Friday, February 17, 2017

Vancouver USA Names 1st-Ever Female CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 14, the Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to officially install interim CEO/Executive Director Julianna Marler into the job permanently, making her the first female CEO in the port’s 105-year history and one of just a handful of female port CEOs in the country.

Her employment agreement includes a $202,801 annual salary, plus $500 monthly car allowance and deferred compensation totaling 15 percent of her salary for a term of four years.

Marler was appointed interim CEO by the port’s commission after the departure of Todd Coleman in May 2016. She led the port in dual roles as CEO and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer before being selected through a rigorous recruiting process that included an international search and interviews with port staff, community stakeholders and commissioners.

“I’m excited about where the port is going and honored to lead this great team,” Marler said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our commissioners to ensure the port continues to be an economic engine and a good partner in building a strong and vibrant community.”

Marler’s credentials include a diverse background in logistics, sales, procurement and contracts, and leadership in finance and administration.

In her role as the port’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Marler was responsible for managing and progressing the port’s business practices, as well as overseeing strategic programming to help the port move forward with its mission and vision.

The port said her priorities as CEO would include completing the $275 million West Vancouver Freight Access project in early 2018; finishing the 125,000-square-foot Centennial Industrial Building this summer and leasing space to new or growing employers; and continuing to move Terminal 1 forward to realize the port’s vision for its historic waterfront property.

Samson Tug Runs Aground in Alaska

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard says that the tug boat Samson Mariner, owned by the Samson Tug and Barge Company of Sitka, Alaska, ran aground on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 15 while towing a barge near north Tongass Narrows in Rosa Reef, Alaska.

A Coast Guard response boat crew and pollution team responded to the incident after Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watch standers received notification via VHF-FM radio from the captain aboard the Samson Mariner that his vessel ran aground and had a minor breach in the hull.

Coast Guard responders arriving on scene placed boom around the tug and verified that crew of the Samson Mariner plugged the breached hull.

The 91-foot Samson Mariner, which was built in 1970, had 30,000 gallons of fuel on board at the time, while the barge had 40,000 gallons of diesel on board.

Three Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization tugs took the barge to Ward Cove where it’s now anchored and being assessed for damage, according to the USCG.

The Coast Guard says no injuries or damage to the barge have been reported.

POLA Has Busiest January in Its History

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles handled more than 826,600 TEUs last month, an increase of 17.4 percent compared to January 2016, according to data released Feb. 14.

The total volume made the month the busiest January in the port’s 110-year history, outpacing last January, which was the previous record for the first month of the year.

It was also the second-best month overall for the port, eclipsed only by last November’s 877,564 TEUs.

“Coming off our best year ever in 2016, it’s very encouraging to keep the momentum going into 2017,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

The port attributes the January surge in part to retail stores replenishing inventories after the holidays, a trend of increased US exports and cargo ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year, when goods from Asia slow down considerably. Over the most recent 10-year period, January volumes at the Port of Los Angeles have averaged 645,142 TEUs.

Import volumes in January increased 13.1 percent to 415,423 TEUs compared to the same month last year, while exports surged 28.7 percent to 162,420 TEUs in January. Total loaded imports of 577,843 TEUs increased 17.1 percent compared to the previous year. Empty containers jumped 17.9 percent to 248,797 TEUs. Combined, January overall volumes were 826,640 TEUs, a 17.4 percent jump over January 2016’s numbers.

Current and historical POLA volume data is available at

POLB Selects New Engineering Services Director

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 13, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners officially selected Port of Long Beach senior executive Sean Gamette as the port’s new Managing Director of Engineering Services.

Gamette was chosen after a competitive process to replace Doug Thiessen, who retired earlier this year after nearly 17 years with the POLB. Gamette will now lead the bureau that oversees and executes engineering and construction projects and maintenance for the Harbor Department.

Gamette had been the port’s Program Delivery Group Director and Chief Harbor Engineer, and in that position led a team of managers, engineers, inspectors, surveyors, technicians and support staff responsible for the port’s capital investment program.

He came to the Harbor Department in 2003 as a senior program manager and was promoted to Deputy Chief Harbor Engineer in 2009 before assuming duties leading the Program Delivery Group in 2013. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in civil engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

“Sean has worked on projects in the harbor as an engineer for almost 20 years, since before he even joined us,” Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy said. “His institutional knowledge and collaborative demeanor will serve the Engineering Services Bureau well as we complete the projects that are important to maintaining our competitiveness in this rapidly changing industry.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pier 4 Pile Driving to Continue Throughout February

By Mark Edward Nero

Contractors have received permission from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Army Corps of Engineers to continue driving piles for Pier 4 in the Tacoma Tideflats through Feb. 28 as part of an ongoing pier reconfiguration project.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which is the marine cargo operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma seaports, is reconfiguring Pier 4 on the General Central Peninsula to align with an adjacent pier to create one contiguous berth capable of serving two 18,000-TEU container ships. The improvements are expected to support larger container cranes and vessels.

The current pile driving is expected to continue from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends through the end of the month.

Manson Construction of Seattle began driving the first of 1,241 piles in September. After the fish migration season, pile driving is expected to resume mid-July 2017, with all pier construction to be completed in 2018 in time for the arrival of new, larger cranes.

All American Marine Wins Hybrid Vessel Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Bellingham, Wash.-based All American Marine said Feb. 13 that it has inked a deal for the construction of a new hybrid electric passenger vessel to be delivered to Red and White Fleet, a San Francisco-based boat tour and sightseeing company.

The contract for the new 600-passenger aluminum monohull was signed during the recent annual Maritrends Conference put on by the Passenger Vessel Association.

“All American Marine is pleased to have been chosen to construct this innovative new vessel for Red & White Fleet and we are proud to offer a hybrid propulsion system that truly works with instant and tangible benefits,” AAM Vice President of Business Development Joe Hudspeth remarked.

The contract follows an earlier announcement made by the company regarding a construction agreement for a 500-passenger aluminum monohull tour boat for Argosy Cruises of Seattle. Both operators originally pursued construction contracts for steel monohulls, but AAM said it was successfully able to demonstrate considerable savings in construction and maintenance costs with an aluminum design, while ensuring delivery of a solid hull structure.

AAM, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is also in the process of moving into a brand new purpose-built ship building facility at Squalicum Harbor.

Argosy is expected to take delivery of their vessel in the late fall, while Red and White Fleet should receive their new craft in the late spring of 2018.

The vessels are being designed by naval architect, Nic de Waal, of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand.

The new vessel for Red and White Fleet, to be christened Enhydra, will be the first aluminum hulled, Lithium-Ion battery-electric hybrid vessel built from the keel up under U.S. Coast Guard passenger vessel regulations, and the latest guidelines for structural fire protection.

The vessel will be 128 feet long with a moulded beam of 30 feet and is specifically designed for harbor tours of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

All American Marine partnered with BAE Systems to design and integrate the complete battery electric hybrid system. BAE Systems will supply its HybriDrive Propulsion System, including a generator, control system, and AC electric traction motor.

The generator will mount to a variable speed Cummins QSL9 410 mhp@2100 rpm diesel engine. The motor generator offers diesel-electric operation of the AC traction motor which is coupled directly to the propulsion shaft. The hybrid system will also utilize battery power from two 80 kWh Lithium-ion battery packs.

“We see the propulsion configuration on the Enhydra as phase one in our move toward the full electrification of our fleet,” Red and White Fleet’s Vice President of Operations, Joe Burgard, said. “Stay tuned for phase two.”

POLB Container Traffic Surges in January

By Mark Edward Nero

A months-long container traffic slump at the Port of Long Beach could be close to being over.

The port said that renewed activity at the port’s largest terminal and extra ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year pushed cargo 8.7 percent higher in January compared to the same month a year ago.

Dockworkers moved 582,689 twenty-foot equivalent units last month, according to port data. Exports were strong, jumping 10.8 percent year-over-year to 118,234 containers, while imports increased 7.4 percent to 298,990 TEUs, while the number of empties sent back to the Far East to be refilled rose 9.6 percent to 165,465 units.

The month’s total container traffic growth was notable since TEU traffic in January 2016 jumped 25 percent from the same month in 2015.

Long Beach said the growth at terminals was led by the port’s Pier T terminal, operated by Total Terminals International and now controlled by Terminal Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s second-largest ocean carrier.

MSC’s TIL purchased a majority stake in the terminal following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping last year. For the fiscal year to date, Long Beach’s total TEUs are down more than five percent compared to the same four-month period during FY 2016.

“We’re very happy with the way the new year is starting in Long Beach,” Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzm├ín said. “This year, we’ll be laser-focused on furthering our new partnership with MSC and continuing to provide efficient and rapid service to all of our customers.”

Long Beach’s latest monthly cargo numbers are available at, while more detailed cargo numbers can be found at

Port of Oakland Celebrates 90th Anniversary

By Mark Edward Nero

The City of Oakland celebrated Port of Oakland Day on Sunday, Feb. 12 in recognition of the 90th anniversary of the port’s creation, Feb. 12, 1927.

“What a moment to celebrate,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a proclamation. “What an incredible impact this organization has on the region, the nation and the world.”

Before entering politics, Schaaf was the port’s public affairs director.

Port Executive Director Chris Lytle said that the port has profoundly influenced trade and transportation during its 90-year-history. In a Feb. 10 letter to government and industry leaders, he highlighted the port’s groundbreaking achievements.

“We pioneered Transpacific air travel and we brought container shipping to the West Coast,” Lytle said. “And we’re far from done – we’re transforming to upgrade our status as a global gateway.”

The Port of Oakland, which was created as an independent department of the City of Oakland, manages three principal businesses: the Port of Oakland, one of the nation’s top 10 container seaports; Oakland International Airport, the second busiest Bay Area airport; and a commercial real estate portfolio that includes Jack London Square, the restaurant and entertainment district named after the adventure novelist who frequented the neighborhood.

A special section regarding the anniversary is now live on the port’s website. It features information about the port’s history, the mayor’s proclamation, the video “Ninety Years in 90 Seconds” and more. The section can be seen at: