding while reducing vessel emissions.

“Shipping lines have moved to larger vessels to consolidate cargo and cut costs,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll explained. “We’re the beneficiaries because we can handle volume growth efficiently and sustainably.”

The reduction not only meant fewer diesel emissions from ships heading in or out of port, but also less demand for berthing space, which is a hot commodity in Oakland.

The average-size vessel visiting Oakland now has the capacity to carry more than 8,000 20-foot containers, up from 5,000 TEUs three years ago. Ships with capacity for 14,000 containers – the largest in North America – call Oakland weekly, according to the port.

Containerized import volume in Oakland increased 3.5 percent from January through April, while export volume was up three percent, according to port data.

Free Boat Tours Offered at POLA this Weekend

By Mark Edward Nero

In celebration of World Trade Week, the Port of Los Angeles is offering free public boat tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Tours will depart every 30 minutes from the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro, and from Banning’s Landing Community in Wilmington.

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum is located at 600 Sampson Way, Berth 84, in San Pedro. Banning’s Landing Community Center can be found at 100 E. Water St. in Wilmington. Boats at both locations are wheelchair accessible and have restrooms on board.

The Port of LA has offered free World Trade Week tours to the public for over 20 years. This year’s tours are an hour long, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are needed.

“World Trade Week is a great opportunity to welcome our local residents and visitors to the waterfront for a spectacular view of the nation’s busiest port in action,” POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

World Trade Week, which coincides with World Trade Month, is a unique program dedicated to educating the public about the importance and benefits of global trade to the local and U.S. economy. Related events and programs are held throughout Southern California every May.

Friday, May 12, 2017

POLA April Cargo Volumes Set Record

By Mark Edward Nero

April cargo volumes surged 8.9 percent at the Port of Los Angeles compared to the same month last year, according to data released by the port May 11, making it the best April in the port’s 110-year history. With 714,755 TEUs, it eclipsed the April 2012 record of 707,182 TEUs.

For the first four months of 2017, cargo has increased 10 percent compared to 2016, which was a record-breaking year for the port.

“April was the first month of new vessel alliance deployments around the globe, and we are pleased that the Port of Los Angeles provided world-class service and efficiency at our terminals,” POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “We continue to seek new ways to improve operations,” he added.

According to the numbers published by POLA, April 2017 imports increased 8.3 percent to 372,040 TEUs compared to the previous year, while exports jumped 9.4 percent to 157,661 TEUs. The total loaded volumes of 529,702 TEUs represented an increase of 8.6 percent compared to the previous year, while empty containers grew 9.8 percent to 185,052 TEUs.

The port’s most recent five-year average of April container volumes is 674,540 TEUs, and this year’s volumes represent a six percent increase over the five-year average.

Current and historical data is available on the port’s website at https://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp.

Newest BC Ferries Vessel Begins Service May 16

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the contractor that provides ferry service along coastal British Columbia, announced on May 9 that its newest vessel, Salish Orca, is expected to officially commence service at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, on the Comox-Powell River route.

Salish Orca is the first of three new Salish Class vessels that are dual-fuel and capable of operating on either natural gas or ultra-low sulfur marine diesel. BC Ferries said its use of natural gas for the vessels is expected to result in the reduction of about 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking roughly 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road.

“We are very excited to introduce this beautiful new ship, Salish Orca, into service and see the dual-fuel technology at work,” BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mark Collins said in a statement.

Salish Orca and her sister ships Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were named to honor the Coast Salish people as the original mariners of the Salish Sea. Each vessel features the artwork of a different First Nations artist. The Salish Orca, which accommodates about 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew, is equipped with two marine evacuation systems with life rafts, smoke and natural gas detection alarms and state-of-the-art fire suppression systems. The vessel measures 107 meters in length overall and has a service speed of 15.5 knots.

Crowley Wins LNG Supply Contract in Puerto Rico

By Mark Edward Nero

Crowley Maritime Corp. said May 11 that its liquefied natural gas (LNG) services group has been awarded a multi-year contract to supply additional volumes of containerized, US-sourced LNG to a major pharmaceutical company’s manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico.

The contract, executed through Crowley’s Carib Energy LLC subsidiary, extends a 2014 contract awarded to Crowley for LNG supply for the facilities by expanding LNG services to additional plants.

The contract which includes the fuel supply and transportation of LNG from US-based liquefaction facilities to the pharmaceutical company’s plants, will be managed by Crowley’s domestic logistics team. They will coordinate over-the-road transportation of 40-foot intermodal ISO tanks, authorized by the US Department of Transportation to each carry about 10,000 gallons of LNG, to the company’s Jacksonville, Fla., shipping terminal.

Once in Jacksonville, the tanks will be loaded onto company-owned vessels departing for Puerto Rico. Upon arrival on the island, Crowley’s Puerto Rico-based logistics team will manage delivery of the LNG to the customer’s facilities. There, the LNG will be re-gasified into pipeline natural gas for boiler consumption.

“We are thrilled to enhance our relationship by growing our LNG services and volumes with this critical customer in Puerto Rico,” Crowley Vice President Greg Buffington said. “Crowley will continue to provide an uninterrupted supply chain of natural gas to the customer’s site, just as we have done since 2014.”

Customs Withdraws Proposal to Revoke Jones Act Waivers

By Mark Edward Nero

US Customs and Border Protection announced on May 10 that it is withdrawing a January proposal to revoke waivers that have been previously granted to oil and gas companies.

The proposal, which was issued two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as President, would have potentially been devastating for foreign-based oil and gas companies that move product in and around the United States.

The Jones Act, passed in 1920, prohibits foreign flagged vessels from transporting merchandise between points in the United States and mandates that vessels transporting such merchandise be owned and operated by American companies and be staffed by crews of Americans. Customs has provided waivers to the rule for about 40 years.

The oil and gas industry, for the most part, was pleased by the news.

“By rescinding the proposal CBP has decided not to impose potentially serious limitations to the industry’s ability to safely, effectively and economically operate,” said Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute.

However, a group representing US companies operating offshore service vessels, the Offshore Marine Service Association, issued a statement calling Customs’ reversal deeply disappointing.

“This decision hurts American workers, vessel owners and US shipbuilders,” the association said in a statement. “We call on President Trump to take immediate action and correct these damaging rulings that have continued to put foreign companies first and American companies and workers last.”

Customs said that it has received over 3,000 comments about the proposal before it was pulled, with many in opposition to the possible waiver revocation.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Maintenance Drydock of Presidential Yacht Complete

By Mark Edward Nero

The presidential yacht Potomac is once again plying the waters of San Francisco Bay after recently undergoing a maintenance drydocking at Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda, California, the vessel repair company revealed May 5. The Potomac, known as the “floating White House,” was launched in 1934 and served as the presidential yacht until the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945. She has a storied past from her start as a Presidential yacht to Elvis Presley’s vessel and several other lives in-between.

Now under management of the Potomac Association, her docents have said they selected Bay Ship & Yacht as her recent repair facility because the company is already very familiar with the vessel.

Repairs included above- and below-water painting, preservation and repair of the valves, checking and maintenance of all mechanical propulsion and steering systems, structural steel repairs to tanks and hatches, and tank painting.

“The Potomac is a wonderfully kept piece of machinery by a dedicated group of docents that are passionate about preserving history,” Bay Ship & Yacht Business Development Manager Richard Maguire said. “Her docents often remark about the monumental decisions that were discussed aboard all throughout her tour of duty spanning the Great Depression and World War II. Bay Ship and Yacht is extremely pleased to be part of the preservation of such a fine piece of American history.”

The 165-foot long Potomac, which has a beam of 23.72 feet, is available for tours and voyages by the public. More information is available at www.usspotomac.org.

POLB Monthly Volumes Rise 16 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volumes at the Port of Long Beach were 16.5 percent higher in April compared to the same month last year, with the port crediting the increase to more ships calling, thanks to new business and changes to vessel deployments.

A total of 558,014 TEUs moved through Long Beach, according to port data released May 8.

Inbound boxes numbered 288,207 TEUs, an increase of 16.5 percent, and the port handled 116,260 loaded outbound units during that period, up 3.1 percent. Empty containers returning overseas to be filled with goods jumped to 153,547 TEUs, 29.3 percent higher.

So far this year, cargo volume at the port is up 5.1 percent from 2016, according to data.

“We continue to be on pace for a strong year,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said. “In April, we were pleased to welcome back Hyundai Merchant Marine as well as a new customer, SM Line. As shipping lines around the world settle into new alliance routes, our many business partners can depend on Long Beach to provide a safe harbor for their goods with our signature efficient and sustainable services.”

The port’s latest monthly cargo figures, and more detailed numbers can be found at www.polb.com/stats.

New Vancouver USA CFAO Assumes Post

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA’s newly hired Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Elizabeth Gotelli, joined the port May 8 after being hired for the position in late April.

Her duties as CFAO include strategic planning, development of port business policies, operations and budget responsibility for the administration, contracts, finance and IT departments, and ensuring the port complies with local, state and federal regulations and laws governing port operations.

Prior to joining Vancouver USA, Gotelli was Director of Public Affairs and Human Resources for the City of Lacey, Washington for five years. She has also worked for the City of Vancouver, Washington, as Director of Human Resources and Procurement Services Manager, and in positions with Clark County Public Works and Community Services.

“Elizabeth has a strong financial and administrative background, combined with knowledge of our community and experience with local agencies,” port CEO Julianna Marler said. “These traits are what really make her stand out as the right person for this position.”

Report: North America Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook Steady

By Mark Edward Nero

Cruise popularity is on the rise amongst consumers, and there is a surge of interest in cruise travel, according to the results of a new study released May 4 by the Cruise Lines International Association.

The Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook of 2017 is the first of three surveys conducted by the cruise association in partnership with J.D. Power to gain insight into consumer travel behaviors and opinions revealing traveler insights, outlook and attitudes regarding cruising and land-based travel.

“The first installment of the Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook is vital in keeping the cruise industry abreast of consumer attitudes and behaviors, allowing the industry to continue to evolve in a direction that is appealing and beneficial to would-be and current cruise travelers,” CLIA President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust said. “Each installment will help the industry, as well as cruise travel agents, continue to adapt business practices and offerings to coincide with the desires of travelers and propel the cruise industry forward.”

Key findings indicate that cruise popularity is on the rise and in good favor. Of those asked, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said their overall awareness of cruise vacations has improved within the last two years. Within the last four months alone, 30 percent of respondents said their awareness of cruising and ship-based excursions “increased greatly” compared to year or two ago. In terms of perception, the overwhelming majority of travelers have a positive attitude toward cruising. In fact, only six percent of responders expressed an unfavorable attitude toward cruise vacations, down from 11 percent. The number of vacationers who are interested in taking a cruise vacation has reportedly risen to 63 percent. According to the report, travelers have a solid interest in both ocean cruising (50 percent) and river cruising (30 percent). Over 50 percent say they will or probably will take an ocean cruise soon. Eight out of ten said they will board a cruise ship in the next 12 months.

J.D. Power conducted the North America Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook web-based surveys in August and December 2016 targeting 500 consumers who earn more than $50,000 annually and had taken a vacation within the past three years.

The survey is expected to be conducted three times per year to establish industry trends, according to the cruise association.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Bill Introduced to Expand Maritime Training at Two-Year Colleges

By Mark Edward Nero

Two US assemblymen have introduced bipartisan legislation designed to advance the capabilities of two-year community and technical colleges to assist the federal government and industry in securing the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs.

The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act was introduced May 2 by Representatives Gene Green, D-TX, and Rob Wittman, R-VA.

“In our district, we have a surplus of maritime jobs and not enough people with the skills and training to fill them,” said Green. “This bipartisan legislation will help bridge the gap. It’s good for our local community, it’s good for our businesses, and it’s good for the American economy.”

“A well-trained, skilled maritime work force is critical for our nation’s economy and national security,” said Wittman. “Shipyards in Virginia and around the country will benefit from the injection of workers our new centers of excellence will provide.”

“I am pleased to introduce the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act with my colleagues to bolster our maritime industry, raise up our community and technical colleges, and empower students to find well-paying jobs in this critical sector of the American economy,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif. “Strengthening this work force is essential to maintaining our nation’s goods movement system and vital to our national defense.”

“The recruitment and development of shipyard workers is critical to the future of the US shipbuilding and repair industry,” Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America said in a statement. “Empowering MarAd to recruit, train and develop the next generation of workers will provide a stable work force and ensure there is sufficient talent to build our commercial and military ships for decades to come.”

The full text of the legislation can be found at https://green.house.gov/sites/green.house.gov/files/documents/Domestic%20Maritime%20Centers%20of%20Excellence%20Act%20030317.pdf

Disney Vessel Becomes First Cruise Ship through New Panama Canal Locks

By Mark Edward Nero

Last weekend marked a milestone for the cruise industry when the Disney Wonder, transited the Panama Canal as the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks.

The Disney Wonder’s Panama Canal crossing, which took place April 29, was part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, Calif. The ship entered the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean, beginning its journey at the new Agua Clara Locks.

From there, it headed south through Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut, passing through the new Cocoli Locks and under the Bridge of Americas before exiting to the Pacific Ocean.

Before and after Disney’s summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder is expected to sail from San Diego to Baja, Calif., and the Mexican Riviera.

The ship departs the West Coast on October 27 and should pass through the Panama Canal again to begin Disney’s Halloween on the High Seas cruises from Galveston, Texas.

The $5.4 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, which started in the fall of 2007, officially opened to traffic in June 2016. The new set of locks feature sliding gates, doubled for safety. Each chamber measures 1,400 feet long, 180 feet wide, and 60 feet deep allowing vessels with a beam of up to 160 feet, an overall length of up to 1,200 feet and a draft of up to 49 feet.

The Disney Wonder has an overall length of 964 feet, a width of 106 feet, and a draft of 25.3 feet.

A video of the Disney Wonder transiting the locks can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB9s9gKtUxQ