Friday, February 1, 2019

Hueneme’s Herrera Sees Seventh Stint

By Karen Robes Meeks

Jess Herrera will, in 2019, serve his seventh term as president of the Port of Hueneme Board of Harbor Commissioners. First elected to the Board in 1994, Herrera is the port’s longest consecutively serving commissioner. He served 10 terms as Executive Officer of the Internal Longshore and Warehouse Union and eight terms as Chairman of the ILWU’s Southern California Regional Jurisdiction Committee.

Herrera, currently a marine clerk, has worked on the waterfront at the Port of Hueneme for 53 years.

“In a time with unprecedented political strife in our nation, we have the opportunity to lead locally by prioritizing goals that are both socially responsible and in the best interests of all our stakeholders,” Herrera said when asked about his goals for the port this year. “Our shared future prosperity is dependent on our ability to expand port facilities and infrastructure. I look forward to working closely with my fellow elected officials and community stakeholders to create greater access to economic opportunity, a district free from the woes of crime and poverty, and a sustainable environment where all can succeed.”

Long Beach Delegation to Southeast Asia

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Port of Long Beach officials are on their way to Southeast Asia on a trade mission to bolster international relationships and explore business opportunities in the region.

The nine-day mission includes stops in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It will also mark the first time a sitting Long Beach mayor visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Long Beach’s sister city. Long Beach has the highest population of Cambodians outside of Cambodia.

“Long Beach and Cambodia are united by our culture and our people,” Garcia said. “We must work to strengthen that bond by increasing trade and tourism and creating jobs for Long Beach.”

The delegation will go to Singapore to meet with officials from Ocean Network Express, which began calling to the Port of Long Beach last year.

“The continued economic growth of Cambodia and Vietnam creates a strong potential for increasing trade through the Port of Long Beach,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue. “We are looking forward to building new alliances and strengthening existing relationships with our partners in Southeast Asia.”

There is a strong desire to build trade between the port and these rapidly emerging markets.

“Trade with Asia allows the Long Beach economy to thrive, and a personal exchange of ideas will bond our communities closer together. This trip will solidify the cultural and economic ties between Long Beach and our Asian partners for years to come,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.

Oakland Opens Transaction Portal

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Port of Oakland expanded its online portal to feature transaction times for harbor truck drivers, allowing them to see how long it takes to pick up or drop off cargo.

“This is a big step forward on our digital platform,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It helps take the guesswork out of scheduling for truckers, dispatchers and the owners of cargo that moves through Oakland.”

Activated in May 2018, the Oakland Portal gathers shipping data from every marine terminal in the harbor to help stakeholders better plan for their customers. The new addition of turn times means fewer bottlenecks at terminals.

Everett Wins State Auditor’s Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett was recently bestowed with a State Auditor’s Stewardship Award, the state’s highest honor for financial achievement in government, highlighting the port’s century of outstanding financial accountability, transparency and stewardship of public resources.

“The Office of the Washington State Auditor recognizes the Port of Everett’s dedication to making government work better,” State Auditor Pat McCarthy stated in a letter to the Port Commission. “The port recently celebrated its 100th year of operation and throughout this time, the port’s leadership has promoted a culture of accountability and dedication to maintaining strong internal controls throughout its processes. Management has consistently shown compliance with state law and the Port’s own policies by immediately acting on suggestions or recommendations throughout the Port’s audits and by staying current on regulations. Of particular note, the port has not received an audit finding in over 20 years.”

“To be proud of this incredible accomplishment is an understatement,” said John Carter, chief financial officer for the port. “Receiving a stewardship award of this caliber and checking off our 21st consecutive clean audit is a testament to the leadership of our Port Commission, our dedicated financial team managed by Port Controller Robert Marion, and the work of our entire staff who take pride in ensuring we continue to be fiscally responsible.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hueneme Strengthens Guatemalan Trade Agreement

By Karen Robes Meeks

Following its first trade mission to Guatemala, the Port of Hueneme announced this month the signing of a major sister port agreement with Puerto Quetzal, the leading Guatemalan seaport. The agreement – a pledge for the two ports to work together to bolster their trade relationship and share best practices – further strengthens the port’s relationship with Guatemala, Hueneme’s top trading partner by volume with more than 345,886 US cargo tons traded annually.

“Guatemala is one of our top trading partners, with millions of bananas being imported from the country’s farms to our port each year,” said CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas. “Establishing a sister port relationship with the Port of Quetzal is the next step in opening doors of trade, sharing best practices in logistics and environmental sustainability, and building upon our relationship for the betterment of our port communities.”

On the trip, port officials explored ways to boost its trade and partnerships with Chiquita, Del Monte, One Banana Company and other customers who operate in Guatemala. The port also promoted Hueneme to exporters and shipper associations there “as a port of choice for new business supporting Ventura County’s agricultural and general cargo exports along with Guatemala mango, coffee, and agricultural imports.”

“It was great to visit our partners in Guatemala and to be able to better understand their operations and discuss opportunities to grow together,” said Dona Toteva Lacayo, the Port’s Chief Commercial and Public Affairs Officer. “As we export a variety of US West Coast grown fruit to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala’s strong agricultural and manufacturing sectors are also very well positioned to play a pivotal role in the continued expansion of trade with Port of Hueneme’s customers for many years to come.”

TraPac Completes Oakland Expansion

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Thursday, TraPac marine terminal completed a two-year, $67 million project to boost the capacity of the Port of Oakland’s second-biggest terminal with the opening of its newest vessel berth.

The project expanded the terminal from 66 to 123 acres, added three more ship-to-shore cranes and features a third 1,400-foot-long dock to accommodate megaships.

“We are grateful to dockworkers, truckers, carriers, cargo owners and all of our stakeholders for working with us during this buildout,” said TraPac Operations Vice President Brian Bauer. “We forecast continued cargo growth in Oakland and we are ready for it.”

About 15 percent of the containers that come through Oakland are handled by TraPac, which inked a 14-year lease with the port in 2016.That cargo includes refrigerated containers bound for Japan, so TraPac boosted plug-in spaces from 388 to 860 to store refrigerated boxes during the expansion, the company said.

TraPac also opened a new gate complex for harbor truckers and acquired nine pieces of cargo-handling equipment.

Bellingham Reaches Development Milestone

By Karen Robes Meeks

Bellingham, Wash., city officials opened the first 800 feet of Granary Avenue earlier this month, a major milestone in the Port of Bellingham’s effort to redevelop the downtown waterfront. It allows the public to have access to the former Georgia-Pacific mill site, the new Waypoint Park and new temporary parking lot.

Meanwhile, work is ongoing on the remaining part of Granary Avenue and Laurel Street, which is expected to be finished later this year. When completed, it will connect the downtown waterfront redevelopment area to Cornwall Avenue. Granary Avenue and Laurel Street will feature the city’s first protected bike lane also called cycle-track.

New San Francisco Communications Director

By Karen Robes Meeks

San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Communications and Community Relations Manager Randy Quezada is the new Director of Communications for the Port of San Francisco.

Quezada is expected to start at the port on Feb. 11, taking the reins from retiring director Renée Dunn Martin, the port announced.

“Randy will be a strong addition to our hard working and innovative Port staff and leadership team,” said Port of San Francisco Executive Director Elaine Forbes. “His knowledge and expertise in a wide range of critical citywide initiatives including equity, homelessness, and housing will be invaluable as we plan robust communications and stakeholder engagement efforts to keep San Francisco’s waterfront a place for everyone, plan for a resilient and environmentally sustainable shoreline, sustain our growing maritime industry, and ensure a fiscally secure port.”