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“Outdated infrastructure at our nation’s ports threatens to interrupt the supply chain and ultimately the American economy,” the coalition wrote to the president in a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

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.