Friday, March 3, 2017

Harley Welcomes 1st Tier 4 Tractor Tug

By Mark Edward Nero

Harley Marine Services said Feb. 28 that it has accepted delivery of its newest tractor tug, Earl W Redd, which will enter service along the US West Coast.

The first-of-its-kind, the Earl W Redd is equipped with Caterpillar’s Tier 4 emissions technology and enters Harley’s fleet as one of the more efficient and environmentally conscious vessels in service by not only meeting but exceed the toughest marine EPA standards.

Built at Diversified Marine of Portland, Oregon, the Earl W Redd measures 120 feet by 35 feet, with a loaded draft of 19 feet three inches. The tug features twin Cat 3516 Tier 4 Final main engines, each producing 2,675 horsepower at 1,600 rpm.

Each of the engines is paired with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after treatment system. SCR uses a urea-based solution to reduce NOx contained in diesel exhaust down to nitrogen and water vapor. Harley says the main engines will be paired with Rolls Royce US 255-P30-FP azimuth thrusters delivering an expected bollard pull capability of 75 tons.

The tug has a fuel capacity of 127,000 gallons and can carry 6,534 gallons of water, 1,137 gallons of lube oil, 1,263 gallons of hydraulic oil and 8,200 gallons of diesel exhaust urea. It also features tow and bow winches by Markey and fendering by Schuyler. The bow winch is designed for ship handling and escort services. Auxiliary power comes from John Deere 125kW generators.

The vessel is named after the father of Diversified Marine’s owner, Kurt Redd. Earl worked for Hyster and US Steel, before landing with Harder Mechanical Contractors, where he retired at 70. After retirement, Earl became part of the Diversified team, where he was a strong presence for the remaining 25 years of his life. Earl Redd died in September 2015 at the age of 96.

ICTSI, Port of Portland Terminating 25-Year Lease

By Mark Edward Nero

Port management company ICTSI Oregon and the Port of Portland said Feb. 27 that they’ve mutually agreed to terminate a 25-year lease that the two sides entered into just seven years ago.

The agreement, pending Port Commission approval, allows ICTSI Oregon to be relieved of its long-term lease obligations regarding operation of the container facility at Portland’s Terminal 6, effective March 31. In exchange, the port is expected to receive $11.45 million in compensation to rebuild business, as well as additional container handling equipment, spare parts and tools at the terminal.

Portland signed a lease with ICTSI Oregon in 2010 in attempt to ensure a long-term funding mechanism for Oregon’s only deep draft international container terminal, but Terminal 6 has been hampered by labor problems in recent years, with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union allegedly using work slowdowns and stoppages as a tactic during a jurisdiction battle between it and an electricians union that dates back over five years.

The ILWU has said the work disruptions have been due to pay disputes and associated grievances. As a result of the issues, two shipping companies, Hapag-Lloyd and Hanjin Shipping, pulled out of calling at Terminal 6. Hanjin at the time represented 75 percent of the terminal’s traffic.

“Small businesses, farmers, agricultural producers, shippers and communities throughout the Columbia River region deserve and need a fully-functioning container terminal,” ICTSI Oregon CEO Elvis Ganda said. “Hopefully, this agreement with the port will make it possible for business to return to the terminal more quickly.”

“However,” he said, “ICTSI Oregon will continue to address the labor issues that gave rise to its decision to enter into this agreement and will pursue its legal claims against the ILWU.”

Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt said the lease termination was the best opportunity to launch a new strategy to restore carrier service for Oregon and Northwest shippers.

“While the global carrier industry continues to undergo rapid change, we now have a new path to redefine our future in this business and launch new strategies to bring the terminal back to life,” he said in a statement.

The port says it plans to engage with a broad range of stakeholders including ocean carriers, shippers, railroads, truckers, barge operators, terminal operators and labor to create a new plan to bring business back to the terminal.

Annual Trade at Port of Vancouver Dips Slightly

By Mark Edward Nero

Overall volume at the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia, dipped slightly to 136 million tons of cargo in 2016, down 1.8 percent from 2015, per newly released data.

However, sectors experiencing declines were offset by others that hit new records, including the bulk grain sector, the port said Feb. 28.

“One of our biggest strengths has been, and continues to be, the port’s ability to accommodate the most diversified range of cargo of any port in North America,” Port of Vancouver President and CEO Robin Silvester said in a statement. “Since 2013, the Port of Vancouver has experienced its fourth consecutive year of traffic volumes over 135 million tons, despite global economic downturns.”

2016 marked the Port of Vancouver’s third consecutive year of record volumes in bulk grain and its fifth year of an upward trend. Bulk grain export volumes through the port increased 1.3 percent from 2015, to reach 21.8 million metric tons in 2016.

Record bulk grain exports were driven by higher volumes of canola and specialty crop exports, which are up about 19 percent and nearly 18 percent, respectively. The growth was offset, however, by a 16.4 percent weather-related decrease in wheat exports.

Port data also show that containerized exports rose by 3.3 percent due to growth in woodpulp, grain and food and agri-product shipments. But that increase was offset by a 2.4 percent decline in loaded import containers, partly due, Vancouver says, to the return of some traffic to U.S. West Coast ports after their 2015 labor dispute. This led to a flat result in overall laden container volumes for 2016.

The weak Canadian dollar and a slowdown in industry investment and development activity in western Canada showed in a 17.2 percent decline in metal and project cargo imports in 2016, while a 22 percent drop in breakbulk lumber and wood pulp also contributed to a decline in overall import and export breakbulk volumes, according to port data.

Additionally, overall coal volumes were down by 6.1 percent in 2016, due to a 28.2 per cent decrease in thermal coal exports.

The port’s cruise industry experienced stable growth in 2016, as the port welcomed 228 cruise ships and 826,820 passengers compared to 805,400 passengers in 2015, an increase of three percent.

POLB Awarded Zero Emissions Equipment Grant

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach revealed March 2 that it is poised to receive a major grant to fund one of the largest demonstration projects for zero-emissions cargo-handling equipment in the United States.

The California Energy Commission has approved awarding a $9.7 million grant to the port that involves the design and creation of 25 new or converted electric cargo handling vehicles to be demonstrated for 12 months in the Port of Long Beach at terminals operated by SSA Marine, International Transportation Service (ITS), Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT), and logistics company Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI).

The $9.7 million grant would pay for majority of the $13.7 million project.

The demonstration project includes the conversion of nine diesel-electric rubber tire gantry cranes into fully electric equipment for SSA Marine terminal, the purchase of 12 battery-electric yard tractors for ITS and LBCT, and the conversion of TTSI’s four underpowered Class 8 liquefied natural gas trucks into plug-in hybrid-electric trucks, which are to be outfitted with a software system that enables them to be programmed to operate only in zero-emissions mode near communities around the Port of Long Beach.

The project is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 1,323 tons and smog-causing nitrogen oxides by 27 tons, according to the port, while the switch to zero-emissions equipment is expected to save more than 270,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Safety Issues Lead to 2 Bulk Carriers’ Detention on Columbia River

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard on Feb. 23 detained two Panama-flagged bulk carriers, Atlantic Ruby and Amber L after discovering what it says are substandard safety issues while conducting routine exams on board the vessels along the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

The violations were discovered through the Port State Control program, under which the Coast Guard verifies that foreign flagged vessels operating in US waters comply with applicable international conventions, US laws, and US regulations.

Atlantic Ruby, a 590-foot bulk carrier, was boarded in Portland last Thursday after Port State Control officers detected the safety deficiencies. Coast Guard inspectors say they found the fire extinguishing system was improperly serviced, with the time delays left disconnected. The time delay ensures personnel inside a room can escape before the fixed fire-extinguishing agent is released.

A separate exam conducted in Kalama on board Amber L, a 609-foot bulk carrier, identified several safety discrepancies, including cooling water leaking from the main engine, and multiple issues with the vessel’s steering system, per the USCG.

With both vessels identified as not being in substantial compliance with applicable laws or regulations, the Coast Guard has imposed controls until the conditions have been rectified and the vessels are brought into compliance.

Atlantic Ruby and Amber L are expected to remain in the Columbia River captain of the port zone until the discrepancies are corrected.

Vigor to Build 2 Additional Ferries for Passenger Service

By Mark Edward Nero

Vigor has been awarded the contract to build two all-aluminum, 400-passenger ferries for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, a passenger ferry service in San Francisco. The contract now brings the total number of vessels being built by Vigor for WETA to five.

The hulls are to be constructed at Vigor Ballard, and the superstructure at Vigor’s Harbor Island shipyard, both in Seattle.

Vigor began construction on the first two WETA ferries in their class in the spring of 2015. “It’s an efficient design and very environmentally friendly,” Vigor Ballard General Manager Tim Kolb said. “We’re extremely pleased to extend our partnership with WETA for two more vessels.”

“The four Vigor vessels will play critical roles in maintaining service reliability in WETA’s planned expansion of ferry service on the San Francisco Bay,” WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells said in a statement.

The 135-foot by 38-foot all-aluminum catamarans, designed by Incat Crowther, Australia, will feature MTU 12V4000 M64 EPA Tier III engines rated 1,875 BHP at 1,800 RPM coupled with ZF7600 reduction gears as the propulsion system. An exhaust after treatment system will also be included.

Additional vessel features include a beam: 38 feet; maximum draft 6.75 feet; 400-passenger limit; and top speed of 27 knots.

Vancouver USA Welcomes Bulk Carrier on Maiden Voyage

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA recently welcomed the Philippines-flagged bulk carrier Brighten Trader on the vessel’s maiden voyage to the United States.

The Brighten Trader, commanded by Capt. Marcelino S. Ecobiza from the Philippines, is operated by Victoria Ship Management of Manila, and owned by Sea Queen Shipping Corp. of the Philippines, and was represented by General Steamship Corp. It arrived in Vancouver in Feb. 18.

The vessel, which is 590 feet long with a deadweight capacity of 39,310 metric tons, was built in China and launched Jan. 12, 2017.

At the Port of Vancouver USA, the Brighten Trader was loaded with about 10,500 metric tons of copper concentrate, then sailed to Vancouver, BC, to load additional concentrate cargoes.

As of Feb. 27, it was at anchor at the Port of Prince Rupert.

The vessel is expected to head to Japan and China after its stops on the North American West Coast.

Oakland Port Raising Cranes 27 Feet

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland said Feb. 24 that as many as six 366-foot-tall cranes will soon be raised 27 feet higher. The $14 million-to-$21 million project is expected to begin this spring at its largest marine terminal, with the objective being to make it easier to load and unload megaships with containers stacked high above deck.

“By raising the height of ship-to-shore cranes, we make certain that we’re ready as more megaships head our way,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said.

The governing Board of Port Commissioners approved the crane plan at a Feb. 23 meeting. It calls for installing longer legs on four-to-six cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal, which handles 70 percent of Oakland’s cargo.

The Port of Oakland has said it will pay to raise the cranes and that the terminal operator, SSA, is expected to repay the port over the life of its Oakland lease.

“We need bigger cranes to work the larger and more heavily laden ships calling Oakland,” SSA President Ed DeNike said. “It’s part of SSA’s long-term commitment to Oakland.”

Container cranes are raised by having a massive jack lift the entire structure off the terminal deck, and then portions of the original crane legs are cut away. Next, new leg extensions are placed under the crane and fastened into place.

The terminal said it hopes to begin work on the cranes in April. Completion is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018, depending on how many cranes are raised. That number will also determine the project’s total cost.

The port said it would take about nine weeks to raise each crane.

Jacking equipment is already en route to Oakland, the port said. Up to 40 tractor-trailers are expected to be used to transport the equipment. Steel leg extensions are being fabricated in China where the cranes were manufactured.