Friday, November 16, 2018

Long Beach Moves More Boxes

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach has shattered its October cargo record for the second straight year when it moved 705,408 TEUs, making it the port’s third-busiest month ever, according to numbers released this week. During that period, the port also handled 364,084 TEUs, up 7.4 percent from a year ago, while exports fell five percent to 119,837 TEUs.

The record volume, which is about 5.4 percent more than recorded for this period last year, is a sign of shippers’ reaction to a trade war between the US and China.

“Our higher import volumes suggest some retailers expect US consumers will be big spenders this holiday season,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Other importers are rushing shipments to beat escalating tariffs. At the same time, the trade war has clearly slowed American exports to China.”

The port is on track for record-breaking volumes in 2018. So far, the port has processed more than 6.7 million TEUs, surpassing 2017’s numbers (from January to October) by 7.9 percent.

Port of Seattle to Farm Oysters

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle is teaming up with Puget Sound Restoration Fund and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources on a new program to develop a habitat and a native oyster bed in the northern part of Smith Cove in Elliott Bay.

Under the ‘Blue Carbon’ pilot program, which seeks to use oysters as “filter feeders” to help clean ocean pollution, about one-quarter acre has been planted with over three tons of oysters, as well as salt marsh and other sea vegetation to trap dissolved carbon.

“Creating the kelp, eelgrass and shellfish beds at Smith Cove is an exciting approach to slowing climate change while also fostering habitat for wildlife and fish, including Chinook salmon,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “This pilot program reflects the port’s commitment to addressing climate change and protecting the environment.”

Port of LA Busier Than Ever

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles posted its busiest month in history, moving 952,554 TEUs in October, according to the latest statistics released this week. That represents a 27.2 percent spike from the same period last year and breaks the port’s previous record set in November 2017, when Los Angeles handled 924,225 TEUs.

Imports and exports also rose by double digits in October, with imports up 26.7 percent to 485,824 TEUs and exports rising 20.5 percent to 173,824 TEUs. So far, the port has moved 7.7 million TEUs this year.

“During October two of our container terminals – APM Terminals and Fenix Marine Services, formerly Eagle Marine – processed record container volumes while West Basin Container Terminals and Everport Terminal Services handled the biggest ships to ever call at those facilities,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “These robust cargo volumes equate to more jobs in the region and across the nation. We’re committed to doing our part to continue building a strong and skilled workforce for years to come.”

New Oakland IT Director

By Karen Robes Meeks

UC Berkeley systems expert Kevin Fong is the Port of Oakland’s new IT Director.

The 30-year tech veteran in systems management replaces Acting IT Director Kyle Mobley, who will go back to his position as Aviation Information Technology Manager at Oakland International Airport.

Fong served as IT Director for University Development and Alumni Relations at UC Berkeley, where he worked for 13 years.

“Kevin’s expertise covers the gamut from systems infrastructure development to cloud computing,” said Port of Oakland Acting Executive Director Danny Wan. “That background, coupled with his public-sector experience at a great university, makes him a good fit for the Port."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Matson Reports Higher Income

By Karen Robes Meeks

Matson, Inc. recently reported $41.6 million in net income in its third quarter, higher than $34.1 million posted in third quarter 2017.

"Our performance in the quarter was in line with our expectations with Ocean Transportation results approaching the level achieved last year and continued strong execution across all service lines in Logistics,” said Matson's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Cox. “We are pleased to see the exceptional performance of our Logistics segment for the quarter and year-to-date. For the quarter within Ocean Transportation, we saw a favorable rate environment in China and continued strong performance from SSAT, but we also faced unfavorable timing in fuel surcharge collections relative to fuel cost increases and lower volume in Alaska primarily due to a weaker-than-expected seafood season."

Cox said Matson expects its businesses to continue to perform well in the fourth quarter.

“(A)nd, as a result, we are raising our outlook for Ocean Transportation and maintaining our outlook for Logistics,” Cox said. “For the full year 2018, we expect Ocean Transportation operating income to be modestly higher than the level achieved in 2017. For the full year 2018 in Logistics, we are maintaining our higher outlook for operating income given the strong trends across all service lines."

Hybrid Tug for Foss

By Karen Robes Meeks

A Dolphin Class tugboat from Foss is expected to begin servicing in Alaska this week. Foss is transferring the Bering Wind tugboat – formerly the Campbell Foss – from Long Beach, California, to Cook Inlet Tug & Barge in Anchorage this month.

Two Series II Caterpillar engines and twin Rolls Royce US 205 FP Z drives power this tugboat, giving her more than 135 tons of pulling power, according to Foss. “The addition of the Bering Wind to our Anchorage based fleet of tugs will improve our current level of service in the Port,” said Ben Stevens, president of Cook Inlet Tug and Barge. “It will also ensure safe port operations can be conducted during the anticipated Port revitalization project which will commence in spring of 2019.”

Built in 2005 by Foss, the tugboat was one of first in the industry to be outfitted with hybrid power in 2011.

“We are extremely proud of the role that this ground-breaking vessel has had in our fleet – it has been one of the gems of our operations,” said John Parrott, CEO of Cook Inlet Tug and Barge parent company Foss Maritime. “We are very excited to see her becoming a vital part of the Alaska maritime economy.”

Seattle Sees More than a Million Cruise Passengers

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the second straight year, the Port of Seattle has surpassed the 1 million mark for cruise passengers.

The port, which began serving the cruise industry two decades ago, saw more than 1.1 million revenue passengers enter its cruise terminals this year. It beats last year’s number of 1.07 million revenue passengers.

The number of passengers is expected to swell in 2019 with the arrival of the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas, which carries 4,180 passengers.

“This year, Port of Seattle is proud to celebrate our 20 years of serving the cruise industry, while also handling over one-million passengers for the second year in a row,” said Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “This continued growth points to a bright future for cruise in Seattle, and we are proud that each homeported cruise vessel brings approximately $2.7 million for our local economy. Through innovation and collaboration, we continue to work with our partners to make this the greenest port in the nation.”

Oakland Expecting Container Record

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland is closing in on its third consecutive year of record imported container volume this year, despite the escalation of tariffs between the US and China.

Oakland, which plans to release its October numbers this week, says its imports are up 2.7 percent from 2017 and is seeing a 5 percent spike in imports from China this year.

How long the growth will continue was a point of discussion with the port’s Efficiency Task Force, a gathering of 40 trade and transportation leaders that meet quarterly.

The group, which met last week, surmised that the cargo volumes could fall by January. The trends of late – the crowded warehouses, the additional voyages to Transpacific routes and reported of record cargo growth since summer along West Coast ports – may mean shippers are pushing up orders in advance of new tariffs on imported Chinese goods that may take effect in January.

Other factors, such as strong US economy and peak season push to stock shelves for the holidays, also come into play.

“Imports are a good story, but the reason for the growth is still something of a mystery,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We suspect frontloading is part of the answer.”