Friday, June 23, 2017

Pick for Port

By Karen Robes Meeks

Interested in weighing in on who will lead the Port of Seattle?

The public has until today, June 23, to participate in an electronic survey on selecting the port’s next executive director to replace Ted Fick who resigned in February.

“The Port of Seattle is one of our region’s greatest public assets, and we want our next executive leader to have a strong public service ethic,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, who co-chairs with Commissioner Fred Felleman the hiring selection process. “We encourage the public to be a part of this process from the very beginning.”

The port commission hired Seattle executive search firm, Herd Freed Hartz, to conduct a regional search. The next executive director, who is expected to be selected in the fall, will lead a port with roughly 1,800 employees and a $1 billion budget. “The executive director will lead the port staff and execute the commission’s vision that port assets generate strong financial returns while creating economic opportunities that are socially responsible and broadly shared throughout the region and protecting our environment,” Gregoire said. “Selection of a publicly minded new executive committed to these priorities is essential to the port’s long-term success in serving the diverse communities of King County.”

The survey is available at

New San Diego Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michael Zucchet became the newest Port of San Diego commissioner when he took the oath of office June 15.

He joins the seven-member board, three of which represent San Diego, and one each for the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City. Zucchet was appointed to represent San Diego.

Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, welcomed him on behalf of the commission and said he looks forward to Zucchet’s perspective and expertise.

“Mr. Zucchet brings a wide array of skills and interests that will benefit our communities, the environment, our businesses, and most importantly, our residents and visitors to the San Diego waterfront,” Valderrama said.

Zucchet is general manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, the union representing city workers. He previously worked for the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, and for the San Diego City Fire Fighters as legislative and community affairs director. Additionally, he represented District 2 on the San Diego City Council.

Zucchet, who earned a master’s degree in environmental economics and policy from Duke University, was a renewable energy economist with the Energy Information Administration of the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He also worked with Santa Barbara nonprofit Environmental Defense Center and was president of the San Diego League of Conservation Voters.

“Mr. Zucchet’s public sector experience and background in environmental economics will serve us well as we approach the final stages of our Port Master Plan update,” said Rafael Castellanos, vice chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “His expertise will complement and increase the Commission’s capability as we strive to balance the diversity of interests on our vibrant waterfront.”

Port of Portland Development

By Karen Robes Meeks

On June 14, the Port of Portland Commission approved the sale of 19 acres of Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park (TRIP) to the Clayco real estate development, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers whose clients include Pfizer, Coleman, Amazon and Walgreens.

Clayco’s preliminary site concept features a 344,000-square-foot facility that can accommodate up to four industrial users for manufacturing, distribution and offices, according to the port.

The sale is the latest in the revitalization of TRIP, a 700-acre brownfield redevelopment. Earlier this year, the port approved the sale of 74 acres for an Amazon fulfillment center, bringing 1,500 jobs.

“This investment is another example of TRIP’s evolution from a brownfield site into a thriving job center,” said Keith Leavitt, port chief commercial officer. “We expect this development to follow suit in attracting nationally known companies that will bring quality jobs to our region.”

Once home to the Reynolds Metals Co. aluminum plant, the industrial park had been declared a Superfund site in 1994 and remained inactive. When the Port purchased the property in 2007, it was annexed into the city of Troutdale and cleaned up by Alcoa. So far, the port and stakeholders have spent more than $130 million to buy and redevelop the site, including a 90-acre wetland mitigation area, according to the port.

“Within the dynamic Pacific Northwest market, the TRIP development is a premier site that enhances our industrial portfolio,” Clayco Western Region Vice President John Banchero said.

“We see significant opportunity in the site with close proximity to the FedEx Ground hub, the Amazon fulfillment center, I-84 and the Troutdale Airport. When completed, the state-of-the-art facility and its location are guaranteed to attract today’s top modern industrial, logistics and fulfillment users.”

High Speed Bow Thrusters

By Karen Robes Meeks

The bow thrusters within San Francisco Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s newest high-speed catamaran ferry came from marine electronics design and manufacturing company WESMAR.

The longtime marine electronics and thruster manufacturing company installed its WESMAR system into Hydrus, a 135-foot, 400-passenger ferry that was delivered to the transportation authority last month.

The ferry features two WESMAR hydraulic V2-12 dual prop, counter rotating bow thrusters, one in each hull. Each system includes three control stations in the pilothouse.

The system is designed to give extra power needed for high-speed ferries such as the Hydrus, which operates at a service speed of 27 knots.

The WESMAR’s were installed for dockside maneuvering and to assist with on and off-loading, critical to achieving fast turnaround times, ensuring ferry runs stay on schedule.

“The Hydrus and the additional vessels coming on-line over the next few years will help us meet the increased need for ferry service and realize our strategic plan: a robust network of 44 vessels, serving five times today’s ridership by 2035, with wait times of 15 minutes or less during peak commute hours,” said Nina Rannells, executive director of the transportation authority. Hydrus will travel the Central Bay routes of San Francisco to Alameda, Oakland and Harbor Bay. It’s the first of four ferries to join the fleet in three years. All will have the same design and be equipped with WESMAR systems, according to the company.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kalama Methanol Permits Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Kalama has secured two key permit approvals from the Washington Department of Ecology that would allow for the construction of a proposed facility for manufacturing and exporting methanol.

The state department recently approved a conditional use permit and granted water quality certification for the project, which would be built on about 100 acres of industrial property at the north end of the port’s marine industrial park.

The methanol plant and marine terminal project is allowable under the state’s Shoreline Management Act and Cowlitz County’s shoreline master program as long as it meets environmental protection standards, according to the state.

The facility is expected to produce up to one million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year to make methanol from natural gas. Under the conditional use permit, the port and Northwest Innovation Works will need to lessen greenhouse gas emissions that come from the methanol plant by 1.7 percent annually from the first year it is fully operational until emissions level off in 2035.The port says most of emissions associated with the condition are outside shoreline jurisdiction and added that the project would significantly lower GHG emissions by using Ultra-Low-Emission gas methanol instead of coal methanol.

The permit also requires putting in place on-site dredge disposal standards to protect water quality since the plant would be built near the Columbia River, though the methanol plant would have a system that recycles manufacturing process water to avoid discharges to the nearby river.

These permits are part of several more the port will need in order to construct the facility.

The marine terminal – which would be built, owned and operated by the Port of Kalama – would be used mainly by Northwest Innovation Works and available to other ships for lay berth use, according to the port. It would feature a dock, berth, loading equipment, utilities and a stormwater system. Methanol vessels coming to the terminal would be able to hook up to pollution-reducing shore power.

According to the state department, the facility would be able to produce 10,000 metric tons of methanol daily from natural gas once operational.

New Long Beach Fireboat Stations

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach harbor commissioners last week agreed to invest in the construction of two new fireboat stations by approving engineering design services for the projects.

Commissioners approved $50.1 million for Fireboat Station No. 15 to be built on the Main Channel and $51.6 million for Fireboat Station No. 20, which will be constructed in the port’s Inner Harbor.

“These fireboat stations will safeguard the Port and our customers in this new era of big ships,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “They will provide the best waterside response possible, maximize landside firefighting coverage and serve as a home for our new, state-of-the-art fireboats. With ships more than doubling in size in the last decade and cargo traffic breaking monthly records, this is a needed upgrade to Port safety.”

Each fireboat station will feature living quarters, a garage for firefighting equipment and a full waterside wharf with enclosure for the fireboat. They will also include water- and energy-efficient technology and other environmental-friendly features.

Station No. 15 is expect to be completed in 2020, with Station No. 20 opening a year later.

Port of Los Angeles Suggests Air Quality Measures

By Karen Robes Meeks

An updated draft environmental impact report released Thursday by the Port of Los Angeles is suggesting a series of sustainable measures to curb “unavoidable significant impacts in air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and ground transportation” at China Shipping’s terminal at Berths 97-109.

This supplemental draft updates a 2008 environmental impact report (EIR) that was created when China Shipping North America affiliate West Basin Container Terminal wanted to expand its terminal, which the port approved. The project was completed in 2013.

To offset the impacts, the EIR called for China Shipping to purchase cleaner cargo handling equipment and zero emissions trucks, and conduct a yearlong zero emissions demonstration with at least 10 pieces of cargo-handling equipment.

But according to the Daily Breeze, the L.A. port said in 2015 that many of the clean-air requirements have not yet happened.

This draft report evaluates the terminal’s continued operation under adjusted mitigation measures, considering that cargo movement is higher now than it was in 2008.

Modified measures would include that ships must be able to use alternative maritime power (such as shore power) while docked at the port by January 1, participate in the vessel speed reduction program and replacing diesel-powered equipment with electric models.

The public has a chance to weigh in on the draft report until July 31. An open meeting will take place on July 18 at the Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro. For a copy of the draft EIR, visit

Customs Offers Cross-Border Agreements

By Karen Robes Meeks

More than a dozen California and Washington-based businesses and agencies have been tentatively selected by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for new reimbursable service agreements designed to promote economic growth in cross-border trade throughout the nation, the CBP announced recently.

These agreements – made possible through Section 481 of the Homeland Security Act, 2002 – allow selected entities to reimburse CBP for expanded services such as customs, agricultural processing, border security services and support services at ports of entry.

Those tentatively selected for these partnerships include:
  • APM Terminal Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • California Cartage Company (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • California United Terminals, Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • Eagle Marine Services, Ltd (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • FCL Logistics, LTD (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • International Transportation Services, Inc. (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Long Beach Container Terminal LLC (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District (Hueneme, Calif.);
  • Price Transfer, Inc. (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Price Transfer, Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • Total Terminals International, LLC (Long Beach, Calif.);
  • Total Terminals International, LLC (Seattle, Wash.);
  • TraPac, LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.);
  • West Basin Container Terminal (Los Angeles, Calif.); and
  • Yusen Terminal LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.)

“With increasing demands placed on CBP operations across the nation, innovative solutions like the Reimbursable Services Program allow us to keep pace while ensuring the safety and security of the travelers and cargo arriving to the United States,” said Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “The selection of these new partners reinforces CBP’s commitment to supporting opportunities for economic advancement and increased service.”