Friday, July 27, 2018

Hawaii Receives Marine Highway Designation

By Karen Robes Meeks

Hawaii received its first Marine Highway designation earlier this month, allowing the Hawaii Department of Transportation to be part of America’s Marine Highways program, which gives federal resources that will enhance more efficient cargo movement through Hawaii’s commercial harbors.

At a ceremony at Pier 38 at Honolulu Harbor, Gov. David Ige received a certificate from the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation that officially names the waters around and between the Hawaiian Islands as Marine Highway “MH-1.”

“It is an honor to support this collaborative initiative between MARAD and the HDOT Harbors Division, and to acknowledge that this Marine Highway is Hawaii’s lifeline,” said Lauren Brand, MARAD’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Ports & Waterways. “This designation, awarded by Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, complements the ongoing Harbors Modernization Plan.”

Ige and state transportation leaders also revealed the official name of the new route: The Daniel K. Akaka Marine Highway, named after the late senator.

“It is a great privilege to honor Senator Akaka and know his service to the people of our State will continue as the Daniel K. Akaka Marine Highway benefits and enhances the port system we all depend on,” Ige said.

Port of Los Angeles “Friends” Italian Ports

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Port of Los Angeles strengthened its bond with its coastal European counterparts when it inked a "Friendship Agreement" with the Port Network Authority of the Central Tyrrhenian Sea, the port announced.

The July 10 agreement with the Port Network Authority, which encompasses the ports of Naples, Salerno and Castellammare di Stabia, is designed to nurture business ties and economic cooperation and enhance trade and tourism between the US and Italy, according to the port.

With this agreement, the Los Angeles port now has 17 sister and friendship port agreements with ports all over the world.

Oakland Breaks Container Record

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Oakland handled 87,207 imported TEUs last month, a record-breaking month for the Northern California port that topped last July’s record of 84,835 containers, according to latest numbers.

Imports rose 8.7 percent last month compared to June 2017, which the port credits to a strong peak season and a stronger push by importers to move goods ahead of tariffs being enacted this month by U.S. and China.

“Retailers have been forecasting a good peak season for containerized imports, so June’s numbers weren’t surprising,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But there’s uncertainty over the international trade picture, so we’re taking a wait-and-see approach.”

While it’s too early to forecast the impact of these latest tariff increases, the port says that if they had been imposed last year, about $225 million of China imports would have been affected.

Vancouver USA Wins AAPA Awards

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA won four 2018 Communications Competition awards from the American Association of Port Authorities.

The port nabbed an Award of Excellence for its 2017 Virtual Holiday Card; Awards of Distinction for its Community Report and “Connecting with the Community” social media campaign and an Award of Merit for its Jobs & Economic Impact video.

“Much of the port’s work happens behind the scenes in industrial centers and marine terminals – areas people usually don’t see unless they happen to work there,” said port CEO Julianna Marler. “This can make it challenging to connect with our community in a meaningful way, but our staff continues to do great work, using a variety of tools to reach community members where they are and making it interesting and engaging.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Oakland Aiming for Zero Emissions

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland announced on Wednesday, that it is in the process of making cargo operations at the port free of emissions with a “bold and ambitious” Draft Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan.

The 30-page document proposes several initiatives, from implementing electric trucks and putting in new infrastructure to encourage more vessels to plug in at berths.

“Achieving a zero-emissions seaport will take years, requiring substantial investments in transformative technology, new infrastructure and equipment,” said Richard Sinkoff, director of environmental programs and planning at the port and principal architect of its clean-air plan. “But we are 100 percent committed to eliminating emissions related to the movement of containerized trade, wherever and as soon as we can.”

Public meetings to discuss the proposal are expected in the fall, with a final plan in place by the end of the year.

Portland to Keep Intermodal Rail Service

By Karen Robes Meeks

Encouraged by the growth of rail container movement through Terminal 6, the Port of Portland plans to keep its BNSF Railway service through mid-2019.

The service, which began in January, give shippers at the terminal more options to move freight between Portland and the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, where cargo such as wood, hay and other products is loaded on vessels bound for international destinations.

“In addition to our continued work to attract weekly carrier service, moving products by rail is proving to be a successful way to assist shippers in our region,” said Keith Leavitt, chief commercial officer at the Port of Portland. “The rail is also a time-saving alternative for some shippers, who face delays from truck congestion at ports to the north.”

Alcatraz Ferry Project Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

The new Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation Project at Piers 31-33 will move forward on The Embarcadero at Bay Street.

The San Francisco Port Commission approved the plan following years of talks between the port and the National Park Service.

“Our waterfront attracts more than 24 million people annually and is vital to the economy of our city,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. “Investing in the Alcatraz landing will help improve the safety and security of our residents and visitors while ensuring the economic well-being of San Francisco.”

The project is expected to cost about $34 million, with the ferry concessioner investing $30 million and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy contributing $4 million.

“I’m thrilled that the Alcatraz Project is moving forward with private and public investment that will benefit the residents and Port of San Francisco,” said Port Commission President Kimberly Brandon. “Not only will the Project make our waterfront more valuable, it will retain and improve an important city and port visitor destination that will provide revenue for services that residents across the city rely on.”

Improvements are set for completion by 2024, according to the port.

San Diego Port Retail Space on the Market

By Karen Robes Meeks

RI Properties, Inc. beat out four others to list and market vacant retail space at Seaport Village at the Port of San Diego for at least the next three years.

RI will fill vacancies at the 90,000-square-foot shopping and dining center on an as needed basis while plans to redevelop the Central Embarcadero are underway. Port commissioners in late 2016 chose 1HWY1 and its “Seaport San Diego” concept to transform the Central Embarcadero, which includes Seaport Village.

After Seaport Village’s lease ends on September 30, Protea Property Management, Inc. will manage the 14-acre destination on the San Diego bayfront south of Tuna Harbor on the port’s behalf.