Friday, January 25, 2019

Everett Approved for Short Sea Shipping

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Secretary of Transportation has designated the Port of Everett as a Federal Maritime Administration Marine Highway Project for the Puget Sound Container on Barge Service under the America’s Marine Highway Program.

The designation – one of 25 US marine highway projects and the only marine project designation on the West Coast – makes the port eligible for future grant funding from the Marine Highway Grant Program.

“This service highlights the importance of expanding waterborne options that can relieve congestion on local roads and rail networks while introducing additional resiliency that is vital to our Nation’s transportation system,” said Catherine Simons, legislative affairs specialist in the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. “With anticipated regional growth specifically, and in our nation broadly, there is expected to be significant growth in freight volumes, requiring transportation alternatives for shippers. Our nation’s vast network of inland waterways and coastal routes has substantial excess capacity that can absorb growth.”

Offered from its shipping terminals in Everett to the Mount Baker Terminal, the port’s Container on Barge service is currently limited to the aerospace industry. But with the new designation, the service will be open to non-aerospace containerized freight shipping via the marine highway from Everett to the Seattle and Tacoma ports, a move that will eliminate up to 300 containers per month from the congested I-5 corridor.

“This designation provides the foundation for the Port of Everett and our partner ports in Seattle and Tacoma to develop and market the Container on Barge service,” said Carl Wollebek, chief operating officer for the Port of Everett Seaport. “We have identified strong market opportunities to expand short-sea shipping service for the Port of Everett to Seattle and Tacoma for a variety of cargoes.”

Long Beach Sets Box Record

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach has exceeded eight million TEUs for the first time in history, Executive Director Mario Cordero said Wednesday to an audience of more than 700 people at the annual State of the Port address.

The record number of 8,091,023 TEUs, a seven percent increase from the previous year, sets the stage for continued growth has the port pushes ahead on its $4 billion infrastructure program and zero-emissions efforts.

Future projects include $1 billion in rail upgrades that will enhance the port’s on-dock rail cargo to 35 percent and eventually to 50 percent.

“Rail allows us to move goods to and from all the major US markets much faster than cargo routed through Gulf and East coast ports,” Cordero said. “This is true for imports and exports. And for the American exporter, my message to you is this: our rail will move your cargo faster and more efficiently.”

“The 2019 year will be a “monumental” one for the port,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue. “We are moving into our new Civic Center headquarters,” she said. “We will be putting the finishing touches on the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge. The new Long Beach Container Terminal is entering its final phase of construction. And we’re leaping ahead with the greening of the port.”

Cordero noted that there are $80 million in grants that will help the port move toward zero-emissions operations.

Long Beach is pushing terminal operators toward using only zero-emissions equipment by 2030, and for drayage fleets to change to zero-emissions vehicles by 2035.

Oakland Commits to 5-Year Strategy

By Karen Robes Meeks

Despite an uncertain freight future brought on by a US-China trade war, the Port of Oakland will press forward with its five-year Growth with Care strategy, Maritime Director John Driscoll confirmed at the recent annual State of the Port event. Under the strategy, the port will continue to grow its three business lines: aviation, commercial real estate and maritime.

The 2018 growth included the new 280,000-square foot Cool Port Oakland for shipping refrigerated cargo and initial work on a 460,000-square foot distribution center, a major component of a Seaport Logistics Complex as well as the newly expanded TraPac marine terminal.

More jobs are also in the works, thanks to an agreement that includes local hiring when the Seaport Logistics Complex opens in 2020.

Driscoll also pointed out that port-adjacent neighborhoods will also see some traffic and environmental improvements when plans are finalized.

“We’ve worked closely with the community to make sure we properly manage growth at the Port,” Driscoll said. “We’ve heard the concerns of our neighbors, and we’re working to address them.”

Boat Launch Opens at San Diego

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of San Diego on Tuesday celebrated the new and improved Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility, considered one of California’s busiest boat launches.

Largely grant funded, the $9.6 million project includes a wider maneuvering area in the facility’s basin, longer boarding floats, a public walkway with areas for viewing and new signs and lighting.

“This state-of-the-art boat launch facility will allow more people to safely and quickly get out and enjoy our San Diego Bay,” said Garry Bonelli, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility handles more boaters than any such facility in the entire State of California. It’s one of many projects being added to jumpstart the port’s ‘renaissance on the bay.’”

Monday, January 21, 2019

Alaska Marine Lines Expanding North

By Karen Robes Meeks

Alaska Marine Lines recently announced that it is extending services from Seattle, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska, to the Arctic region.

New stops will be added this year to the Alaska marine transportation company' ports of call, linking Naknek, Dillingham, Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue and over 65 villages along the Western Alaska coast.

Bowhead Transport – which provides door-to-shore service to the Arctic through its agreement with Alaska Marine Lines – will offer destination services at the North Slope villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Utqiagvik (Barrow), and Kaktovik. Alaska Marine Lines will serve Deadhorse with two annual sealifts.

"Adding these new locations allows us to meet our goal of serving the entire state of Alaska, from Ketchikan to Kaktovik,” said Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson.

Oakland Sees TEU Record

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Tuesday, the Port of Oakland announced it had handled 2.55 million TEUs in 2018, 5.2 percent higher than in 2017 and a record year for the Northern California port.

It’s the second consecutive year of record volume for Oakland, which also saw a 5 percent jump in imports and a 3.5 percent decline in exports. Port officials attributed those figures to several factors, including a strong US dollar, higher demand for empty containers and a push by shippers to hasten imports in the face of pending tariffs.

“Last year was the busiest one ever at the port for a variety of reasons,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Our objective now is to build on this performance to grow import and export volume.”

State of the Port of Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Tracy Egoscue and Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero are expected to deliver the annual State of the Port address on Wednesday.

The port leaders will highlight major 2018 accomplishments and provide updates on significant infrastructure projects, cargo trends, jobs, security and other initiatives for 2019.

Attendees will begin gathering at 11 a.m. in preparation for the noon lunch and program taking place at the Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom. The event will also be webcast live at

For more information, visit

Carnival Cruising from San Francisco

By Karen Robes Meeks

Carnival Cruise Line is preparing to launch a series of voyages leaving from San Francisco, Calif., for the first time in its 46-year history.

Throughout the 2020 spring and summer months, Carnival will offer four-day long weekend jaunts to Ensenada departing on Thursdays and five-day and six-day cruises to Ensenada, Catalina Island and San Diego.

On April 16, Carnival Journeys will depart on a 15-day Hawaii cruise round-trip from San Francisco, with stops in Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai.

Carnival is also planning 10-day round-trip to Alaska with stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point, as well as Sitka and Tracy Arm Fjord. A one-time 11-day Alaska cruise leaving San Francisco on Aug. 9, 2020 will also be available.

“These deployments further bolster Carnival Cruise Line’s position as the West Coast cruise leader, carrying more passengers than any other cruise operator,” the company said. “That number will continue to increase with the debut of Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in December 2019, the first new Carnival ship on the West Coast in 20 years.”