Friday, September 15, 2017

Improved Port Driver App

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Northwest Seaport Alliance has relaunched a new and improved DrayQ phone app that gives truck drivers more accurate real-time information about wait times at marine terminals, and camera views of traffic.

Available on iOS and Android smart phones and tablets, DrayQ was developed with the port industry in an effort to curb long wait times and congestion at terminals. The app lines up with the framework of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS) and StrongPorts program.

Improvements to the app – initially launched last October – were made after users said the listed wait times were not accurate enough. Wait times information come from readers that record a driver’s smart device GPS data, whenever a truck passes by the readers as the vehicle travels along the terminal.

More readers have been added to make wait time data more accurate.

"We continue to seek innovative ways that technology can help us speed our operations, save our customers time and money and reduce port-related emissions," said Dustin Stoker, NWSA’s chief operations officer. "Our Operations Service Center engages regularly with supply chain stakeholders to anticipate changing needs."

Oakland to Increase Shore Power

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle told international shipping officials that the Northern California port intends to step up its efforts to reduce diesel pollution by pushing for more shore power.

“Our goal is to plug in every vessel,” said Lytle, who recently met with visiting members of the Washington, DC-based World Shipping Council.

He told the group that the port has lowered diesel emissions by 75 percent in the last 10 years, with truck emissions down by 98 percent, and added that there’s a real opportunity now on the vessel side to further reduce pollution.

“If there are ways to strengthen our Port electrical infrastructure to promote more use of electrical power from our grid, we will do it,” Lytle said. “We will collaborate with shipping lines and the marine terminal operators here in Oakland to build on the progress we’ve already made.”

Oakland is taking stock of what improvements need to be made in order to allow for more ships to use shore power, including adding more landside electrical vaults and more substations to boost power supply.

September is Green at the Port of San Diego

By Karen Robes Meeks

The San Diego Board of Port Commissioners this week declared September “Green Port Month” at the Port of San Diego, Calif.

“Green Port Month is a reminder of our commitment to being champions of conservation and protecting our diverse ecosystems,” said Board Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “We hope that our employees, tenants and the public will participate in the events being offered and use them as a chance to learn more about what they can do to contribute to safekeeping our environment.”

Created in 2008 to raise environmental awareness and to highlight its long-term benefits, Green Port Month celebrates its 10th year this month. Port officials have planned a series of public events to mark the milestone, including Taste of the Port where visitors can sample from local eateries and see local chefs battle in a sustainable cooking competition. for more information.

Over the last 10 years, the Port of San Diego has funded 85 projects totaling $10 million. Among its effort, the port adopted a Climate Action Plan in 2013 that sets goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and created an aquaculture program in 2015 that focuses on fisheries and environmental remediation.

Cross-Pacific Swim

By Karen Robes Meeks

Ben Lecomte, the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, will kick off a six-month attempt to traverse the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 16, at an open house at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.

Lecomte, who is doing the swim to bring the growing issues of plastic pollution into the spotlight, will be accompanied by a support team that will also collect data on the ocean’s condition and its effect on human and sea life for various research projects and major scientific organizations, including NASA.

One of the studies will track Lecomte’s swim as he follows the currents that have carried radioactive pollution from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant accident. He will wear a “RadBand” sampling device to measure its spread. Lecomte’s body will also be tested during the six-month swim to study the impacts of extreme exercise on his biome.

“We’re proud to support The Longest Swim, providing facilities and other resources for Ben’s team and ship as he prepares to bring worldwide attention to the plastics and other contaminants polluting our oceans,” said AltaSea Executive Director Jenny Krusoe. “His project is an example of what we’re building here, bringing together ocean-focused science, education and sustainable business incubation. We’re convening passionate, smart people and organizations dedicated to making our planet better. Ben’s project is a natural fit.”

After staying at AltaSea, Lecomte’s 67-foot support ship Discoverer and crew will begin its five-week journey to Tokyo, where Lecomte will launch into his spring swim to San Francisco.v “Now that I have children, it’s where my motivation is,” Lecomte said. “I’m using what I like to do and creating a platform that maybe can make a little difference. I’m swimming across the ocean to give attention to the problems facing our oceans, so that our kids can maybe have a better future.”

Lecomte will be at AltaSea’s quarterly open house, which starts at 10 a.m. Sept. 16 at AltaSea in Berth 58, 2456 S. Signal St. in San Pedro. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Email for more details.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Port of Los Angeles Approves Labor Agreement

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the next decade, millions of dollars of construction projects at the Port of Los Angeles may soon be subject to a union-driven agreement that guarantees local hiring and prevailing wages for workers.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to support a 10-year project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

The contract – which will come before the Los Angeles City Council for approval in the coming weeks – will encompass at least 38 projects worth $780 million, including wharf, rail, shore power and marine oil terminal upgrades, with more projects to come, according to the port.

Used at various city agencies and school districts, a project labor agreement allows workers to receive benefits negotiated by the trades council, including prevailing wages and health benefits.

In exchange, the port receives no disruption from union strikes as well as guarantees in local hiring – about a third of the workforce must come from the local harbor and under-served Los Angeles communities – and ensures that projects are done on time and on budget.

“The men and women who clock in every day at the Port of Los Angeles are a driving force in the global economy,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This project labor agreement will create new career opportunities that Angelenos deserve, and bring stability to operations as we invest billions in infrastructure that will define the future of the port.”

This newest contract builds upon a five-year agreement, which covered 26 completed and in-progress construction projects totaling close to $848 million, including the Berth 200 Rail Yard, TraPac Container Terminal and the South Wilmington Grade Separation projects.

Pollution Reduction at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

In its latest annual emissions inventory, the Port of Long Beach posted significant reductions in air pollution, marking more than a decade of improving air quality.

Done by an independent consultant, the report shows record numbers, including:

• An 88 percent reduction in diesel particulate matter since 2005;

• A 56 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides; and

• A 22 percent reduction in greenhouse gases.

The port attributed the low numbers to the 2016 opening of the first phase of the zero-emissions Long Beach Container Terminal at Pier E, making 11 percent of the port’s cargo-handling equipment zero-emissions.

“We have a greater percentage of our cargo-handling equipment operating at zero emissions than any other seaport in the country,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “As we chase our goal of becoming a zero-emissions port, it’s important for us to increase that number to help make the technology more commercially viable.”

The port, which has been tracking its pollution-lowering progress since 2005, has implemented several pollution-curbing efforts, which include establishing the Clean Trucks Program, boosting shore power use for vessels and encouraging ships to slow down as they approach the port.

“Our pollution-reduction strategies begin before a vessel enters the harbor and continue after cargo leaves on a truck or locomotive,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “This is a model we worked hard to achieve at the Port of Long Beach, and it’s one we’ll continue to improve until we reach zero emissions.”

Olympia Fuel Station Open

By Karen Robes Meeks

Nearly a decade in the making, the long-awaited Swantown Marine Fueling Station is now open at the Port of Olympia.

The new fueling station, which is open daily and accepts cash and major credit cards, features emergency shutoff buttons and shutoff valves along the delivery system, a leak detection system that automatically alerts to any abnormalities, and dedicated monitors and security cameras.

“The port is committed to creating infrastructure to support and significantly expand recreational opportunities and regional visitation,” said Executive Director Ed Galligan. “This same infrastructure will also broaden the port's support of commercial maritime activities in the area. Swantown is now a full-service marina, which will not only make access easier for local boaters, but also help promote tourism in Thurston County. The fact that we also will operate the most environmentally-friendly facility in Puget Sound is a particular source of pride.”

Until the new station, downtown Olympia had no marine fueling service option since 1999. In 2008, 800 residents signed a petition asking the port to put in a station at Swantown Marina.

Cemex Stays at Redwood City

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cemex Aggregates will continue to be a tenant with the Port of Redwood City for another decade.

Over the summer, the port and Cemex reached a new 10-year lease (with an extension option) for the 8.2-acre marine terminal on Hinman Road.

Port of Redwood City Executive Director Michael J. Giari called Cemex “a responsible tenant and a productive partner with the port in the growth of maritime shipping.”

Cemex has imported close to 4 million metric tons of building materials from Canada in the last three years, including sand and aggregates used in Silicon Valley and Redwood City construction projects.

“The high quality of the sand and gravel aggregates from British Columbia combined with the dwindling supply of these materials in Northern California because quarries are unable to expand have triggered and sustained a strong demand that the port benefited from,” Giari said.