Friday, April 28, 2017

Record Year for Grays Harbor Biodiesel Facility

By Mark Edward Nero

Renewable Energy Group’s 100-million gallon per-year-capacity biorefinery at the Port of Grays Harbor is celebrating setting new production records. The facility produced 72.3 million gallons in 2016, a considerable increase in production over the previous record according to figures released by the port April 25.

Since acquiring the plant in August 2015, Renewable Energy Group has invested more than $5 million into the facility, according to the Port of Grays Harbor. One of the major investments being a new state of-the-art decanter, which helped improve the quality of glycerin, a co-product of the biodiesel making process.

The glycerin is then piped aboard vessels at Terminal 1, the port’s dedicated liquid bulk terminal, for export to China, where it is refined for other uses.

A new rail fall protection project was also recently completed, which added fall protection to all five of REG’s tracks to include all 64 rail loading and unloading locations.

“The increase in production and the increased vessel calls for glycerin export have helped put people to work in the plant and at our docks,” port Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes explained.

“We look forward to working with REG as they continue to weigh options for a potential expansion and further investment in Grays Harbor.”

REG owns and operates a total of 14 active biorefineries throughout North America and Europe.

POLB Appoints New Engineering Executives

By Mark Edward Nero

Earlier this week, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners named two Port of Long Beach engineering leaders as the new Chief Harbor Engineer and the new Director of Program Management.

Suzanne Plezia, the port’s Director of Construction Management, has been promoted to Senior Director of the Engineering Bureau’s Program Delivery Group. The position is also referred to as Chief Harbor Engineer. Plezia is the first woman to hold this position in the port’s history. In that capacity, she will oversee the execution of all the port’s capital projects.

She will lead the Program Delivery Group, which consists of four divisions – Program Management, Construction Management, Survey and Project Controls. The group is responsible for the port’s capital program, including the new Middle Harbor Container Terminal Redevelopment and replacement of the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge.

Tom Baldwin, who has been Assistant Director of Program Management, will oversee the port’s capital improvement program, which includes dredging, wharf, terminal, building, railroad, bridge, safety, roadway and utility projects.

Plezia joined the Port of Long Beach in 1996 as an intern. She was named Director of Construction Management in December 2014, and has also worked in the Design, Program Management and Construction Management divisions. In 2012, she guided the procurement process for the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement contract, and managed construction for the recently completed Pier G Container Terminal Redevelopment project.

Baldwin began working for the port in 2002 and was named Assistant Director of Program Management in January 2015. He specializes in leading large harbor development projects, including renovations of terminals in use by tenants, such as the Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment program, under which two outdated terminals are being combined into a 305-acre state-of-the-art facility designed to improve capacity while reducing pollutants.

Both appointments are effective April 29.

Port of Seattle Recognizes Ten Sustainability Leaders

By Mark Edward Nero

Winners of the seventh annual Port of Seattle Green Gateway Environmental Excellence Awards, were named by the port April 25.

The awards, which were established in 2010, recognize cruise lines, business partners, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and airlines that demonstrate leadership in sustainability throughout the Puget Sound region.

This year’s maritime award winners are:

• Carnival Cruise Line, which developed recycling incentive program for all vessels in the fleet; participated in initiatives such as Coastal Cleanup Day & World Oceans Day; and hosted a first-ever shoreside Environmental/Sustainability Fair, demonstrating a commitment to environmental education and outreach.

• Celebrity Cruise Lines, which installed solar panels, integrated into the ship’s energy grid; and developed an Environmental Ship Index certification.

• Holland America Line, which installed solar panels, integrated into the ship's energy grid; and developed an Environmental Ship Index certification.

• Norwegian Cruise Line, which installed solar panels, integrated into the ship’s energy grid; and developed an Environmental Ship Index certification, and;

• Princess Cruises, which plugged in to shore power to reduce carbon emissions while at dock; installed LED lighting to save energy; and introduced a unique shredder that significantly reduces the volume of waste produced.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to recognize these businesses that have gone above and beyond in protecting the Earth,” Port of Seattle Commission President Tom Albro said. “Whether it’s the aircraft at Sea-Tac or the vessels calling our harbor, we aim to be the cleanest and greenest port in the nation.”

Trade Expert: Oakland’s Export Growth Vital to US Economy

By Mark Edward Nero

A noted trade expert is calling for an export resurgence to stimulate the US economy and says that the Port of Oakland, which has strong exports, can help make it happen.

“Oakland supports exports, and people who support exports give us hope,” economist Walter Kemmsies recently told an audience of 100 supply chain leaders gathered last week in the port’s Jack London Square.

Kemmsies, the chief strategist for commercial real estate giant Jones, Lang, Lasalle, said export growth can help the US manage its debt burden. First, however, it must make infrastructure investments to become more efficient at serving overseas markets, he said.

Kemmsies noted that the US has underperformed as an exporter for the last 30 years. The Port of Oakland however, is considered one of America’s leading export gateways. Containerized export volume shipped through Oakland increased more than 10 percent in 2016. So far in 2017, exports have accounted for 52 percent of its total cargo volume. A rare occurrence in the US, as most ports are heavily skewed towards imports.

“The heroes are those who have an import-export balance,” Kemmsies said. “And Oakland is an important part of that.”

Consumer growth globally is accelerating fastest outside the US, Kemmsies said, as the result of explosive middle class expansion in developing countries – primarily in Asia. American producers need to tap overseas markets, the economist explained, to remain competitive.

Kemmsies also said the US should concentrate on high-value exports including agricultural commodities – an Oakland mainstay.

“A less US-centric world requires more US exports,” he concluded.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Northwest Seaport Alliance: First Quarter International Volumes Strong

By Mark Edward Nero

Total domestic and international container volumes at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma combined jumped by more than 14 percent for the month of March, and year-to-date volumes were up 10 percent, according to newly released data from the two ports’ marine cargo operating partnership.

March international container volumes performed strongly post-Lunar New Year, according to the Northwest Seaport Alliance. Full imports grew almost 26 percent (120,018 TEUs) compared to March 2016. At 99,603 TEUs, full exports were up more than nine percent in March, making it the strongest month for exports this year.

According to the Alliance data, total international TEU volumes, including empties, increased by almost 21 percent compared to March 2016.International volumes recorded their highest first quarter since 2005, which was then a record-breaking year. This year’s first-quarter full imports reached 351,607 TEUs, up more than 13 percent. Meanwhile, full exports grew six percent at 247,186 TEUs. Total international containers, including empties, increased more than 13 percent year-to-date.

The news wasn’t all good however, as total domestic volumes for the month were down more than eight percent compared to March 2016. Year to date, Alaska volumes declined almost four percent and are expected to decline five to six percent this year due to soft market conditions.

Hawaii volumes, however, are expected to show modest growth for the year and have grown two percent year to date.

Numbers also state that breakbulk cargo was down 16 percent to 38,114 metric tons year to date, due to soft market conditions.

March 2017 was the ports’ fifth-largest month for autos in the past 21 years. Autos reached 44,317 units year to date and were flat compared to the first quarter of last year.

Additionally, data show log volumes, driven by stronger demand from China, were up 76.1 percent to 62,753 metric tons compared to March 2016. The ports’ March 2017 container volumes can be seen at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance_full_mty_by_month_2016vs17_0.pdf, while cargo statistics are available at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance-5-year_history_mar_17.pdf

POLA Releases Everport Terminal Environmental Report

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles and US Army Corps of Engineers have released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR) for a proposed upgrade of the container terminal located at Berths 226-236 on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles that is operated by Everport Terminal Services.

Everport, affiliated with Taiwan-based Evergreen Line, has a long-term lease with the Port of LA for operation of the terminal through 2028, which would be extended 10 years under the project. Everport has said the proposed project would improve the container-handling efficiency and capacity of the existing terminal to accommodate the projected fleet mix of larger container vessels that are anticipated to call at the Everport Container Terminal through 2038.

The Draft EIS/EIR, which was released to the public April 20, includes a discussion of the proposed project’s environmental impacts and identifies mitigation measures to reduce these impacts as required under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The 45-day public comment and review period for the Draft EIS/EIR ends June 5. During that time the port will hold a public meeting at 6 pm, Wednesday, May 10, at Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, located at 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro, to present its findings and provide opportunity for public comment.

Comments on the Draft EIS/EIR must be submitted in writing by the end of the 45-day public review period and must be postmarked by June 5. Comments should be directed to:

Port of Los Angeles
Chris Cannon
Director of Environmental Management
P.O. Box 151
San Pedro, CA 90733-0151
ceqacomments@portla.org

US Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District, Regulatory Division
Ventura Field Office
ATTN: Theresa Stevens, Ph.D.
2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 110
Ventura, CA 93001
Theresa.Stevens@usace.army.mil

Comments sent via email should include the project title in the subject line and body of the email in letter format. Questions about the project should be directed to the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Management Division at (310) 732-3675.

A copy of the document is available for public review on the Port of Los Angeles website at https://www.portoflosangeles.org/EIR/Everport/DEIR/deir_everport.asp

Western Towboat Inks Agreement with MobileOps

By Mark Edward Nero

MobileOps Inc. (mobileops.co), a Redmond, Washington-based software company that specializes in the design and development of maritime software applications – such as dispatch, safety, compliance, vessel maintenance, timecards and analytics apps – has signed an agreement with Seattle-based tug and barge operator Western Towboat Co.

Under the agreement, Western Towboat will utilize the MobileOps platform across its fleet of vessels and within several shoreside departments, the companies say.

In addition, the MobileOps platform’s offline-capable application, Voyager, will be used on tugs transiting the ocean out of cellular range. Voyager, according to MobileOps, allows data to be input, stored, and then synced once within cellular range, allowing for seamless and efficient communications with shoreside personnel.

PT Boat Restoration Project Receives Battery Chargers from Newmar

By Mark Edward Nero

A US Navy World War II PT boat that was recently restored and rebuilt by volunteers at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, has been equipped with modern state-of-the-art battery chargers, thanks to a donation from Orange County, California-based products supplier Newmar Power.

Following more than a decade of volunteer-provided planning and restoration work, PT-305 motored to its new home in a custom-built boathouse on Lake Pontchartrain on March 25. Visitors can now tour and arrange rides on the fully functioning vessel.

To help bring the project to completion, Newmar donated a package of four Phase Three (PT) series battery chargers for the vessel’s port and starboard 24V battery banks and the 12V generator start bank.

To protect the integrity of the boat’s original 1943 design, the chargers and other related modern systems were mounted in the boat’s ammunition locker out of sight. The multiple Newmar chargers were added to meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations for passenger-carrying vessels to support navigation, communications, alarms, pumps and safety equipment.

Newmar says its PT-series chargers incorporate smart circuitry to provide optimum three-stage charging for fast recovery and conditioning, and that the ABS type-approved unit can also be used as a power supply for DC loads.

“This project was a labor of love for the more than 200 volunteers who put in over 100,000 hours of donated work on the project, and it is a pleasure to see it come to fruition as PT-305 enters its new life as the world’s only fully operational combat-veteran World War II PT boat museum. All of us at Newmar are proud that we could contribute to the restoration,” said Brian Giannini, sales manager, Newmar.

PT-305 was launched in May 1943 and had a distinguished combat record operating against German forces in the Mediterranean. With three 12-cylinder Packard engines running on aviation fuel, the 78-foot PT boats were the fastest vessels in World War II with a top speed of more than 40 knots.

After the war, PT-305 was sold and eventually ended up as an oyster boat in the Chesapeake Bay before it was discovered and acquired by the National World War II Museum and brought back to New Orleans.

Friday, April 21, 2017

USCG Decommissions 50-Year-Old Hawaii-Based Cutter

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard decommissioned its eighth high-endurance cutter on April 18 as part of recapitalization efforts during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu.

The Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter, was decommissioned after nearly 50 years of service, including action in the Vietnam War, numerous major drug interdictions and law enforcement cases, and a variety of noteworthy rescues, according to the USCG.

Morgenthau, commissioned March 10, 1969, was the eighth of 12 Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters built by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. High-endurance cutters are the largest of their kind, aside from the three major icebreakers and national security cutters, ever built for the Coast Guard. Morgenthau was active in the Vietnam War, conducting underway replenishment, naval gunfire support, and patrol duties off the coast of Vietnam until relieved by a 311-foot cutter in 1971.

In 1977, the USCG says, Morgenthau became the first cutter to have women permanently assigned on board, which paved the way for others to serve aboard Coast Guard cutters nationwide.

In the fall of 1996, Morgenthau was the first US Coast Guard cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, it enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Morgenthau participated in Operation Noble Eagle to safeguard America’s prominent port cities through closer scrutiny of maritime traffic.

“The history of Morgenthau’s operations showcases the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out a diverse and important range of missions vital to the security and prosperity of our nation,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, who leads the service’s Pacific fleet as the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California.

The US State Department is coordinating the transfer of Morgenthau through the Foreign Assistance Act. This act allows the transfer of excess defense articles as a grant to friendly, foreign governments.

“This cutter may leave our service, but the legacy of the men and women who served on Morgenthau will live on forever,” Midgette said.

Clark County Port Heads to Give Talk on Seaport Operations

By Mark Edward Nero

The CEOs of all three Clark County ports – Vancouver USA, Camas-Washougal and Ridgefield – say they’ll share what makes each port unique and how the ports work together for the betterment of the region during a lecture set for April 27.

The event will feature Port of Vancouver USA CEO Julianna Marler and Chief External Affairs Officer Ryan Hart, along with Port of Camas-Washougal Executive Director David Ripp and Port of Ridgefield CEO Brent Grening and VP of Innovation Nelson Holmberg.

They will share updates on interesting projects, including the Washougal Waterfront Vision and Master Plan; the Port of Ridgefield’s Discovery Corridor and development of dark fiber infrastructure; and the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1 waterfront redevelopment.

Attendees will also hear how the three ports partner together for greater impact, taking a regional approach to marketing and to presenting priorities in transportation, economic development and other critical issues to state and federal legislators.

The lecture, which is part of an ongoing series, is set for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27 in the Terminal 1 large conference room, 100 Columbia Street, Vancouver, the former Red Lion Hotel.

Space at each lecture is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, call (360) 693-3611 or email rsvp@portvanusa.com. Those with questions should contact Julie Rawls at (360) 992-1137 or jrawls@portvanusa.com.

Port of Everett Begins New Rail Line Construction

By Mark Edward Nero

Construction has started on a new, 3,300 lineal foot double rail siding to support international cargo movement at the Port of Everett, the port confirmed April 13.

In February, the Port Commission awarded a $3.4 million contract to Everett-based contractor Granite Construction to complete the second phase of the port’s terminal rail enhancements to improve regional rail freight mobility and increase capacity of rail freight at the Port of Everett. The project is made possible in part, by a federal grant through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

“The project will increase our current on-terminal rail footprint from 9,200 lineal feet to 12,500 lineal feet, and it is slated for completion in November,” the port explained in a statement. “The project also provides a critical connection that allows BNSF easier ingress and egress to the port’s shipping facilities, reducing congestion on the mainline from Seattle to Canada and east along the northern corridor.”

The Port of Everett utilizes rail to support US exports and imports, including goods from the aerospace, construction, manufacturing, energy, agricultural and forest products industries. The project will allow to efficiently transport goods from ship to shore, with cargo arriving and departing the terminals utilizing rail as well as trucks.

The use of rail service for the cargo shipments could potentially eliminate 429 million commercial truck miles off local roads and highways, the port says.

Oakland Port Exec: Shipping Line Changes Good for Industry

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 17, Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said he’s eager for changes in the way container shipping lines operate, and that newly formed ocean carrier alliances will benefit his port.

“We’ll see larger vessels coming to the port, which is a good thing,” he told employees in a podcast on the port’s website. “We’ll get more container moves-per-vessel, which increases the efficiency of operations.”

Driscoll also said the port will receive a new weekly vessel service as a result of carrier realignment. Taiwan-based Wan Hai Lines plans to launch a new route connecting Oakland and Asia, which will bring the number of regularly scheduled vessel services calling Oakland to 29.

“It’s a good sign when new players come to Oakland,” Driscoll said.

The changes result from an April 1 realignment in which 11 of the world’s largest shipping lines formed three new alliances. Alliances let carriers pool ships on ocean routes to cut costs while expanding market reach.

The carriers plan to deploy larger vessels in their alliances, carrying more containers to the US West Coast, which theoretically should enable them to reduce the number of voyages while maintaining cargo volume levels.

“What’s good for our customers is good for the Port of Oakland,” Driscoll noted. “When shipping lines can be more efficient – and healthier financially – we all benefit.”

Driscoll said new alliance configurations should have little impact on Oakland operations, and that some vessels will change which of Oakland’s three international marine terminals they call, but the terminals are prepared.

The first vessels operating under new alliance configurations were due in Oakland this week. Oakland has regular service to ports in Asia, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, Latin America, Oceania and Hawaii.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USCG Brings New Fast Response Cutter to Alaska

By Mark Edward Nero

US Coast Guard cutter John McCormick is now the first fast response cutter to be stationed in Alaska after completing a 6,200-mile journey from the shipyards of Louisiana to reach its new home port in Ketchikan, the USCG said April 12.

John McCormick is the first of six FRCs to be stationed in the Coast Guard 17th District and is to perform southeast Alaska missions.

“It will be interesting to explore and define exactly what this FRC is capable of accomplishing in southeast Alaska.” Lt. Jr. Grade Joseph Petry, executive officer aboard the John McCormick said, The new 154-foot FRCs are capable of transiting farther than their 110-foot predecessors before needing to refuel, and have a range of 2,500 nautical miles. Also, their two 20-cylinder turbocharged engines provide propulsion resulting in sustained flank speeds of 28-plus knots. Additionally, FRCs are equipped with a 75-kilowatt bow thruster, which provides for more precise steering in narrow channels and while conducting close-quarters operations.

Weapons systems capabilities on board John McCormick are also increased from those of previous patrol boats. In addition to four M2HB .50-caliber machine guns, the cutter is equipped with a forward-mounted, remotely operated Bushmaster 25-mm chain-fed autocannon capable of firing 225 rounds per minute at a range of up to 6,800 meters.

The stern of John McCormick, like others in its class, is equipped with a hydraulic gate, through which the FRC may launch and recover its 26-foot small boat. This method, according to the USCG, provides a more stable alternative to the crane and davit system used by the older 110-foot patrol boats and enables the FRC crews to operate the small boat and conduct missions in heightened environmental conditions.

“These ships will be critical in providing law enforcement, fisheries regulation, and search and rescue assistance to the maritime communities of Alaska,” Petry said.

POLB Hires Federal Maritime Commissioner as New Chief Executive

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 14, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to hire Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) member Mario Cordero as the new executive director of the Port of Long Beach.

Before joining the Maritime Commission, Cordero, a Long Beach resident and attorney, was a longtime member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Cordero is expected to join the port May 15, and earn about $350,000 annually.

“After a comprehensive international search, the Board of Harbor Commissioners recognized that Mario Cordero is an ideal choice to lead the Port of Long Beach,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement.

“Mario not only has a deep understanding of the maritime industry from his leadership of the Federal Maritime Commission, but his service as a member of the Long Beach Harbor Commission gives him extensive knowledge of the needs of our carriers, terminal operators, cargo owners, and other trade partners,” Guzman said. “Mario approaches challenges from a bipartisan, collaborative perspective and as we seek to keep our port thriving, his combination of national and local experience is well-suited to carry us into the future.”

Cordero was appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission 2011, with a term that was to expire in June 2019. He served as FMC chairman from April 2013 until January 2017. He was a Long Beach Harbor Commissioner from 2003 to 2011, and was president of the Harbor Commission from 2007 to 2008.

During his tenure on the Harbor Commission, he helped to spearhead the port’s pioneering Green Port Policy, formalized in 2005 and aimed at reconciling economic growth and environmental stewardship. Cordero has practiced law for more than 30 years and has taught political science at Long Beach City College. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach, and his law degree from the University of Santa Clara.

“I am so pleased to be coming back home to the Port of Long Beach,” Cordero said. “The broad perspective I gained at the national level, along with my many years of service as a Long Beach Harbor Commissioner and my love for the community of Long Beach, will allow me to hit the ground running. I’ll be working closely with the Commission and our highly experienced staff in the months ahead to carry out our ambitious capital improvements and ensure that our customers and community members are well-served.”

The Harbor Commission made the decision on Cordero in an executive session following its regular April 10 board meeting. The Commission confirmed Cordero’s appointment at a special April 14 public meeting. Cordero will succeed Duane Kenagy, who has served as Interim Executive Director since late 2016, after the sudden resignation of then-chief executive Jon Slangerup last September.

Vigor Inks Deal for Third Seattle Drydock

By Mark Edward Nero

Vigor Industrial revealed April 17 that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a drydock from a Korean seller in order to, the company said, build on its ongoing investments in infrastructure and fulfill a promise to customers to expand West Coast drydock capacity.

The newly purchased drydock is 640 feet long, with a clear width of 116 feet and a lift capacity of 20,000 LT, making it the largest at Vigor’s Harbor Island shipyard, according to the company.

“The purchase of another drydock in Seattle allows Vigor to better service valued customers like Washington State Ferries, the US Coast Guard and the US Navy,” Vigor Executive Vice President of Ship Repair Adam Beck explained. “It also further strengthens our market position in commercial ship repair on the West Coast and supports our expansion into new markets.”

Beck and his team had been actively looking for the right drydock at home and abroad for a number of months. The team is now working to finalize the transaction and have the dock operational in Seattle by late fall, according to the company.

“Washington State Ferries is greatly relieved and appreciative to hear of Vigor’s important investment in a new drydock for its Harbor Island/Seattle location. We have been concerned about the shortage of drydock availability for the maintenance and repair of our fleet,” WSF Director of Vessel Engineering and Maintenance Matt Von Ruden said. “Regular maintenance is critical to our ability to achieve the expected service life of our vessels and keep them operating well for our customers.”

Port of Portland Names Executive Director Job Finalists

By Mark Edward Nero

An advisory group to the Port of Portland Commission on April 10 named the three recommended finalists for the position of executive director of the Port of Portland.

All are vying to replace current Executive Director Bill Wyatt, who will retire from the port on June 30.

The finalists are:

• Jonathan Daniels, Executive Director and CEO, Mississippi State Port Authority;

• Stephanie Dawson, Chief Operation Officer, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and;

• Curtis Robinhold, Deputy Executive Director, Port of Portland.

The port also announced an online public comment period ending April 24. Comments can be submitted at: http://mbsearch.com/port-of-portland-public-comment/

The Port Commission will interview candidates in a closed executive session on May 10 and hold a special public meeting to vote on final candidate on May 23.

The three recommended finalists were selected by a Port Commission advisory group that included Commissioners Michael Alexander, Bob Levy, Patricia McDonald and Tom Tsuruta, as well as community leaders Andrew Colas of Colas Construction; Andrea Durbin of the Oregon Environmental Council; Katherine Lam of Vietnamese eatery Bambuza; and John Mohlis, formerly of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Seaspan Ferries Welcomes New Hybrid Fuel Vessels to Fleet

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 9, British Columbia-based Seaspan Ferries Corp. officially welcomed two new, state-of-the-art dual-fueled/hybrid (liquefied natural gas, diesel and battery) vessels to its fleet during a double commissioning ceremony at Tilbury Terminal.

The Seaspan Swift and Seaspan Reliant, the first eco-ferries of their kind in North America, were formally christened by sponsors Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia; and Anisa White, wife of Doug White III, Councillor and Chief Negotiator for Snuneymuxw First Nation.

“April 9, 2017 will be remembered as a historic milestone for Seaspan Ferries and we are extremely fortunate to have two sponsors who represent our connection to both the past and future to help bring our new vessels to life,” Seaspan President Steve Roth said.

Following their construction at Sedef Shipyard in Istanbul, Turkey, the Seaspan Swift arrived in December 2016 and entered operation in January 2017, while the Seaspan Reliant followed in late February and is scheduled to begin service later this month.

The 149-meter (488-foot) ferries, which can accommodate up to 59 53-foot trailers, mark the first new vessels added to Seaspan’s fleet since 2002.

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

Bellingham, Edmonds Ports to Receive Seattle Tourism Support Grants

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle on April 11 announced recipients of grants to support tourism across Washington State. The grants are expected to fund $150,000 in projects, from websites and advertising to booths at travel trade shows.

The grants must be matched by the organization and used for publicizing and attracting visitors to their destinations. This year, grant recipients are committing nearly $100,000 worth of matching funds.

“Increasing the number of tourists to Washington means more jobs for our region, so the Port of Seattle is partnering with communities to help grow tourism,” Commissioner John Creighton explained. The maritime-related 2017 marketing support program recipients include:

• Ballard Alliance, which received a $10,000 award to implement a digital advertising campaign to attract and increase non-resident travel-related expenditures including Fishermen’s Terminal and Shilsole Bay Marina.

• The Port of Bellingham is receiving $10,000 to market its area as an outdoor recreation base and growing reputation as a premier craft beer destination. The promotion effort will reportedly include marketing air travel to Bellingham via Sea-Tac Airport and participation in a travel / trade show in Denver, Colorado.

• The Port of Edmonds will receive $10,000. In concert with other travel-related organizations, the Port of Edmonds is expected to develop an online media campaign including video promoting whale watching opportunities from Edmonds.

• The Puget Sound Attractions Council will receive $5,500 to participate in an international tour operator travel trade show promoting their attractions to sellers of travel to the Pacific Northwest. It will also host additional travel media and social media influencers from beyond the Pacific Northwest to experience their city and surrounding unique visitor destinations.

POLA Monthly Volumes Up 29 Percent, Quarterly Up 10 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

March cargo volumes jumped nearly 30 percent at the Port of Los Angeles compared to the previous year, the POLA said on April 13.

The robust numbers came, according to the port, through a combination of strong export volumes, which were up 20 percent, a post Lunar New Year surge of cargo from Asia, and US retailers shipping merchandise ahead of the new vessel alliance deployments that began this month.

For the first quarter of 2017, cargo increased 10 percent compared to 2016, according to POLA data. “We are pleased to end the first quarter of 2017 with strong volumes and continually efficient cargo handling operations,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “We continue to earn the confidence of shippers and are encouraged by the strength of our supply chain partners.”

March 2017’s container volumes of 788,524 TEUs increased 29 percent compared to the March 2016 volumes of 612,863 TEUs, according to port data. The port’s most recent five-year average of March container volumes is 646,724; this year’s volumes represent a 22 percent increase over the five-year average.

March 2017 imports jumped 30 percent to 373,549 TEUs compared to the previous year, while exports increased 20 percent to 191,772 TEUs. Total loaded volumes of 565,321 TEUs increased 27 percent compared to the previous year. Empty containers grew 34 percent to 223,203 TEUs.

Current and historical data from the port is available at https://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

Port of LB Sees Rise in Monthly, Quarterly Container Volumes

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach saw a nearly nine percent rise in total containers moving through its terminals last month compared to March 2016, port data show, despite a five percent drop in loaded outbound containers.

The monthly increase was mainly due to containers arriving in Long Beach with goods bound for US consumers having spiked 20.2 percent. The jump helped pushed the port to its best first quarter since 2007. Dockworkers offloaded 249,534 loaded inbound twenty-foot equivalent units from vessels in March, according to port data.

But the port’s loaded outbound shipments to overseas markets continue to face challenges due to the strong dollar, as exports decreased 5.3 percent to 120,435 TEUs.

Empties numbered 135,413 containers, up 4.2 percent. In total, the Port of Long Beach moved 505,382 TEUs last month – an 8.7 percent increase.

Long Beach had a modest boost in cargo during the first quarter of the year, with overall throughput increasing just 1.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Data shows that all segments of containerized cargo grew year-over-year in the opening quarter of 2017, with imports climbing 2.1 percent, exports 0.4 percent and empties 1.5 percent.

“We’re happy to see these gains during the traditionally slow period of the year,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement. “We see a lot of upside for the remainder of 2017.”

Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy said that the port’s rise in imports shows that consumers are feeling optimistic.

“Since their spending drives more than two-thirds of the economy, this is a great indicator for the jobs that depend on our port as we head into the busiest trading months of the year,” he said.

The port’s latest monthly cargo numbers are available at http://www.polb.com/economics/stats/latest_teus.asp, while more detailed cargo numbers can be found at www.polb.com/stats.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Barge Sinks South of San Francisco Bay Bridge

By Mark Edward Nero

A collaborative unified command, including the US Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, has been established in response to the sinking of the 112-foot freight barge Vengeance near the San Francisco Bay Bridge on April 7.

During a huge storm last Friday, the barge capsized and then settled on the sea floor above a subterranean Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tube, which is sheltered by a 25- to 30-foot protective layer of earth consisting of compacted sediment.

The Coast Guard says that regular sonar scans and tube inspections are being conducted to ensure the BART tube isn’t affected and that BART remains safe to operate.

Global Diving and Salvage has been hired by the barge’s owner, Vortex Marine Construction, to conduct underwater assessments and devise a salvage plan. The unified command is expected to review the salvage plan before salvage operations begin to ensure it can be conducted safely and efficiently.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew conducted an overflight Sunday and detected no sheen, but responders remain on scene prepared to deploy boom, according to the USCG.

Coast Guard Station San Francisco crews are enforcing a safety zone in the area to protect responders and watchstanders have issued a safety marine information broadcast to local mariners.

Shoreline teams have also been deployed throughout the surrounding areas to conduct assessments to the outlying areas and monitor wildlife, according to the USCG. While no impact to the shoreline has been detected, the responding agencies continue to prioritize and prepare for potential impacts to environmentally sensitive sites.

As of April 10, no visibly oiled wildlife had been reported or observed, according to the Coast Guard, but crews are said to still be monitoring.

Anyone seeing oiled wildlife is asked by authorities to not attempt to capture them, but instead report the sightings to (877) UCD-OWCN.

Alaska Oil Company to Pay Record Jones Act Violation Fine

By Mark Edward Nero

Anchorage-based natural gas and oil production company Furie Operating Alaska LLC has agreed to pay a record $10 million to satisfy a civil penalty originally assessed against it by US Customs and Border Protection for violating the Jones Act, the Department of Justice has announced.

According to the acting US Attorney for the District of Alaska, Furie was penalized when it transported the Spartan 151 jack-up drill rig from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska in 2011 using a foreign flagged vessel without acquiring a waiver of the Jones Act from the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The settlement, which was announced April 4, resolves a civil lawsuit filed by Furie in 2012 challenging the assessment of the civil penalty.

The Jones Act, passed in 1920, prohibits a foreign vessel from transporting merchandise between points in the United States. A violation may result in the assessment of a civil penalty equal to the value of the merchandise. Waivers can be obtained from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in limited circumstances, specifically when it is in the interest of national defense, following a determination that there is no US vessel available to engage in the transport.

“Resolution of this case demonstrates that the Jones Act will be actively enforced and that an intentional violation will not be rewarded,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Third Olympic Class Vessel Joins Washington State Ferries Fleet

By Mark Edward Nero

The Evergreen State’s newest ferry, Chimacum, joined the state fleet on Friday, April 7, as Washington State Ferries (WSF) officially accepted the vessel from builder/contractor Vigor.

The Chimacum is expected to carry ferry riders on the Seattle/Bremerton route this summer after crews complete vessel outfitting, operational training and drills, according to WSF.

The name Chimacum (CHIM-a-cum) honors the Chemakum tribe's gathering place, which is now the present day town of Chimacum near Port Townsend.

“We’re excited to welcome the Chimacum to our fleet,” Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton said in a statement. “This new vessel replaces the 59-year-old Klahowya and allows us to continue providing safe and reliable service for the 2.7 million customers who use the Seattle/Bremerton route each year.”

Chimacum, which has room for 144 cars and 1,500 passengers, like its sister vessels Tokitae and Samish, offers flexible seating configurations, wider vehicle lanes and two passenger elevators, making it the most accessible vessel in the fleet for passengers with disabilities, according to WSF. The total construction cost was $123 million, in addition to equipment provided by Washington State Ferries.

“It’s an honor for us to partner with Washington State Ferries to deliver the Chimacum to the citizens of Washington,” Vigor CEO Frank Foti said in a statement. “Each ferry built here in Washington helps shipyards throughout Puget Sound retain skills vital to the maritime industry and supports hundreds of jobs.”

The Chimacum is the third Olympic Class ferry. The fourth 144-car vessel, Suquamish, is currently under construction at Vigor’s Harbor Island shipyard in Seattle.

Oregon Lawmaker Co-Sponsors Harbor Maintenance Fund Bill

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 5, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR and bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. jointly introduced bipartisan legislation to effectively remove the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from the US budget, therefore bypassing the annual congressional appropriations process.

Instead of being included in the budget, HR 1908 proposes to achieve “full use” of the tax by making revenue directly available to the Army Corps of Engineers.

If enacted, the Corps’ coastal operation and maintenance program would jump from about $1.3 billion a year to $1.8 billion a year. Based on current estimates, the spending level should be sufficient to restore all harbor channels to their constructed dimensions, according to DeFazio and Kelly.

Kelly is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, and DeFazio is the ranking Democratic member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Kelly and DeFazio say that with the Trump Administration promoting a $1 trillion infrastructure investment, they want to highlight that it is easier to start with ports, as there is no need to raise taxes or find a new source of revenue. The funding source already exists and the money is being collected; the government just needs to spend it, they said.

The text of the proposed legislation can be seen at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1908/text

Friday, April 7, 2017

SSA to Manage Matson’s Tacoma Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 4, Matson Inc. announced that its US Pacific carrier subsidiary Matson Navigation Co. will use SSA Terminals (SSAT) for stevedoring and terminal services at the Port of Tacoma when its existing agreement with APM Terminals expires on December 31.

“APMT has served us well. It just makes more sense to work with our strategic partner at Tacoma as we do at all of our other terminals on the West Coast,” Ron Forest, senior vice president of operations for Matson explained in a statement.

Tacoma is the only Matson terminal on the US West Coast not currently handled by SSAT.

The terminal, with 12 employees, became part of the Maersk Group portfolio in 2000 with Maersk Line’s acquisition of US-based Sea-Land Service. The facility, with an annual throughput capacity of 600,000 TEU, was used primarily by the Matson Alaska Service, with twice-weekly sailings between Tacoma, Anchorage and Kodiak, and a weekly service between Tacoma and Dutch Harbor, handling about 190,000 TEUs in 2016.

“We expect a seamless transition and no change in our Tacoma operations from a customer standpoint,” Forest said. In a statement, APM Terminals said it is “evaluating all options” regarding the terminal lease with Matson that expires at the end of the year.

Harley Marine Services Delivers Vessel to Philippine Red Cross

By Mark Edward Nero

Harley Marine Services has delivered the M/V Susitna from Seattle to the Philippine Red Cross – a 15,000 nautical mile voyage spanning the Pacific Ocean, the Seattle-based company revealed in late March.

A contract between the Philippine Red Cross and Harley Marine Services was finalized in June 2016, and following initial discussions, Harley Marine said a “special tow team” was formed that included key stakeholders from each HMS department as well as representatives from the naval architecture firm that designed the vessel.

Harley Marine loaded the M/V Susitna onto a barge, the Chatham Provider for the journey. In order to get the M/V Susitna safely onboard, Harley Marine had to utilize the heavy lift ship, Happy Star. To do this, special lifting pad eyes needed to be designed, engineered, fabricated and installed in a very short amount of time.

Once positioned onboard the barge, Harley Marine hired a load master to ensure the vessel was loaded and lashed down prior to leaving. A total of 175 chain lashings and sea stiffeners were added to the vessel to keep the M/V Susitna from moving onboard the barge.

After leaving Seattle in October 2016, the vessel was then transported under tow by the Harley Marine tug Ernest Campbell through Honolulu, Guam and then the Philippines.

The 195-foot M/V Susitna, built in 2010 in Ketchikan, Alaska, is capable of carrying 129 passengers, plus 20 vehicles or one tractor/trailer rig. Originally built for use transporting and delivering equipment, machinery and personnel, the vessel will now be used in future lifesaving disaster response efforts by the Philippine Red Cross.

Vancouver USA Logs Another Annual Tonnage Record

By Mark Edward Nero

In 2016, the Port of Vancouver USA recorded more than seven million metric tons of cargo across its docks for the first time in its 105-year history, according to port figures.

The port recorded 7.49 million metric tons last year, nearly eight percent more than the 2015 record of 6.95 million metric tons.

“In nine years at the Port of Vancouver, I've never seen tonnage like this,” port CEO Julianna Marler said in a statement. “It’s a testament to the investments we and our partners have made to provide world-class rail and marine services, access to efficient transportation and excellent customer service.”

Last year was especially great for exports at Vancouver USA. Outgoing cargo climbed to 6.32 million metric tons from 5.54 million metric tons in 2015 – a 14 percent increase overall, according to data.

Grain, which is the port’s largest exports by volume, jumped 17.8 percent last year over 2015’s numbers. Some imports, such as wind energy components increased in 2016, but overall imports were down 17 percent in 2016, according to figures.

However, despite gains in overall tonnage, Vancouver USA said that fluctuations in currency and the global economy had an impact on it in 2016, contributing to a slight decline in operating revenue, which decreased from $38.2 million to just under $36 million.

Vancouver USA has logged record tonnage for the past three years, and it says that 2017 is shaping up to be another good year as cargoes like autos, steel, minerals, wind energy components and grain continue to bring in solid numbers.

Port of Oakland: Vessel Calls Down, Container Volumes Up

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland’s total loaded container volume – imports and exports – was up 9.3 percent last month compared to March 2016, according to figures released April 6, contrasting sharply with a 9.2 percent decline in February shipments to Oakland.

The port’s import cargo volume alone increased 19 percent in March over 2016 totals, according to the port. The increased imports, the port said, reflect a return to normal trade patterns following February Lunar New Year celebrations in Asia. Many factories shut down for the holidays, curtailing shipments to the US.

“This is a nice rebound,” Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “We’re watching now to find out if it signals stronger trade growth for the rest of the year.”

According to port figures, 402 ships called at Oakland during the first three months of 2017, down 5.6 percent from a year ago. But at the same time, the port said those ships carried an average of 8.4 percent more containers in and out of Oakland.

The numbers reflect a shipping industry effort to consolidate greater cargo volume on fewer ships.

According to Oakland, the trend promises three benefits: reduced vessel operating expense for shipping lines; less demand for berthing space at marine terminals; and a reduction in diesel emissions at port due to fewer vessel calls.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

USCG Commissions Cutter in Seattle

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard’s newest National Security Cutter (NSC) Munro was commissioned into service April 1 in Seattle.

The Munro was commissioned to honor the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro (1919–1942), who is buried in the veterans’ section of Laurel Hill Memorial Park in the town of Cle Elum in Kittitas County, Washington.

Munro was killed in action in the Guadalcanal campaign of World War II while providing covering fire during the evacuation of a detachment of 500 US Marines who were under attack.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft presided over the ceremony, accepting the sixth NSC into the military service’s fleet. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also sent well wishes to those participating in the commissioning.

“As the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, I’m excited to see this sophisticated national asset put to work ensuring the security and prosperity of our nation,” Kelly said. “As a Marine, I’m honored and humbled to see this cutter commissioned to honor Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro who saved hundreds of Marines at Guadalcanal. It’s apparent his legacy and sacrifice lives on in each member of the US Coast Guard.”

Known as the “Legend” class, NSCs are designed to be the flagships of the Coast Guard’s fleet, capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including providing support to US combatant commanders. NSCs are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and displace 4,600 long tons.

The cutters have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, endurance of up to 90 days and can carry a crew of up to 150, according to the USCG. The new cutters are replacing the aging High Endurance Hamilton class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.

The Munro will conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea, running such missions as alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and homeland security operations at great distances from shore.

The commissioning of a cutter is a time-honored naval tradition where a vessel is placed into active service. During this event, the cutter is “brought to life” and the crew ceremoniously reports aboard to accept their positions. Munro’s great niece, Julie Sheehan, the ship’s sponsor, ordered the ship to “come to life” alongside the vessel’s commanding officer, Capt. Thomas King. Sheehan and many of Munro’s family members reside in the Pacific Northwest and were in attendance.

Munro is the sixth NSC to be commissioned and the fourth to be homeported on the West Coast in Alameda, California.

Holland America Quits Acapulco Calls

By Mark Edward Nero

Pacific Northwest-based cruise line Holland America said it is cancelling port calls in Acapulco through 2018 due to security concerns in what has become known as Mexico’s most violent city.

The beach city and surrounding region have been afflicted by gang- and drug-related violence the past few years, but the problems reached a new height in January after about a dozen killings, although none involving tourists.

The Seattle-based company said the decision affects seven Panama Canal voyages, plus a South America sailing scheduled to take place starting in October. Acapulco voyages will be replaced by sailings to other ports in Mexico, according to Holland America.

“The safety of our guests is our top priority,” the line said in a statement about the schedule change, adding that passengers on the affected cruises have already been notified.

Despite the cancellations, the tourist city is expected to see 28 cruise ships in 2017, compared with 18 last year, a jump of 64 percent according to online publication cruisefever.net.

US Transportation Secretary to Speak at Ports Conference

By Mark Edward Nero

US Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao will serve as keynote luncheon speakers on April 4 and April 5, respectively, during the 2017 spring conference of the American Association of Port Authorities.

In addition to the two keynote addresses and honoring Scalise with AAPA’s 2017 Port Person of the Year award, Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, is expected to present remarks after receiving AAPA’s 2017 Cruise Award on April 5.Other dignitaries, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA), will discuss how port priorities will stack up under the Trump Administration and in the 115th Congress.

“In addition to the honor of having Secretary Chao and Congressman Scalise serve as our keynote speakers and kicking off the event with a celebration of the second annual Western Hemisphere Ports Day, we’re looking forward to the many informative and provocative discussions at this year’s program,” AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said in a statement.

Western Hemisphere Ports Day – which in 2017 is celebrated on April 4 – is an annual recognition of the unity, importance and value of seaports throughout the Americas.

The conference takes place at the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel in Washington, DC.

More information about the event, including the agenda and speakers, is available at https://my.aapa-ports.org/Public/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=17SPRING

USCG to Boaters: Secure Your Vessels

By Mark Edward Nero

On March 31, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach sent a reminder to area boaters regarding the importance in maintaining diligence in the safe keeping of personal vessels during foul weather.

The message was spurred in part by a recent incident off the coast of Abalone Cove, a shoreline park near San Pedro. The incident involved an unmanned kayak that was found adrift and resulted in a Coast Guard and local agency response. Several assets were used to search for a report of a possible missing individual, but the kayak was later found to have broken loose from a storm drain due to strong winds and heavy weather.

“These incidents where multiple agencies and assets are responding to derelict or unsecured personal watercraft can hamper response and search capabilities to those in need of actual assistance,” the USCG said. “The Coast Guard urges individuals to exercise caution when heavy weather is predicted and ensure personal vessels are properly secured at all times.”

The USCG is still searching for the owner of the kayak in question and ask anyone who may have information to call the Los Angeles-Long Beach command center at (310) 521-3805.

More Coast Guard information regarding safe boating is available at http://www.uscgboating.org.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Economist Predicts US Cargo Container Trade Growth

By Mark Edward Nero

International trade is expected to grow for the US in 2017, as domestic economic conditions improve and the world economy accelerates, an economic forecaster predicted at the Port of Long Beach’s annual “Pulse of the Ports” peak season forecast on March 29.

Containerized imports from Asia are expected to increase by 6.9 percent in 2017, but US container exports to Asia to climb a modest 1.3 percent, according to panelist Mario Moreno, Senior Economist with IHS Maritime & Trade.

He also predicted that the overall US economy would rise by about 2.3 percent this year.

More than 500 people attended the 13th annual forecast event hosted by the Port of Long Beach and presented at the Long Beach Convention Center. Industry experts offered insight into trends in global shipping and how they affect the San Pedro Bay port complex.

A panel of six experts from all sectors of the supply chain shared their views on new container vessel alliances, fluid international trade policy, railroads, trucking and other issues facing worldwide commerce.

In addition to Moreno, panelists included John Zarrella, Sales Manager, Preferred Shipper Services; Ken O'Brien, Chief Operating Officer, Gemini Shippers Group; Steve Rothberg, Partner, Mercator International LLC; Anthony Hatch, Principal, ABH Consulting; and Alex Cherin, Intermodal Conference Executive Director, California Trucking Association.

The question and answer portion of the event was moderated by Mark Hirzel, District Manager of A.N. Deringer Inc., while Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Noel Hacegaba served as master of ceremonies.

Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy said that the annual forecast event helps industry see the big picture and plan more accurately for the months ahead.

“We have challenges this year,” he said. The challenges include the effects of the new vessel-sharing alliances, growth among competing North American ports and how Washington will address trade policies. “This forum gives us the opportunity to step back and take a look at our industry’s issues from all angles.”

The archived webcast of the event is available at www.polb.com/pulseports.

Study: Cruise Industry Leads in Environmental Performance

By Mark Edward Nero

The cruise industry is a leader in the development of innovative technologies, the reduction of air emissions and wastewater treatment practices, according to a new study released March 30 by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The study provides the first-ever wide-ranging analysis by independent maritime environmental experts of the cruise industry’s environmental practices and performance. It found that with both air emissions and wastewater treatment practices, CLIA members are leaders in the global commercial maritime sector in the development of innovative technologies to advance environmental stewardship. It also found that CLIA members lead in the development of industry policies and best practices that increase positive environmental performance, and that although cruise ships represent less than one percent of the global commercial maritime fleet, the industry’s actions have substantially contributed to the maritime community’s initiatives in environmental stewardship.

The detailed study, which was commissioned by CLIA and prepared by Energy and Environmental Research Associates, LLC, (EERA) analyzed the practices and performance of the CLIA members’ global fleet of about 300 ocean-going cruise ships, as well as the industry’s investment in technological innovation aboard newly built ships in its growing fleet.

When comparing the level of emissions from all commercial shipping vessels at ports where cruise ships visit in the US and Europe, the study found that the at-berth emissions of cruise ships account for only three percent and 1.2 percent of all emissions within those ports in the US and Europe, respectively.

Overall, EERA found that CLIA members meet or exceed international air emission requirements and are leaders in the maritime sector in adopting cleaner fuels, controlling air emissions and preparing vessels to connect to shore-based energy systems.

Technologies and best practices identified in the EERA report include:

• Systems to reduce air emissions from exhaust stacks, including, as one example, advanced exhaust gas cleaning systems to reduce sulfur oxide and particulate matter.

• The use of shore power where available, and noting that CLIA members’ use of advancements in alternative fuels and emissions abatement technologies could reduce the need for investment in additional shore power in the future.

• Fuel switching to lower sulfur fuel before entering an emission control area, if other methods of emissions abatement aren’t otherwise available on a cruise ship.

• Investment in the use of alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas, with an increasing number of new build orders for LNG-fueled ships.

The full report can be read and downloaded at http://cruising.org/docs/default-source/research/environment-research-2017.pdf.

Port of Oakland Invests in Solar Power

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Oakland Commissioners have approved an $8.9 million deal to purchase solar power for the next 20 years. The port said its municipal utility will resell the electricity to tenants, including those at both the seaport and Oakland airport.

Under the agreement, which was approved March 23, the port plans to buy about 11,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually from a planned expansion of a solar farm located in Lancaster, Calif., about 90 minutes northeast of Los Angeles.

The solar farm expansion is expected to come online in December 2020, according to the port. Oakland said it will pay $39 per megawatt hour for the solar-generated electricity.

The megawatt hours, according to the port, represent about 35 percent of the renewable energy that Oakland needs by 2030 to meet California renewable portfolio standards requirements under state law.

The Port of Oakland operates its own electrical utility; the utility buys electricity and resells it to tenants at the seaport as well as at Oakland International Airport, which is operated by the port.

Port of Seattle Opens 150 Paid Internship Slots

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle is kicking off its 2017 summer intern program with 150 paid roles for high school and college students, which is triple the number of positions offered just two years ago.

“We need to tackle three fundamental challenges in our economy right now: a coming labor shortfall in skilled trades and port-related industries, fewer industries creating good paying jobs that support the middle class, and a lack of opportunities in disadvantaged communities,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman explained.

“We designed our internship program and partnerships to do more to inspire students to explore these industries, learn about skills training and get connected to opportunities,” she said.

In addition, area businesses in the maritime and manufacturing sectors are participating in an expanded pilot program to host and train their own interns. Last year, companies like Vigor and Status Ceramics partnered with the port to create additional opportunities for students.

This year, participation in the program means the placement of a port-recruited intern, and support in the form of training for intern supervisors, access to youth counselors, and off-site education and enrichment opportunities.

In addition to youth career exploration events, the Port of Seattle supports programs with local private employers and unions to improve career pathways for airport workers looking to take on more challenging and higher wage work. The Port is also working to increase adult referrals to pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and union trades job opportunities through a trades partnership with local governments and nonprofits.

On March 30, the Youth Maritime Collaborative hosted an interactive event where those interested in maritime careers could meet potential employers and explore a variety of opportunities in the field.

The Youth Maritime Collaborative is an organization of maritime industry companies, educational institutions, non-profits, community service providers and public agencies established to help address the maritime industry’s urgent need for skilled workers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NASSCO Christens, Launches Final ‘ECO Class’ Vessel

By Mark Edward Nero

On Saturday, March 25, General Dynamics NASSCO christened and launched the Palmetto State – the final ship in an eight-ship “ECO Class” tanker program to be constructed at the company’s San Diego headquarters.

According to NASSCO, the new ECO-class design symbolizes the emerging direction of the shipping industry in the US toward cleaner, more fuel-efficient modes of transporting product. The design provides a 33 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared to product tankers built just a few years ago.

In 2013, NASSCO entered into agreements with two companies, American Petroleum Tankers and SEA-Vista LLC, to design and construct a total of eight 50,000 deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tankers to include a 330,000-barrel cargo capacity each. Seven of the eight tankers have been delivered to their respective customers. The final tanker, the Palmetto State, is scheduled for delivery this summer.

More than a thousand shipbuilders, their families and friends, and members of the community attended the christening celebration. Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) served as the principal speaker for the event.

The ship’s sponsor, who christened the vessel with the traditional break of a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull, was Linda Rankine, the wife of Bill Rankine, manager of marine chartering and operations for CITGO. NASSCO’s manager of planning, Karen Herrmann, served as the trigger honoree, and CITGO marine chartering manager Shari Flippin acted as the first shore removal honoree.

The Palmetto State and her sister ships are the most fuel-efficient tankers to service the Jones Act trade, according to NASSCO, which is the only major shipyard on the West Coast of the United States conducting design, construction and repair of commercial and US Navy ships.

In the past decade, NASSCO has delivered 29 ocean-going ships to government and commercial customers, including the world’s first LNG-powered containerships. In the past two years, NASSCO processed more than 120,000 tons of steel.

1,000th Neo-Panamax Vessel Passes Through Expanded Panama Canal

By Mark Edward Nero

Less than nine months after the inauguration of the expansion of the Panama Canal, the waterway has welcomed its 1,000th Neo-Panamax vessel.

On Sunday, March 19, Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s containership MSC Anzu made the historic 1,000th transit through the expanded canal, heading northbound from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The Panama-flagged containership, which was built in 2015, measures about 300 meters (984 feet) in length and 48.23 meters (157 feet) in beam with a carrying capacity of over 9,000 TEUs.

The 1000th transit marked a significant milestone for the Expanded Canal, which is experiencing a steady flow of traffic – including containerships, liquid petroleum gas vessels and liquefied natural gas vessels. Other segments like dry bulk carriers, vehicle carriers and crude product tankers have also transited through the expanded canal, according to the Panama Canal Authority, the government of Panama agency charged with managing, operating and maintaining the canal.

According to the same source, as of March 2017, the average number of Neo-Panamax vessels transiting the new lane per day is 5.9. In February, the Panama Canal set a new daily tonnage record of 1.18 million tons after welcoming a total of 1,180 vessels through both the expanded and original locks. The previous records were established in December 2016 and January 2017, when the waterway set monthly tonnage records for transiting 35.4 million tons and 36.1 million tons, respectively.

AAPA Launches Port Infrastructure Advocacy Campaign

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Association of Port Authorities has launched a campaign that will advocate for transportation infrastructure investment on behalf of the nation’s manufacturers, farmers and other workers who count on modern and efficient seaports to move American products to vital overseas markets.

Called the “America: Keep It Moving” campaign, AAPA’s US members in the coming months plan to coordinate actions to inform policymakers, and those who influence policy, about the job-creating power of US ports as the Trump Administration and Congress consider plans for national infrastructure improvements and funding.

“The nation’s seaports serve a vital role in US job creation, economic prosperity and international competitiveness,” AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said in a statement. “To help American businesses compete in overseas markets, the Administration and Congress must make investments today to build a 21st century seaport infrastructure.”

Port activity supports 23 million American jobs and generates $321 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue each year, according to the AAPA, while the total value of economic activity related to America’s ports is $4.6 trillion. “Ports send products made in America’s cities, towns and rural communities to markets around the world,” Nagle said. “This activity is critical to the workers and management of US manufacturers, service companies, farmers and nearly every other kind of business across the nation.”

One of every three acres on American farmland is planted for export markets, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, and nearly 12 million jobs are supported by exports nationwide, including a quarter of all manufacturing jobs. Infrastructure investment impacts how efficiently US goods are transported to port facilities for export. Among the highways that take US goods to market, some 1,200 miles of the nation’s road, bridges and tunnels serve as vital freight connections to ports, much of which is in dire need of investment.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the cost of deficient highways could cost US businesses and households up to $575 billion by 2025, reaching a $3.2 trillion loss by 2040.

The volume of freight in the US is projected to grow more than 40 percent by 2045, while the value of that same freight is projected to increase about 92 percent, according to the US Department of Transportation. By 2037, the US is expected to export over 52 million shipping containers through US seaports annually.

“We must prepare the nation’s infrastructure to meet a growing demand for the safe, efficient movement of freight,” Nagle said. “To keep America moving, the time to invest in port infrastructure is now.”

Port of Portland Hires O’Hollaren As Maritime Marketing Head

By Mark Edward Nero

Ken O’Hollaren, the ex-CEO of the Port of Longview and former executive director of the Port of Port Angeles, is on the move again. He has been hired to lead the Port of Portland’s marine marketing efforts, the port announced March 20.

“We are excited to have Ken’s ideas and expertise as we look to grow our strong position as an auto and bulk gateway and set a new vision for business activity at Terminal 6,” the Port of Portland’s chief commercial officer, Keith Leavitt, said in a statement. “Ken is a highly-regarded leader in the Pacific Northwest marine port sector.”

O’Hollaren was the executive director of the Port of Longview until retiring at the end of 2012 after nearly 25 years in the position. He was brought on at the Port of Port Angeles as interim executive director in July 2013 and was later named to the position permanently. He resigned after two years, citing a desire to spend more time with family.

O’Hollaren also previously served as chair of the Interstate Columbia River Improvement Project, the plan to deepen the Columbia River shipping channel, and is a past chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seaport Alliance Says YTD Traffic Up Eight Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance recorded an eight percent year-to-date increase in container cargo through February 2017, according to newly released data.

International container volumes for the month of February remained steady with a 9.1 percent year-to-date increase despite fewer sailings. Compared to same time last year, full export loads saw a four percent increase, and import loads were up more than seven percent for the year.

As anticipated, we saw fewer vessel arrivals and amended service schedules by ocean carriers in February due to the Lunar New Year holiday, which began more than 10 days earlier than last year. In observance of the holiday, the factories in China traditionally shut down production for up to two weeks. As a result, total container volumes declined by 0.8 percent for the month.

At 102,697 TEUs, full imports declined four percent compared to February 2016. Meanwhile, full exports recorded 71,243 TEUs, nearly a seven percent dip. Overall, total international TEU volumes grew 1 percent in February due to an increase in empty containers.

Total domestic volumes declined almost eight percent, compared to February 2016. Year to date, Alaska volumes declined more than six percent in February and are expected to decline five to six percent this year due to soft market conditions. The Pacific Northwest trade with Hawaii, however, is expected to show modest growth in 2017.

The Seaport Alliance’s container volumes for February 2017 can be viewed at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance_full_mty_by_month_2016vs17.pdf and the cargo statistics for the month are available at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/seaport_alliance-5-year_history_feb_17.pdf

Port of Oakland Ready for Alliance Changes

By Mark Edward Nero

In an effort to soothe importers and exporters fearful of fallout as ocean carriers switch partners next month, Port of Oakland officials said March 22 that they expect to take on upcoming changes to container shipping alliances with little disruption.

“We’ve spoken to the shipping lines, we’ve spoken to our marine terminal operators and we understand their schedules,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “We’re confident that Oakland will be able to accommodate the newly formed alliances efficiently.”

Eleven of the world’s largest container shipping lines are coming together in three new alliances. The port said it expects cargo volume to hold steady once new alliances begin operation April 1. Fewer but larger ships are expected to visit Oakland weekly, laden with more ocean containers. This is a change that reflects industry-wide consolidation as shipping lines cut excess vessel capacity to trim costs.

The carriers are changing partners after bankruptcy, acquisitions and consolidation roiled container shipping in 2016. Alliances allow participating carriers to share ships and port calls to reduce expenses while at the same time expanding service.

Some industry experts foresee port disruption if arrival schedules change or shipping lines redirect to different marine terminals, with the worry being that cargo flow could be inhibited, leading to congestion at major ports.

Oakland officials said they don’t foresee difficulties in working with the new alliances. Since most of the port’s vessel calls are concentrated in just three marine terminals, that means cargo relocation should be minimal.

The port said it expects to handle 29 weekly and two fortnightly vessel calls in the new alliance structure, and that it anticipates no loss of cargo in Oakland, even though weekly vessel calls will decrease from 32 to 29.

The Port of Oakland is expected to receive direct calls from 13 different Chinese ports, including six weekly calls from Taiwan and four from Southeast Asia, and seven weekly services from Oakland to ports in Japan.

It’s expected to take two-to-three months for all alliance changes to take hold, with the process including slotting vessels into new service rotations, and in some cases, older ships being replaced with newer, larger ones.

POLA to Hold Community Meeting on Waterfront Development

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles says it will host a public meeting on the status of the Wilmington Waterfront Development Program from 6 pm to 8 pm Thursday, March 30 at the cornerstone of the project, Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St. in Wilmington on the Los Angeles Waterfront.

Attendees will get a detailed update on the Wilmington Waterfront Development Program and Wilmington Waterfront Promenade, as port staff presents design updates for the promenade that have evolved from the original Environmental Impact Report and master plan renderings to the current detailed design, based on community feedback.

Key elements of the design are public access and connectivity to the water’s edge. As part of the meeting, the port will conduct a question and answer forum. Simultaneous Spanish translation service will be provided, according to the port.

The designer of the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade, Sasaki Associates, was approved by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in October 2015. In February 2017, the Harbor Commission approved T.Y. Lin International Group to design a pedestrian bridge on the Wilmington Waterfront, the Avalon Promenade and Gateway.

This summer, the port says, it expects to host additional public meetings to gather community input on the design of another aspect of the waterfront development, the Avalon Promenade and Gateway.

POLB to Live Stream Peak Season Forecast

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach will live-stream its 13th annual “Pulse of the Ports: Peak Season Forecast” online next week. The forecast features a panel discussion with industry experts who will provide their thoughts and expectations for the upcoming peak season and the effects of new container alliances beginning in April, among other issues.

The event begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 29 at the Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom, Long Beach, California. The panel of experts will include Mario O. Moreno, a senior economist and forecaster with IHS Maritime & Trade; John Zarrella, a sales manager with Preferred Shipper Services; Ken O'Brien, Chief Operating Officer with Gemini Shippers Group; Steve Rothberg, a partner with ocean Carrier and marine terminal operator Mercator International LLC; Anthony Hatch, a principal with ABH Consulting; and Alex Cherin, the intermodal conference executive director with the California Trucking Association.

The panel will be moderated by Mark Hirzel, a district manager with customs brokerage, international freight forwarding, transportation, warehousing and distribution company A.N. Deringer Inc.

The live webcast will be able to be viewed online at www.polb.com/pulseports and www.facebook.com/PortofLB starting at 8 a.m.

Those wishing to attend the event in person can make reservations online at www.polb.com/pulsersvp.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

AAPA Concerned About Port Funding Cuts Under Trump

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Association of Port Authorities said March 16 that it has concerns regarding the potential of significant declines for most federally funded, port-related programs in President Trump’s first proposed fiscal budget.

Proposed for the budget chopping block is the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which last year awarded US ports $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grants Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at $100 million and provided 35 port security-related grants in fiscal 2017, is expected to experience a significant cut.

“We’re apprehensive about the fiscal 2018 budget,” AAPA president and CEO Kurt Nagle said. “Adequate federal investments into US port-related infrastructure, both on the landside and waterside, are crucial for the efficient movement of goods so the nation can remain globally competitive.”

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 $320 billion a year in federal, state and local tax revenue, according to the AAPA.

“International trade through ports is vital to our economy,” Nagle said.

The AAPA has also given its key recommendations for the fiscal 2018 budget. They include:

• Expand the USDOT’s TIGER program, or create a similar new, multimodal discretionary grant program, and fund it at $1.25 billion annually.

• Continue funding USDOT’s FAST Act programs at currently authorized levels, which includes formula funds to states and grants for nationally and regionally significant transportation projects.

• Increase funding to $400 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program and increase the number of Customs officers in the maritime environment by 500.

“While the president’s budget request includes significant funding cuts to some port-related programs, we’re hopeful that, as the fiscal 2018 budget process as well as the anticipated sizable infrastructure package moves forward, that significant federal investments will be made in port-related infrastructure. Such investments will pay huge dividends in terms of economic growth, American jobs and tax revenues.”

USCG Warns Illegal LA-Long Beach Charter Boats

By Mark Edward Nero

The Coast Guard captain of the port for the Los Angeles-Long Beach region issued a warning on March 16 to vessel operators regarding illegal charter boats in the San Pedro Bay area.

The captain of the port, in an ongoing effort to ensure public safety on local waterways, issued several orders to specific vessel operators to cease operations as commercial vessels carrying more than six passengers, including one passenger for hire, and in some cases to cease operations carrying any passengers for hire.

By definition, a passenger is considered for hire if they “contribute any economic benefit, monetary contribution, or a donation as a condition of carriage, to any person having an interest in the vessel, unless the contribution is from a voluntarily sharing of voyage expenses,” according to the USCG.

Vessels carrying passengers require a Coast Guard licensed or credentialed operator, and if carrying more than six passengers, the vessel must have a valid certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard. The certificate is proof that the Coast Guard has verified the vessel meets specific minimum federal safety standards.

When reserving trips, the Coast Guard has said, prospective passengers should ask the operator in advance for proof the vessel’s compliant with Coast Guard requirements. Passengers can also request a vessel’s captain to show his or her valid Coast Guard license.

Vessel operators wanting more information on how to meet federal requirements and passengers wanting to either verify a captain’s license, the inspected status of a commercial passenger vessel, or report an illegal charter operation, can do so by calling Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center at (310) 521-3801.

LA Port Police Seize 500 Lbs. of Marijuana

By Mark Edward Nero

On the afternoon of March 14, Los Angeles Port Police Marine Unit officers on patrol in Los Angeles Harbor made an unusual discovery in an unoccupied boat at the Cabrillo Beach Launch Ramp: about 500 pounds of marijuana.

The drugs had an estimated street value of between $500,000 and $900,000.

Police declined to release more information regarding the case or the boat, other than saying that they were still attempting to track down the vessel’s owner and that Los Angeles Port Police detectives assigned to the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force are continuing the investigation in collaboration with port police.

The LA BEST is tasked with identifying, targeting, and reducing security vulnerabilities affecting the Los Angeles/ Long Beach seaport complex, the Southern California coastline, and the waterways and transportation infrastructure.

The task force is made up of personnel from nine federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), US Customs and Border Protection, the US Coast Guard Criminal Investigations Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Port Police, the Long Beach Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Fishing Vessel Captain Pleads Guilty in Seattle to Polluting Waters

By Mark Edward Nero

On March 16, a captain of the fishing vessel Native Sun pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle, Washington to discharging oily-waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and the federal conspiracy statute.

Randall Fox pleaded guilty to two criminal felony counts for violating prohibition against discharging bilge water directly into the ocean.

According to court documents, Fox and others repeatedly discharged the oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. On at least one occasion, such a discharge left a sizable oily-sheen along the surface of the water that trailed alongside the F/V Native Sun.

Fox faces a maximum of six years in prison for the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships count and five years in prison for the conspiracy count. He also faces a criminal fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Sentencing is scheduled for June 16.

According to the charges, the conspirators directed the installation of the aforementioned illegal pumps and hoses, directed co-conspirators to empty the bilges regularly, and instructed the co-conspirators to conceal any evidence of the discharges by dispersing the sheen with detergents.

Vessel owner Bingham Fox pled not guilty to all charges in April 2016, and is scheduled to go to trial on March 21.

Friday, March 17, 2017

POLA Monthly Cargo Volumes
See a Double Digit Drop

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Los Angeles cargo traffic decreased by double digits in February 2017, a mere month after the port saw record container volumes, according to newly released data.

The timing of Lunar New Year observances in late January and early February played a role in the decline, as it resulted in a significant amount of cargo being shipped in January rather than the following month.

February container volumes of 625,381 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) decreased 12.4 percent compared to the record February 2016 volumes of 713,721 TEUs, which were 42 percent higher than 2015. Compared to the port’s most recent five-year average of February container volumes, February 2017 volumes were up 7.2 percent, data show.

“While volumes eased compared to the record cargo we saw last February, I’m pleased that we’ve seen year-over-year growth to start 2017,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

For the first two months of 2017 combined, Port of LA volumes increased 2.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

Cargo imports in February 2017 dropped 19.8 percent to 298,974 TEUs compared to the previous year, while exports increased 6.1 percent to 155,357 TEUs. Total loaded volumes of 454,332 TEUs fell 12.5 percent compared to the previous year, while empty containers slipped 12.1 percent to 171,048 TEUs.

For the fiscal year to date, POLA total cargo volumes are up 8.8 percent compared to the same eight-month period in FY 2016.

Current and historical POLA data is available at https://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

SAFE Boats Wins Contract to Co-Produce Columbian Military Vessels

By Mark Edward Nero

Bremerton, Washington-based SAFE Boats International said March 15 that it has broadened a previously signed contract with Columbian government shipyard COTECMAR into a multi-year, definitive association agreement.

The agreement encompasses a wide range of collaboration, including program management, training, factory production training and sub-assembly and integration by COTECMAR in Colombia.

The contract includes co-production of SAFE Boats models already in use in Central and South America, such as the Defender, Apostle and Full Cabin Jet Boats, along with its most recently introduced Multi-Mission Interceptor vessel.

“The decision to further enhance our relationship with COTECMAR is evidence of our commitment to the Colombian Navy and providing the brave men and women who serve in Colombia with the best products and services to allow them to effectively accomplish their challenging missions,” SAFE Boats CEO Dennis Morris said in a prepared statement. “We are honored to be a partner with COTECMAR and Colombia, and to support our mutual customers in Central and South America.”

COTECMAR, created by the Colombian government in 2000, has experience delivering large ships and marine services to both Colombian and International users, and is a manufacturer of large Offshore Patrol Vessels, Coastal Patrol Vessels, Defense craft, BAL-C Logistics and Humanitarian Craft along with many other commercial and riverine vessels produced for the Colombian Navy, Marines and Coast Guard along with training and other services.

“We are confident that this relationship with SAFE Boats allows us to continue to provide lasting and successful naval solutions,” COTECMAR CEO Vice Admiral Jorge Carreño said in a statement.

Robert Allan Ltd. Designs Pusher Tugs, Barges for Brazilian Company

By Mark Edward Nero

A fleet of pusher tugs and barges have recently begun construction in Brazil, all to customized designs by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, Canada.

The vessels, being built for Amsterdam-based Louis Dreyfus Co., a global merchant and processor of agricultural goods, will transport bulk grain products on the Amazon River system, with an expected delivery in 2017.

The shallow-draft fleet includes:

• Three RApide 4000-Z3 class mainline pusher tugs under construction at INACE shipyard in Fortaleza, Brazil;

• One RApide 2600-Z3 class pusher tug;

• Three RApide 2000-Z2 class port-assist pusher tugs, and;

• Sixty-four jumbo hopper barges under construction at Estaleiro Rio Maguari in Belem, Brazil.

During the early phases of design, simulations were used to optimize the hull shapes to minimize total convoy resistance, and in all cases, the z-drives are fitted in customized tunnels designed to optimize flow and propulsion efficiency while reducing draft, according to Robert Allan Ltd.

Also, the company said, logistics modeling of the transportation system optimized the selection of vessels for the desired route and analyzed operational drafts and cargo throughput at various river levels.

The studies aim to reduce the overall cost of transportation, while the design of the vessels increases the standards of safety, maneuverability and comfort in the river system.

In each boat, the wheelhouse provides all-round visibility with a split forward control station providing unobstructed vision to the foredeck working area as well as to the convoy of barges ahead, according to Robert Allan Ltd.

April 4 is ‘Ports Day,’ AAPA Announces

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Association of Port Authorities says that its entire membership in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean will celebrate Western Hemisphere Ports Day on Tuesday, April 4 in recognition of the industry’s role in supporting job creation and propelling the economies of the nations they serve across the Americas.

“As the unified and recognized voice of the port industry in the Western Hemisphere, AAPA is excited to continue to share its story around the globe,” AAPA’s president and CEO, Kurt Nagle, said in a statement.

“Ports Day is part of an ongoing commitment to remind our policymakers, policy influencers and the public about the important role ports play in facilitating the movement of trade and linking their nations to the global economy,” Nagle said.

Combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2015 totaled 3.45 billion metric tons in volume and $3.36 trillion in value, according to IHS Inc. World Trade Service. Of that total, North American ports handled 1.76 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $2.21 trillion, while ports in Central and South America handled 1.69 billion metric tons of cargo, valued at $1.15 trillion.

A report by Martin Associates on the national economic impact of the US coastal port system, found that in the U.S. alone, ports’ contribution to the national economy reached nearly $4.6 trillion in 2014.

“Seaports of the Western Hemisphere are job creators and stimulators that deliver prosperity around the globe,” Nagle said. “It’s critical that wise investments are made to our transportation infrastructure to ensure that our industry can continue to make a valuable contribution to the economy.”

“We’re proud to recognize the contributions of our member ports as we celebrate Western Hemisphere Ports Day,” he added. “In support of workers, farmers, employers, manufacturers and consumers everywhere, our ports are united in planning for the future, creating jobs and propelling the economy.” More information about Western Hemisphere Ports Day is available at www.aapa-ports.org.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oakland Port Monthly Container Volumes Fall

By Mark Edward Nero

Overall loaded container volume – imports and exports – declined 5.1 percent at the Port of Oakland last month, according to newly released data.

Containerized export volume declined 1.2 percent last month compared to February 2016 totals, while import volume was off 9.3 percent, according to the data.

It was only the second export decrease in the past 14 months, the port said.

Oakland blames the volume decline in part on inclement weather in the US interior, which curtailed shipment of Asia-bound exports through the port. The import volume decline has been attributed in part to Lunar New Year celebrations in China and elsewhere in Asia.

US importers stock up before Asian factories shut down for the holidays. Shipments typically moderate in the post-holiday period.

Port of Oakland export volume increased 9 percent in January and was up 10.5 percent last year, despite the US Commerce Department reporting that the US trade deficit reached a four-year high in 2016, attributed in part to export softness.

Moose Boats Wins Catamaran Crewboats Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Vallejo, California-based Moose Boats, a subsidiary of Lind Marine, said March 11 that it has been awarded a contract for the construction of a series of 75-foot semi-displacement US Coast Guard Subchapter-T passenger aluminum catamaran crewboats for Westar Marine Services in San Francisco. Production of the first vessel is expected to begin this spring.

According to Northern California-based Lind Marine, the vessels’ propulsion will be provided by twin Volvo D13 turbo diesel engines with Volvo IPS3 drives, giving a service speed of 25 knots and exceptional close quarters maneuverability.

Also, engine, steering and joystick maneuvering controls in both the raised pilothouse and the upper level aft steering station are designed to provide captains with optimal visibility for bow and stern operations.

The vessels will be capable of carrying 28 passengers and 20,000 pounds of cargo to and from anchorages and piers within San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay and the Sacramento River Delta as well as offshore.

Westar Marine Services, a women-owned and operated company, has been headquartered in San Francisco since 1976 with a Seattle operation for the past five years. The company’s offerings include marine construction support, tank barge assist and escort, specialty barge services, ship stores deliveries and water taxi services.

Westar has said the new vessels will allow it to expand its cargo and passenger carrying capabilities. Moose Boats designed the cabin superstructure and general arrangement of the vessels in-house with collaborative input from Westar.

Lafayette, Louisiana-based Incat Crowther is providing naval architecture services for the final design.