Friday, June 22, 2018

New USCG Pac Area Commander

By Karen Robes Meeks

Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan recently assumed command of Coast Guard Pacific Area, taking over for Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, who served as commander since August 2016.

The command change was made official at a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Alameda, California.

Before taking command, Fagan was deputy commandant for Operations, Policy and Capabilities and is the Coast Guard’s first Gold Ancient Trident for having the longest service record in the marine safety field.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in marine science from the US Coast Guard Academy, a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Port of Long Beach Budget Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently endorsed a $982 million spending plan for fiscal year 2018-2019 for the Port of Long Beach.

About $695 million – 70 percent of the budget – will fund modernization and other construction projects, including $333 million on the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and the Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment Project. Almost $215 million will be spent on the port’s new headquarters, which is expected to be completed in mid-2019.

“The budget reflects the port’s trademark careful planning and fiscal responsibility as we engage in the most active capital improvement program of any US seaport,” said Lou Anne Bynum, president of the Long Beach Harbor Commission. “The port will remain a vital economic engine for both the regional and national economies as we continue to strengthen the port’s competitiveness.”

“This budget gives Long Beach the means to continue building a port that delivers the best customer service in the business,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “To our customers, that means delivering their cargo fast, efficiently, and at a cost that makes sense for them. “We look forward to a prosperous future together with our many partners.”

The budget will come before the Long Beach City Council for final approval.

Housing Coming to Port of Everett

By Karen Robes Meeks

A plan to create new waterfront homes within the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place Central mixed-use development was cemented this week when the port and SeaLevel Properties closed a deal for a 5.44-acre site.

“This is a historic transaction for the Port of Everett,” Port of Everett Acting CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “This property sale allows housing on the waterfront for the first time in Everett’s history and creates the population necessary to support a vibrant Waterfront Place project. I want to thank Sealevel for believing in the vision of Fisherman’s Harbor and the Port of Everett staff for pulling this complicated transaction together.”

Construction is set to start later this year at 1300 W. Marine View Drive, where 266 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom homes will be built. Anticipated completion is 2020.

“We’re thrilled to acquire this prime development site within Everett’s Waterfront Place redevelopment,” said SeaLevel Properties Director John Shaw. “We anticipate strong demand for these homes and look forward to setting a high bar for residential design in Fisherman’s Harbor and Waterfront Place.”

San Pedro Bay CAAP Update Meeting

By Karen Robes Meeks

The public can get the latest details on how the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) 2017 Update is progressing at a stakeholder advisory meeting on June 26.

The meeting will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, located at 601 S. Palos Verdes St. in San Pedro, California.

Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach staff members are expected to talk about what parts of the plan will be executed first, the Clean Truck Program, the latest on technology demonstrations and when feasibility assessments will occur.

The public is encouraged to weigh in on any issues in implementing the plan.

Approved in 2006, CAAP is the ports’ blueprint for reaching zero emissions in port operations. There have been dramatic drops in emissions in the San Pedro Bay since the plan’s inception, including an 87 percent decrease in diesel particulate matter, 56 percent drop in nitrogen oxides, and 97 percent decrease in sulfur oxides.

According to the ports, the 2017 Update intends to tackle greenhouse gases (GHGs), with a goal to drop GHGs 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Visit for more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Grays Harbor to Receive Army Corps
of Engineers Attention

By Karen Robes Meeks

As part of its 2018 Work Plan, the US Army Corps of Engineers intends to budget an additional $4.255 million toward operations and maintenance work in Grays Harbor County. Funding will be used for maintenance dredging of Grays Harbor and repairs to the Point Chehalis revetment in Westport.

This brings the total funding for operations and maintenance of Grays Harbor to $15.965 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the port.

“This additional federal funding directly supports Grays Harbor’s nationally significant marine commerce activity including the shipment of cargo at our marine terminals and commercial seafood landings at the Westport Marina that combined create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in local economic activity,” said Executive Director Gary Nelson. “We want to recognize and thank our federal delegation, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Derek Kilmer, for their hard work in ensuring the funding for construction, operations and maintenance of our nation’s waterways remains a priority.”

Big May for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach recently posted its busiest May to date, moving 687,427 TEUs. That’s six percent more compared to 2017, according to the port’s latest tally.

Meanwhile, the port moved 361,056 TEUs of imported goods, up 7.3 percent from a year ago, and 142,412 TEUs of exports, a 19.9 percent jump from May 2017.

“E-commerce has transformed the supply chain to deliver goods rapidly and then replenish them based on consumer demand,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Since the US economy is strong, that’s part of our record May result, which also ranks as one of our best months ever.”

So far this year, the port has handled 3.2 million TEUs, 14.6 percent more than the first five months of 2017.

“International trade continues to be a thriving part of the economy, and cargo continues to flow across our docks as we focus on delivering goods quickly, efficiently and at a good cost,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “We look forward to a robust peak season this summer and fall.” West Coast seaports are typically busier in the summer months as retailers stock up for the holidays.”

Los Angeles Capital Improvements Budgeted

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners passed a $1.3 billion fiscal year 2018–2019 budget for the Port of Los Angeles. The budget aims to fund programs that support economic growth and security, strengthen relationships with its stakeholders and make supply chain operations more efficient and sustainable.

The budget forecasts operating revenues of $509.5 million, up 7.2 percent over last fiscal year due in large part to anticipated growth in cargo volumes and shipping services revenues, as well as higher returns on land rentals, according to the port.

About $91 million has been budgeted for capital improvement projects. This amount accounts for $31.6 million for terminal improvements, $13.6 million for public access and environmental projects, $10 million for rail and roadway improvements and $4.7 million for security projects.

“Our strategic priorities continue to guide all that we do at the Port, including the budgeting process,” said Marla Bleavins, port deputy executive director and chief financial officer. “This budget lays the foundation for investing in and maintaining our critical role in the nation’s transportation network and economy, as well as serving as a catalyst for job growth in the region.”

Oakland Executive Promotes Globalization

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle returned to his alma mater, Central Washington University, to speak to an audience of about 5,000 graduates about embracing globalization and rejecting “extreme protectionism.”

“Don’t disengage from the world – don’t be part of the illogical rush to draw the drapes and turn out the lights,” said Lytle, a 1979 graduate. “We see too much of it today in Britain, Italy, France… and right here in the US.”

He spoke of a potential trade war between the US and China with the introduction of tariffs that could undermine free trade, “the backbone of worldwide economic growth.”

Washington state and California would be affected by a trade war since both benefit from exporting farm products such as fruits and nuts to China.

“What’s going to happen to those commodities with higher tariffs?” Lytle said. “Prices will go up. Demand will go down. And China’s booming market for American exports will wither.”

It could also mean lost opportunities for graduates, he added.

“Free trade and the world economy are what you grew up with,” Lytle said. “They’re what you know, and they’re what’s right for a world struggling to come together… not pull apart.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Port of Seattle Seeks More Depth

By Karen Robes Meeks

US Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite has signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project, making it eligible for congressional authorization.

The project seeks to deepen the East and West Waterways to 57 feet below mean lower low water to improve navigation in the harbor and make room for bigger container ships.

“Both waterways are currently authorized between 34 and 51 feet below mean lower low water and some of these shallower spots present navigational and safety challenges,” said Corps Project Manager Brian Nelson. “Authorizing deepening the channels removes these challenges and ensures the port can accommodate future generations of container ships.”

Port of Seattle Commission President and Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member Courtney Gregoire thanked the Army Corps of Engineers.

“This is another step forward to making T-5 big ship ready, and able to handle the largest cargo vessels in the world,” Gregoire said.

Port of Los Angeles Volumes Drop

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cargo volumes dropped 3.4 percent last month when compared to the same period a year ago at the Port of Los Angeles.

The port handled 768,804 TEUs in May, which is lower than the record breaking 796,216 TEUs from 2017.

Meanwhile, the port moved 405,587 TEUs in imports, dipping 1.8 percent from a year ago, and 168,681 TEUs of exports, which also experienced a slight drop.

"Volumes have softened due to continued shuffling of alliance services in the San Pedro Bay,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The Port remains focused on digitizing our value chain. Our aim is to introduce the GE Port Optimizer this summer with the support of our liner and terminal partners."

New HR Director at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michael Mitchell is the Port of Oakland’s new Director of Human Resources.

Mitchell, who joined the port 12 years ago and was the port’s Human Resources Manager, will overseeing employee and labor relations, talent acquisition and other functions.

“Michael Mitchell brings a wealth of government experience to this position,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. “His effectiveness in establishing key business partnerships and creating organizational efficiencies will serve the Port well.”

Before coming to the port, the Hampton University alum was a senior human resource analyst with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Vancouver Can!

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA recently highlighted its efforts on sustainable business practices in its annual “We Can!” report, a blueprint for how it can improve and set tangible goals for sustainability in people, planet and profit.

“The benefits to this organization, community and region are numerous,” said Environmental Program Manager Mary Mattix. “The ‘We Can!’ Program provides a platform for innovation and the type of outside-the-box thinking that has become such an important part of our culture here at the port.”

According to the report, the port created more public engagement opportunities and added more followers on its social media accounts. It saved about 1 million kilowatt hours and about $100,000 annually for the port, port tenants and customers by modernizing lighting. It also issued $30 million in revenue bonds at an interest rate below market expectations, a move that saved $4.2 million in interest over the life of the loan.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Port of Los Angeles Considers Supplemental Container Storage

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Los Angeles property on Terminal Island formerly used by the Los Angeles Export Terminal and US Customs and Border Protection may become a peel-off yard to make cargo movement faster and more efficient.

The port recently released an Initial Study/Notice of Preparation looking at the environmental impacts of the proposed Harbor Performance Enhancement Center project that would allow for 24/7 access for storing containers and other uses at 300 South Ferry Street and 750 Eldridge Street.

The public can download the study at and comment on it at a meeting that will take place at 3 p.m. on June 18 at the port’s Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro.

Feedback can also be submitted via email to or mail to Christopher Cannon, Director of Environmental Management, Los Angeles Harbor Department, 425 South Palos Verdes Street, San Pedro, CA 90731 until June 29.

Be sure to write “Harbor Performance Enhancement Center (HPEC) Project” in the email subject line and include your physical mailing address in the email.

Visit or call the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Management Division at 310-732-3675 for more details.

Logistics Facility Redesign at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Toyota Logistics Services is looking to redesign its Pier B facility at the Port of Long Beach and construct a renewable fuel-cell power plant and hydrogen fueling station.

Toyota—which has a terminal for receiving, handling and transporting its vehicles off-site by truck or rail—wants to streamline its operations by tearing down spaces for office, car washing, fueling, auto body and other uses and centralizing many of those into one location.

The project also includes the addition of a 2.3-megawatt fuel-cell power plant and a new fueling station that includes hydrogen dedicated pumps, according to the port.

The port on Thursday released an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration document that looks at whether the project would have any significant environmental impact. The public can weigh in on the draft study until July 10.

The document can be found at Submit comments in writing to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, Port of Long Beach, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, or email

Grays Harbor Tours

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Grays Harbor is offering tours this summer as part of Your Jobs, Your Community, Your Port, an annual outreach program.

The 90-minute tour starts with an overview of the port’s past and present, followed by a bus tour of industrial properties and marine terminals in the Aberdeen and Hoquiam area.

Tours will take place at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on June 28, July 12 and August 8.

Space is limited so reservations are needed. Call 360-533-9528 to RSVP or for more information.

Meanwhile, the Satsop Business Park has been conducting walking tours of its facilities, such as the cooling towers, tunnel training facility, warehouses, and office buildings.

Walking tours will take place at 3 p.m. on June 28, July 13, August 10 and September 27, and at 5:30 p.m. on July 26 and August 23.

Participants need to be at least eight years old and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes to take the tour. Space is limited so guests must make a reservation. Call 360-482-1600 to RSVP or for more details.

USCG Cutter Naushon Rescues Fishing Crew

By Karen Robes Meeks

Four mariners have been rescued by crewmembers of the US Coast Guard Cutter Naushon after their fishing vessel broke down and was unable to anchor about 57 miles west of Kodiak Island, south of Shelikof Strait, Alaska.

The crew towed the mariners and their 48-foot commercial fishing vessel Soulmate to Lazy Bay cannery, Alitak Bay, Alaska.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage first received the report about the Soulmate. Communications with the vessel master were difficult because VHF radios were unreliable, so watchstanders started a six-hour communications schedule via satellite phone and asked for the Naushon crew to be diverted, according to the Coast Guard.

“This case highlights the importance of having multiple means of communications,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Taylor, a Sector Anchorage watchstander. “The availability of both a VHF radio and a satellite phone on board the vessel allowed for consistent communication with the master providing up to date information and situational reports.”

Friday, June 8, 2018

New Tenant for Portland Business Park

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Portland-owned Gresham Vista Business Park has announced a new tenant. U.K. synthetic diamond manufacturer Element Six, which is part of The De Beers Group, will begin building a $94-million advanced manufacturing facility this summer, with hopes to be fully operational by 2020.

“We selected the Portland region based on critical success factors such as competitive power distribution, access to a high-quality talent pool and strong support from the City of Gresham and other local partners,” said Ken Sullivan, Element Six’s Global Operations Director.

This comes on the heels of news that De Beers plans to debut Lightbox Jewelry, a line of affordable diamond fashion jewelry.

The 60,000-square-foot facility located east of Portland will initially house about 60 full-time engineers, technicians and other employees related to synthetic diamond production. Once at full scale, the plant will be able to make up to 500,000 rough carats of lab-grown diamonds annually.

“We’re very excited to welcome Element Six to our Gresham,” said Gresham, Oregon, Mayor Shane Bemis. “Gresham is becoming a hub for advanced industries, and we’re happy to welcome the new job and investment. The City of Gresham has the fastest guaranteed land-use review process in the region, which makes us especially attractive to prospective companies.”

Olympia Executive Resigns

By Karen Robes Meeks

Last week, the Port of Olympia commission accepted the resignation of Executive Director Ed Galligan. The commission put Galligan on administrative leave last month to spark “a leadership change that would be instrumental in positioning the Port for the future,” according to the port.

The commission said that Galligan, who served 12 years, will be available as an on-call consultant if necessary, and thanked him for his service.

Galligan was known during his tenure to emphasize environmental innovation including a modern facility that treats stormwater and the eco-friendly Swantown Marina and Swantown Boatworks.

Meanwhile, airport director Rudy Rudolph will serve as port interim executive director while the commission searches for a new leader in the coming months.

Los Angeles Harbor Boulevard Open for Business

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Los Angeles and civic leaders on Thursday feted the newly finished $15.6 million Harbor Boulevard Roadway Improvements Project in San Pedro, California.

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles Harbor Commission President Jaime Lee and Harbor Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi were on hand to celebrate the completion of the street realignment project, designed to make the road safer and more efficient for vehicles and pedestrians. The project also makes the Los Angeles waterfront more accessible to the public. It features a refurbished Plaza Park and new hillside landscaping along Miner Street.

“This project exemplifies the Port’s commitment to our Public Access Investment Plan, which has allocated about $400 million in capital for LA Waterfront public access projects,” Lee said. “Next up we’ll begin investing almost $33 million on a new town square at 6th Street and a waterfront promenade in front of the future San Pedro Public Market.”

Port of San Francisco Adds Artwork

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Francisco has teamed up with the San Francisco Arts Commission on a new art installation that will serve as an official gateway to the Bayview neighborhood.

Famed public artist Cliff Garten designed the sculpture located at the intersection of Third Street, Arthur Avenue and Cargo Way.

“The Port is proud to collaborate with the Bayview community and the San Francisco Arts Commission to enhance Islais Creek Gateway area with the installation of a magnificent art sculpture,” said President of the San Francisco Port Commission Kimberly Brandon. “The sculpture is the newest addition to the Bayview Gateway open space, which was improved by the Port in 2015, and adds to the series of recent public realm and Blue Greenway improvements in the area including: Bayview Rise, Heron’s Head Park, Cargo Way bicycle facility and Heron’s Head Park improvements. The Gateway is a long-envisioned improvement by and for the Bayview community, and can be enjoyed by all San Francisco residents and visitors alike.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New Line for NW Seaport Alliance

By Karen Robes Meeks

The SM Line Qingdao made its first weekly call to the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s North Harbor on Thursday.

Six 4,300-TEU vessels will call each week at SSA Marine’s Terminal 18 on Seattle’s Harbor Island as part of the new Pacific Northwest Service, which stops at ports in Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, Vancouver, Seattle, Tokyo and Kwangyang.

“We are proud to welcome SM Line to our family of steamship lines calling at The Northwest Seaport Alliance,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “This new weekly service and the cargo it brings means jobs and revenue for our region.”

This service gives shippers another carrier option and more direct ports of call to south and central China, Korea and Japan.

Green Port Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach was recently named the world’s “Best Green Seaport” at the 32nd annual Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards in Shanghai, the port announced Friday.

Hosted by the Asia Cargo News, the award is based on freight transportation service professionals who voted in an annual poll. It is given to ports that have “demonstrated compliance with green freight transport regulations and environmental standards; investment in green initiatives, technology and action plans; incorporation of environmental requirements in strategic planning; use of a policy on reducing fuel emissions from freight handling operations; and ongoing training of staff in green initiatives and in measures to lower carbon footprints.”

“The Port of Long Beach is thrilled to be named the Best Green Seaport. This award reflects the continuing serious commitment of our Board of Harbor Commissioners and staff to improving air and water quality, and serving as a model of environmental sustainability for seaports around the world,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum.

San Diego Energy Management Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego recently received a 2018 Excellence in Energy Leadership award from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) at its 13th annual Energy Showcase event.

The port, which was feted with 11 other local businesses, was honored for developing California’s first Energy Management Plan, authorized by Assembly Bill 628 and signed into law in 2013.

The law allowed ports and harbor districts to team with their electrical and/or gas corporations on emission-curbing energy management plans that would also nurture economic development within the port.

“Thanks to continuous collaboration with our partners, local government, tenants and SDG&E, the Port’s Energy Management Plan will serve as a road map to continue to make positive environmental impacts for years to come,” said Rafael Castellanos, chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “We are honored to be recognized as a 2018 Energy Champion.”

Friday, June 1, 2018

Vancouver Trail Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

The construction of a connector trail that will link already existing segments along State Route 501/Northwest Lower River Road, between the Port of Vancouver USA’s administrative offices and Farwest Steel on Gateway Avenue, moved forward last week when the port commissioners awarded an $880,300 contract to Keystone Contracting Inc. of Ridgefield, Washington.

The work, which is partly funded through a $500,000 federal grant, includes “clearing, grading, paving, construction of elevated boardwalk, landscaping and irrigation.” Construction of the .33-mile portion of the trail is expected to start next month and be completed by early next year.

This new portion of the trail will be part of a countywide system that will link Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Washougal to Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park in Vancouver.

New Norwegian Cruise Ship Calls at Seattle

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle on Wednesday morning feted the arrival of Norwegian Bliss, the newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.

Constructed for the Alaskan cruise market, the Bliss weighs more than 168,000 gross tons and has a capacity of 4,004 passengers in double occupancy staterooms.

“The Port of Seattle is thrilled to host the magnificent Norwegian Bliss and her passengers for many Alaska cruise seasons to come,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “Cruise ships like Norwegian Bliss meet our objectives of increasing economic opportunity in our region while constantly raising the bar on environmental sustainability. We thank Norwegian for their 18 years of partnership with the Port of Seattle and look forward to many more to come.”

Norwegian Cruise Line worked with the port on improving and expanding the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 to accommodate the Bliss.

“We are proud of our partnership with the Port of Seattle, where we have cruised out of for nearly two decades,” said Andy Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Hueneme Grade Separation Gets a Lift

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Rice Avenue Grade Separation Overpass Project in Oxnard, California, has received a $70 million financial boost recently, thanks to Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, who secured the funding, according to the Port of Hueneme.

“Last year, during transportation funding discussions, I continued to raise how this urgent issue affects our community and secured a commitment from state leaders to fund the project,” Irwin said. “I’m very pleased that the state recognizes the compelling need to get this project done and is following through on its commitment to fund it.”

The project will help improve the state’s most unsafe street intersections by curbing potential train-vehicle accidents, ease congestion and make freight movement more efficient.

“This project will improve the safety and efficiency of the critical link for Port cargo to be dispersed throughout our region and across 13 other states and Canada,” said President of the Oxnard Harbor District Mary Anne Rooney.

Elderly Cutter Still Effective

By Karen Robes Meeks

Members of the US Coast Guard Cutter Active from Port Angeles, Washington seized more than $78 million worth of cocaine and arrested six drug smuggling suspects during a patrol in international waters near Central America.

They seized more than 5,271 pounds of cocaine and the suspects during two back-to-back interdictions on the 53-year-old Coast Guard cutter May 18 and May 19.

“The crew of Active should be proud of all they’ve accomplished to combat dangerous transnational criminal organizations that spread violence and instability throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, US Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Their ability to complete the mission on this aging platform is a testament their abilities as cuttermen and devotion to duty as Coast Guard women and men.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

San Diego Plans for Rising Seas

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego recently agreed to team up with US Navy to plan for possible sea level rise impacts when it pursued a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Commander Navy Region Southwest.

The agreement allows the port and the navy to share data, look at the latest and best scientific information and modeling for sea level rise and develop policies and measures.

"This MOA is yet another indication of the close and productive relationship between the Port of San Diego and the Navy, a relationship that benefits the entire San Diego region,” said Rear Admiral Yancy Lindsey, Commander Navy Region Southwest. “The potential impacts of sea level rise do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries and demand collaboration among all stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the port, local municipalities, and other interested parties on this challenge to ensure the resiliency and viability of our Navy installations, San Diego Bay, and its surrounding communities, now and into the future.”

Meanwhile, the port has been putting together its own study and assessment of how sea level rise could affect its facilities and infrastructure. Phase One involves an assessment in how vulnerable San Diego is to flooding as a result from sea level rise and major storms.

“The Port and the Navy are responsible for the San Diego Bay coastline – it’s vital that we work together to evaluate and plan for the potential impacts of sea level rise,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Our partnership ensures that we will continue to be a resilient, strategic port and economic engine well into the future.”

Bellingham is Busy

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Bellingham Shipping Terminal continues to be busy, generating more activity in a week than it has in the last 20 years, according to the port.

Last week, the port loaded 5.2 million board feet of forest products heading to China unto the 590-foot M/V African Egret.

Meanwhile, organic grains that came from Turkey a few months ago via the 590-foot M/V Diana Bolten were being moved from a terminal warehouse to be shipped to local markets.

The activity is welcomed from an area that saw jobs disappear after Georgia-Pacific closed its pulp mill in 2001. Reopening the terminal has been a long road for the port, which had to clean up massive contamination in the Whatcom Waterway and create deeper navigation to accommodate newer, bigger cargo ships.

Teamwork Key to Oakland’s Success

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle opined on how teamwork among the supply chain stakeholders helped Oakland rebound from the congestion that afflicted West Coast ports four years ago to making record cargo moves today.

“All links in the supply chain came together to dig us out of the hole,” Lytle said to an audience of 300. “Labor… management… cargo owners… everyone joined in common purpose – to make Oakland better.”

To continue to thrive as a business, Oakland created an Efficiency Task Force made up of stakeholders such as labor, terminal operators, carriers, shippers and rail operators to identify weaknesses and find solutions.

The port also enacted a series of changes including night gates for truck drives, appointments for cargo pickup and “consolidated marine terminals to absorb excess capacity that depressed cargo-handling rates,” according to the port.

Today, almost $800 million are being invested in the Oakland port and the task force, now 50 members strong, meet quarterly to refine port operations.

“None of this would have happened without all parties collaborating on change,” Lytle said. No mistrust… no misunderstandings… no misalignment… everyone was at the table and the result was a roadmap to a better future.”

Long Beach Provides Scholarships

By Karen Robes Meeks

About 39 Long Beach area high school and college students wanting to work in the international trade and goods movement industry recently received $54,750 in scholarships from the Port of Long Beach. They were awarded the money earlier this month at the fifth annual “Celebrating Education” event.

The port has been handing out scholarships since 1993; within that time period $775,400 in scholarships have been awarded to 464 students.

“The smartest thing we can do is develop a highly trained workforce for the fourth Industrial Revolution: innovation and technology. We are looking to young people to energize our city’s primary economic engine, and we are proud to be part of that,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Lava Safety

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Sunday morning, the US Coast Guard began enforcing a Lava Entry Safety Zone around the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entries into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island near the Mackenzie State Park Lower Puna region.

According to the Coast Guard, the unpredictable conditions could cause safety health hazards from possible localized tsunamis along the coastline and sea.

“For mariners without prior limited entry approval, the safety zone encompasses all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu waterways management lead. “All waterway users should be aware of the hazardous conditions associated with such an event. Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death.”

The volcano erupted about three weeks ago, creating fissures that have already overtaken homes and vehicles, and are threatening a local geothermal plant.

San Diego Boat Launch Delayed

By Karen Robes Meeks

Work continues on the Port of San Diego’s Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project. However, due to longer-than-expected delays the ramp for one of the state’s busiest boat launches will remain closed through the start of this year’s boating season, which begins Memorial Day weekend.

According to the port, the ramp can’t be opened currently because of safety concerns.

Funded by the California Department of Boating and Waterways, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the port, construction on the $9.5 million project began in May 2017 and was expected to be completed this summer. However, the contractor found a massive amount of large buried concrete debris while excavating. The removal of that debris delayed the original work schedule. The project is now expected to be completed later this year.

A list of alternate boat launches can be found at

Charleston Blessing of the Fleet

By Karen Robes Meeks

Charleston, Oregon’s historic fishing community, will be honored on Monday, May 28, at the annual Blessing of the Fleet and Memorial Service.

The service will pay homage to those in commercial fishing and the fishing industry who have died since 1941. This year, nine names will be added to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman” plaque. They are Barbara Hazel, Mike Lester, William L. Merritt III, Patricia Jane “Patty” Parr, Bob “Rubber Toe” Stevenson, Harry L. Taylor, DeWayne “Tee” Toliver, and Mel VanRonk. The names of Michael J. Hosie, George Paynter, and Eva M. Taylor will be added to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman's Industry” plaque.

The ceremony will feature remarks from local marine services firm owner William Elderkin, a memorial blessing from the Charleston Community Baptist Church and a bagpipe performance from Oregon Coast Pipes and Drums. The U.S. Coast Guard will provide a color guard and a 1954 buoy bell will sound as each name is read. In addition, a Coast Guard lifeboat filled with flowers and wreath will head to sea and lay them on the water in a brief ceremony.

A coffee and cake reception at Porter Hall, behind the Charleston Baptist Community Church on Boat Basin Road, will take place following the service.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. at the Charleston Fisherman’s Memorial Garden, near the launch ramp at the Charleston Marina.

Hueneme Maritime Tech Expo

By Karen Robes Meeks

On May 23, the Port of Hueneme hosted “World Trade and Innovation” to highlight World Trade Week and celebrate its fifth annual Maritime Advanced Systems and Technologies (MAST) Expo together with trade partners.

The event featured keynote speaker Erick Went of Matter Labs, who spoke about blockchain and how technology is poised to change the region’s trade and economic future. According to the port, more than 40 exhibitors showcased interactive displays of technological innovations including flying drones, lasers and x-ray cameras.

“Our goal at the port is to facilitate trade for our region,” Oxnard Harbor District President Mary Anne Rooney said to the 400 people who attended. “We aim to provide economic opportunity and vitality to those individuals and businesses who are the life-blood of our communities across our state and across our nation.”

Rooney indicated that the port also believes in “moving our industry forward toward a more sustainable and innovative future.” He added, “I am inspired by all of the conversations and collaborations taking place today among our customers, trade consulates, public safety agencies, elected representatives, and students.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Global Opportunities at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

A pair of projects, under the Global Opportunities at the Port of Oakland (GoPort) Program, have received $187.4 million in 2018 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program Grants funded by Senate Bill 1, the California Transportation Commission announced Friday.

Roughly $175 million will be earmarked for the 7th Street Grade Separation, which seeks to bolster truck clearance, ease traffic congestion and feature a shared walkway/bike path by replacing the railroad underpass between I-880 and Maritime Street. The second grant of $12.4 million will pay for the Freight Intelligent Transportation System, technology geared to organizing truck arrivals, improving responses to incidents and linking to regional smart corridor systems.

“These projects will improve reliability of travel time and access throughout the Port of Oakland, increasing efficiency, while reducing congestion and air quality impacts on the local community and eliminating truck back-ups onto local streets,” says Alameda CTC Chair Supervisor Richard Valle. “They also support increased use of rail, which is a key part of the region's and county's goods movement strategy.”

The gas tax funds from Senate Bill 1 will be critical to reducing freight congestion on freeways and rail lines, reducing emissions and improving air quality and good jobs, noted Alameda CTC Executive Director Arthur L. Dao.

“While our local transportation sales tax measures got these projects underway, and serve as key leverage, we wouldn't be able to move forward into construction on these priority projects without the statewide gas tax funds,” he said.

First West Coast Subchapter M Certificate Issued

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Thursday, Vancouver, Washington-operated Tidewater Barge Lines’ towing vessel Crown Point received an initial Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Portland. This is the first on the US West Coast to be issued a COI under the new inspected towing vessel rules, referred to as Subchapter M.

The 98-foot, 4,480-horsepower towing vessel that moves barges to and from Lewiston, Idaho and Vancouver, Wash., is one of 130 towing vessels in service on the Columbia-Snake River System.

“The Columbia and Snake River Systems move 24 billion dollars of cargo on an annual basis and the towing vessels that fall under the regulations listed under Subchapter M are an integral part of this economically valuable marine transportation system,” said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer MSU Portland. “The Subchapter M regulations will provide safer vessel movement, safer working conditions for crewmembers, reduce marine casualties, and will help avoid environmental and property damage,” he added.

Towing vessels must comply with the Subchapter M regulations by July 20. To coordinate and schedule Subchapter M inspections, towing vessel owners and operators may reach out to their local Coast Guard Inspection office. MSU Portland’s towing vessel inspectors are available at 503-240-9374 or by email at

Visit for more details on Subchapter M regulations and compliance.

Grays Harbor to Appoint New Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Grays Harbor plans to appoint a new District 1 Commissioner, effective August 1, replacing longtime Commissioner Chuck Caldwell, who recently announced his resignation.

“While it has been an absolute honor to serve the citizens of Grays Harbor County over the past 16 years and I am incredibly proud of the business diversification and growth at the port during this time, it is now time for me to focus my energy on other important areas of my life,” Caldwell said. “I will continue to be a supportive citizen and ready volunteer to promote any Port initiatives that will continue to expand the service and opportunities for the people of Grays Harbor County.”

The appointee will be in place until the next regular Port election scheduled for November 2019, at which point the six-year term vacant position will be filled.

Those interested in serving the remaining of Caldwell’s term may submit an application at, or at the Port’s main office at 111 S. Wooding Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520 or at the Satsop Business Park’s main office at 150 Technology Way, Suite 100, Elma, WA 98541.

To qualify, applicants must be a registered voter in Grays Harbor County District 1. The deadline to turn in applications, proof of residency from the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office and proof of voter registration is 5 p.m. on June 5, 2018.

After receiving and reviewing applications, the finalists will be interviewed on June 14 before a final decision is announced on June 19.

Long Beach Sponsors the Arts

By Karen Robes Meeks

About 124 organizations geared toward artistic, civic and educational endeavors have received a financial boost this week from the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners when it recently approved $353,850 in sponsorships.

Among the recipients were organizations behind Pow! Wow! Long Beach – the annual citywide mural project, Meals on Wheels of Long Beach’s 5K Run, Walk and Roll, the United Cambodian Community’s Heart of Long Beach Summer Health Fair, and WomenShelter of Long Beach’s Domestic Violence Awareness.

“Our community sponsorship program allows us to support diverse groups and events in the city,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum. “The program highlights the Port’s dedication to social responsibility and helps to spread the word on our positive economic impact on the city and region.”

So far, the port has awarded $794,500 to 251 groups for this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Moore and De Herrera Receive Maritime Awards

Capt. Mike Moore, Vice President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), received the annual Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award, and Roque De Herrera, City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, received the Public Official of the Year Award at the annual Harley Marine Seattle Maritime Festival Breakfast.

Moore was recognized for his outstanding professionalism and commitment to improve the maritime industry in all safety matters, and joins respected maritime industry professionals and public officials who have received the award since 1951, including representatives of steamship lines and agents, tug and barge operators, passenger vessel operators, ports, stevedores, shipyards, labor and government.

Moore has directed PMSA’s Pacific Northwest operations since retiring from the US Coast Guard in 2002. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1977 and was promoted through the ranks to Captain of the Port stationed in Seattle. He earned an advanced degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington.

“This recognition is well-deserved,” said John McLaurin, president of PMSA. “Mike is an outstanding individual who is nationally recognized as an expert on maritime safety and environmental protection issues.”

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association focused on global trade. PMSA operates offices in Oakland, Long Beach and Seattle, and represents owners and operators of marine terminals and U.S. and foreign vessels operating throughout the world.

The Public Official of the year award recognizes the contributions and support of a local, state, or federal policymaker who has demonstrated leadership, understanding, and appreciation of the maritime industry.

“This year we present our award to a public policy professional whose work is vitally important but frequently overlooked,” said Sue Chesney, president of the Seattle Propeller Club. “We present the award to underscore and recognize our honoree’s contributions, and also to underscore the value of developing and maintaining professional relationships built on mutual trust.”

For more than twenty years, De Herrera has made a career with the City as a planner and a business advocate. “Whether it’s fire and safety issues, stormwater, marine infrastructure, or protecting shipyards, Roque has thrown himself into every project with honesty, passion and dedication,” said Chesney.

Long Beach Box Numbers Rise

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach moved 618,438 TEUs last month—a 10.8 percent jump when compared to April 2017, according to numbers released Monday. Imports rose 8.4 percent to 312,376 TEUs and exports soared 22 percent to 141,799 TEUs. Empty containers were also up seven percent with 164,264 TEUs.

These totals add to the port’s 17 percent growth in cargo movement for the first four months of the year in which the port has handled 2.5 million TEUs. It’s also on track to beat last year’s record pace, according to the port.

“Both imports and exports are beating expectations so far this year,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “For us, part of that is the shift of services we saw a year ago, but at least some of our strong growth appears to be a result of trade tensions as anxious shippers rush to get their cargo to overseas markets.”

The global economy has benefited from a slow yet robust economic expansion, said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum.

“As long as it continues we expect to play a big role since we’re a natural trade conduit between United States and China, the world’s two largest economies,” she said.

Oakland Sees More Cargo

By Karen Robes Meeks

April cargo volume at the Port of Oakland rose 2.9 percent over the same period last year, according to the port’s latest numbers. It was Oakland’s best month for loaded imports in history with75,369 TEUs. It beat the record set in April 2006, when the port handled 75,243 TEUs, and also surpassed April 2017 numbers when the port moved 74,991 TEUs.

Meanwhile, exports reached77,995 TEUs, short of April 2017 figures when the port handled 78,776 TEUs. “Growth in exports was hampered by the negative effects of China’s stringent rules on recycled materials,” according to the port. “However, the Port’s meat, fruits and vegetable exports helped offset the loss in recycled commodities.”

In the first four months, the port moved 791,371 TEUs in total cargo volume, more than the 768,789 TEUs it did during the same period last year.

“These container statistics show that we are off to a solid start in 2018,” said port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We’re on track for steady growth in our cargo volumes for the rest of the year.”

Vancouver, USA Comment Opportunities

By Karen Robes Meeks

There are two upcoming opportunities to weigh in on the Port of Vancouver USA’s Terminal 1 project.

On May 22, there will be an architectural concepts Board of Commissioners workshop, following the commissioners 9:30 a.m. meeting. The public will be able to view conceptual designs for the project’s landscape and public marketplace at Terminal 1. The meeting will take place at the Port of Vancouver USA Administrative Offices located at 3103 NW Lower River Road, Vancouver, Wash.

Later that day, there will be a Terminal 1 architectural concepts open house from 4 to 7 p.m. at Warehouse ’23 Event Space, 100 Columbia Street, Vancouver, Wash. A marketplace architecture and landscape design presentation is expected to take place at 5:30 p.m.

USCG 17th District Change of Command

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a recent ceremony in Juneau, Alaska, Rear Adm. Michael McAllister transferred command of the US Coast Guard’s 17th District to Rear Adm. Matthew Bell. He will oversee operations in the district’s 3.8 million square miles and over 47,300 miles of shoreline throughout Alaska, the North Pacific and the Arctic.

Bell previously served as commander of the US Coast Guard Personnel Service Center in Washington, DC, and is a designated permanent cutterman with more than a dozen years of service with command tours of Coast Guard cutters Alex Haley and Douglas Munro.

“Having been stationed in Alaska before, I’m excited to be back to serve the people of the Last Frontier,” said Bell. “I’m looking forward to leading the dedicated men and women of the 17th District and building upon the firm foundation of service laid before me by my predecessors.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

California Hopes to Ramp Up Emissions Regulations

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a narrow 7 to 6 vote that will likely have major industry and environmental consequences to Southern California, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) board members agreed to consider new rules aimed at curbing pollution from the ports, warehouses, airports, rail yards and new development.

A proposed indirect source rule is being developed for warehouses, rail yards and construction projects by the SCAQMD, the air pollution control agency for Orange County and much of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The indirect source rule seeks to regulate pollution coming from vehicles linked to a facility, such as trucks serving a warehouse or ships ferrying cargo to and from ports.

Meanwhile, SCAQMD will be working with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to enact emission-lowering measures in the port’s Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) and helping the area’s five major airports to commit to their own CAAPs that would include efforts to lower emissions coming from non-aircraft sources.

Some weren’t thrilled with the decision.

"It would be akin to Vons or Whole Foods telling their customers you can only shop at their store if you’re willing to drive a Chevy Volt there," Thomas Jelenic, the vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, told KPCC radio.

“When it comes to meeting clean air standards, an ‘all of the above’ approach must be taken, and these measures could have the potential to further reduce emissions in some of the communities hardest hit by air pollution,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer.

“Every sector and industry must do its fair share to clean up the air we breathe,” Nastri added. “At the same time, we are committed to a transparent process that is sensitive to the impacts of any new requirements on the region’s businesses, jobs and overall economy.”

Olympia Gets Acting Executive

By Karen Robes Meeks

Airport Director Rudy Rudolph was appointed to serve as acting executive director of the Port of Olympia after the Port Commission voted to put Executive Director Ed Galligan on administrative leave in late April.

“The Commission is undertaking a thorough review of the Port’s leadership going forward and believes that its action today will permit it to fully evaluate its options,” according to the port, adding that Rudolph will act in the role “until further notice.”

According to The Olympian, Commissioner Joe Downing said in an email to constituents that the decision was based on a need for change, not an error or mistake.

“It is with heavy heart, but strong resolve, that we, the port commission, placed Ed Galligan on administrative leave last night.” He added “We thank him for his leadership over these years. But, [it is] time for a change. There are new challenges and that requires new leadership. The three commissioners are on the same page.”

Galligan had led the port since 2005.

New Project Director at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Marlene Dupras was recently promoted as the new Long Beach Harbor Department's director of Project Controls. In her role, Dupras will collaborate with all divisions within the Harbor Department’s Engineering Services Bureau to “manage and oversee the scope, schedule and budget for the port’s capital improvement projects,” according to the Port of Long Beach.

A licensed civil engineer who earned her bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Dupras came to the port in 2001 as a civil engineer and managed a variety of construction projects including the early stages of the Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment project. In 2012, she became the deputy chief harbor engineer in the Program Management Division.

New Social Responsibility Position at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Julina Bonilla is the new workforce development manager in the Port of Oakland’s Social Responsibility Division. The newly created position involves overseeing a program that gives residents access to port-related employment opportunities and working with government agencies, schools, labor and the community to create a job readiness and placement program.

“Julina Bonilla brings strong leadership skills, a deep knowledge of workforce development innovation and success in building coalitions to get things done,” said Port of Oakland Social Responsibility Director Amy Tharpe. “Her collaborative approach and track record of delivering results will benefit our efforts to increase employment.”

Bonilla has more than 20 years of this realm, most recently serving as executive director of the West Oakland Jobs Resource Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Berkeley.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Coos Bay Bridge Fix on Track

By Karen Robes Meeks

With a completed analysis of what went wrong, Oregon International Port of Coos Bay officials and engineering consultants are finalizing a construction plan to fix the Coos Bay Swing Span Bridge that has been out of service since April 13 when the bridge did not completely return to the open-to-river navigation position.

Fixing costs have not yet been determined but the port said it hopes to finish repairs in a three-month period.

In the meantime, Jordan Cove and local rail shippers are helping to make sure Coos Bay products move by linking local shippers to the national rail network. Jordan Cove has made space available to allow the use of an intermodal transfer area while the bridge is being worked on.

LA Volumes Down a Bit

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles saw a slight drop in cargo volumes last month, according to latest numbers released Thursday.

The port handled 705,536 TEUs in April, about 1.3 percent less than it did a year ago, when it established a record with 714,755 TEUs.

Meanwhile, imports for April fell 2.9 percent to 361,108 TEUs and empty containers dipped 2.9 percent to 179,724 TEUs. Exports rose 4.5 percent to 164,703 TEUs.

Four months into 2018, overall volumes have fallen by 4.7 percent when compared to 2017.

Still, port Executive Director Gene Seroka said he is pleased with the levels of efficiency and productivity he is seeing at terminals.

“We continue to bring technology enhancements like GE Transportation’s Port Optimizer to our customers so that we can continue the unparalleled service that cargo owners need and expect,” Seroka said.

More Meat Through Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland is moving 27 percent more containerized meat shipments than it did in the last four years.

Last year, the port handled the equivalent of 60,000 TEUs of fresh and frozen meat exports, up 24 percent from 2013, and imported about 6,000 containers, up 64 percent.

About two-thirds of those exports were bound for Japan, while meat shipments were imported mainly from Australia and New Zealand.

These numbers are expected to increase this fall with the opening of Cool Port Oakland, a 283,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution facility capable of handling as much as 50,000 containers of beef, pork and poultry annually.

Yachts for Science

By Karen Robes Meeks

Sports and science have come together in Seattle, Wash., where the Clipper 2017–18 Round the World Yacht Race departed “for the penultimate leg of its 40,000-nm circumnavigation of the planet.”

Race officials are working with the Port of Seattle, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington, Sunburst Sensors and Visit Seattle to bring awareness to the NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, which looks at how ocean chemistry changes with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One of the race’s 70-foot yachts, Visit Seattle, carries a special sensor monitoring those effects.

“This collaboration presents a unique opportunity for all involved to use a sport we love to research a subject we all care deeply about, our oceans,” said Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail nonstop around the world by himself nearly 50 years ago.

The US Coast to Coast Leg is the seventh of eight segments in the race. The teams, which left Bell Harbor Marina in the Port of Seattle April 29, are traveling through the Panama Canal and are expected to arrive in New York between June 14–16.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Port of Oakland Considering Baseball Stadium

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Oakland A’s are in exclusive talks with the Port of Oakland over the Howard Terminal as a potential stadium site, the port announced.

Port commissioners recently acquiesced to the one-year agreement to explore the waterfront location, one of two being considered for a new ballpark. The Oakland Coliseum, the team’s current field, is the other option being considered. As part of the agreement, the A’s would submit a $100,000 deposit that would be refundable if negotiations end before the year is done.

Situated at the edge of Jack London Square, the terminal is being used for long-term vessel berthing, container and truck parking and storage, and longshore labor training and administration, and other marine-related operations, according to the port.

Grays Harbor Executive Chairs AAPA Caucus

By Karen Robes Meeks

Acting as the North Pacific Caucus Chair for the Association of American Port Authorities (AAPA), Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson spoke about the importance of taking care of US waterways and how revenues from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) would fund that effort.

“AAPA has worked with its members throughout the port industry to develop a sustainable, long-term funding solution for maintaining our waterways that is fair and equitable to ports of all sizes,” said Nelson, who took part in the recent US House Subcommittee on Water Resources roundtable discussion, “America’s Water Resources Infrastructure: Concepts for the Next Water Resources Development Act, Part II.”

“The unified solution will address the equity concerns of donor and energy ports, as well as the needs of emerging ports, while ensuring HMT revenues are used for their intended purpose of navigation channel maintenance,” he said.

Maintaining federal navigation waterways is important for the Port of Grays Harbor, a top export port for soybean meal, automobiles, liquid bulks and logs, and ranks 37th in the US for export cargo volumes, Nelson added.

“Our customers recognize the strategic advantage of our port and have invested millions of dollars in their facilities to take advantage of our location and proximity to Pacific Rim markets,” he said. “AAPA’s unified, sustainable and long-term HMT funding solution will ensure the thousands of farming and manufacturing jobs in those regions, and thousands more here in the Pacific Northwest can continue to depend on our waterways to deliver goods throughout the world.”

Matson Has Good Quarter

By Karen Robes Meeks

Honolulu-based carrier Matson, Inc. posted a net income of $14.2 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the quarter ending on March 31, more than doubling the net income from the same period last year, according to the company’s latest numbers.

The net income for the quarter ending March 31, 2017 was $7 million, or $0.16 per diluted share.

“Matson is off to a good start to this year with both Ocean Transportation and Logistics exceeding expectations for the quarter,” said Matt Cox, Matson's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our year-over-year improvement in Ocean Transportation was primarily the result of lower vessel operating costs, a higher contribution from SSAT, higher volume in our Alaska service and the timing of fuel surcharge collections, partially moderated by lower volume in China and continued competitive pressure in Guam. In Logistics we saw improved performance in almost all service lines."

He expects improvements in each of Matson’s core trade lanes in 2018, with the exception of Guam and China.

“In Guam, we expect to face continued competitive pressure, and in China we continue to expect modestly lower volume coming off an exceptionally strong 2017,” Cox said. “As a result of the first quarter performance, we now expect Matson's 2018 operating income to be modestly higher than the level achieved in 2017.”

Port of LA to Offer Harbor Tours

By Karen Robes Meeks

As part of World Trade Week, the Port of Los Angeles will host free one-hour harbor boat tours on May 19.

The narrated tours, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will leave from Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro every 30 minutes. No need for reservations.

There will also be the popular “Waves ‘n Woofs” boat tours, pet-friendly tours for owners and their leashed dogs that will leave at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. from both locations.

“The port is proud to offer harbor boat tours, which offer the public a unique opportunity to learn about the logistics and operations of North America's premier gateway for international commerce” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s also a great way to see the progress that has been made along the LA Waterfront.”

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum is at 600 Sampson Way, Berth 84, in San Pedro. Banning’s Landing Community Center is at 100 E. Water St. in Wilmington.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Produce Numbers Up at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The amount of containerized produce cargo moving through the Port of Oakland has risen 36 percent since 2013, a number that is likely to grow as Oakland augments its capacity to handle this type of cargo, according to the port.

“This is high-value cargo that has to be handled carefully and shipped promptly,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Growth in our volume would indicate that we’re doing the job effectively.”

Oakland moved approximately $6.1 billion worth of containerized fruit and vegetable shipments last year, the equivalent of 135,000 TEUs. Four years ago, the port handled less than 80,000 containers.

Exports accounted for 103,000 containers of the port’s 2017 fresh fruit and vegetable cargo volume, with oranges and grapes among its leading export commodities. Top export markets included Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, according to the port.

To expand its temperature-controlled cargo capabilities, refrigerated exports are mainly being delivered at night to Oakland’s largest marine terminal to ensure quicker delivery, while the port’s second-largest terminal is adding hundreds of spaces for refrigerated containers to plug in this summer.

EPA Grant for Port, South Seattle

By Karen Robes Meeks

The South Park and Georgetown community and the Port of Seattle will team up for a $175,000 EPA Stakeholder Engagement and Capacity Building technical assistance grant.

“The Port of Seattle is committed to our involvement in supporting near-port communities that have taken the brunt of environmental impacts from many sources for decades,” said Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “We understand that for our region to be vibrant and prosperous, we have to consider historic inequities that continue to bar some communities from sharing our economic opportunities. This project has been a great opportunity for us to think differently and take action to be part of the solution.”

The project seeks to improve environmental and community relations with the port, with an eye towards a long-term Community Benefits Agreement and Good Neighbor Strategic Plan.

“We look forward to work with the port to address important, mutually beneficial needs, such as better community engagement strategies and improved environmental health,” said Andrew Schiffer, a Georgetown representative on the project. “By the end of this project, the community hopes to have a Community Benefits Agreement established, a pact between the Port and Duwamish Valley residents to reduce inequities and ensure we receive our share in the benefits the Port provides for our county as a whole.”

New Matson Boardmember

By Karen Robes Meeks

At Matson Inc.’s annual shareholders’ meeting last week, it was announced that Servco Pacific Inc. Chairman and CEO Mark H. Fukunaga had been elected as a new member of the Honolulu-based company’s Board of Directors.

“We are excited to welcome Mark Fukunaga as the newest member of the Matson board and know that his demonstrated business leadership and deep roots in our community further strengthen an already experienced board,” Matson Chairman and CEO Matt Cox said.

Cox also announced that the board's independent directors have designated Stanley M. Kuriyama to be lead independent director, replacing Jeffrey N. Watanabe, who retired from the board.

“Speaking on behalf of our entire board and the executive leadership team at Matson, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to Jeff (Watanabe) and thank him for his 15 years of service and strong guidance during a very important period in our company's 136-year history,” Cox said.

Long Beach Commissioner Receives Key to City

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia recently honored Carmen Perez, the first Latino woman to be part of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, by presenting her with a key to the city.

Perez is known for her advocacy and deep community and political ties. She had a 12-year tenure on the commission, serving from 1991 to 2003. During that period, Gov. Gray Davis appointed her to the California World Trade Commission and she was also on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities.

She was Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn’s Assistant Chief Deputy and vice chair for the Democratic National Party.

Perez is a founding member of the American Diabetes Association’s Long Beach Chapter, the Long Beach Mujeres Coalition and the founder and first president of the Long Beach Chicano Political Caucus, according to her Port of Long Beach bio.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Seattle Expects Record Cruisers

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle is on its way to another record cruise season with the recent first ship arrival of Norwegian Cruise Line Sun and the upcoming May 30 arrival of the Norwegian Cruise Line Bliss and its 4,000 passengers.

Port officials anticipate over 1.1 million revenue cruise passengers this year, making it the West Coast’s biggest cruise port for the second straight year. They are attributing the higher passenger counts in part to bigger cruise vessels bound for Alaska.

“The Port of Seattle welcomes the cruise season every year, as it provides more than half a billion in economic value to our region,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “These dollars reach businesses of all sizes, and we look forward to having more visitors stay and enjoy the beautiful state of Washington.”

Port of Seattle Commission recently approved the Port Valet program, a complimentary cruise luggage program that enables cruise passengers to obtain their airline boarding pass and check their bags before departing the cruise ship, so they can explore Seattle before flying home.

“Port Valet is a wonderful way for visitors to leave their baggage and explore the great things Seattle has to offer,” said Tom Norwalk, CEO of Visit Seattle. “You can visit Pike Place Market, see the Space Needle, or even taste some wine in Woodinville before catching your flight home.”

Tariff Concerns at Northwest Seaport Alliance

By Karen Robes Meeks

Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) CEO John Wolfe recently stood before the US House Ways and Means Committee to talk about the effects of US tariff policy on the local and national economy.

“We are deeply invested in US trade policy discussions because they directly impact our core business, the success of our customers and the lives of our local residents,” he said.

Marine cargo operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma support more than 48,000 jobs, while Sea-Tac’s air cargo operations help create more than 5,200 jobs, Wolfe said. “The port and NWSA gateways are truly national assets, with more than 60 percent of the goods imported through the NWSA destined for the rest of the country,” he noted.

Wolfe cited examples, such as the $2.5 billion worth of industrial and electric machinery imports that move through Seattle/Tacoma ports into Illinois, while Ohio and Indiana respectively import $1.9 billion and $1.2 billion worth of these products through his ports. Last year, he added, Seattle/Tacoma exported $1.89 billion in soybeans to China even though none are grown in Washington State.

“While there are justifiable concerns about China’s trade practices, we continue to believe that productive engagement and negotiations are the best path to ensuring a fair and level playing field for mutually beneficial trade,” Wolfe said. “The US must be clear on the desired remedies sought, and then tariffs should be a measure of last resort that are narrowly targeted to address the problem and minimize the unintended impacts on Americans. While it is impossible to truly estimate the impact of these tariffs, roughly $8 billion in two-way trade through our airport and seaport will potentially face some level of increased tariff.”

Port of Los Angeles Projects Honored

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles recently earned a pair of Project Achievement Awards for outstanding construction management practices from the Southern California Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).

The port received the honors for the Berths 142-143 Backland Improvements project, which involved building 15 automated stacking blocks for the newly completed TraPac Container Terminal.

In another category, the Berth 214-220 redevelopment project at the YTI Container Terminal also won. That project included dredging, adding Alternative Maritime Power® connections and installing fire hydrants and removing utilities.

The awards were given at the CMAA Southern California Chapter Annual Awards Gala in downtown Los Angeles.

Hueneme Helps Habitat for Humanity

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Hueneme employees and Habitat for Humanity recently joined forces to construct six new homes in the La Colonia community of Oxnard, California.

“It is the port’s honor to be able to partner with such a compassionate organization to effect positive change in our community,” said Oxnard Harbor District Board President Mary Anne Rooney. “It is our top priority to serve the local constituents of our District, and I am grateful we were able to do so in this unique way.”

The Ventura County Habitat for Humanity chapter has completed 70 homes so far.

“It’s a great day when we can connect with our community,” CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas said. “Building these houses will impact the lives of these families for generations to come, and I commend the Port team for their part in this positive story.”

Those receiving new houses help by putting in the sweat equity on their own and other Habitat homes, as well as working in Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

Friday, April 27, 2018

PierPass Pricing Progress

By Karen Robes Meeks

PierPass’ OffPeak program for easing traffic congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is expected to roll out a new pricing model in August. The new appointment-based system will charge one flat fee on day and night container moves, the organization announced earlier this month.

The 12 marine terminal operators that make up the West Coast MTO Agreement approved the new model—which is still subject to regulatory approval—after 18 months of study and consultation.

"The industry has been demanding 'PierPass 2.0,' and we are responding," said PierPass President John Cushing. "The original OffPeak program was an innovative and highly effective solution to the challenges we faced in 2005. But it was fairly inflexible, whereas an appointment-based model is scalable and can evolve to meet changing industry needs, technology and practices."

OffPeak currently charges a fee on weekday daytime cargo moves to encourage cargo owners to shift OffPeak hours to nights and Saturdays.

The latest version replaces this two-tier fee structure with a single flat fee for shifts and use appointments to spread traffic across the two shifts.

Applying the fee to both day and night cargo will lower the fee by more than 55 percent and still have enough money to run the extended gate hours.

Instead of the current fee of $72.09 per TEU, users will pay a fee of $31.52 per TEU; the rate for all other container sizes will be a flat fee of $63.04, according to PierPass.

Port leaders applauded the change.

“I'm pleased and encouraged that PierPass members are taking a significant step forward to improve efficiencies at the San Pedro Bay port complex,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“The Port of Long Beach is pleased with the progress PierPass has made in working with industry stakeholders to improve night gate operations in our terminals,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. "As ships are getting bigger and volumes increase, efficient gate management is critical to our ability to move cargo in a reliable, predictable and expedient manner," he added.

For more information, visit

Bellingham Waterfront Makeover

By Karen Robes Meeks

To improve the layout of parks and roads within the downtown waterfront, the Port of Bellingham is seeking to update the 2013 Waterfront District Sub-Area Plan and has submitted a proposal to the city to that affect.

The 2013 plan provides the blueprint for what will be developed in the area. It calls for at least “33 acres of new upland parks and trails and 6 acres of restored beaches to be built in the Waterfront District,” while the location of the parks and roads could change during the course of developing the site. The 2018 proposed plan update addresses alterations to the original layout.

The city review process will include additional public comments and commission hearings. It is expected to be complete by May 2019.

Visit for more details about the latest version of the draft plan and for the changes and timeline.

Stakeholder Engagement Executive

By Karen Robes Meeks

David Libatique is the Port of Los Angeles’ new Deputy Executive Director of Stakeholder Engagement, tasked with managing the port’s government affairs, trade development, community relations, media relations, and the labor relations and workforce development divisions.

“We’re very excited to elevate David to this new role,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Since joining the Port in 2011, he has been a valuable member of our team and a tremendous asset in helping advance the goals and vision of the department, something that will be even further amplified in his position as head of stakeholder engagement.”

Before his promotion, Libatique was the port’s Senior Director of Government Affairs. Prior to joining the port, he worked on energy policy at the City of Los Angeles and help develop the mayor’s environmental policies at the Department of Water and Power. He was also the mayor’s liaison with the port, pushing efforts to green port operations.

Matson Contributes

By Karen Robes Meeks

Last year, more than 800 charity groups and endeavors received over $3.7 million in funds and in-kind support from Honolulu-based Matson Inc., including $1.765 million to 435 groups in Hawaii, $1.06 million to 68 groups in Alaska, $575,000 to 247 mainland United States organizations and more than $310,000 to 109 organizations in Guam, Micronesia and South Pacific islands.

Notable donations included $160,000 to United Way chapters in Hawaii, $100,000 to the Bishop Museum's programs and collections; $40,000 to the American Red Cross – Hawaii Chapter for its Centennial; and $23,000 to the Hawaii State Department of Education for its Beginning Teacher Summer Academies.

Matson also donated $46,000 to the Navy League of the United States; $37,000 to the American Heart Association, and $26,000 to the Coast Guard Foundation.

"One of our core values at Matson is contributing positively to the communities in which we work and live. It's not a slogan; we try to live our values and last year, I'm proud to say on behalf of all Matson employees, we contributed more than ever," said Matson chairman and CEO Matt Cox.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

LA, LB Funding Emissions Projects

By Karen Robes Meeks

The nation’s two busiest seaports are committed to financially support projects that help improve air quality in port operations.

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are offering matching funds through their Technology Advancement Program (TAP). Established by the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, TAP was recently updated to include more aggressive efforts to battle port-related pollution over the next two decades.

Since 2007, the ports have provided more than $21 million toward the advancement of pollution-cleaning port technology.

This year, they are looking for projects “that have the potential to reduce emissions, including diesel particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and greenhouse gases,” according to the release.

The deadline to submit concept papers is May 22. Projects that warrant further consideration will be asked to submit a full proposal at a later date.

For more information, visit

Operator Chosen for San Diego Retail Park

By Karen Robes Meeks

Protea Property Management, Inc. has been selected by the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners to run Seaport Village after the current lease expires on September 30, keeping the 14-acre destination with 70 specialty retailers and eateries open until the Central Embarcadero is redeveloped.

Founded about 20 years ago, the San Diego-based property management firm Protea owns and manages Flower Hill Promenade and Pangaea Outpost in San Diego, California.

Port officials in 2016 selected 1HWY1 team and its “Seaport San Diego” concept to revitalize Central Embarcadero, which encompasses Seaport Village. The new Central Embarcadero will feature 30 acres of parks, open spaces, plazas, piers and walkways; a 480-foot tall observation tower; facilities for commercial fishing, recreational boat and mega-yacht services; retail and office space.

Vancouver USA Cleanup Continues

By Karen Robes Meeks

Pollution cleanup continues at property acquired by Port of Vancouver USA, an effort closely watched by a port contractor and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

According to the port, test results from the cleanup have been so positive that crews were able to remove 35 observation wells used for groundwater monitoring in Fruit Valley last February.

Since 2009, when the port put in a pump and treatment system to deal with contaminated groundwater in the Fruit Valley area, more than 10 billion gallons of groundwater have been treated.

The port also reported that shallow groundwater contamination is down by 96 percent and is now limited to a small part of port-owned property.

Oakland Volumes Drop

By Karen Robes Meeks

Import volumes at the Port of Oakland were down about 1.9 percent in March, while exports dipped slightly by 0.5 percent when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the port.

The lower numbers were expected as much of Asia slowed down their activities for about two weeks to celebrate the Lunar New Year. In February, import volumes were up 14.9 percent, an indication that customers rushed to ship goods before factories closed for the holiday.

“Oakland exports remained virtually unchanged after three consecutive months of growth,” the port reported, adding that “China’s restrictions on recyclable commodities such as waste paper contributed to the export growth pause.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

LA Harbor Commission Confirms President

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Thursday, Los Angeles City Council confirmed Mayor Eric Garcetti’s appointment of Jaime L. Lee as president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, the organization that governs the Port of Los Angeles.

Lee will take over for Vilma Martinez, who served for five years before leaving the board earlier this month. “I’m humbled to join my fellow harbor commissioners and serve as president of this important commission,” said Lee, a native Angeleno. “I look forward to working with all port stakeholders and staff as I continue the efforts of my predecessor to further enhance North America’s premier trade gateway.”

For the last four years, Lee was on the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration as a commissioner and president.

Matson Tahiti Service

By Karen Robes Meeks

Honolulu-based Matson, Inc. recently kicked off a new direct service to Tahiti.

An extension of Matson's South Pacific Express, the new Tahiti service offers twice-monthly arrivals from the United States mainland and the fastest transit times from Hawaii to French Polynesia.

With Papeete, Tahiti, as a new port of call, Matson now offers export shipping from the US and Hawaii to major islands of Polynesia such as Samoa, American Samoa, the Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Aitutaki), Tonga (Nukualofa and Vava'u), Niue, New Zealand, and Fiji (Suva and Lautoka).

The Tahiti service also includes use of Matson's terminal operations in Hawaii, Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle.

"This new service allows Matson to leverage existing operations in the region to offer market-leading service to a new destination," said Senior Vice President – Pacific Tuilaepa Vic Angoco. "The people of Tahiti and Hawaii have enjoyed a long and rich history together with shared ethnic and cultural ties. We look forward to strengthening ties between our island communities."

New Car Carrier Calls at San Diego

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Port of San Diego and Pasha Automotive Services saw a new car-carrying vessel dock at the National City Marine Terminal.

The M/V Beluga Ace from MOL ACE (Auto Carrier Express), arrived from the Port of Nakanoseki, Japan, loaded with 2,487 Mazdas picked up from the ports of Nakanoseki and Hiroshima, Japan.

Constructed at the Minaminippon Shipbuilding Company in Oita, Japan, the “FLEXIE” Class Beluga Ace features six liftable decks. Its rounded bow shape is designed to minimize wind resistance and reduce CO2 emissions. To celebrate the maiden voyage, port officials held a plaque exchange ceremony. The recognition was presented to the Beluga Ace’s Captain, Hirotoshi Tateyama.

“The Port of San Diego is pleased to welcome Beluga Ace to the National City Marine Terminal and welcomes the additional business from Mazda,” said Port Commissioner Dukie Valderrama. “MOL is known worldwide for its commitment to safety, good service and protection of the environment. We congratulate MOL on its innovative vessel and look forward to additional visits to our port.”

Port of Everett Welcomes Food Studies

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place will be the new home of Washington State University School of Food Science’s Center for Advanced Food Technology.

The university has signed a three-year lease with the Port of Everett to use 4,800-square feet of office space at the Port’s Marina Village complex (near Anthony’s Homeport), as well as classroom space at the Port’s Conference Center.

"The vision of supporting the growth of the food processing industry in this region (is) a reality,” said Dr. Barbara Rasco, Director of the School of Food Science. “We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with the Port of Everett in this innovative partnership and look forward to developing a more permanent facility at the Port to house our outreach, academic and research efforts as part of the land grant mission of WSU and the University of Idaho. These efforts will result in significant economic benefit to the people of Everett, Snohomish County, and the Pacific Northwest.”

The center will explore various food-related areas, including the development of innovative ways to process food to improve quality and safety, development of new products through application of biotechnology, and application of alternative energy technologies in processing facilities.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

LA Volumes Drop for March

By Karen Robes Meeks

After months of rising cargo numbers at the Port of Los Angeles, volumes last month dropped 27 percent from the same period last year.

The port handled 577,865 TEUs in overall cargo, 264,460 of those were imports, which fell 29.2 percent from March 2017. Exports also dropped 14.6 percent to 163,706 TEUs and empty containers (which are shipped overseas to be replenished with goods) dove 33 percent to 149,699 TEUs.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the dip was expected following a record February when shippers rushed to move product before the Lunar New Year, when much of Asia slows business for about two weeks to celebrate the holiday.

“We’re comparing our numbers to an extraordinary 29 percent volume gain last March so a decline is not unexpected,” he said. “Lunar New Year timing and subsequent canceled or reduced sailings played a factor. We continue to focus on our efforts to make facility and technology enhancements that position us for long-term efficiency and productivity gains.”

Vancouver USA Seeks Public Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA is asking the public to weigh in on its Terminal 1 waterfront development and planned public marketplace, as it plans to erect a dock structure over the Columbia River.

The port, which recently started efforts to design and fund the marketplace, has put out a 22-question survey asking the public what they want to see at Terminal 1 and the marketplace.

The port, which is running the survey through April 20, is also teaming up with the Terminal 1 Advisory Committee, a group of local stakeholders advising staff, and consultants Graham Baba Architects and Greenworks on the project.

Meanwhile, the port will host open houses in the spring and summer to talk about possible alternatives, with plans to reveal a preferred choice in the fall. The first open house is schedule for May 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Warehouse 23 Event Space at Terminal 1.

For more information visit

Port of Seattle Grants Funds for Tourism

By Karen Robes Meeks

Organizations dedicated to promoting tourism in Washington State recently received a financial boost from the Port of Seattle.

The Port Commission granted $200,000 for 26 tourism-related projects through a matching funds program, which provide up to $10,000 to various groups in an effort to attract more visitors and promote the use of port facilities.

“With approval of these projects, the Port of Seattle is able to promote tourism to all corners of the state and bring revenue and jobs to places that need them,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “This year we included additional funding for eco-tourism and we look forward to seeing great results from these 22 environmentally focused projects.”

Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau, which received $9,000 toward developing a new website, digital advertising and social media campaign aimed at “out-of-state fly-in markets,” would not be able to develop a robust online marketing campaign targeted to potential visitors outside of Washington State without the grant, explained executive director Marsha Massey.

“This unique program is important to an organization of our size, affording us the opportunity for broader reach and allowing us to grow off-season travel to the Olympic Peninsula, and in so doing, to increase air travel through SeaTac International Airport,” Massey said.

The Port of Seattle collected more than $71 million from King County taxpayers in 2016.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Big Quarter for Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach recently finished its best first quarter in history, surpassing a 2007 first quarter record, the port announced this week.

Nearly 1.9 million TEUs moved through the port from January through March, about 19.4 percent more than the port’s first quarter of 2017, the port’s busiest year to date.

Meanwhile, cargo volumes last month rose 13.8 percent when compared to March 2017, moving 575,258 TEUs.

Imports last month grew 7.3 percent to 267,824 import TEUs while exports jumped 18.3 percent to 142,419 TEUs.

“Our March cargo jumped despite the shipping slowdown during the Lunar New Year holiday in China,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “One of the most encouraging signs throughout this surge in cargo last year and this year is the operational efficiency at our marine terminals. We are handling record levels of cargo with no delays.”

New Finance Director at Grays Harbor

By Karen Robes Meeks

Mike Folkers is the new director of finance and administration for the Port of Grays Harbor.

Folkers, who will start in the his new role on April 16, takes over for current director of finance Mary Nelson, who will retire in June after 23 years with the port.

Folkers, who serves as the City of Aberdeen’s finance director, has led municipal finance departments in Ocean Shores, Hoquiam and Aberdeen.

“Mr. Folkers’ proven leadership and knowledge in the field will be an asset to the port’s management team,” said Executive Director Gary Nelson. “We look forward to having him on the team and continuing the strong legacy of fiscal responsibility Ms. Nelson and her department have established over the past 23 years.”

Mr. Folkers earned his masters of business administration from Washington State University, a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from the University of Washington.

“We are confident Mr. Folkers’ experience and skills will be an excellent fit for ensuring the legacy established during Mary Nelson’s tenure of prudent, judicious and transparent management of the public assets entrusted to the Port for the betterment of the community,” said Port Commission Secretary-Treasurer Jack Thompson. “Mike is well prepared to assist our port management team in navigating future challenges and opportunities.”

Vancouver USA Aces Audit

By Karen Robes Meeks

For its eighth straight year, the Port of Vancouver USA earned a clean audit from the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

No deficiencies were found during the audit period from Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017 by the state auditor’s office, which reviewed “procurement and contract compliance; lease revenues; safeguarding of fuel; tracking of small and attractive IT inventory assets; and payroll and financial condition,” according to the port.

“Finding no deficiencies year after year showcases the passion and integrity our staff have every day,” said CEO Julianna Marler. “We are deeply committed to accountability and transparency, and we’re proud to have yet another clean audit that demonstrates those values.”

Three years ago, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board raised reporting standards for all government agencies, said port Director of Finance and Accounting Scott Goodrich.

“GASB works hard to ensure transparency, access and accuracy in financial reporting and we are proud to continue to not only meet but exceed those standards,” he said.

Free Harbor Tours at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

See the Port of Oakland up close with a free harbor tour, which will take place from May to October.

“Port of Oakland harbor tours allow us to connect directly with the communities that we serve,” said Port of Oakland Director of Social Responsibility Amy Tharpe. “The harbor tours are also a way of saying thank you to our community for supporting the work that we do.”

Reservations are needed to take advantage of the 90-minute narrated tours aboard the Blue and Gold Fleet. Ticket registration begins May 7 for the two May cruises. The first harbor tour is slated for May 11. Registration will take place the first Monday of each month for that month's tours.

Visit to check out tour times and dates. To reserve a spot, visit

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Coast Guard Cutter Sherman Decommissioned

By Karen Robes Meeks

After almost five decades of service, The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman has been decommissioned at Coast Guard Base Honolulu.

Sherman, one of several cutters being replaced by the National Security Cutters, was involved in numerous efforts, including the largest individual cocaine seizure in US history, as well as maritime law enforcement cases and rescues.

Launched on Sept. 3, 1968, Sherman is one of only two Coast Guard Cutters to earn the Vietnam Service Award and the only such vessel to receive the Combat Action Ribbon for action in the Vietnam War. It’s also the last active US Coast Guard warship to have sunk an enemy vessel in combat.

“The crewmembers who’ve served aboard Sherman have contributed immensely to protecting the American public across Sherman’s nearly 50 years of meritorious service while changing the course of history through the cutter’s combat action in Vietnam and a record-setting drug seizure,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, who leads the service’s Pacific fleet as the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California. “The Coast Guard remains committed to protecting the American public, our security and our economic interests wherever we are called upon to serve. Recapitalizing our vessels, aircraft, boats, and infrastructure is mission critical and our highest priority to ensure we remain ‘always ready’ to continue protecting our nation.”

New Port of Seattle Environmental Committee

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a move to further environmental efforts at the Port of Seattle, commissioners voted recently to establish a 2018 Energy and Sustainability Committee and identify its environmental priorities to curb greenhouse gas emissions and find more innovative and collaborative ways to protect nearby communities’ air and water quality.

In its plan, the committee, co-chaired by Commissioners Fred Felleman and Ryan Calkins, outlined four priorities: furthering the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels, starting an aquatic carbon sequestration, “Blue Carbon,” strategy, developing a Sustainable Evaluation Framework for project reviews and updating the port’s environmental awards.

“The Port is making good on its promises to protect the environment both locally and globally. It’s our commitment to improve both the health and wealth of our communities,” Felleman said. “We appreciate the work of the many agency, industry, community and environmental advisors who provided invaluable assistance in developing our goals.”

Hawaii Harbors Division Bonds Upgraded

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division’s revenue bonds Series 2010 A and 2010 B’s rating was upgraded from ‘A2’ to ‘A1’ by Moody’s Investors Service, the department announced recently.

“The recent bond rating upgrade by Moody’s is great news and underscores the strong management and fiscal policies that continue to be the benchmark of my administration,” said Gov. David Ige. “I’m proud to say that this is the fourth revenue bond rating upgrade the HDOT Harbors Division has received over the past fourteen months.”

Moody’s said the Hawaii harbor system credit profile is based on the port system near monopoly position of serving seaborne cargo and cruise passengers in Hawaii, as well as “solid actual and projected debt service coverage ratios,” improved operating margins, DSCRs and liquidity from recent multi-year tariff raises and recent cargo and cruise passenger level stability.

The tariff raises in the last past several years represent “a strong management focus on financial performance and have led to substantial improvement in operating ratio and an increase in liquidity, providing financial flexibility to manage operational and financial challenges,” according to Moody.

The department has been able to use a cash-first, borrow-as-needed method of financing, allowing them to use unrestricted cash reserves to pay for its Capital Improvement Program projects and to re-deploy those resources typically associated with debt service payments for bonds issued to fund projects, said Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay.

“Our Harbors team has done an excellent job in setting priorities and implementing successful strategies to upgrade and improve our commercial harbor facilities throughout the state,” said Butay. “And they’ve accomplished this without the use of any State general funds; generating their own revenue through user fees and tariffs.”