Friday, June 2, 2017

San Diego North Embarcadero Project of the Year

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Rail for Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeland Security Bow Thruster

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

New Deputy Executive Director for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seattle Port, Norwegian Cruise Lines Reopen Pier 66 Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Port of Portland Picks New Executive Director

By Mark Edward Nero

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commercial Fishing Vessel Runs Aground in Southern California

By Mark Edward Nero

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crowley Receives Alaska Safe Truck Fleet Award

By Mark Edward Nero

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

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

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

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

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

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