Friday, June 16, 2017

Busy Box Month for Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles reported the busiest May in its 110-year history, moving 796,216 TEUs last month, according to latest numbers released by the port Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

That’s 3.4 percent more than in May 2016, which had also been a record month.

The port handled 413,021 TEUs in imports last month, a 3.1 percent increase from the same time last year, and 169,639 TEUs in exports, a 4.4 percent jump from May 2016.

In the first five months of 2017, total cargo volumes are 3.75 million TEUs, an 8.5 percent spike when compared to the same period in 2016.

“We continue to see balanced year-over-year growth both on the import and export side of our operations,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles. “With nearly one million jobs — one in nine jobs in the region — tied to San Pedro Bay port complex operations, we continue to focus on supply chain efficiency, optimization and sustainability.”

“Zero” Emissions Goals for LA, LB

By Karen Robes Meeks

Mayors representing the nation’s two busiest seaports spoke Monday, June 12, 2017, of aggressive goals to invest in clear air technology and transition the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach toward zero emissions.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia appeared at San Pedro’s downtown harbor to sign a joint declaration strengthening their commitment to the landmark Clean Air Action Plan, including plans to further lower at-berth emissions and start a zero emissions drayage truck pilot program in the coming years.

“Our ports are the engines that power our economy — they must also be the forces that drive our region toward a greener, more sustainable future,” Garcetti said. “I am proud to stand with my fellow Climate Mayor Robert Garcia today, as we renew our commitment to cleaning our air, and moving boldly toward our goal of zero emissions goods movement at the ports.”

Garcetti and Garcia are among the 292 mayors who are part of Climate Mayors, leaders who endorse adopting in their cities the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement. The group, which Garcetti co-founded in 2014, has quadrupled since President Donald Trump recently announced plans to pull the US from the Paris agreement.

Garcetti and Garcia also launched a new Climate Mayors initiative called the Green Ports Collaborative, which would bring together cities and ports to establish shared environmental standards, demonstrate future demand for zero emissions equipment and trucks, work with manufacturers to produce the vehicles and technologies needed, and take other collaborative action to green ports across the US.

“With the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach ranked as the nation’s two largest ports, it is crucial to double down on our commitment to combating climate change by achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and by committing to zero emissions goals for the Clean Air Action Plan,” Garcia said. “The success of our Ports has proven that you don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy. I look forward to working with Mayor Eric Garcetti and making our cities models for climate action.”

The twin ports, which generate $398 billion of economic activity annually, will announce a timeline and process for CAAP within 15 days, and complete the update of the plan by November. A CAAP Implementation Stakeholder Advisory Group made up of government, maritime, community and other stakeholders will be formed to oversee the 2017 update.

Strong May for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach reported on Monday June 12, a strong May for goods movement, handling 648,287 TEUs for a 1.2 percent increase from the same period last year.

Port officials are in part crediting new vessel-sharing alliances for last month’s cargo movement, which had been the port’s second-highest May in a decade.

"Last May was a great month, so we're encouraged that we did even better this year," said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. "Our strong belief is that if we continue to build the most modern facilities of any port in the United States and provide the best service, the customers will come."

The port also moved 336,594 TEUs in imports, 1.8 percent more than May 2016. Meanwhile, it handled 14.3 percent fewer export containers, with 118,786 TEUs.

For the first five months of 2017, cargo traffic has risen 4.1 percent in Long Beach.

"The new alliances are making more efficient use of our terminals with their deployments," said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzm├ín. "Beyond that, the strong U.S. dollar is growing our imports, but not helping our exports. Still, we’re in line with our projections for the year, and the Port is in a strong position as we head into the peak season."

Fast Response Cutter Commissioned in Juneau

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the US Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco (WPC 1122), the 17th District’s second 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, was commissioned in Juneau, Alaska.

The second of six Sentinel-class cutters that will be calling Alaska home is named after Dam Neck Life-Saving Station’s Keeper Bailey Barco, who was given a Gold Lifesaving Medal on October 7, 1901, for his efforts in rescuing the crew of the schooner Jennie Hall.

Barco took command of the Jennie Hall on December 21, 1900, when it ran aground in a winter storm off Virginia Beach, Virginia. He and his crew safely returned five survivors.

The new patrol vessel Barco features advanced technology for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It also can launch and recover standardized small boats from its stern, according to the Coast Guard.

Several officials were scheduled to attend the commissioning, including the cutter’s sponsor Carol Lash Push, Bailey Barco’s great-granddaughter.

Attendees also included Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, 17th District commander, Rear Adm. Michael McAllister; Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander, Capt. Shannan Greene; and cutter Bailey Barco’s commanding officer, Lt. Frank Reed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oakland Imports Up

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland reached its highest volume of containerized imports in nearly two years, according to latest statistics released by the port June 9.

Imports reached 82,440 TEUs last month, a 1.4 percent jump from May 2016, which saw 81,293 TEUs. It was the most the port took in since August 2015, when it moved 82,492 TEUs.

“Our import volume has been up four consecutive months,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “That’s encouraging as we head into the traditionally busy summer-fall peak season.”

About 48 percent of containers that move through Oakland are imports.

Meanwhile, the port handled 78,585 TEUs in exports, down 6.4 percent from 83,969 TEUs.

In terms of overall volume, which include imports, exports and empty containers, Oakland handled about 211,020 TEUs, just about the same amount of cargo it moved in May 2016 with 211,769 TEUs.

The port, however, is encouraged by the 2.2 percent growth of its overall volume in the first five months in 2017. Although the number of ships coming to Oakland was down 7 percent, the vessels that are visiting are much larger. Weekly visits to Oakland include megaships that can carry up to 14,000 TEUs.

Toys Seized

By Karen Robes Meeks

A shipment of hundreds of children’s toys violating consumer safety and trade laws were seized at the Port of Tacoma, US Customs and Border Protection announced last week.

Officers confiscated 720 four-piece Light Dive Sticks for violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, 900 Bubble Gun with Lights, and 1,500 22-inch Water Cannons for violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act, according to the agency.

“The enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at protecting consumers, especially children, at U.S. ports of entry remains a very high priority for CBP,” said Mark Wilkerson, director of CBP Field Operations at the Area Port of Seattle. “We will identify, stop and seize such merchandise at every opportunity. By working to stop the movement of illicit goods across our borders we meet a critical mandate.”

New West Coast Liner Service

By Karen Robes Meeks

CMA CGM, the world’s third largest shipping carrier, has recently launched a new weekly service along the western coast of the US, Central and South Americas.

The AZTECA service, which began May 24 in partnership with the German shipping company Hamburg Sud, will travel to US ports in Long Beach and Oakland; Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Acajutla, El Salvador; Corinto, Nicaragua; Buenaventura, Columbia, and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica.

The service allows CMA CGM to link Central and South America’s agricultural food industry and empowers growers to ship perishables such as bananas and avocados to North America.

Existing connections from regional hubs allow Central America exporters to benefit from competitive transit times with Asia, according to CMA CGM, which sees the service as a way to strengthen its network on the Pacific Coast of the Americas.

Safe Aleutian Navigation

By Karen Robes Meeks

Residents of Western Alaska are moving towards establishing an Aleutian Islands Waterways Safety Committee to bring together diverse waterway users to talk about and recommend safe navigational practices that work with existing regulatory requirements.

“The waterways safety committee will provide a valuable and on-going forum to discuss mutual navigational safety, mobility and environmental protection concerns where shipping activity is expected to continue to increase,” said Capt. Paul Albertson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We look forward to working with both public and private stakeholders.”

A convening workgroup will develop the committee’s organizational mission and geographic scope and nominate the first board of directors who will establish the committee and various workgroups.

“The formation of the waterways safety committee will encourage dynamic cooperation among maritime stakeholders that will further enhance the good work completed during the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment after the Selendang Ayu incident,” said Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty.

The Selendang Ayu, a bulk cargo ship carrying soybeans, ran aground off Unalaska Island in western Alaska in 2004 after reporting engine failure. A breaking wave engulfed a rescue helicopter, causing it to crash into the ship and kill six crewmembers. The vessel then broke in half, causing a large oil spill.