Friday, September 14, 2018

Vancouver USA Joins Effort to Replace I-5 Bridge

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA has joined the Port of Camas-Washougal in its support to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.

The Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 2-1 to pass a resolution for “a multi-modal approach that would support the region’s transportation needs” and asks that Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Legislature help the Washington State Department of Transportation fund efforts to further the development of this project.

Considered a key economic connector for the region’s ports, Interstate 5 is often congested and does not meet today’s needs, according to the resolution.

The Port of Camas-Washougal’s commission passed the resolution September 4.

Los Angeles Containers Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles handled 2.5 percent fewer containers last month, moving 826,638 TEUs, when compared to August 2017, the port’s best August in history, according to latest statistics released Wednesday.

Imports also fell 2.8 percent to 420,573 TEUs, while exports rose two percent to 162,466 TEUs year over year. Empty containers were down 4.9 percent to 243,600 TEUs.

Despite the drop, last month still ranks as the second busiest August and the sixth busiest month in port history.

“In addition to being one of our top 10 busiest months, August marked the inauguration of APL’s Eagle Express here in Los Angeles,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This weekly China to LA service provides an unmatched level of speed to market and is yet another example of our focus on customer service and response to market demand.”

More Ships Plugging in at Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland recently posted its highest plug-in rate ever recorded in July when 78 percent of container ships used landside electrical power.

About 105 of 135 ships coming to Oakland plugged in at berth, a move that has significantly curbed diesel particulate exhaust.

“We’ve been working with shipping lines for a long time to accelerate the rate of shore power adoption,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “On behalf of all of us who breathe the air in Oakland, it’s gratifying to see this level of cooperation.”

The port has been pushing for a better plug-in rate since 2012 and attributes the progress in part to investments by shipowners to modernize vessels at $1 million per ship.The goal is to reach an 85 percent plug-in rate by 2020.

New Security Director at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Casey Hehr is the Port of Long Beach’s new head of the Security Division.

Hehr, who has been with the port since November 2016, previously served as the assistant director of security before becoming acting director in March following the retirement of the previous director.

Before coming to the port, Hehr served with the US Coast Guard for more than two decades, retiring as the Chief of Operations and Response for the Los Angeles-Long Beach Sector.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the US Coast Guard Academy, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Boston College Carroll School of Management.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Vancouver USA Reveals Redesigned Waterfront

By Karen Robes Meeks

The public will get its first look at Port of Vancouver USA’s preferred-alternative conceptual design for the Terminal 1 waterfront development on September 11.

The port will host an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. to display renderings and answer questions about the latest version of the project’s design, which was first presented back in May and underwent some fine-tuning following the initial meeting. The event will take place at the Warehouse ’23 Event Space, 100 Columbia Street, Vancouver, Washington.

Upon the Board of Commissioners’ design approval, the port can move forward on putting together cost estimates and plans to fund and phase the project.

Visit for more details.

Long Beach Cargo Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

Cargo volumes fell 1.9 percent last month at the Port of Long Beach from the same period last year, moving 679,543 TEUs. Imports dropped 3.6 percent to 343,029 TEUs, while exports rose 1.9 percent to 119,546 TEUs. Empty containers also lost 1.1 percent to 216,968 TEUs.

August 2017 was a tough month to topple, considering it was one of the port’s busiest months in history.

“Our port’s decline in cargo over the last two months is in large part due to a realignment of ocean carrier alliance services and port calls,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Another factor is higher tariffs by the United States and China. Thus far, that appears to have helped increase traffic, as shippers act to beat duties imposed on goods this summer.”

Still, the port is on track to beat 2017, its record-breaking year. The port has handled 5.3 million TEUs so far this year, 9.4 percent more than the first eight months of 2017.

“The higher container volumes earlier this year showed the ability of international trade to bring prosperity and jobs to the US and world economies,” said Board of Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue.

Oakland Economy Would Benefit from Port Access Upgrades

By Karen Robes Meeks

Repairing the Port of Oakland’s Seventh Street entrance could mean $1 billion in economic output for the local economy, according to economists at Washington State University’s Freight Policy Transportation Institute.

WSU Associate Prof. Eric Jessup, who recently spoke to tree nut exporters at a US Department of Agriculture-sponsored symposium, concluded that the proposed $515 million project to separate freight rails from the street and expand underpass clearance could also mean 375 new jobs and a more efficient supply chain for US exporters, especially those sending farm goods overseas.

“In the past five years, the Port of Oakland is the No. 1 US port for containerized edible nut exports, but landside access inefficiencies constrain growth.” Jessup said, adding that Oakland moves 59 percent of all US edible nut exports.

Port and county officials hope to secure federal funding for the project, which is in the design phase. “These are high-value exports produced almost in our backyard,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s important that we do a good job with the shipments because the industry depends on us to access foreign markets.”

USCGC Bertholf Returns to Alameda

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Alameda crew of US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf recently ended a nearly 90-day deployment to the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California after taking part in Rim of the Pacific 2018, considered the largest multi-national naval exercise in the world.

According to the Coast Guard, twenty-five nations, 46 ships and five submarines, some 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel took part in the exercise, which required participants to aid and carry out several boardings, humanitarian response scenarios and war-at-sea exercises, which were designed to strengthen international relations with allied navies.

Bertholf served as the task force commander for the multi-national, Combined Task Force 175, which included naval units from Japan, the Philippines, Peru and France.

“The crew performed superbly, and we were able to show our Coast Guard skills with navies from around the pacific,” said Capt. John Driscoll, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.