Friday, June 15, 2018

Port of Seattle Seeks More Depth

By Karen Robes Meeks

US Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite has signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project, making it eligible for congressional authorization.

The project seeks to deepen the East and West Waterways to 57 feet below mean lower low water to improve navigation in the harbor and make room for bigger container ships.

“Both waterways are currently authorized between 34 and 51 feet below mean lower low water and some of these shallower spots present navigational and safety challenges,” said Corps Project Manager Brian Nelson. “Authorizing deepening the channels removes these challenges and ensures the port can accommodate future generations of container ships.”

Port of Seattle Commission President and Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member Courtney Gregoire thanked the Army Corps of Engineers.

“This is another step forward to making T-5 big ship ready, and able to handle the largest cargo vessels in the world,” Gregoire said.

Port of Los Angeles Volumes Drop

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cargo volumes dropped 3.4 percent last month when compared to the same period a year ago at the Port of Los Angeles.

The port handled 768,804 TEUs in May, which is lower than the record breaking 796,216 TEUs from 2017.

Meanwhile, the port moved 405,587 TEUs in imports, dipping 1.8 percent from a year ago, and 168,681 TEUs of exports, which also experienced a slight drop.

"Volumes have softened due to continued shuffling of alliance services in the San Pedro Bay,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The Port remains focused on digitizing our value chain. Our aim is to introduce the GE Port Optimizer this summer with the support of our liner and terminal partners."

New HR Director at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michael Mitchell is the Port of Oakland’s new Director of Human Resources.

Mitchell, who joined the port 12 years ago and was the port’s Human Resources Manager, will overseeing employee and labor relations, talent acquisition and other functions.

“Michael Mitchell brings a wealth of government experience to this position,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. “His effectiveness in establishing key business partnerships and creating organizational efficiencies will serve the Port well.”

Before coming to the port, the Hampton University alum was a senior human resource analyst with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Vancouver Can!

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA recently highlighted its efforts on sustainable business practices in its annual “We Can!” report, a blueprint for how it can improve and set tangible goals for sustainability in people, planet and profit.

“The benefits to this organization, community and region are numerous,” said Environmental Program Manager Mary Mattix. “The ‘We Can!’ Program provides a platform for innovation and the type of outside-the-box thinking that has become such an important part of our culture here at the port.”

According to the report, the port created more public engagement opportunities and added more followers on its social media accounts. It saved about 1 million kilowatt hours and about $100,000 annually for the port, port tenants and customers by modernizing lighting. It also issued $30 million in revenue bonds at an interest rate below market expectations, a move that saved $4.2 million in interest over the life of the loan.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Port of Los Angeles Considers Supplemental Container Storage

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Los Angeles property on Terminal Island formerly used by the Los Angeles Export Terminal and US Customs and Border Protection may become a peel-off yard to make cargo movement faster and more efficient.

The port recently released an Initial Study/Notice of Preparation looking at the environmental impacts of the proposed Harbor Performance Enhancement Center project that would allow for 24/7 access for storing containers and other uses at 300 South Ferry Street and 750 Eldridge Street.

The public can download the study at and comment on it at a meeting that will take place at 3 p.m. on June 18 at the port’s Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro.

Feedback can also be submitted via email to or mail to Christopher Cannon, Director of Environmental Management, Los Angeles Harbor Department, 425 South Palos Verdes Street, San Pedro, CA 90731 until June 29.

Be sure to write “Harbor Performance Enhancement Center (HPEC) Project” in the email subject line and include your physical mailing address in the email.

Visit or call the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Management Division at 310-732-3675 for more details.

Logistics Facility Redesign at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Toyota Logistics Services is looking to redesign its Pier B facility at the Port of Long Beach and construct a renewable fuel-cell power plant and hydrogen fueling station.

Toyota—which has a terminal for receiving, handling and transporting its vehicles off-site by truck or rail—wants to streamline its operations by tearing down spaces for office, car washing, fueling, auto body and other uses and centralizing many of those into one location.

The project also includes the addition of a 2.3-megawatt fuel-cell power plant and a new fueling station that includes hydrogen dedicated pumps, according to the port.

The port on Thursday released an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration document that looks at whether the project would have any significant environmental impact. The public can weigh in on the draft study until July 10.

The document can be found at Submit comments in writing to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, Port of Long Beach, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, or email

Grays Harbor Tours

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Grays Harbor is offering tours this summer as part of Your Jobs, Your Community, Your Port, an annual outreach program.

The 90-minute tour starts with an overview of the port’s past and present, followed by a bus tour of industrial properties and marine terminals in the Aberdeen and Hoquiam area.

Tours will take place at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on June 28, July 12 and August 8.

Space is limited so reservations are needed. Call 360-533-9528 to RSVP or for more information.

Meanwhile, the Satsop Business Park has been conducting walking tours of its facilities, such as the cooling towers, tunnel training facility, warehouses, and office buildings.

Walking tours will take place at 3 p.m. on June 28, July 13, August 10 and September 27, and at 5:30 p.m. on July 26 and August 23.

Participants need to be at least eight years old and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes to take the tour. Space is limited so guests must make a reservation. Call 360-482-1600 to RSVP or for more details.

USCG Cutter Naushon Rescues Fishing Crew

By Karen Robes Meeks

Four mariners have been rescued by crewmembers of the US Coast Guard Cutter Naushon after their fishing vessel broke down and was unable to anchor about 57 miles west of Kodiak Island, south of Shelikof Strait, Alaska.

The crew towed the mariners and their 48-foot commercial fishing vessel Soulmate to Lazy Bay cannery, Alitak Bay, Alaska.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage first received the report about the Soulmate. Communications with the vessel master were difficult because VHF radios were unreliable, so watchstanders started a six-hour communications schedule via satellite phone and asked for the Naushon crew to be diverted, according to the Coast Guard.

“This case highlights the importance of having multiple means of communications,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Taylor, a Sector Anchorage watchstander. “The availability of both a VHF radio and a satellite phone on board the vessel allowed for consistent communication with the master providing up to date information and situational reports.”