Tuesday, January 23, 2018

California Court Advances Rail Plan

By Karen Robes Meeks

BNSF Railway and Port of Los Angeles officials said Friday they will discuss how to proceed with their $500 million railyard project following the outcome of a recent California Court of Appeal decision.

Approved by the port and city of Los Angeles in 2013, the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) near-dock intermodal rail project has been tied up in litigation. Several lawsuits filed by the city of Long Beach, environmental and neighborhood groups contend that the project’s environmental impact report (EIR) did not adequately address SCIG’s impacts to neighborhoods and the environment.

In 2016, a court sided with Long Beach and others, ruling that additional study was needed on the project’s environmental impacts and invalidated parts of the EIR.

Los Angeles and BNSF appealed the decision and on January 12 the California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s 2016 ruling on all but one EIR analysis issue: ambient air concentrations.

Extract from the ruling:

“We conclude that the exhaustion requirement that generally apply to parties contesting the adequacy of an environmental impact report do not apply to the Attorney General and that the FEIR fails to adequately consider air quality impacts of the project, particularly impacts to ambient air pollutant concentrations and cumulative impacts of such pollutant concentrations. With respect to all other claimed deficiencies, we conclude that the analysis in the FEIR satisfies the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.” Port and BNSF officials praised the decision.

"We are pleased that the court has reversed the lower court ruling, correctly applied the law and maintained the existing scope of CEQA,” said Roger Nober, Executive Vice President Law and Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer. “We are currently reviewing the ruling and will coordinate with the Port of Los Angeles regarding next steps.”

If built, SCIG would allow cargo to be loaded by rail four miles away from the port, eliminating 1.3 million annual truck trips needed to deliver goods to railyards some 24 miles away.

New Seattle Commissioners

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle welcomed new commissioners Peter Steinbrueck and Ryan Calkins, while Courtney Gregoire was selected as Commission President for 2018.

“I look forward to the hard work of preserving the industrial lands that support family-wage jobs throughout our region, protecting our environment, and growing our economy in ways that benefit everyone,” said Steinbrueck, a former three-term Seattle city councilman. “Our economic diversity makes King County resilient and rich in opportunities. I look forward to working with the community on growing those opportunities.”

Calkins, who works for nonprofit organization Ventures, said he was honored to join the port commission. “I look forward to bringing economic growth and expanding opportunities to our region while being environmentally sustainable in our actions,” he said.

The commission also voted Gregoire as commission president for 2018.

“The Port of Seattle will continue to lead on economic and community development for our region while leading in environmental sustainability,” she said. “We want to ensure that all of our community members benefit from the ongoing growth at our facilities throughout King County.”

San Diego Debris Removal Project

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego will soon be ground zero for a pilot program aiming to remove marine debris from San Diego Bay. The port has inked an agreement with Zephyr Debris Removal LLC for the one-year demonstration project.

Under the deal, Zephyr will use a custom-made vessel equipped with skimming technology. The port will offer $100,000 and the use of port-owned property to allow Zephyr to dock its boat and unload debris in exchange for a five percent share of the company’s revenue related to the technology, equipment and other considerations, according to the port.

“Zephyr’s project is a great way to kick off the year and fits my 2018 theme, ‘Ocean Optimism,’ which is the belief that we should be incredibly optimistic about the potential of the ocean economy, the Blue Economy, to be our greatest source of opportunity,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Board of Port Commissioners. “Through our Blue Economy Incubator, projects like this support our position as a catalyst of our water-dependent economy while also ensuring San Diego Bay remains a vibrant resource for visitors and residents for generations to come.”

New Foss CFO

By Karen Robes Meeks

Bryceon Sumner is Foss Maritime’s new chief financial officer, the company announced earlier this month. Sumner, who earned accounting degrees from the University of Georgia and the University of Texas at Austin, will manage Foss’ financial function and performance while keeping in mind the company’s long-range strategic goals.

“Bryceon is a strategic leader with a track record of successfully leading companies’ financial functions through periods of growth and change,” said John Parrott, President and CEO of Foss Maritime. “His financial leadership experience will be a key component of Foss’ success as we continue forward and grow our service lines.”

Before coming to Foss, Sumner was chief financial officer of Dallas-based educational technology provider Academic Partnerships. His career started at Ernst & Young, where he worked on several IPOs, including a banking tech IPO that was later sold for $3.9 billion.

“I’m thrilled to join Foss in this CFO role and I think my experience in a number of different industries will bring a unique perspective to Foss,” said Sumner. “The maritime industry is fascinating to me and I’m looking forward to learning and growing with the knowledgeable leaders at Foss, to help strengthen our finances and support the important work we are doing.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Portland Terminal 6 Best Use Determined

By Karen Robes Meeks

Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland would be best served as “a multi-use terminal that dedicates revenues from other terminal activities to support container service,” according to the port, which recently announced the findings of a consultant study and work from an industry leader committee. The findings, which were presented to the port commission earlier this month, showed that a diverse mix of cargo uses is needed to support the container business since volumes are lower than most West Coast ports.

The location, as a river port, and mergers in the marine industry may make it difficult to get a return on weekly trans-Pacific container service. Drawing carriers that offer service to Asia that align with the region’s primary export and import markets, keeping terminal rates competitive and labor productivity levels at or above West Coast standards, lowering costs and securing container volume support from the shipping community are key to the facility’s success, the study indicated.

“This analysis reinforced that there is no silver bullet for container service,” said Curtis Robinhold, Port executive director. “With the strong backing of shippers, labor and businesses, I’m hopeful that we can continue to offer container service options for shippers at T-6, while ensuring long-term financial stability. We heard strong support from our partners in the shipping community that they are willing to do what it takes to help support container service at the terminal.”

Meanwhile, the port and BNSF are teaming up to offer a rail shuttle between Terminal 6 and Puget Sound ports. Also, Swire Shipping now calls at T-6 monthly with a general cargo/container service to New Zealand/Australia and Asia.

Vancouver Energy Faces Lease Loss

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners recently voted 3-0 to give notice to Vancouver Energy, a joint venture between Andeavor (formerly Tesoro Corp.) and Savage Companies planning to build a $210 million terminal at the port. The company must get the necessary licenses, permits and approvals to operate by March 31 or face lease termination.

The proposed terminal would take up to 360,000 barrels of crude delivered daily by rail and store it before transferring it to vessels going to West Coast oil refineries, where it would become transportation fuel and other products for US consumers. When fully operational, the business would have the potential to generate $2 billion for the local and regional economy and “uniquely positions Washington to bring lower-carbon fuels to the West Coast,” according to Vancouver Energy’s website. The project, which has been under review by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) since August 2013, received a setback December 19 when the council announced it would recommend that Gov. Jay Inslee deny the project.

“It’s gratifying to have our commission be united in its vision for the future of the port and community,” said Commission President Eric LaBrant. “We still await the governor’s decision on the project and we continue to be focused on supporting businesses, growing jobs and providing benefit to our community.”

Commissioner Jerry Oliver, a longtime supporter of the project and the EFSEC review process, said he was aware of the council’s rejection, but still sees a way forward. “I believe that when the decision on the oil terminal is behind us, in five years or ten years, the port will still be doing great things for the benefit of the community,” he said.

San Francisco Seeks New Operator for Shipyard

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Francisco plans to re-issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) with broader parameters for a new operator of the Pier 70 shipyard in hope that the port commission could consider it on February 27.

The port only received three responses to the first RFP release in August, but found only one deemed responsive.

Port officials believe the new RFP will draw a larger bidding pool as it may offer more flexibility in developing proposals. Allowing for possible public investment in the shipyard’s infrastructure, as well as consideration for capital equipment ownership transfer to help pay for needed facility improvements are two of the options not included in the previous RFP that could make a difference. Since the former shipyard operator halted operations in May, the port has been absorbing the cost to maintain the Pier 70 shipyard while looking for a new operator.

The Pier 70 shipyard is vital in supporting the area’s “growing passenger cruise industry, government and defense fleets, the domestic oil refineries business, and regional Bay Area maritime passenger and harbor service support vessels,” according to the port.

Port of Seattle to Battle Human Trafficking

By Karen Robes Meeks

In recognition of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, the Port of Seattle announced a new port-wide strategy to fight human trafficking through its facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and others throughout the region.

The strategy will target four areas to address the issue, focusing on “ensuring all employees have access to training and education; utilizing port facilities and communications channels to raise public awareness; collaborating with nonprofits, government agencies and private sector partners to maximize impact; and ensuring port policies and procedures are up to date to report suspicion of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is not just a global issue, it’s a local issue,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle Commission President. “The port has been engaged in this topic for years but now is the perfect opportunity to increase our regional leadership on this topic. As a major employer, an operator of an airport and maritime facilities, and a partner, we can do more to reduce demand, assist victims and raise public awareness.”

An estimated 300–500 children are put into prostitution annually in King County, some as young as 11 years old, according to the port.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another Cargo Record at Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles posted record-shattering cargo numbers, moving more than 9.3 million TEUs in 2017, the most annual cargo handled by a port in the Western Hemisphere, Los Angeles port officials announced on January 12.

The nation’s busiest seaport moved 9,343,192 TEUs, 5.5 percent more than in 2016, which was also a record-breaking year for Los Angeles.

“2017 was a year beyond expectations but it was not by chance,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Our growth is a direct result of a concerted, multi-year effort by the port and its many partners to maximize efficiency throughout the supply chain. All the collaborative work by a broad range of global maritime stakeholders has delivered these remarkable results.”

The record-breaking year occurred despite a tepid December for cargo volumes. Imports dipped 2.2 percent to 385,492 TEUs and exports fell 7.3 percent to 152,865 TEUs when compared to December 2016. The port moved 779,210 TEUs in overall cargo last month, a 2.2 percent drop year over year.

But the port experienced tremendous growth in the months leading up to the end of 2017, which brought high-tech efficiency to Los Angeles in the form of a new Port Optimizer digital information portal. The portal, created in partnership with GE Transportation, gathers and organizes shipping information in a way that helps those in the supply chain better prepare for cargo arrivals.

Long Beach on Dock Rail Vote Expected

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Long Beach Harbor Commission is expected to vote on the final document detailing the environmental impact of the Port of Long Beach’s Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility on January 22.

Located southwest of Anaheim Street and Interstate 710, the proposed Pacific Harbor Line-operated facility would enable the placement of more cargo directly on trains at marine terminals instead of using trucks to ferry that cargo, an environmental benefit, port officials said.

“Building longer trains within the Port would lessen local traffic congestion related to goods movement,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “This facility is vital to meet our environmental goals while helping us stay competitive and power the city’s economy.”

Visit www.polb.com/ceqa for more details on the Pier B project and final environment impact report.

New CFO for Harley Marine

By Karen Robes Meeks

Sterling Adlakha is Harley Marine Services’ new chief financial officer. The company chairman and CEO Harley Franco welcomed Adlakha to the executive team in an announcement made in October.

“Our past financial executive set the bar high for sustainable growth, with strong ethics, and a goal to prosper and diversify,” Franco said. “We are excited to have Sterling join the team and believe he will continue this legacy to get our company to the next level with his drive, focus, and experience.”

A US Coast Guard Academy graduate, Adlakha served 10 years with the Coast Guard before earning his MBA and international business diplomacy certificate from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

He worked in investment banking and equity research before coming to Kirby Corp., where he was corporate finance manager, director of investor relations and finance, and eventually vice president and chief financial officer of United Holdings LLC.

“I’m very excited to join such a fast-growing company at the leading edge of the industry in terms of technology and environmental stewardship,” Adlakha said. “Harley Marine is renowned for its track record in safety and great customer service and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to support the team as we continue to build upon this record of success.”

Volunteers Needed for Olympia Harbor

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Olympia is in need of applicants for its Volunteer Harbor Patrol Program, which helps to provide safety and security to visitors of the Marine Terminal, Swantown Marina & Boatworks and the waterfront.

The unpaid work involves promoting boater education safety, special event patrols and ship escorts, assisting in emergency response situations such as search and rescue, distressed vessels, emergency medical services and fire responses.

Eligible candidates must be 21 years old, have a Washington State driver’s license, be a US citizen or have the legal right to reside in the US, graduated high school or have completed GED requirements, have no felony convictions, no misdemeanor convictions within the previous five years and agree to serve in the program for at least one year.

The deadline to submit applications in January 22.

For more information, visit www.governmentjobs.com/careers/portofolympia or contact Jeri Sevier, Administrative Services Director at JeriS@portolympia.com or at 360-528-8003.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Port Users Want Infrastructure Investment

By Karen Robes Meeks

A group representing the nation’s largest seaports, major marine terminal operators as well as the agricultural sector and big box retailers sent letters to President Donald Trump and Senate and House leaders urging them “not to overlook America’s ports” in the overall investment plan on infrastructure. The Coalition for More Efficient Ports consists of the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York/New Jersey, Ports America and SSA, Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

“Outdated infrastructure at our nation’s ports threatens to interrupt the supply chain and ultimately the American economy,” the coalition wrote to the president in a letter sent January 3. “This critical infrastructure challenge must be met by increased public and private investment in US ports.”

The coalition brought up the ports’ vital economic role, supporting 23 million jobs and generating more than $321 billion in tax revenue in 2015, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. It also quoted Business Roundtable’s assertion that “underinvestment in ports results in increased prices and lost economic opportunity – as much as tens of billions of dollars every year.”

Foss Provides Puerto Rico Relief

By Karen Robes Meeks

Seattle-based Foss Maritime is assisting in hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Working with a coalition of 19 US electric firms, Foss Maritime has been at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana, putting more than 500 utility trucks onto barges headed to the Port of Ponce in Puerto Rico in an effort to restore power to the area.

Equipment such as bucket trucks, line trucks, aerial lifts, CAT skid-steer loaders, digger derricks, and pull trailers are being delivered to the region sometime between January 16-18, according to Foss.

The electric companies are part of the Edison Electric Institute, which agreed to help support the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the US Army Corps of Engineers to restore power to the island ravaged by Hurricane Maria last September.

“This movement of hundreds of utility trucks is part of a comprehensive mobilization effort to get needed equipment to the island so utility crews can begin restoring power for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Will Roberts, Foss Chief Commercial Officer. “Foss is proud to be part of those efforts and continues to be at the ready as needs arise.”

Bellingham Waterfront Master Plan Open House

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Bellingham will host an Open House for those who want to learn more about proposed changes to the Waterfront District Master Plan.

Port and city officials approved the plan in 2013, which outlined the location of future roads, parks and view corridors. The Port Commission is considering two new ways – dubbed the Maple Connection and the Waypoint Connection – for improving public access through the downtown waterfront.

The Open House will take place on January 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Granary Building, located at 1208 Central Ave. in Bellingham. The public also has an opportunity to weigh in on the plan during the public comment period scheduled between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. at the upcoming January 16 and February 6 commission’s meetings held in the Harbor Center Conference Room, 1801 Roeder Ave. Input can also be emailed to waterfront@portofbellingham.com.

The commission plans to select a park and road layout for the Waterfront District in February and bring the proposed Master Plan change to the City of Bellingham as part of a Sub-Area Plan Amendment application. The review process of that application, due on April 1, 2018 could take up to a year.

Port of San Diego Job Fair

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego will host a job fair on January 18 for those interested in working at the port and on the port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Project as well as other local undertakings. Work on the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Project will involve demolition, underground utilities, electrical and communications systems, and site concrete and pavement systems trades, according to the port. The port is aiming its outreach to locals who live around the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

The job fair will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at San Diego Continuing Education, Cesar E. Chavez Campus located at 1901 Main Street in San Diego.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Barge for Matson

By Karen Robes Meeks

In an effort to bolster services, one of Matson Navigation Company, Inc.’s three barges serving Hawaii's neighbor island ports will be replaced with a newer, larger one, the company. announced January 2.

Built in 2012 by Gunderson Marine as a Deck Cargo Barge, the container barge Columbia – now called Mauna Loa for the barge it replaced – is 360 feet long, 100 feet wide and is capable of carrying 500 TEUs. That’s 12 feet longer and 40 feet wider than the former Mauna Loa barge.

The new barge is designed to be faster, more fuel efficient and able to carry a diverse mix of cargo.

This is the latest upgrade made by Matson, which is heavily investing in its Hawaii service. The firm recently bought three new gantry cranes and enhanced three existing cranes – part of a $60 million project to modernize its Sand Island terminal in Honolulu Harbor to get ready for next year’s arrival of larger containerships.

New Port of Portland Commission President

By Karen Robes Meeks

Alice Cuprill-Comas has been appointed Port of Portland Commission President by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, effective December 27.

Cuprill-Comas, who is senior vice president and general counsel for Oregon Health & Science University, takes over for Jim Carter, who served for eight years as president. Carter will remain as a commissioner until his replacement is chosen. “I sincerely appreciate Jim Carter’s years of service, and welcome Alice Cuprill-Comas to the Port of Portland Commission,” Brown said. “The Port Commission plays a key role in propelling statewide economic prosperity, and Alice’s visionary leadership will help ensure our marine ports and air terminals continue to meet the needs of Oregonians in the competitive, global economy.”

Prior to her work at the university in November 2012, Cuprill-Comas was in private practice for more than 15 years. She was general counsel to Seattle-based alternative fuels firm Prometheus Energy Co.

“It’s an honor to lead the Port Commission at a time when the organization is facing so many exciting opportunities,” Cuprill-Comas said. “From a major airport expansion, to Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup and our marine future, these are complex issues that can make a difference in quality of life for families in our region.”

Green Award for Port of San Diego

By Karen Robes Meeks

The San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition recently presented the Port of San Diego with a Green Fleet Leadership Award for the port’s work in its search for alternative fuel options and efforts to curb petroleum use and emissions in the San Diego region.

“We are delighted to be recognized as an environmental champion within the San Diego region by the Clean Cities Coalition,” said Port Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “At the port we take our role as protector of the San Diego Bay very seriously and work hard to find innovative ways to reduce our fleet’s environmental impact on the waterfront and the surrounding communities.”

The port was recognized at an awards ceremony at Envision Solar’s Manufacturing Facility in San Diego.

Penalties for Non-Emergency Flare Use

By Karen Robes Meeks

Following a barrage of flares lit near Cannon Beach, Oregon, early New Year’s Day, the Coast Guard there is warning the public that such lighting in a non-emergency situation is illegal and may result in penalties.

“It is against the law to fire distress flares unless in an emergency situation,” said John Bennett, operations unit member at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “Flares signal that somebody is in immediate danger and needs assistance. False activation can tie up emergency resources and delay the response to genuine emergency calls.”

The warning comes as dozens of flares were fired from the shore around 2 a.m. by individuals before fleeing into the forest, according to the Coast Guard.

Friday, January 5, 2018

BNSF to Transload Containers at Portland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Portland on Wednesday announced its partnership with BNSF Railway to provide rail service to shippers at Terminal 6.

The new service, which began this week and will run five days a week, will ferry cargo between Portland and Seattle/Tacoma, where goods can be loaded onto ocean carriers.

The news comes on the heels of Swire Shipping’s decision to start a monthly container call at Terminal 6.

“The rail service will complement the monthly container ship call by giving our local shippers another path to market,” said Port of Portland executive director Curtis Robinhold. “We hope to continue building on this momentum and interest at Terminal 6.”

The port has also retained a consultant firm and reached out to a 22-member committee of industry stakeholders to look at what container shipping in Portland might look like in the coming years and develop a sustainable business model for Terminal 6.

They are expected to bring their findings to the port commission this month.

New Port of Seattle CEO

By Karen Robes Meeks

Retired US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Stephen P. Metruck is expected to start as the Port of Seattle’s new executive director on February 1, the port recently announced.

In late December, following a months-long search, the port commission appointed Metruck, who previously served as Commander of the Mid-Atlantic Region in charge of 3,600 military and civilian personnel. Prior to that, he managed the US Coast Guard’s $10 billion budget. From 2005 to 2008, he was commander of Sector Puget Sound, where he oversaw the development of the nationally recognized Puget Sound Joint Harbor Operations Center.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead an organization with such significant economic impact for the region,” said Metruck. “Having served here before, I also know there is no better place in the country to live and work. I’m looking forward to being back.”

As executive director, Metruck will be tasked with leading the port through the modernization and expansion of Sea-Tac International Airport, managing Fishermen’s Terminal in support of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet, oversee the port’s real estate holdings and foster its thriving cruise business. He will be paid an annual salary of $350,000.

Commission Vice President Courtney Gregoire and Commissioner Fred Felleman, who co-chaired the Executive Director search committee, praised Metruck’s leadership experience and integrity.

“First and foremost, we sought a great public servant to lead our outstanding organization with transparency and strong values. Admiral Metruck brings an exemplary record of service and achievement to the Port of Seattle,” said Commission Vice President Courtney Gregoire. “We are thrilled to have his experience and leadership at a time of great growth and change. The Port is committed to expanding diversity and ensuring equality as we create new economic opportunities throughout the community.”

Metruck replaces former chief Ted Fick, who resigned last February.

Coast Guard Rescues Hunters

By Karen Robes Meeks

Three hunters were rescued by the US Coast Guard on the south side of Chenega Island in Prince William Sound in Alaska on New Year’s Day.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew found the three hunters’ 20-foot vessel and a flag on the beach and were able to take them to Seward, Alaska.

According to the Coast Guard, the men, who were three days overdue, had no medical issues and apparently survived on kelp and water while taking shelter in a cabin they found on the island as they waited for help.

“Starting the New Year with a positive outcome to a difficult case is all we can really ask for," said Michael McNeil, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command duty officer. “Our crews were able to brave the terrible weather, overcome lack of information as to where these men could be, and safely get them back to their family and community.”

The Coast Guard encourages mariners to always be prepared by having marine flares, and operational bilge pumps, wearing life jackets, keeping a marine-band radio on board as well as filing a float plan with family, friends and local marinas before departing. The list should have information about the number of passengers, the destination and when the vessel is expected to return.

New Bellingham Commissioners

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Bellingham welcomed its newest commissioners this week with the swearing in of Michael Shepard and Ken Bell.

Shepard teaches at Goucher College and is a research associate at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies at Western Washington University.

Bell, who is president and CEO of waste management company Best Recycling, will also serve as President of the Board of Commissioners for 2018.

“I am pleased to welcome Michael Shepard and Ken Bell to the Port’s Board of Commissioners,” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “Commissioner Shepard has worked on a broad range of issues important to the Port of Bellingham including workforce development, marine resource management, and affordable housing. Commissioner Bell is a successful businessman with experience working with major ports throughout the world and on contaminated property redevelopment projects like those that exist at the Port of Bellingham. Commissioners Shepard and Bell bring a wide array of skills and interests that will benefit our business community, the environment, and the citizens of Whatcom County.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Everett Dredging Schedule

By Karen Robes Meeks

Maintenance dredging of the upper and lower channel of the Everett Harbor and Snohomish River’s upper and lower channel is expected to be done by the end of January.

The $1.5 million project, which began November 18, is being done by the US Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the Port of Everett.

The work involves dredging some 100,000 cubic yards of material from the upper channel and 40,000 cubic yards from the lower one.

Area boaters are advised to be cautious, pass on the marina side of the dredge, mind the rig markings and avoid traveling over the pipeline.

Polar Star Departs

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Seattle-homeported US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the nation’s sole heavy icebreaker, is on its way to establish a channel through 15 miles of ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, in an effort to resupply the US Antarctic Program.

“Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed, civilian USAP, is unlike any other US military operation,” said Capt. Michael Davanzo, commanding officer of Polar Star. “It's one of the most difficult US military peacetime missions due to the harsh environment and extreme remoteness in which it is conducted.”

The Polar Star, which carries about 150 crew members, 1.5 million gallons of fuel, and a year’s supply of food, left Honolulu in December to replenish the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations.

“The Polar Star is one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world and is critical to our Nation’s continued national security and access to Antarctic and Arctic regions,” said Davanzo. “Operation Deep Freeze is one of many operations in the Pacific in which the US Coast Guard promotes security and stability across the region.”

USCG Seeks Navigation Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard is asking mariners and other maritime stakeholders to weigh in on its Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) study, which looks at the short-range Aids to Navigation (ATON) system that encompasses American waterways from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and around Alaska, Hawaii and all United States territories throughout the Pacific.

“This WAMS study will help us to tailor our Aids to Navigation levels of service to better meet the needs of mariners across the Pacific Seacoast System,” said Cmdr. Justin Kimura, the chief of the Navigation Technology and Risk Management Division in the Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems.

Aids to Navigation is managed by the US Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems and maintained by Coast Guard buoy tenders and ATON teams across the United States. It aids mariners determine their position, chart a safe course and avoid hazards. Comments will be accepted until March 31. Visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/PacSeacoastWAMS to take the survey.

Port of Los Angeles Wins Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Southern California chapter of the American Public Works Association recently bestowed its B.E.S.T. Award to the Port of Los Angeles for the port’s $46 million John S. Gibson Boulevard/I-110 Freeway Access Ramp Improvements project, which was completed in 2016.

The B.E.S.T. Awards, which stands for Building Excellence Shaping Tomorrow, are annually awarded to public agencies for excellent capital improvement projects and public works programs.

“We are honored to be recognized for this project, which required the cooperation and support of CalTrans, other agencies, project teams and stakeholders to successfully complete on time and under budget,” said Tony Gioiello, deputy executive director of development at the Port of Los Angeles. “Working together, we’ve been able to make an impact in our community and improve the safety of our local highways.”