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.