Friday, October 19, 2018

Grays Harbor Commissioner Dies

By Karen Robes Meeks

Longtime Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Jack Thompson passed away on Oct. 4. He was in Chile attending the American Association of Port Authorities’ 107th Annual Convention when he fell and sustained a head injury on Sept 30.

“The sudden and devastating passing of Commissioner Thompson is a tremendous loss that will be felt throughout the Port community and beyond,” Executive Director Gary Nelson said. “On behalf of our entire port family, we extend our deepest condolences to Commissioner Thompson’s family during this difficult time.”

Thompson, who became a port commissioner in 1994, was serving his fifth term as District 2’s representative and was one of the longest-serving commissioners in port history. He played a role in diversifying the port’s cargo business, helping to draw more jobs to the area and supporting long-term tenants.

“Jack’s leadership, wisdom and service to his community will be deeply missed and never forgotten,” Nelson said. “His legacy of economic development and job creation will live on throughout our community and the port industry. We would also like to thank the staff of AAPA, the Port of Valparaiso, the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of Commerce for providing support and resources during this difficult time.” In accordance with state law, the commission is expected to fill the vacancy within 90 days.

PierPass Upgrade Coming

By Karen Robes Meeks

PierPass 2.0 – a new version of the extended gate hours program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – is expected to launch on Nov. 19, according to members of the West Coast MTO Agreement.

Subject to the conclusion of applicable Federal Maritime Commission procedures, PierPass 2.0 improves upon its OffPeak program to ease truck traffic at the nation’s two busiest seaports by moving from the current congestion-pricing model to an appointment-based system that uses a single flat fee on both daytime and nighttime container moves.

Instead of picking up cargo during weekday daytime hours, PierPass 2.0 users can collect their containers at any hour.

The new version isn’t expected to cause too much disruption since nine of the ports’ dozen terminals and the trucking companies that serve them are already using appointment systems. As for the three remaining terminals, SSA Marine intends to put in place its own appointment systems before PierPass 2.0 is implemented.

In order to make the update happen, the terminals have agreed to common appointment windows and common last appointment times for each shift. Terminals may even consider uniform rules and procedures in the program to maximize efficiencies.

Visit for more details on PierPass and to register.

PIL to Call at Seattle

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the first time since 2014, Pacific International Lines (PIL) is calling at the Northwest Seaport Alliance harbor.

PIL’s Kota Pekarang debuted Oct. 6 at The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s North Harbor in Seattle. It will make a weekly call at SSA Marine’s Terminal 30 as part of the America China Service, which will also travel to Lianyungang, Shanghai, Ningbo, Long Beach and Lianyungang.

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance is proud to welcome PIL’s weekly service to our gateway,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “We are committed to ensuring our quality service will help PIL grow their cargo here in the Northwest to support even more local jobs.”

The 1,100-foot-long Kota Pekarang can hold close to 12,000 TEUs.

“PIL is excited to expand our Seattle-area market presence,” said Ernie Kuo, senior vice president of PIL USA Agency Services. “Servicing more than 500 locations in 95 countries, PIL recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. We look forward to our continued close partnerships long into the future.”

Strong Month for Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles posted its strongest September in history, moving 801,264 TEUs. That’s a 4.9 percent jump from the same period last year, according to port statistics released this week.

The port also handled 6.6 percent more imports accounting for 414,281 TEUs and increased exports by 14.5 percent to 147,000 TEUs.

“Volumes remain strong with shippers importing holiday season inventories and manufacturers bringing supplies and materials in advance of additional cost impacts from tariffs,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Our robust numbers are a reflection of the confidence cargo owners have in our efficiency, regional warehousing options, and speed-to-market capabilities. As we enter the final quarter of 2018, we continue to partner with stakeholders on an array of projects to enhance our infrastructure and operations.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Long Beach to Develop Microgrid

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach will develop a $7.1 million microgrid at its Joint Command and Control Center.

Schneider Electric will develop and create the microgrid. The project will also include a workforce development training component in partnership with Long Beach City College and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

According to the port, the project – funded in part through a $5 million California Energy Commission grant – will include the building of a solar carport, a stationary storage system and a mobile storage system that can be deployed in the event of an outage at the port replacing diesel generators.

“Ensuring a stable supply of energy is crucial to the zero-emissions future the Harbor Commission envisions for the Port of Long Beach,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Tracy Egoscue.

Long Beach will gather and analyze data from the microgrid demonstration over a 12-month period and share that information with other California seaports.

“Our terminals are increasingly using electric equipment to move cargo and we will need to build more energy resiliency into these operations,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “This project will help us learn more about how to keep the power, and cargo, flowing.”

Busy September for Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland handled 168,289 imported TEUs in September beating its previous 2006 record of 158,320 TEUs.

This is a five percent increase from the same period last year. It follows a record August, which posted a 9.2 percent increase over August 2017. Oakland is on track to record its best peak season numbers.

Officials attribute the great import numbers to a strong domestic economy and consumer spending.

“We’re encouraged by this outcome and guardedly optimistic that the trend will continue throughout peak season,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Economic indicators lead us to believe that import volumes should remain healthy.”

Cutter Active Seizes $87 Million

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard Cutter Active returned home to Port Angeles, Washington, on Friday, October 12 following a 50-day counter-drug enforcement assignment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. During that period, the 75-crew members intercepted three suspected smuggling ships, stopping the flow of 5,794 pounds of drugs valued at more than $87 million.

Active was supported by an Air Station Port Angeles aircrew and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter for most of the patrol while two members of the Chilean Navy were aboard for the deployment.

The 210-foot Cutter Active, which operate under the tactical Coast Guard District Eleven’s control, supports the Joint Interagency Task Force-South. It handles nine of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions, which include search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement and homeland security.

Port of Olympia Seeks Citizen Volunteers

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Olympia Commission is looking for residents who wish to serve on its Citizens Advisory Committee.

The group is comprised of nine to 13 volunteers who gather monthly to provide recommendations to the Port Commission. Members may be asked to participate, in collaboration with staff, in various port programs and projects.

Applicants must live in Thurston County. Factors such as work, volunteer, board or committee experience, knowledge of the port and reasons for serving will be considered. Application must be received by Nov. 5.

Interviews will be conducted by the Port Commission President, the Interim Executive Director and the Chair of the committee. Recommendations will be forwarded to the commission in mid-December.

Visit for more information.