Friday, September 29, 2017

Shipyard for Lease

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Francisco is in the midst of finding bidders to lease a 14.7-acre ship repair facility and its equipment that is being upgraded.

The shipyard features 16 buildings and 17.4 acres of submerged lands with tenant-controlled access, as well as floating Dry Dock #2, floating Dry Dock Eureka, shore power capability and other port-owned assets.

Improvements have been made to the site, with more on the way, including a newer electrical system and power grid separation project, a new 19th Street extension near Illinois Street, and the removal of two run-down buildings. All three projects are expected to be completed by April 2018.

There are also plans to dredge at Dry Dock #2 and Wharf 4 East, as well as a “close-to-final project partnership agreement” with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep dredging the Central Basin, the shipyard’s access point.

Cutters to Honolulu

By Karen Robes Meeks

The first of three 154-foot fast response U.S. Coast Guard cutters to be stationed in Hawaii arrived in Honolulu last week.

Named after Chief Petty Officer Oliver Fuller Berry – who helped develop the helicopter rescue hoist – the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry will mainly serve the main Hawaiian Islands and is expected to be commissioned in an October 31 ceremony.

The new cutters, which will replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, are built for various missions, including search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and drug and migrant interdiction and should enhance the Coast Guard’s presence on the water. All three cutters will be based in Honolulu by spring 2019.

Enviro Awards for Stockton

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Stockton has netted two 2017 American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Awards.

The port won the 2017 Environmental Enhancement Award for the Antioch Dunes Restoration Project, and the 2017 Stakeholder Education, Awareness and Involvement Award for Barn Owl Nest Boxes program. The awards will be presented on October 4 at the AAPA Awards Luncheon in Long Beach, California.

The Antioch project is a joint effort between the port and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.

“When we realized that the Fish and Wildlife Service needed sand at Antioch Dunes, it made perfect sense to pump the sand from the river bed to restore the dunes,” said port director Richard Aschieris.

“We see this program as just one way we can support the environment and our community, and receiving this year’s Environmental Enhancement Award from the AAPA is an added bonus.”

With the Barn Owl Nest Box Program, the port constructed 16 nests to raise the barn owl population. The nests also have cameras so the public can monitor the owls by logging on the port website.

“We had 40,000 hits from visitors watching our owl boxes last year,” said Jeffrey Wingfield, Environmental and Public Affairs Director for the Port of Stockton. “By installing owl boxes, we have substantially increased the barn owl population to help with rodent and pest control. We also received a huge response from the public, which has really increased awareness for the role the Port plays in maintaining the Delta’s ecosystem.”

Silver Kingpin Awarded

By Karen Robes Meeks

Intermodal veteran Robert Huffman was honored with the 2017 Silver Kingpin Award, the Intermodal Association of North America’s most prestigious award.

Huffman was honored September 18 at the Intermodal EXPO in Long Beach, California.

The now retired Huffman’s 41-year career spanned from being a block operator with Conrail to being vice president of intermodal for Norfolk Southern.

His work with Norfolk on the R3 initiative – right lane, right car and right unit – led to more efficient and lucrative intermodal traffic.

“Bob’s career has been spent advancing the intermodal industry,” said IANA president and CRO Joni Casey. “His accomplishments in moving the community forward by increasing rail freight capacity, reducing equipment errors and guiding the next generation of intermodal leaders are all representative of a career and an individual to be admired and honored with this award.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

USCG Drug Interdiction

By Karen Robes Meeks

Since June, the US Coast Guard (USCG) has intercepted seven low-profile drug smuggling vessels that have carried more than 22,850 pounds of cocaine worth over $306 million.

Low-profile vessels are designed for smuggling. Often painted to blend with the water, they ride low and fast eliciting little radar notice.

In one instance, Coast Guardsmen from cutter Steadfast from Astoria, Oregon, seized over 6,000 pounds of cocaine from the vessel and arrested four suspected smugglers from a low-profile vessel several hundred miles off the Central American coast.

“Every successful interagency interdiction, investigation, and prosecution is a counterattack against the criminal networks who flood our borders with drugs every day,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area. “The information gleaned from these Coast Guard interdictions provides insight into the pathways of illicit trafficking and contribute to the arrest and extradition of high-level drug cartel kingpins and follow on interdictions.”

Security Grant for Portland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Portland will receive a financial boost from the federal government to modernize security systems at marine Terminals 4
and 6.

The port, one of 33 nationwide to be awarded a FEMA Port Security Grant, will be able to use its $1.25 million to upgrade closed-circuit television cameras and systems, and overhaul access control systems at terminal gates.

Terminal 4 on the Willamette River handles auto imports and shipping of mineral bulks, while Terminal 6 on the Columbia River processed auto imports and exports, and has container facilities with five berths and eight rail tracks.

“We greatly appreciate this support from FEMA, allowing us to upgrade our marine security systems to protect these vital business assets for our community,” said port chief operating officer Vince Granato.

Hueneme Green

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Port of Hueneme garnered honors for its eco-friendly efforts at the Green Shipping Summit in Los Angeles.

The port received “The Greenest Port of the Year” award, while Port Director/CEO Kristin Decas was named “Maritime Executive of the Year”.

“In 2012, the Board of Harbor Commissioners made the bold and important decision of adopting an environmental framework to guide the port’s investments in environmentally sustainable practices and green technologies,” said Board President Jason Hodge. “Five years later, we are proud to say we have made those investments and the results are now being recognized nationally and internationally. We commit to our community to stay the course and continue to lead the way to a greener future.”

Everett to Purchase Acreage from Kimberly Clark

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett Commission recently sanctioned an agreement with Kimberly-Clark to purchase approximately 2.2 acres of property along the east side of West Marine View Drive that overlooks the port, the former Kimberly-Clark mill site, and the US Naval Station.

The port acquired the property, which Kimberly-Clark used for employee parking, “to ensure proper land use compatibility with the deep-water port and Naval Station,” according to the port, which is in the midst of a 60-day due diligence process.

Meanwhile, the port has commissioned RMC Architects to provide concepts on potential future uses for the property, which is zoned for residential.

The port has expressed interest in acquiring the whole site, but “concerns about the cost and timing for remediation of environmental contamination has hampered progress on acquisition.”