Thursday, October 19, 2017

Long Beach Port Clean Air

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach has funded nine air filtration projects totaling $743,631 to help improve the health of children, seniors and those communities affected by port operations.

Among those slated to receive the grants include:
  • City of Long Beach Multi-Service Center – $104,498
  • The Vasek Polak Children's Clinic Family Health Center – Long Beach – $5,859
  • • Compton Unified School District, Kelly Elementary – Compton – $74,477
  • Compton Unified School District, Roosevelt Elementary – Compton – $133,652
  • Compton Unified School District, Whaley Middle – Compton – $103,322
  • The Children's Clinic Family Health Center in Central Long Beach – $12,765
  • City of Paramount – Spane Park Learning Center – $4,549
  • Fairfield Family YMCA – Long Beach – $143,979
  • St. Lucy School – Long Beach – $160,530
“The selected projects will provide high-performance air filters and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades at facilities most impacted by port operations,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “We’ve made tremendous progress in reducing air pollution through our Green Port Policy, and these grants help us provide mitigation directly to our neighbors.”

The money comes from the $46.4 million Port Community Grants Program to curb the impacts of port operations on communities. Paired with the $18.2 million awarded from a prior program, the Long Beach port has invested $65 million toward this effort.

Los Angeles Port Rescue

By Karen Robes Meeks

Officers with the Los Angeles Port Police Marine Division recently rescued a man who was thrown off his boat near Angels Gate lighthouse, saving him and his boat from colliding into the breakwater, according to the Port of Los Angeles.

The incident took place on Columbus Day when officers responded to reports of a man overboard. After scanning the water briefly, they found the man and pulled him out of the water to safety. Then they raced after the runaway sailboat, maneuvering alongside it and jumping into the vessel to gain control of it, missing the breakwater.

The man was treated for hypothermia and his sailboat made it safely to the dock.

NW Seaport Alliance Fiscal Meetings

By Karen Robes Meeks

Beginning next week, the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s managing members will host two public meetings to examine the alliance’s 2018 fiscal plan.

The first meeting will take place on October 24 and will delve into the 2018 operating budget, 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, and 2019-2022 financial forecast. A draft of the budget will be posted that day on the alliance’s website and hard copies will also be available at the meetings.

Members are expected to vote on the budget at the November 7 meeting.

The October 24 session will take place at 10 a.m. in the Beijing Room at The Conference Center at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 17801 International Boulevard in SeaTac, while the November 7 meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. in Room 104 of the Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road in Tacoma.

Visit for more.

New Seattle Maritime Director

By Karen Robes Meeks

Stephanie Jones Stebbins is the Port of Seattle’s new managing director of its Maritime Division.

Jones Stebbins will oversee the port’s Cruise Operations, Fishing and Commercial Operations, Recreational Marinas, Marine Maintenance, and Industrial Properties.

“Stephanie Jones Stebbins has proven herself a strategic and agile leader in moving policy priorities forward here at the Port of Seattle,” said Interim Executive Director Dave Soike. “She will bring these qualities to her new role as Maritime Director.”

For six years, Jones Stebbins has been the port’s director of Environmental and Planning Programs. Previously, she served as director of Seaport Environmental and manager of Seaport Strategic and Facility Planning.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vessel Aground Off Diamond Head

By Karen Robes Meeks

Crews on Sunday continued working to tow away the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded at a reef off Waikiki’s Kaimana Beach.

The operation hit a snag when fuel made contact with hot surfaces and caught fire. Salvage crews had to be evacuated and the Hawaii Fire Department put out the blaze.

About two-thirds of the fuel had been removed along with the marine batteries, leaving up to 1,500 gallons aboard prior to the release of about 200 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials are asking the public to steer clear of the vessel and have placed a safety zone around the affected area.

Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued Pacific Paradise’s master and 19 fishermen last week after it ran aground off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach, the cause of which is still being investigated.

September Record for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach posted its best September and its best quarter in cargo movement in history, according to the port’s latest numbers.

The nation’s second busiest seaport moved 701,619 TEUs in September, a 28.3 percent increase from the same period last year, and handled 2,114,306 TEUs in the third quarter.

“Simply put, we are having the best trade months in Port history,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “Back-to-school merchandise was strong for us, and it looks like retailers are optimistic about the holiday season.”

The port also handled 366,298 TEUs in imports, rising 29.5 percent from September 2016, and 125,336 TEUs in exports, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

About 209,985 TEUs in empty containers were also hauled, a 46.4 percent jump from last year.

Hanjin’s bankruptcy last year factored into the large spike in last month’s cargo, the port said.

“Our continuing recovery is due to our best-in-the-industry customer service, and the best terminals and infrastructure in the nation for shippers who need to rapidly transport cargo,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’re expecting to have great numbers right through the end of the year and challenge 2007 for our highest annual container volume in history.”

Solar Panel Manufacturing Brings New Jobs to Bellingham

By Karen Robes Meeks

Itek Energy recently celebrated its new 48,000-square-foot solar panel manufacturing facility on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront, according to the Port of Bellingham.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which took place earlier this month, highlighted the $6 million project to turn a former pulp and tissue warehouse Itek bought from the port last year into a new plant.

Itek, which began production in 2011 in the Irongate neighborhood, will add about 30 more jobs to its current operations for a total of 125 positions based in downtown Bellingham.

“Itek Energy is a tremendous local success story,” said Port Commission President Dan Robbins. “The Port sold property to Itek to stimulate job growth and it’s wonderful to see all of the construction jobs this project is creating as well as new manufacturing opportunities for Whatcom County residents.”

Itek Founder and CEO John Flanagan said his company now has the capacity to generate up to 200 megawatts of highly efficient panels annually.

“Solar panel manufacturing has never been done to this scale in the State of Washington,” he said.

He also spoke of the product’s potential market growth.

“The US solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016, and is projected to nearly triple in size over the next five years,” said Flanagan.

Volumes Up at Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles processed 763,785 TEUs last month, making it third-largest September for cargo volumes.

Trade policy changes affecting waste paper exports to China resulted in the 15.45 percent jump in empty containers in Los Angeles, pushing up last month’s overall volumes, according to the port.

Loaded imports dipped .07 percent to 388,670 TEUs year over year, and loaded exports were down 3.17 percent to 517,116 TEUs. With empty containers factored, the port saw a 2.15 percent increase in overall volumes year over year.

The Los Angeles seaport last month also received a record 88 vessel visits with an average TEU count of 8,679 per vessel, a 22 percent jump from the TEU-per-vessel average of September 2016.

“As we enter the final quarter of 2017, we’re pleased to be tracking toward record volumes for a Western Hemisphere port,” said Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka. “We continue to demonstrate the LA Advantage to cargo owners, with a strong focus on meeting big-ship needs, developing world-class infrastructure, and delivering extraordinary customer service through innovation and efficiency.”