Friday, June 9, 2017

New Business at Grays Harbor

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

Faster Clearance at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaner Exhaust for Matson Alaska

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Vancouver USA Development Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Port of LA Budget Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

Those projects include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New San Francisco Harbor Engineer

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Port of Hueneme Birthday

By Karen Robes Meeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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