Friday, March 15, 2019

Los Angeles Community Grants

By Karen Robes Meeks

Up to $1 million in grants will be given by the Port of Los Angeles toward events and other efforts that benefit the Los Angeles waterfront and surrounding communities.

Local organizations who are interested in the port’s Community Investment Grants Program can attend upcoming workshops to gather additional information:
  • April 2 at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington, and
  • April 3 at the Port of Los Angeles headquarters in San Pedro
The grants, funded by income generated by the port, are awarded to activities that help promote:
  • Maritime and port-related workforce development and education;
  • Sustainable practices aimed at preservation and conservation of natural resources in the Port environment; or
  • LA Waterfront, its history and culture
The application deadline is 4 p.m. on May 6.

For more information, visit

Polar Star Returns to Seattle

By Karen Robes Meeks

After 105 days deployed to Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze, the 150 crew members of the US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star recently returned to their Seattle homeport.

The crew left Seattle, Wash., on Nov. 27 for their sixth deployment and journeyed 11,200-nautical-miles to Antarctica for the annual joint military service mission supporting the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.

The Polar Star muscled through 16.5 nautical miles of ice to open a channel to the pier at McMurdo Station and later guided the container ship Ocean Giant through the channel, which allowed the offloading of 10 million pounds of goods needed to replenish McMurdo Station, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and other US field camps for the coming 12 months.

New Matson Box Ship

By Karen Robes Meeks

The second of two 850-foot long, 3,600-TEU Aloha Class containerships was christened by Matson, Inc. and Philly Shipyard, Inc. at a ceremony on March 9.

Kaimana Hila is the new sister ship to Daniel K. Inouye. Its name is Hawaiian for "Diamond Head," the landmark crater near Waikiki Beach.

"This is a proud day for everyone at Matson," said Matt Cox, Matson's chairman and chief executive officer, at the shipyard ceremony. "Daniel K. Inouye has performed well in its first four months of service, and we are excited to have Kaimana Hila joining it soon. These new vessels herald the beginning of a new era in our Hawaii service and will allow us to serve our customers better than ever for decades to come."

The two ships cost nearly $418 million and are Matson's largest ships, each weighing in at more than 51,400 metric tons. They are the first of four new vessels Matson will place into its Hawaii service over the next 18 months.

Both vessels feature the newest sustainable technology, including “dual fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), double hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and a more fuel-efficient hull design,” according to Matson.

New Maritime Director at San Francisco

By Karen Robes Meeks

Andre Coleman, Northern California area associate director for the Pacific Maritime Association, is the new Maritime Director for the Port of San Francisco effective March 4.

According to the port, Coleman will oversee the Maritime Division’s 28 employees and be responsible for the “strategic oversight and implementation of the port’s maritime portfolio including assets, services, operations, and labor and client relations for the 7.5 miles of San Francisco waterfront that extends from Fisherman’s Wharf to Islais Creek.”

“Andre Coleman will bring extensive maritime knowledge and relationships to the port,” said Port of San Francisco Executive Director Elaine Forbes. “His expertise in a wide range of maritime functions including labor relations and terminal, vessel, and yard operations will ensure San Francisco remains a waterfront for our working women and men, and the port sustains our growing maritime industry and remains fiscally secure.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hueneme Starts Deepening

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Hueneme recently broke ground on its harbor excavation project.

The project, which seeks to deepen the port harbor from 35 feet to 40 feet, was mostly funded by a $12.3 million TIGER Grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) from the US Department of Transportation. That extra five feet means vessels won’t have to wait for high tide to enter the harbor.

The project also has economic reverberations, generating more than 563 new jobs, $28 million in business revenue, $5.8 million in local purchases, and $4.6 million in state and local taxes, according to the port.

“The Port of Hueneme is an instrumental and thriving component of Ventura County – forming an essential partnership in their mutual success,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Over the years, we have seen the successful expansion and growth of the Port to become a critical point of entry to our local and global economy.”

The work is expected to be completed by March 2020.

New LA Harbor Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Diane Middleton is the newest member of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Middleton, who attended her first meeting March 7, was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. She is an attorney and harbor area community activist.

“Diane is a proven leader with more than four decades of experience fighting for social justice and advocating for workers’ rights,” said Garcetti. “Angelenos will benefit from the breadth and depth of experience she will bring to the Board of Harbor Commissioners.”

The San Pedro resident takes over for longtime commissioner David Arian, who died in January following a long bout with cancer.

As an attorney, she represented injured auto, steel and hospital workers, including labor union activists. In 1979, Middleton started her own law practice in San Pedro, specializing in maritime law. Before retiring in 2010, she had represented approximately 7,000 individuals, including injured longshoremen and shipyard workers. In 1993, she co-founded the Harry Bridges Institute with David Arian and is still part of the leadership team.

New Everett CFO

By Karen Robes Meeks

Eric Russell, senior director in the finance department at Vulcan Inc. and former port employee, will be the Port of Everett’s Chief Financial Officer, taking the reins from John Carter, who announced his retirement after 30 years of public service.

“I want to thank John for his outstanding service to the Port of Everett,” Port Commission President Glen Bachman said. “His talent to creatively think outside of the box to develop financing solutions for the port, and his evident passion to enhance transparency in the budget process have been influential.”

Russell previously spent 11 years at the port as senior accountant and information services manager, and director of properties and development before working for 10 years at Vulcan Inc.

“Eric’s extensive finance and real estate background in both the public and private sectors, paired with his prior experience in port operations, provide a critical skillset as we continue to push forward with our top strategic initiatives to modernize our Seaport facilities and create a new mixed-use waterfront community at Waterfront Place,” Bachman said. Russell started in his new role on March 1.

San Diego Waterfront Park Proposed

By Karen Robes Meeks

The public is invited to weigh in on the future Harbor and Sweetwater Parks on the Chula Vista Bayfront.

The proposed parks represent more than 50 percent of the new park space planned for the Chula Vista Bayfront. Feedback on the designs will help inform the look and feel of these new green spaces. KTU+A and Jacob Petersen with Petersen Studio are the design teams.

The much larger Harbor Park will offer “signature amenities, recreational opportunities and programming,” while Sweetwater Park will connect visitors with the natural resources of the bayfront, according to the port.

The Sweetwater Park Design Workshop is set for 6 p.m. on March 20 at the City of Chula Vista Public Library, Civic Center Branch, located at 365 F St. in Chula Vista.