Friday, December 1, 2017

Port of Oakland Agrees to Local Contracts

By Karen Robes Meeks

After more than 20 months of negotiations, the Port of Oakland, developer CenterPoint and workforce development activists have emerged with an agreement that would prioritize local hiring for construction at Seaport Logistics Complex.

The agreement will emphasize hiring disadvantaged workers and will feature job-training to create a pool of local labor. It also includes living wages and benefits.

“Community leaders, CenterPoint and the Port demonstrated how large-scale development deals can offer shared benefit to our neighboring community, empower local residents and strengthen our economy,” said Port of Oakland Social Responsibility Director Amy Tharpe. “The goal is to level the playing field and provide community members, regardless of perceived barriers, with priority access to jobs and opportunity.”

The work will involve a 440,000-square-foot distribution facility to be built at the former Oakland Army Base property, the first building at the complex.

"This agreement is part of the growing grassroots movement across the country to win locally and set in motion a wave of larger national change," said Nikki Fortunato Bas, Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families. "This is how we take back our cities, our communities and our democracy: policy by policy on the local level."

Long Beach Receives EPA Funds

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach recently received a financial boost to help its marine partners have more environmental-friendly equipment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will give the port $2.4 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Act funds to help Stevedoring Services of America (SSA), Foss Maritime and Curtin Maritime toward equipment that is zero-emission or the cleanest available.

The funds will allow SSA to make three rubber-tired gantry cranes electric and allow Foss and Curtin to modernize four tugboats with the cleanest-running engines.

“Every step we take to cut air pollution is one toward our ultimate goal of being the world’s first zero-emission seaport,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “We thank the EPA for providing funds to facilitate these projects and improve the health of our community.”

The equipment is expected to be in place by late 2019.

First Tenant for Kalama Facility

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Kalama has secured its first tenant for its new 110,000-square-foot industrial facility. The port has inked a lease with Bridger Steel to occupy 30,000-square feet of space for office and warehouse use, as well as 10,000-square feet of sheltered area for truck loading at Kalama River Industrial Park. Officials plan to break ground in December.

Bridger Steel, whose Kalama facility is expected to open summer 2018, is a manufacturer of panel systems that is used for roofing, siding and interior applications.

“The Port of Kalama is the ideal location for us to expand our business facilities and better serve our customers in the Pacific Northwest,” said Bridger Steel Inc. National Sales and Marketing Director Steve Collins. “Kalama’s location and proximity to I-5 will enable us to serve a very large area of the Pacific Northwest very quickly.”

Hawaii Search and Rescue Exercise

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, representatives with the U.S. Coast Guard, Kauai Fire Department, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services, and Kauai Police Department partnered for a search and rescue exercise near Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii.

The point of the exercise, which took place Thursday morning, was to allow the agencies to deploy their emergency land, sea and air craft to test and review communications among themselves, as well as their response plans and actions, and to look for any shortfalls in the process.

The exercise involved multiple first responders seeking a weighted Oscar dummy in the water to simulate a missing mariner, according to the Coast Guard.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Long Beach Awards Sponsorships

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, the body that governs the port, awarded more than $440,000 in sponsorships to 100 local groups.

The funds come from the port’s community sponsorship program, designed to bring public awareness to the role it plays on international trade and highlight its effort in helping communities.

Events funded by the port include the Cambodia Town Culture Festival, the American Cancer Society’s Long Beach Cancer League Gala, Fourth Fridays on Fourth Street and the International City Theatre’s Free Saturday Family Theatre Series.

“Programs like this show our commitment to serving the public and promoting groups and events that make Long Beach a better place to live and work,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “Our community sponsorships provide our staff with opportunities to interact with residents who may not know their port brings them many of the goods they use every day and the port supports more than a million jobs around the country.”

Bellingham Development Hearing

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Bellingham Commission is expected to hear from the public on the port’s latest draft of its Recreation, Conservation and Public Access Plan, a six-year blueprint that will help the port decide where to construct new recreation facilities, improve existing facilities and which capital improvements need to be made.

The port commission will host a hearing on the matter at 4 p.m. on December 5 in the Harbor Center Conference Room. The public can also submit written comments by sending them to Greg McHenry, 1801 Roeder Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225 or via email at Submission deadline is December 5.

Everett Budget Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett Commission recently approved a $85.7 million fiscal. The 2018 budget covered more than 100 employees and includes $25.8 million in operating/non-operating expenses, $43.7 million in new capital investment and an additional $10 million in capital investment carry over from 2017, as well as a $6.2 million debt payment. The budget also includes funding for 56 capital projects, including work on the South Terminal Wharf and Electrical Upgrade, and Fisherman’s Harbor as the two main undertakings.

The port’s latest budget reflects its vision to modernize its facilities and nurture the Waterfront Place Central Development community.

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San Diego Port Honored

By Karen Robes Meeks

SANDAG has honored the Port of San Diego as a Gold Tier recipient of an iCommute Diamond Award for Excellence in Commute Programs for Fiscal Year 2017.

The iCommute Diamond Awards are bestowed annually on San Diego Regional employers to recognize their efforts in creating innovative programs that encourage employees to use alternative ways to commute.

The port has organized events and initiatives toward that efforts, such as hosting a Bike to Work Day, taking part in the iCommute Rideshare Corporate Challenge 2016, hosting a Health and Sustainability Fair, developing a reimbursement program for employees who use alternative transportation and offering an alternative workweek schedule.

“In accordance with the port’s Climate Action Plan, we work hard to develop programs that encourage the safekeeping of the environment,” said port chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “This award recognizes our efforts and highlights the many effective initiatives and events our Green Team launched to encourage port employees to opt for eco-friendly methods of transportation.”