Friday, February 22, 2019

Vancouver USA Soliciting Developers

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA is looking for developers with ideas for a portion of its 10-acre site on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington.

Developers have until 5 p.m. PST on March 21 to submit proposals for designing, permitting, constructing and managing a mixed-used development on available land at Terminal 1, which includes two blocks on the north part of Columbia Way between the riverfront and Vancouver’s downtown. The mixed-use development concept is to include office, residential, retail on the ground level and parking.

“Our request for qualifications is an important step toward reinventing this remarkable waterfront property as the premier gateway to Washington state and the connection to all our community has to offer, from public trails and historic sites to distinctive shopping and restaurants,” said Mike Schiller, port director of business development. “Terminal 1, and specifically the mixed-use development, will be vital to the ongoing revitalization of the Columbia River waterfront.”

San Diego Microgrid Planned

By Karen Robes Meeks

Work is expected to begin in March to upgrade the infrastructure needed to support a renewable, solar-powered microgrid at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

Last week, the Board of Port Commissioners awarded Chambers, Inc. nearly $1.6 million to replace the roof of warehouse B with a new, lighter and more durable single-ply Thermoplastic Polyolefin membrane roof system. The construction is expected to be completed by December 2019.

The roof work is part of the larger $9.6 million microgrid project, which is funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission and other matching funds.

With installation expected by summer 2020, the microgrid will help address the need for renewable energy at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. It will also help lower greenhouse gas emissions, save the port about $168,000 in utility rates annually and allows the terminal to run for about 12 hours without connecting to the larger electrical grid. The microgrid will feature solar photovoltaic panels. Other component of the project includes battery energy storage, a centralized microgrid controller and other electrical and energy efficiency improvements. It will also give backup energy to port facilities, powering security infrastructure, lights, offices, and the existing jet fuel storage system.

“The Microgrid Project will not only help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, it will also make us more resilient in the event of natural or human-caused disasters that impact the electric grid,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Garry Bonelli. “With the added bonus of reducing energy costs, this project is good for the community, for businesses on the terminal, and for the port.”

Big New Cranes for Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland announced Tuesday, Feb. 18 that three 300-foot-tall gantry cranes would be arriving late next year to Oakland International Container Terminal.

SSA Terminals, which operates Oakland International Container Terminal, ordered the $30 million cranes from Shanghai-based ZPMC. They will be delivered by ship from China and arrive partially assembled in order to clear the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge. According to SSA, with booms upraised the cranes could be 440-feet tall. They will have a lift height of 174 feet above the dock and be able to reach 225 feet across a ship’s deck.

“Big ships are the future,” said SSA Containers President Ed DeNike. “They’re coming to Oakland and we’re going to be ready for them.”

The cranes will allow SSA to move containers on and off the world’s biggest cargo vessels from stacks 12 boxes high above deck. “This demonstrates the faith that business partners have in Oakland as a trade gateway,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “There’s no more visible sign of a port’s growth than installing larger ship-to-shore cranes.”

New Director for Bellingham SeaFeast

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Bellingham SeaFeast Board of Directors has hired a new executive director to oversee its popular event celebrating Whatcom County’s maritime roots and waterfront offerings.

Liz Purdy has been tapped to helm Bellingham SeaFeast, set for Sept. 21-22, 2019.

“Liz Purdy is the ideal candidate to serve as Executive Director for Bellingham SeaFeast,” said SeaFeast Board of Directors Chair and Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “Liz worked during last year’s festival and proved herself to be a tremendous asset. Liz has the working waterfront background and event planning experience necessary to hit the ground running and continue to grow attendance at this incredible event.”

Purdy said she is honored to serve in the role.

“Bellingham SeaFeast represents what I love about living in Whatcom County,” she said. “[Former executive director] Deb Granger started this event with a vision to showcase the significance of the working waterfront. I intend to carry that vision forward to host a family-friendly celebration with plenty of fresh seafood for an experience that keeps people coming back each year.” The event was launched in 2016 as a way to bolster tourism and hotel occupancy during the off-season.

“Many people don’t understand just how much fish comes over the docks in Whatcom County” said Granger. “Over 6,000 people in Whatcom County have jobs created or supported by the maritime sector and the success of Bellingham SeaFeast is the result of the pride in our waterfront shared by the individuals and families who make up our maritime and commercial fishing industries.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Illegal Drugs from California Intercepted

By Karen Robes Meeks

Six people were arrested earlier this year by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for their alleged involvement in an illegal drug shipment at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

According to the release, Australian agents assigned to the Joint Organized Crime Task Force (JOCTF) told Homeland Security Investigations special agents about a “planned large-scale drug importation by a suspected drug smuggling group operating out of California.”

CBP authorities discovered the drugs, concealed inside fake loudspeakers, in two containers bound for Australia on Jan. 11. This investigation led to the arrest of two US and four Australian citizens by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

“This is the biggest ever seizure of methamphetamine – more than 1.7 tons – stopped before it had a chance to reach Australian streets,” said AFP National Manager Organized Crime Assistant Commissioner Bruce Hill. “The JOCTF investigation demonstrated the effectiveness of Australian and international authorities working together to stamp out illicit drug importation, and I wish to thank our US counterparts for their expert involvement in this investigation.”

The seizure consisted of 3,810 pounds of methamphetamine, 55.9 pounds of cocaine, and 11.5 pounds of heroin.

“This is an extraordinary example of the superb and effective collaboration between CBP, HSI and our Australian law enforcement partners in targeting an international high-scale narcotics operation, and the unity of effort in protecting our communities from the irreversible harm of harsh drugs like methamphetamine,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.

Oakland Imports Rise

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland handled 81,895 TEUs of imported cargo last month, a nine percent jump from January 2018, making it the busiest January on record for imports. It marks six straight months of rising imports, according to the port.

Officials credited the surge to US shippers rushing products into the country because of the worry about future Chinese tariff increases and importers stocking up on goods before Asian factories close to celebrate the annual Lunar New Year. Asia is Oakland’s biggest trade market.

“Concern over international trade issues has driven unprecedented import volume,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We’re watching closely to see what happens next.”

SOLAS Discrepancies Bring Vessel Detentions

By Karen Robes Meeks

Seven foreign vessels have been detained since November 2018 after the US Coast Guard found compliance discrepancies with the International Maritime Organization Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) multilateral treaty during Port State Control exams, the agency announced Wednesday.

The latest detention took place after Marine Safety Unit Portland examiners found 100 inoperable carbon dioxide cylinders, which are needed to extinguish fires in the vessel’s machinery space or cargo holds.

“The Coast Guard maintains the safety of the port by preventing damage to property or the marine environment,” said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer, Marine Safety Unit Portland. “Inspectors from our unit do a great job of identifying major non-conformities aboard vessels and through this identification we ensure vessels are safe, secure, and environmentally sound to transit the complex Columbia River System.”

New LA Port Policy Director

By Karen Robes Meeks

Jennifer Cohen is the Port of Los Angeles’ new director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. She recently worked as director of government affairs for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

In her new role, effective Feb. 25, Cohen will oversee the port’s legislative team, help develop the port’s local, state, federal and international policy priorities and communicate with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Los Angeles City Council and other governmental and regulatory agencies, according to the port.

“As the busiest port in [the] nation, the Port of Los Angeles has a major interest in assuring that public policy and government initiatives support our business priorities and needs,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are thrilled to have someone of Jennifer’s caliber and expertise on board to guide our legislative and government affairs efforts.”

Previously, she was the main liaison to the L.A. City Council and managed state and federal government and regulatory affairs at the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.