Friday, October 26, 2018

Polar Star Out of Drydock

By Karen Robes Meeks

The new and improved US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star – the nation’s only operational heavy icebreaker – has returned to Seattle, Wash., after six months at Mare Island Dry Dock in Vallejo, California. The 42-year-old icebreaker receive extensive work to its engineering and electronic systems.

Polar Star’s repairs and upgrades will make it ready to support Operation Deep Freeze 2019, the US military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation managed US Antarctic Program, according to the Coast Guard.

“We successfully accomplished an annual dry dock availability valued at over $7.6 million,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Chris Pelar, Polar Star’s engineering officer. “More than 50 work items were completed while in dry dock. We will complete remaining maintenance requirements in Seattle before departing for our upcoming Antarctic deployment.”

Polar Star is a 399-foot, 13,000-ton cutter that can break through up to 21-feet thick ice to clear the way for supply ships to reach Antarctica’s logistics hub, McMurdo Station, Scott-Amundsen South Pole Station and other international bases, according to the Coast Guard.

Los Angeles Improving On-Dock Rail

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles is moving forward with the Terminal Island Railyard Enhancement Project, which is expected to strengthen on-dock rail operations and cargo flow efficiency.

The expansion seeks to add more than 31,000 linear feet of track and increase the number of storage tracks from six to 11. It will also raise the Pier 400 on-dock rail yard capacity by up to 525,000 TEUs annually – a 10 percent overall capacity increase for the port.

The $34 million project is partially funded through a $21.6 million grant from the State Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 – Trade Corridor Enhancement Program. The remaining $12.4 million will come from the port.

“Expanding this rail yard creates a ripple effect of intermodal efficiencies within the Port of Los Angeles and throughout the entire San Pedro Bay port complex,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It is a key element of regional and state transportation plans to improve safety and traffic conditions along some of our nation’s most crowded commuter and freight corridors.”

Boosting Pier 400 on-dock rail yard’s use and capacity will mean lowering truck trips to off-dock yards located 11 to 27 miles away from the port. The expanded rail yard has the potential to take an estimated 1,250 truck trips off the road per day by 2040, according to the port.

Oakland TraPac Adds Night Operations

By Karen Robes Meeks

In an effort to alleviate daytime congestion and speed up cargo delivery, the Port of Oakland’s second biggest terminal, TraPac, is adding a full-service night gates option. Harbor truck drivers can now pick up and drop off between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

This will replace the twice weekly night gates that only offered freight movers limited transactions.

“We are getting ahead of the demand,” said TraPac Operations Vice President Brian Bauer. “Drivers, cargo owners and carriers associated with TraPac will see improved performance and know we are ready for growth.”

Under the new program, drivers will be able to pick up or drop off import, export and empty containers. Through Oct. 26, appointments to pick up imports will be required. Beginning Oct. 29, appointment will be needed for imports, exports and the return of empty containers. Empty containers can be picked up at any time.

Starting Oct. 29, a $30 fee will be charged on all loaded containers during day and night shifts to offset the cost of expanding hours. Loaded containers departing TraPac by rail will not have to pay the extra fee.

Camas-Washougal Marina Thefts

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Camas-Washougal is asking tenants to be mindful of their boats and to report suspicious activity. Three boats were stolen from the marina in the last two months.

A video security camera system caught masked individuals on tape. The suspects are believed to be professional thieves who appeared to be familiar with the marina. The boats were taken between 10:30 p.m. and midnight in the D, I and J rows, according to the port.

“Every boat is a potential target,” said Port CEO David Ripp. “Safety and security for out tenants is our main priority. Making it hard to steal a boat from the marina is another. Chaining your boat to the dock is an option. If we need to move a locked boat in an emergency, we will cut the lock and replace it at our cost.”

Contact the port at 360-835-2196 for more information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Oakland Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Architect and civic leader Yui Hay Lee is the Port of Oakland’s newest member of the Board of Port Commissioners.

The president and CEO of Oakland-based YHLA Architects was sworn into the seven-member board Thursday, replacing Alan Yee, who served eight years before his board term expired.

“We’re delighted to welcome Yui Hay Lee to our Board,” said President Ces Butner. “He brings a strong business background, exceptional planning and development experience and a commitment to the community.” Lee is well known in the community, previously serving on the Oakland/Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and the Oakland Planning Commission.

“I’m honored to join the Port Commission during these exciting times,” said Lee. “Port business continues to grow and provide opportunities that benefit the entire region.”

Talk to the Port of Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

The public is invited to the Port of Long Beach’s “Let’s Talk Port” event on Oct. 24.

The community forum – which will feature a presentation, displays and opportunities for one-on-one with port officials and consultants – will allow folks to weigh in on the Port Master Plan, which has not been updated since 1990. The plan, which maps out the port’s long-term goals for land use and development, will need to consider changes in technology, the shipping industry and other factors.

The event will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st Street in Long Beach, California.

Reserve your spot by Oct. 23 at Contact Jocelin Padilla at or 562-283-7722.

Visit for more details on the Master Plan Update.

Port of Bellingham to Rely on Wind and Solar for Power

By Karen Robes Meeks

In an effort to lower its carbon footprint, the Port of Bellingham is partnering with Puget Sound Energy to buy all of its power from wind and solar sources.

The port has inked an 18-year agreement with the energy company to become part of the Green Direct program so qualified customers can buy electricity created by renewable resources.

The program seeks long-term commitments from agencies and businesses and that demand incentivizes the development of wind and solar facilities. Puget Sound Energy has been able to ink a power purchase agreement with a wind energy developer in Lewis County that will begin in 2019. Also, a solar project – the biggest to be built in the state at over 120 MW – is anticipated to go online in South-Central Washington in 2021.

“The Port of Bellingham is pleased to provide statewide leadership supporting renewable energy, while promoting clean technology manufacturing and employment” said Port Commissioner Michael Shepard. “As the second public port in Washington State to participate in Green Direct, the Port of Bellingham will source 100 percent of its electricity from wind and solar energy production. Our commitment to renewable energy complements our ongoing environmental sustainability efforts, which include energy conservation, habitat restoration and cleanup of contaminated sites.”

AAPA President Retiring

By Karen Robes Meeks

After 33 years leading the American Association of Port Authorities, AAPA President and CEO Kurt J. Nagle will retire this fall.

Nagle started at AAPA as the membership services director in 1985 before taking the reins 10 years later. During his tenure, he guided the organization that now represents140 seaport authorities in the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“It’s been an honor to serve the public ports in the Western Hemisphere and a privilege to work with so many dedicated professionals,” said Nagle. “This industry is blessed with professionals willing to share their experiences and lessons-learned with their colleagues, and to collaborate on common challenges and policy issues. This positive and beneficial culture, along with the wonderful professional staff here at AAPA, have made it a pleasure to be a part of this great industry.”