Friday, March 23, 2018

Tijuana River Toxic Waste Suit

By Karen Robes Meeks

This month, the San Diego Unified Port District and City of Chula Vista joined the City of Imperial Beach in a lawsuit to stop toxic waste and sewage from flowing from the Tijuana River to the ocean, according to the port.

The lawsuit is against the International Boundary and Water Commission and Veolia Water North America, who city and port officials claim that their operation of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant has been violating federal laws for years.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment Thursday because the matter is in active litigation.

“The ongoing sewage spills causing beach closures and making people sick in Imperial Beach are an environmental and human disaster and it’s getting worse, with 28 beach closures since Jan. 1,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina. “We are filing this lawsuit as a last resort and we welcome the involvement of the City of Chula Vista and Port of San Diego. We encourage other communities and interested parties to join us in finding a permanent solution to what might be the worst ongoing environmental violations in the United States.”

A unified strategy is needed to resolve this regional issue, said Port of San Diego Commissioner Dan Malcolm.

“All residents of San Diego County are affected by the Tijuana River pollution because it damages our shared coastal assets,” he said. “After careful consideration, the Port of San Diego has decided to take this issue to the courts to force federal action. The only way the Port can address this problem is through the federal government because we do not oversee the source of the spills or the area where the federal sewage treatment plant is located.”

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom on March 2 expressed his support for the lawsuit.

"The IBWC's failure to address pollution and protect environmental and public health in the border region is unacceptable,” Newsom said. “California' pristine coastline is protected by some of the most visionary policies and steadfast advocates to ensure the persistence of vibrant ecosystems, thriving ports, and public access for all. I applaud the efforts of the Port San of San Diego and the Cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista to uphold these values in their action against the IBWC for its culpability in the all-too-frequent pollution events in San Diego."

Fuel Project Lease Ended

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA and Vancouver Energy have ended their Terminal 5 lease early, weeks following Gov. Jay Inslee’s January rejection of the project.

Vancouver Energy, whose proposed project involved bringing up 360,000 barrels per day of North American crude oil by rail to the port for ships bound for Alaska, California and Washington refineries, chose to terminate the lease a month early and give its March lease payment to nonprofits.

“This agreement with the port to end our lease a month early makes it possible for Vancouver Energy to contribute the March lease payment amount of $100,000 to support worthwhile community causes through our donor-advised fund in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington,” said Jared Larrabee, Vancouver Energy general manager. “While the outcome of our project isn’t what we had hoped, we have worked closely with the Port of Vancouver USA for more than four years and appreciate the opportunity to conclude this effort on a positive note and in a way that benefits the community.”

Port CEO Julianna Marler said the port appreciates the generosity of Vancouver Energy and their approach to this process.

“Vancouver Energy and Jared have been very strong partners,” she said. “The (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) process took a lot longer than we anticipated. We worked very well together and came up with some creative solutions, and I just want to express my appreciation for their partnership and hard work.”

More Aerospace at Everett

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett recently welcomed the new Northwest Aerospace Technologies facility at Latitude Business Park in the port’s Riverside Business Park.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the 21-year-old aerospace manufacturer, whose expansion into Everett “fulfills the vision for job creation and economic development the Port has worked diligently to accomplish at the site for many years,” according to the port.

Latitude broke ground last June on the first of two buildings for Northwest Aerospace Technologies, which planned to relocate about 200 employees from its downtown Everett facility.

“NAT’s new Facility is the perfect platform for future growth, and will support a well‐organized operation in both the engineering and manufacturing departments,” said Jim Moore, president of Northwest Aerospace Technologies.“ Our new facility will allow NAT to remain competitive and successful for many years.”

New Mexican Cruise Service from Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Carnival Cruise Line, which has reopened its upgraded Long Beach Cruise Terminal, recently announced that starting in December 2019 it will commence a year-long, seven-day service from Long Beach to the Mexican Riviera on its new Carnival Panorama ship.

The 3,960-passenger Panorama will be the first Carnival ship in two decades to be based in Southern California.

Carnival Panorama promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet and we’re delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to be among the first to sail on our first new ship on the West Coast in two decades,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The upgrades feature added shore power capability so bigger ships can plug in at berth and more than twice the space for Carnival’s operations, according to the Port of Long Beach.

Carnival also plans to launch a big port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, one of its Long Beach destinations, according to the port.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lecture Series at Vancouver USA

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA is launching its annual Lecture Series with Capt. Dan Jordan, who for 14 years has been guiding large ships across the Columbia River Bar. He will discuss challenges of navigating the river and talk about Bar Pilots. His lecture, “Awful and Magnificent Grandeur” – Navigating the Columbia Bar with the Columbia River Bar Pilots,” is scheduled for tonight, from 6:30 to 8 the Warehouse ’23 Event Space in Vancouver, Washington.

On April 3, Shaver Vice President of Marine Services Rob Rich will discuss the tug and barge industry and its role in moving grain, logs, sand, liquid bulks and other cargo for the region. Rich’s lecture, “From Farm to Table and the World – Tugs and Barges, Workhorses of the Columbia-Snake-Willamette River System,” will also take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Events are presented at the Warehouse ’23 Event Space, 100 Columbia Street, Vancouver, Washington, and are free to the public. Two more lectures will be announced next month.

To register, call 360-693-3611 or email

New Long Beach Construction Chief

By Karen Robes Meeks

Darrin Lambrigger is the new director of construction management at the Port of Long Beach.

Lambrigger, whose appointment officially began earlier this month, had been acting in the role that manages the building of the port’s projects, including major ones such as the $1.5 billion Middle Harbor Redevelopment project, since June.

Lambrigger takes over for Suzanne Plezia, who was elevated last summer to senior director/chief harbor engineer.

Before joining the port in 2011, Lambrigger had been a port consultant on the Pier G Administration and Operations Buildings projects. He started at the port as deputy chief harbor engineer before being promoted to assistant director of construction management in 2015. Lambrigger attended Loyola Marymount University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in civil engineering.

Rooney Back at Port Hueneme

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the second time, Mary Anne Rooney will lead the Port of Hueneme Board of Harbor Commissioners as president.

Rooney, who was first elected in 2010, became the port’s first woman to serve as president of the Board in 2014.

“I am honored to be the president of the board and am focused on strengthening our relationships with our neighboring cities, the Navy, and the county for the benefit of all,” she said. “Also, I am looking toward continuing to increase economic vitality for our region, with a focus on increasing exports.”

Rooney, an independent strategic business consultant, has been involved in the leadership roles with the Association of Pacific Ports; the American Association of Port Authorities; and the World Affairs Council, California Central Coast Chapter.

Bulk Expansion at Portland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Canpotex Limited has finished its five-year, nearly $150 million terminal expansion at Portland Bulk Terminals at the Port of Portland.

The terminal now has a new shiploader, a new warehouse facility capable of holding 110,000 metric tons (MT), and an upgraded vessel loading system that can more efficiently move potash from trains, through the warehouse system and onto ships. “The expansion of our Portland terminal is the culmination of five years of hard work, dedication and partnership between Canpotex, the Port of Portland, the local community and dozens of vendors and suppliers,” said Ken Seitz, president and CEO of Canpotex. “The improvements we have made at Portland Bulk Terminals will enhance our ability to reliably ship our potash overseas and meet customers’ needs.”

According to the company, the improvements raise overall terminal system capacity by an estimated 3.5 million MT annually for a total of 7.5 million annual MT.

“The completion of this expansion project enables Canpotex to be agile and responsive to our international customers’ demands for high quality, Canadian potash,” said Seitz.

Based in Saskatoon, Canpotex is considered Canada’s largest mineral exporter, delivering potash to about 40 countries.