Friday, March 30, 2018

California to Use School Funds
for San Francisco Seawall

By Karen Robes Meeks

Efforts to improve the Embarcadero Seawall recently received a financial boost with the help of California lawmakers.

Sponsored by the Port of San Francisco and co-authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Assembly Bill 2578 would let the city dedicate the school’s share of tax increment to the port’s infrastructure financing district and use it for shoreline improvements.

The bill would give the state the means to fund the Seawall Earthquake Safety Program and produce an estimated $55 million in the program’s first decade and an estimate of $250 million during the program’s lifetime.

“Our seawall is disintegrating, which is a danger for our city’s safety and economy, especially as sea levels rise due to climate change,” Wiener said. “Restoring and strengthening San Francisco’s seawall is going to take partnership from local, state, and federal leaders, and I’m proud to be joining Assemblymember Chiu to move this bill forward to help protect our waterfront.”

Sea level rise and earthquakes are real threats to San Francisco’s waterfront, Chiu said.

“Strengthening the Embarcadero Seawall will safeguard us against potential flooding that threatens the future of our city and region,” Chiu said. “While the federal government only talks about infrastructure, the State of California can be a partner as we work together the rebuild this crucial asset.”

Port of Oakland Predicts Smooth Sailing

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Oakland officials this week said they don’t expect much change in port operations when the newly formed Japanese carrier alliance, Ocean Network Express (ONE), launches April 1.

The new ONE alliance was formed in 2017 by container carriers MOL, NYK and K Line, all of which currently visit Oakland with eight weekly vessel services.

The port said that number isn’t expected to change.

“Everyone affected with this merger – the shipping lines, marine terminals, cargo owners, other Port stakeholders – has been gearing up for it since last year,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “There may be unforeseen challenges but we are confident they will be promptly addressed and no operational disruptions in Oakland are expected.”

One of Oakland’s biggest trading partners is Japan, especially for agricultural exports.

Long Beach Port Community Forum

By Karen Robes Meeks

Residents and stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the future of Port of Long Beach development at its “Let’s Talk Port” community forum on Wednesday.

The event, the first of two workshops, will include updates to the Port Master Plan, a blueprint for port development and land use and the chance to talk individually with port staff and consultants. The event will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Homeland Cultural Center, 1321 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach. RSVP on Tuesday at

Contact Jocelin Padilla at or 562-283-7722. Visit for more.

Barges and Beer

By Karen Robes Meeks

A pair of major Northwestern industries – barging and barley malting – will be the subjects of a lecture series presented by the Port of Vancouver USA.

The upcoming lecture, “From Farm to Table and the World – Tugs and Barges, the Workhorses of the Columbia-Snake-Willamette River System” will take place on Tuesday, April 3, will feature family-owned company Shaver Transportation and the role tugs and barges play in moving goods along 465 miles of river. Shaver Vice President Marine Operations Rob Rich is expected to present the lecture.

On April 10, Great Western Malting President Mike O’Toole, Malt Innovation Center Manager Teri Fahrendorf and Malt Innovation Technician Amanda Kozina will discuss the process of taking barley from field to brewery in the lecture, “Great Western Malting: Tradition and Innovation in Malting.”

Great Western Malting is the largest malting company in the Western US and its Port of Vancouver USA facility “steeps, germinates and roasts barley, a critical ingredient in brewing and distilling,” a product sent domestically as well as Canada, Japan and Mexico, according to the port.

The events are free to the public and will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Warehouse ’23 Event Space, 100 Columbia Street, Vancouver. Pre-registration is required. Call 360-693-3611 or email

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

California Ports Talk Clean Air

By Karen Robes Meeks

Clean air innovation and solutions were on the docket at a two-day Pacific Ports Clean Air Collaborative conference earlier this month.

Hosted by the Port of Los Angeles, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the US-China Green Ports and Vessels Initiative, the event brought supply chain stakeholders from all over the world who listen to panels on various topics, including controlling and curbing air emissions and incentivizing those practices as well as exploring new zero-emissions technologies.

“Information sharing and continued dialogue among ports globally has been key to finding sustainable solutions that both protect the environment and allow for steady economic growth,” said Gene Seroka, executive director at the Port of Los Angeles. “When ports work together, we maximize environmental outcomes far beyond what can be accomplished by any single entity. The Port of Los Angeles is pleased to play a leadership role in keeping the momentum going.”

Puget Sound Pollution Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

Maritime-related air pollution in the Puget Sound fell in almost every sector between 2005 and 2016, according to a recent report put together by the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum, a committee of seven ports, six government agencies, and three industrial partners.

The report indicates that air polluting emissions dropped by as much as 97 percent depending on the type. The number of fine particles, for example, dove 69 percent.

First conducted in 2005 and updated every five years, the inventory is designed to track emission reductions. The decreased emissions stem from the industry’s investment in cleaner equipment and operations as well as more stringent regulations.

“The Puget Sound maritime air emissions inventory is a solid step to inform our community and decision makers about our air quality conditions and encourage further emission reductions to protect public health, especially those disproportionately impacted in nearby communities,” said Tim Hamlin, director of Air and Waste, US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10.

For more information visit

Cutter Decommissioned

By Karen Robes Meeks

After almost 26 years of service, the US Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) was recently decommissioned in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The 110-foot Island Class patrol boat known as the “Pacific Prowler” has been involved in various law enforcement cases, safety and security enforcement patrols, presidential security operations and rescues at sea.

“The ship has been integral to the Coast Guard’s numerous missions and District Fourteen initiatives since its commissioning,” said Lt. Steele Johnson, commanding officer of Galveston Island. “The island class patrol boats have been the workhorses of the Coast Guard for nearly 30 years, and this ship has been no exception. Serving with this fine crew on such an accomplished ship and platform has been the highlight of my career, and I’m extremely proud and blessed to have done so. The crew’s accomplishments and dedication to excellence honor those crews that have come before us, and set the standard for crews of any ship to come. The Galveston Island may leave our service today, but its legacy lives on.”

Port of Olympia Approves Local Projects

By Karen Robes Meeks

Five special projects recently received the go-ahead from the Port of Olympia Commission. Funding was allocated to the following initiatives:

• $75,000 in matching funds to finish a master plan for the SW Washington Innovation and Business Park in Tenino; • $15,000 in matching funds was allocated toward a feasibility study for frozen food processing, done in partnership with Washington State University (WSU) Extension;

• $10,500 in matching funds went to a WSU Extension-led grain mill feasibility study and a grain varietal plot testing to see what grains can best adapt to the region’s climate;

• $25,000 in matching funds for improvements to the former East Bay Trail and North Point Park, which will be renamed the Billy Frank Jr. Trail and Park, and

• Funding (amount yet to be determined) for a visioning process that will invite community input on the future of the port.