Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cleaner Harbor Craft

By Karen Robes Meeks

The nation’s two busiest seaports are looking to test new technologies that could make the engines of existing tugboats, barges and other harbor craft cleaner.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are requesting proposals from companies that want to demonstrate tech that could combat diesel particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution that come from harbor craft.

The demonstrations would be funded by the Technology Advancement Program, which gives each port $250,000 to study technology that could elevate harbor craft engines from Tier 2 to Tier 3 or Tier 4 standards. The upgrade would make the engines up to 70 percent cleaner.

“We are looking at ways to reduce emissions from harbor craft beyond existing regulatory requirements,” said Port of Long Beach Director of Environmental Planning Heather Tomley. “We need more viable cost effective technologies, and as the Green Port, we’re going to leverage all of our tools to lead the goods movement industry to a more sustainable future.”

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 21. For more, visit

Oakland Cold Ironing

By Karen Robes Meeks

In an effort to lower ship-generated pollution, the Port of Oakland is moving forward with a new $230,000 high-voltage cable system that will allow more ships to link to shore power.

Oakland International Container Terminal will use the 200-foot “cable-on-reel system,” which will allow ships that can’t reach the landside electrical vaults at berth to plug in, according to the port.

Some 400 ships have the capability to use shore power, but many are unable to reach the electrical vaults to make the connection.

The mobile system attempts to close the gap. Attached to a trailer, the system’s 10-foot-tall reel can move alongside vessels to link them to one of the marine terminal’s 18 electrical vaults.

Two successful trials have already been completed of the system, which could be implemented full-time by the fall.

“We’re continually working to reduce emissions,” said Chris Chan, the Port’s Director of Engineering. “This is a way to build on our success and extend our reach.”

The system will hasten a program that since 2009 has aided in lowering emissions by 76 percent, according to the port.

Cleanest Marina

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Charleston Marina earned perfect marks on its latest Clean Marina Inspection, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay announced earlier this month.

The marina received a 44 out of 44 on the inspection.

Started in 2005, the Oregon Clean Marina program gives guidance on solid waste and stormwater management, sewage and other issues. The Oregon State Marine Board oversees the program.

The Charleston Marina, which has taken part in the Clean Marina program since 2007, has more than 400 slips and new energy-saving LED lighting for its docks, parking lots and facilities through the Energy Trust of Oregon.

New Finance Director at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

A familiar face is returning to the Port of Long Beach’s Finance and Administration Bureau.

Sam Joumblat, the chief financial officer of Total Transportation Services Inc. will lead as the port’s Managing Director of Finance and Administration.

Joumblat, who begins this month, worked for the port as chief financial officer from 2006 to 2014. Before that, he was Deputy City Auditor for the city of Long Beach. In the private sector, he served as a senior manager with Arthur Andersen and 15 years with Atlantic Richfield Co. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degrees in business administration, mechanical engineering and industrial engineering from the University of Southern California.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently approved his appointment.

“Sam has the years of experience needed to maintain and improve the port’s strong financial position,” said former Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzm├ín.

Joumblat will oversee the port’s $750 million budget and its 10-year, $4 billion capital improvement program, which encompasses the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement and Middle Harbor Redevelopment projects.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Hotel for Vancouver USA

By Karen Robes Meeks

In 2019, a new hotel is expected to be built at Port of Vancouver USA’s Terminal 1 waterfront development.

The port Board of Commissioners recently blessed a 50-year lease with Vancouver, Washington-based Vesta Hospitality to build a 160-room AC by Marriott Hotel at Terminal 1’s Block D, a prime location bordered by the port’s Columbia River dock, the future Daniels Way pedestrian plaza, and The Waterfront Vancouver, a $1.5 billion mixed-use development.

“Vesta Hospitality shares our vision for Terminal 1 as a premier local destination, a place where neighbors and visitors are welcomed to the waterfront to enjoy all that’s great and unique about Vancouver,” said port CEO Julianna Marler. “We’re thrilled to have them as partners and look forward to breaking ground next year.”

Construction for the $40 million project is set to start in 2018.

“We’re really pleased to be working with the port and excited about building this type of hotel in Vancouver,” said Vesta Hospitality Chairman and CEO Rick Takach. “It’s different than anything else we have in Vancouver, and I’m happy to bring a new asset to my hometown. Vesta’s based here, I live here, and we’re excited to expand here.”

When fully operational, Terminal 1 will feature nearly 950,000-square feet of new mixed-use development and is anticipated to generate 800 new jobs and close to $93 million in state and local taxes over 25 years, according to the port.

Oakland Imports Up

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland moved a record amount of imports last month, according to the port’s recent statistics. The port handled 84,835 TEUs in imports in July, moving 5.4 percent more than in 2016 with 80,508 TEUs and beating a March 2015 record of 84,023 TEUs in imported containers.

Import volumes are up 3.7 percent in the first seven months of 2017, which the port is attributing to the economic health of its core market in Northern California and Western Nevada and to the continued strength of US consumer spending.

“Retailers have been forecasting strong peak season import numbers this year and so far, they’re right,” said Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We’re glad to support them and we are ready for more.”

Meanwhile, the port saw 74,821 TEUs in exports in July, a 3.5 decrease from the same period last year, when the it moved 77,573 TEUs.

Overall, 209,883 TEUs in cargo volumes was handled in July, including empty containers, a 1.6 percent increase from July 2016, when Oakland moved 206,600 TEUs.

Overstock to Double at Grays Harbor

By Karen Robes Meeks’s presence in the Port of Grays Harbor’s Satsop Business Park will double in size.

The Port Harbor Commission recently agreed to a lease amendment that will increase the Salt Lake City, Utah-based company’s footprint to include the 43,000-square-foot Flex Tech Building. expects to be operational by October 1.

“We are extremely excited for Overstock’s expansion at the Park and the additional jobs it will bring to the region,” announced Commission President Jack Thompson. “Overstock has been a wonderful partner for the Satsop Business Park and Grays Harbor as a whole. We are confident they will be able to add more local, quality employees to their team here in Washington.”

The approval comes three months after commissioners welcomed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the company’s Evergreen Customer Care Call Center at the Satsop Business Park, a move that is expected to add at least 150 new employees all likely to come from the five-county region of Grays Harbor, Thurston, Lewis, Mason and Pacific.

“Our Elma-based associates are performing well and providing excellent customer care, and the response from the community has been everything we could have hoped for thus far,” said Senior Vice President Carter Lee. “As a result, we’ve moved up plans to expand our Evergreen Customer Care center, and are looking forward to finding more amazing associates from the community to join our Overstock family.”

Satsop Business Park is a mixed-use facility located two hours away from Seattle, Wash., 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.

Cargo Record at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Last July, the Port of Long Beach moved more cargo than it ever did in any month in its port history.

The nation’s second busiest seaport moved 720,312 TEUs, beating the previous record set in August 2015, according to the port’s latest numbers. This represents a 13.1 percent jump compare to July 2016.

During the month, Long Beach also handled a record-setting 378,820 TEUs in imports, a 16.3 percent increase, while exports fell 11.7 percent compare to the same period last year, moving only 126,098 containers.

Meanwhile, 215,394 TEUs in empty containers, boxes sent overseas to be refilled with goods pass through the port, a 27.7 percent increase.

“These numbers are great for Long Beach and good news for the economy,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “They are also indicators of the kind of service we provide to our customers as they seek the best and most efficient pathways to get their goods to U.S. markets.”

Up 6.4 percent from 2016 to 2017, Long Beach is seeing steadily rising cargo volumes from a year ago, posting five straight months of increases.

“Given the unprecedented change in the industry, we are pleased to see shippers choosing Long Beach,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “We thank our industry partners for having confidence in this port, and we pledge to continue to provide the best service and the best facilities.”