Friday, July 28, 2017

Clean Air Comment Period

By Karen Robes Meeks

The nation’s two busiest seaports have released their latest vision for cleaner air and the public will have a chance to comment on it.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have put out an updated draft of their joint 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), a blueprint of short- and long-term strategies for air pollution reduction from port operations, at an estimated cost of up to $14 billion.

The plan calls for:

• Expanding on-dock rail so that half of all inbound cargo leaving the ports will be moved by rail;

• Implementing clean engine standards that will help transition trucks into a zero- emissions drayage fleet by 2035;

• Creating a universal truck appointment system to shrink turn times;

• Creating infrastructure plans that push for the electrification of terminal equipment, alternative fuels and other energy uses.

The plan’s new clean air goals aims at lowering greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

The update CAAP also carries over the previously established 2023 targets for curbing pollutants below 2005, which included lowering diesel particulate matter by 77 percent, sulfur oxides by 93 percent, and nitrogen oxides by 59 percent. The latest measurements show that Los Angeles and Long Beach have either surpassed or are in striking distance of the 2023 goals, the ports reported.

Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor commissioners are expected to jointly vote on a final version in November.

“These ports are going where no port has gone before,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Based on what we’ve already accomplished to promote healthy, robust trade through our gateway, we’re ready to make history again, looking at a new array of technologies and strategies to further lower port-related emissions in the decades ahead.”

The ports remain committed to leading in seaport sustainability, said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.

“Working closely with all our partners has been crucial to our success. That same collaboration went into the development of the 2017 CAAP and will be indispensable going forward,” he said. “Since 2006, the Clean Air Action Plan has been a model for programs to reduce health risks and air quality impacts from port operations worldwide.”

The public can weigh in until 5 p.m. on September 28 by submitting written comments to Alternatively, opinions can be shared during the August 30 workshop hosted by both ports at 5 p.m. on at Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 Water St. in Wilmington. To view the update, visit

San Francisco Port, Shipyard Settlement

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Francisco and former operator BAE Systems Ship Repair, Inc. have reached a $4.9 million settlement toward improvements and upkeep at the shipyard.

The port commission approved the agreement earlier this month.

“While the legal dispute continues between the port’s former operators, the port appreciates BAE working diligently with the port and City Attorney’s Office to reach this settlement, which will help recover operations at the shipyard quickly,” said port Executive Director Elaine Forbes. “The port is grateful for its dedicated labor and development partners that have helped ensure local jobs at the shipyard during this interim period of operations.”

To leverage the shipyard’s improvements stemming from the settlement, the port commission has authorized staff to put out bids for a new shipyard operator and an opportunity to lease 15 acres of land with several buildings, more than 17 acres of submerged land and cranes, a shore power system and other port-owned equipment.

The facilities encompass Piers 68 and 70 and Seawall Lot 349 near 20th Street and Illinois Street, including Dry Dock Eureka and Dry Dock #2.

A new lease could be approved as early as October, the port said.

“These two actions by the port commission will encourage the shipyard to remain operational and provide employment opportunities for San Francisco workers,” said Port Commission President Willie Adams. “We will continue to act quickly, so the local union jobs return to our shipyard and city.”

The port and BAE SF entered into a 20-year lease that began May 1, 2015. Then in December 2016, BAE’s parent company agreed to transfer its corporate shares, assets and interests in the shipyard to Puglia Engineering, Inc., which filed a notice of imminent closure of the shipyard at Pier 70 in February 2017.

The port and Puglia worked out an interim agreement to keep operations at the shipyard going through May to protect local jobs.

OffPeak Program Successful

By Karen Robes Meeks

Over 40-million weekday truck trips have been diverted off Los Angeles area roads since the OffPeak program started 12 years ago this week, removing hundreds of tons of truck-spewing air pollution, according to PierPass Inc.

The program, which creates weeknight and Saturday delivery shifts to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, removes more than 12,600 additional truck trips that would otherwise congest the roads between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week.

“In southern California, heavy-duty trucks are the single largest source of both the pollutants that cause smog and exposure to toxic diesel particulates,” said Wayne Nastri, Executive Officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “By reducing the amount of time that trucks spend trapped in terminal queues or traffic jams, OffPeak has made a big contribution to addressing our region’s air pollution problem.”

OffPeak also offers financial incentives for curbing weekday daytime truck trips and funding for night and Saturday shifts.

“Efficient goods movement enables a crucial jobs engine for Southern California’s economy to continue thriving,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, who serves as chair of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. “The PierPass OffPeak program seeks to maximize the efficient use of existing transportation infrastructure and demonstrates the potential for private-sector innovation to tackle public policy problems. I encourage stakeholders to continue working together to strengthen the program to ensure goods can move as efficiently and safely as possible.”

The OffPeak program was established in the early 2000s after cargo volume surges led to increased traffic congestion, and air pollution and public outcry for solutions.

“Over the last 12 years, OffPeak had diverted more than 40 million trucks off our roads and freeways during the busiest times of the day,” said David Pettit, Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “By reducing truck congestion at the marine container terminals and on the Harbor and Long Beach Freeway, the program has helped reduce pollution and increase mobility for the communities in and around the ports.”

CG Cutter to Transit Northwest Passage

By Karen Robes Meeks

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Maple, a 225-foot vessel based in Sitka, Alaska, recently embarked on a historic voyage through the Northwest Passage to support marine science and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s scientific research near the Arctic Circle.

The Maple will put out three sonographic buoys that will record marine mammals. Onboard the cutter is a principal investigator from the University of San Diego who will analyze the data coming from the buoys.

"We're very excited to make this voyage through the Northwest Passage and to assist in the Scripps Institute research,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Armstrong, commanding officer of the Maple. “In planning this, we have worked very closely with our Canadian counterparts and we look forward to continuing that cooperation in the Arctic."

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier will meet with the Maple to provide icebreaking services as the vessel heads to Victoria Strait, Canada.

The Maple will end its journey in late August in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Extended Comment Period for Los Angeles Terminal

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles has extended the public comment period to September 29 for those who want to weigh in on an updated draft report addressing the environmental impacts of China Shipping’s terminal at Berths 97-109.

The port did so at the request of community stakeholders who wanted more time to review and comment on the draft the port released last month.

The draft report reviews the terminal’s continued operation under adjusted mitigation measures, given today’s higher cargo movement compared to 2008 when the original document had been created.

The draft suggested several measures to offset “unavoidable significant impacts in air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and ground transportation.”

Some measures in the draft Environment Impact Report (EIR) were requiring that ships be able to use alternative maritime power (such as shore power) while at berth by January 1, take part in the vessel speed reduction program and swap diesel-powered equipment with electric models.

The original EIR was done when China Shipping North America affiliate West Basin Container Terminal wanted to expand its facility, which was approved by the port and completed in 2013.

The EIR then called for China Shipping to buy cleaner cargo handling equipment and zero emissions trucks and test at least 10 pieces of cargo-handling equipment in a yearlong zero emissions demonstration.

But according to the Daily Breeze, the LA port said in 2015 that many of the clean-air requirements have not been implemented.

For a copy of the draft EIR, visit

Port of Seattle Joins Environmental Group

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle reiterated its commitment to the environment recently when the agency announced it was part of We Are Still In, a national multi-organizational coalition aimed at meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement and declared support for the UN-driven initiative Climate Neutral Now.

The port’s goals to lower emissions reflect the Paris Agreement’s goals in reducing 2005’s emissions by half by 2030 and all or more of those emissions by 2050.

Some of the port’s initiatives to reduce carbon footprint includes:

• Raising its use of renewable natural gas, solar, and wind power and other clean energy sources;

• Requiring all cruise ships and large vessels to use electric power or low-sulfur diesel while at berth;

• Partnering with the ports of Tacoma, Wash., and Vancouver, British Columbia on the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to improve air quality in the Salish Sea air shed;

• Working with drayage truck drivers to retire its more than 200 polluting trucks and outfit the rest with modern emissions control systems; and

• Put into action a stringent program demanding port truckers to use trucks with 2007 truck emissions technology or better.

“We are actively cutting greenhouse gas emissions from Port operations and working with our tenants to assist them in reducing their GHG emissions,” said Port Commissioner John Creighton. “Leadership to make our carbon footprint smaller is crucial to reducing the threat of global temperature rise.”

New Oakland Board President

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland’s seven-member governing board recently elected Joan Story as its board president for one year.

Story, who has served on the board for two years, will take over for Commissioner Michael Colbruno, who acted as president last year and will remain on the board.

"I'm gratified to have the support of my colleagues on the board," Story said. "With their guidance and the commitment of a talented staff we look forward to continued success at the Port."

A graduate from Occidental College, Story earned her master’s degree in political science from UCLA and a law degree from UC Davis. She was a member of The Trust for Public Land California Advisory Board and a board member of the Child Care Law Center.

Story is real estate attorney who is of counsel to the international law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.

In July 2015, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf appointed Story to the board.

Commissioners also selected Cestra "Ces" Butner as its First Vice President and Andreas Cluver as its Second Vice President.

New Port of Anacortes Staff

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Anacortes, Washington recently made a series of hires for various roles.

The agency welcomed John Dumas to be its Director of Operation. Dumas previously worked for marine terminal tenant Cortland Puget Sound Rope, where he had been employed since 1996 in various roles. He most recently served as site manager for the Anacortes operation.

The port also hired Brad Tesch as a project manager. Previously at Hunt Military Communities (formerly Forest City Residential Management), Tesch oversaw large-scale housing projects as the maintenance manager.

The port also brought on board Ryan Fox as marina operations supervisor. Fox hail from Global Diving & Salvage.