Friday, March 1, 2019

Construction Starts on Four Foss Tugs

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, Foss Maritime kicked off the construction of four Tier IV ASD 90 Tractor Tugs with a keel laying and welding at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) of Freeland, Wash.

The four tugs are part of the company’s ongoing fleet expansion program. They also represent the start of a new production line at NBBB to more efficiently meet the accelerated four-boat order.

"The new tugs are designed to upgrade our fleet and improve the company’s ability to provide timely harbor and port services to a variety of customers. By offering lower maintenance down time, greater operating efficiencies and lower emissions, these new tugs help expand our nearshore and offshore capabilities,” said Foss Maritime President and CEO John Parrott.

Foss has the option for six more Jensen Maritime Consultants-designed ASD 90 tugs, which uses high-efficiency catalytic aftertreatment technology to lower emissions. They will be outfitted with two MTU series 4000 main engines, Rolls-Royce US255 azimuth thrusters and Markey winches.

“Foss is celebrating our 130th anniversary this year, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off our 130 years than by laying the keel of our next generation of harbor tugs,” said Parrott. “These new vessels will not just expand our fleet but will add new vitality with the latest innovative technology.”

The first vessel is expected to be delivered in the winter of 2020.

Hawaii DOT Earns High Rating

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Hawaii Department of Transportation recently earned a 'AA-' rating from Fitch Ratings on its $160.3 million of outstanding harbor system revenue bonds, with a rating outlook of “stable.”

While the port's outstanding debt balance is expected to rise in the short term with the anticipated borrowing of $260 million next fiscal year, leverage will remain supportive of the current rating given the port's high liquidity levels.

“Despite a sizeable capital plan that calls for additional borrowing, the harbor system is expected to maintain its historically robust financial profile with strong coverage, relatively low leverage, and high liquidity providing over 1,000 days cash on hand,” the report reads.

The port system has a natural monopoly on serving the Hawaiian Islands, offsetting the system’s exposure to tourism industry fluctuations. It also benefits from positive revenue trends from stable volume growth and an enacted tariff rate mechanism.

Long Beach Holds Port Grant Workshops

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach will host workshops for local organizations who want to apply for the port’s Community Grants Program. The program seeks to fund projects providing park space, enhancing energy efficiency and taking on indoor air pollution.

Proposed projects must be located within the program’s priority zone, which represents the area most affected by port operations. The zone stretches from downtown Long Beach north along 710 freeway and includes portions of Wilmington, Carson, Compton and Paramount.

Two workshops will take place on March 13 in the Board Room of the port’s Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815.

The 1 p.m. workshop will focus on indoor air filtration and energy-efficiency projects, while the 2 p.m. workshop will cover parks and open space projects.

To reserve a workshop spot email or call 562-283-7133. Request for translation must be received by March 6.

For more details, visit The workshop will be broadcast live at

Camas-Washougal Seeks Committee Members

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Camas-Washougal is looking for residents interested in participating in The Performing Arts and Cultural Center Steering Committee. The committee will work closely with the port and will be tasked with submitting recommendations on the waterfront center’s design, planning and building, as well as the development of an operational and strategic plan for the center.

Starting in April, the port will interview and chose applicants for the committee.

Applications must be received by April 1 at 5 p.m. They can be sent to the Port Office at 24 South A Street, Washougal, WA 98607 or emailed to

For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bulker Makes Maiden Stop at Vancouver, USA

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the 590-foot-long Handymax bulk carrier Iwagi Island arrived at the Port of Vancouver USA as a stop on its maiden voyage.

Capt. Yi Hai Yu of China and his 17-crew members were greeted Feb. 15 by representatives from Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals, Cascade Marine Agencies Ltd. and General Steamship Agencies.

Built in Imabari, Japan, the Iwagi Island is owned by Iwagi Island Limited and operated by Pacific Basin Shipping (HK) Limited. It arrived at the Washington port to load approximately 26,000 metric tons of copper concentrate before leaving for ports in the Black Sea.

Hueneme CEO Decas General Manager of the Year

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Ventura County Special District Association has named the Oxnard Harbor District/Port of Hueneme CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas General Manager of the Year for her efforts in growing cargo and protecting the environment. Since 1974, the association has represented more than 20 independently governed special districts in Ventura County.

“I am humbled to be selected for this accolade,” Decas said. “It takes a village to realize success. I would like to thank my Port Board of Harbor Commissioners for their leadership and tireless efforts; the port’s team, our industry and community partners. Every spoke in the wheel, all these stakeholders give 100 percent to the progress of the port, which in turn has created 23.5 percent growth over the past six years.”

According to the port, Decas has also enacted several environmental initiatives, including shoreside power, public electric vehicle charging stations, a zero-waste policy, and a joint clean air plan with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District.

“Kristin is very deserving of this recognition,” said Mary Anne Rooney, Oxnard Harbor District commissioner. “Her passion, dedication, and service to the interests of our local community and our port customers, is a true testament to her character.”

Grays Harbor Project Phase II Completed

By Karen Robes Meeks

At the Port of Grays Harbor’s sixth annual Business Report event presented earlier this month, port leaders touted its business successes and the completion of Phase II of the Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project.

Commission President Stan Pinnick announced record-breaking cargo results handled at the port’s four deep-water terminals, record number of camping nights at Friends Landing and Westport Marina’s commercial seafood landings ranking 11th in the nation.

Past strategic investments in infrastructure have resulted in today’s success for port partners, acknowledge Executive Director Gary Nelson.

“Our customers and tenants are able to utilize the buildings, docks, waterways, roadways, rail and utilities that we have invested in to support and grow their businesses, employ our neighbors and generate solid economic impacts for our community,” he said.

Nelson noted that investment in infrastructure will continue this year with road paving projects in the Port Industrial area and Satsop Business Park, dredging and upland improvements at Westport Marina, and a critical drainage project at Bowerman Airport.

The port also celebrated the long-awaited completion of a Grays Harbor Navigation Channel deepening project, allowing more vessels to call at the Grays Harbor.