Friday, August 4, 2017

Oakland Anticipates Record Imports

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland is ready for what could potentially be a record peak season for imports. “We’re hearing that the next two-to-three months could set new containerized import records in the US,” said the port’s Maritime Director John Driscoll.

“If that’s the case, we’re ready; we’ve got plenty of equipment to move cargo and our terminals are operating with high efficiency.”

Driscoll’s remarks came on the heels of the National Retail Federation’s forecast that containerized imports could approach record numbers in July and August, months that traditionally signal the beginning of peak season when retailers begin filling their shelves for back-to-school and holiday seasons.

The Northern California port, which posted a 3.4 percent increase in imports over last year, highlighted its peak-season preparedness with the following measures:

• Marine terminals are easing congestion at gates by requiring appointments for truck drivers picking up import containers;

• The availability of night gates to improve cargo flow, highlighting Oakland International Container Terminal, which is processing about 1,200 transactions nightly; A dedicated off-terminal empty container yard to ease traffic, with a reported 400 empty pick-ups/deliveries daily; and

• The anticipated September opening of a new gate complex at TraPac marine terminal, which should help shrink truck lines.

New Port of Los Angeles Bike Share

By Karen Robes Meeks

Transit and Port of Los Angeles leaders launched on Monday a new bike-sharing system that allows visitors to bike to and from major destinations along the waterfront.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bike Sharing system gives residents access to about 120 bicycles and 13 bike share stations so they can visit places such as the Downtown Harbor, Ports O’Call Village, Battleship IOWA, Catalina Sea and Air Terminal, L.A. Maritime Museum and Gateway Plaza.

Officials such as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Janice Hahn, as well as Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose 15th District includes the port, gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Power Line Study at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach is seeking community input on a draft report that studies the environmental impact of Southern California Edison’s proposal to modify transmission and telecommunication lines that cross the Cerritos Channel.

A hearing on the draft environmental impact report, which was released Monday July 24, will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday August 16, in the Board Room at the Port of Long Beach Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive in Long Beach.

The base of the new bridge replacing the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge will be 205 feet above the port’s back channel, higher than Edison’s current transmission towers’ electric lines, which are 155 feet above water. Edison would need to take out and replace the transmission towers and raise the electric lines where they cross the channel at Piers A and S so that the lines don’t impede movement through the back channel.

A copy of the draft report can be found www.polb.com/ceqa.

Written comments must be submitted by September 11 to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, Port of Long Beach, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, or to ceqa@polb.com, indicate the project title in the subject line.

Vancouver USA Wins AAPA Awards

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA has won six 2017 Communications Competition awards presented by the American Association of Port Authorities, whose awards have acknowledged excellence in port communications since 1966.

The port was honored with the Awards of Excellence for its 2017 Lecture Series and Terminal 1 Waterfront Master Plan, it also received the Awards of Distinction for its 2016 Christmas Ships event, Terminal 5 Statement of Interest and “Happy” video, and also received the Award of Merit for “1 Great Region, 3 Great Ports,” which teamed Vancouver port with the ports of Camas-Washougal and Ridgefield for the marketing and government affairs effort.

The judges commended the port’s strategic planning and analysis, diverse use of media and attractive marketing materials, according to the port.

“These awards recognize best practices and effectiveness in communications,” said CEO Julianna Marler. “International ports are complex organizations with many stakeholders. It can be challenging to reach everyone, but we’re making great strides with proactive and creative communications that help us engage with neighbors, community partners, tenants and future customers.

The port is expected to accept the awards in October at the association’s 106th Annual Convention and Expo in Long Beach, California.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

D-Day Westport

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Washington National Guard conducted an emergency preparedness-training event this morning, August 1, at the Westport Marina in the Port of Grays Harbor.

The Westport Boat Launch was closed from 7 to 11 a.m. so the military could practice delivering troops and supplies in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.

Prior to the deployment, Westport Marina Business Manager Molly Bold noted that the marina was looking forward to hosting such an important training event and hoped regular users would be able to launch either before or after the military wrapped up their activities.

Various military vehicles and a helicopter were also on display at a public open house hosted at the US Coast Guard Station.

USCG Cracking Down on Illegal Charters

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard is warning vessel operators and the general public to be on the lookout for illegal charter boats operating in the San Diego area.

The Coast Guard enforces federal regulations for charter vessels and crews to ensure the safety of all persons at sea. Illegal charters do not meet these regulations.

“Licensed operators have earned this designation for a reason,” said Cmdr. Kris Szczechowicz, chief of the preventions at Coast Guard Sector San Diego. “These operators have proven that they can adhere to safety standards and regulations in order to provide the safest experience possible for passengers. The marine environment is not where you should put your life in the hands of someone who is not trained.”

Any vessel carrying passengers for monetary gain, including any form of economic benefit, or a donation as a condition of carriage, requires that vessel be operated by a Coast Guard credentialed mariner and has onboard a current Certificate of Documentation or State Registration.

Common examples of operations that must meet these requirements include but are not limited to purchasing tickets to ride powerboats, renting a moored vessel as a bed and breakfast, paying to ride Water Jet devices, or requiring fuel, food or beverage as a mandatory contribution to a fishing trip.

In addition, if carrying more than six passengers, the vessel must have a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the Coast Guard. A valid certificate is proof that the Coast Guard has verified that the vessel meets specific minimum federal safety standards, outlines passenger and crew manning requirements, and defines navigation routes allowed.

Vessels that do not meet these standards pose serious safety concerns to the public and environment, and may adversely impact the livelihood of legitimate operators.

When reserving trips, prospective passengers are encouraged to ask the operator in advance for proof the vessel is compliant with Coast Guard requirements. Passengers may also request a vessel’s captain to show his or her valid Coast Guard credential.

To verify a captain’s license, the inspected status of a commercial passenger vessel, report an illegal charter operation, or if a vessel operator desires more information on how to meet federal requirements, please call Coast Guard Sector San Diego at 619-278-7033.

New Long Beach Commissioners

By Karen Robes Meeks

Lou Anne Bynum and Tracy Egoscue have been elected to serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners− the five-member body of mayor-appointed Long Beach residents that governs the Port of Long Beach. Bynum, who was first appointed to the commission in May 2014, is executive vice president of College Advancement and Economic Development for Long Beach City College. Prior to the July announcement, she was the board vice president, and will take over for Lori Ann Guzm├ín, who will now act as board secretary.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as president,” Bynum said. “We have much important work to do on behalf of our customers and city. I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners, Executive Director Mario Cordero and port staff to continue to build the best and greenest port of the future.”

Egoscue, who was appointed by Mayor Robert Garcia in September 2014, is an environmental attorney based in Long Beach.

Anacortes Port Partner Awards

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Anacortes recently honored Port Partner Awards recipients at the Waterfront Festival Kick-off Dinner in the Port’s Transit Shed Event Center.

Created in 2008, the Partner Awards is given to those who teamed up with the port to “promote economic growth, environmental cleanup, and strategic planning.”

This year featured two Customer Service Partner recipients Chinook Enterprises, which provides grounds maintenance services for the port, and Wes Holden, DOWL, for his help in the Anacortes Airport Improvements Project.

The port’s award for Strategic Partner went to POGO Zone, which helped the port deliver technology to Port tenants and high-speed internet services to the Anacortes Airport.

The award for Economic Development Partner was presented to Anthony’s Cabana recognizing the 2016 opening in the Cap Sante Marina waterfront.