Thursday, June 27, 2019

Grays Harbor Considers Potash Facility

By Karen Robes Meeks

This month, Port of Grays Harbor commissioners authorized port Executive Director Gary Nelson to ink an Options to Lease for BHP’s proposed potash export facility at Terminal 3 in Hoquiam, Washington, a move that could bring potash business to the seaport.

Grays Harbor is one of the sites BHP is considering for a potash export facility and the Options to Lease includes certain conditions such as the completion of a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review and the City of Hoquiam vacating parts of Paulson Road and Airport Way.

The company still has to secure necessary permits and approvals before building and operations.

“This project is important for Hoquiam, important for the port and important for our community so we are pleased to see this essential step in the process,” Port of Grays Harbor Commission President Stan Pinnick said. “While BHP choosing Grays Harbor is not a done deal, this is an important milestone in the process and we look forward to providing support and assistance throughout the Option period to help make this project a reality. BHP’s proposed project is consistent with our vision for utilizing our deep-water shipping infrastructure and upland property to create jobs for our community.”

New AAPA President Named

By Karen Robes Meeks

Former Global CEO of Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics Christopher J. Connor has been tapped as the new president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), it was announced this month.

Connor will transition into the position on Sept. 23, taking over for longtime leader Kurt Nagle.

The AAPA represents 130 seaport authorities in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as over 200 sustaining and associate members and stakeholders.

Nagle, who has served in the role since 1995, will step down on Oct. 16.

“It’s an honor to have been selected as the next CEO of the AAPA,” said Connor. “I’ve spent over 35 years working in the ocean shipping industry and through that lens I’ve developed a deep appreciation and respect for the vitally integral role that ports play in global commerce.”

Connor arrived at WWL in 1994, taking on several commercial and operational roles leading the company as CEO in 2013. He previously worked for Crowley Maritime Corporation for seven years, and United States Lines for six years

San Diego Earns Green Certificate

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego has earned an environmental certification from Green Marine, a voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime sector.

The port, which enacted its Green Port Program in 2008, was evaluated and ranked at the top on several areas, including efforts to lower greenhouse gas and air emissions, spill prevention, leadership on environmental issues, waste management and underwater noise.

“The Port of San Diego is a champion for the environmental health of San Diego Bay and its tidelands,” said Garry Bonelli, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “To have our initiatives evaluated and verified with such outstanding results demonstrates that our environmental efforts are working. We will continue the Port’s diligence to protect the bay so that it can be enjoyed by our residents and visitors for generations to come.”

New CO for USCG Indo-Pacific Command Hawaii

By Karen Robes Meeks

Capt. Jason Lehto is the new commanding officer of the US Coast Guard Reserve Unit Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Lehto, who served as the reserve chief of staff for the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, takes over for Capt. Andrew Grenier, who will retire after nearly 30 years of military service.

Lehto’s experience includes senior reserve officer of Sector New Orleans, executive officer at Coast Guard Reserve Unit PACOM at Camp Smith, Hawaii, and senior reserve officer for Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Washington.

Before joining the Reserve force, he served as marine environmental protection branch chief at Marine Safety Office Puget Sound.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Oakland Expresses Tariff Concerns

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle voiced concern over the ongoing trade war with China and that tariffs posed by both countries will harm the US economy and his customers’ access to a major export market.

“We remain concerned about the impact that tariffs will have on the health of our economy,” Lytle said. “To the extent that other countries are stepping in to provide goods that are exported by US businesses to China, the long-term potential for domestic companies to access one of the world’s largest consumer markets will be severely hindered.”

Lytle joined 600 other US business leaders is signing a second letter to President Trump, whose Administration is looking to add more tariffs against China.

Over a third of Oakland’s total trade volume comes from China, and a large number of US farm exports are especially vulnerable to Chinese tariffs.

“The Port of Oakland continues to hear from our partners in the supply chain about specific impacts to their unique sectors,” Lytle said. “It’s clear that the overall negative long-term potential impacts of these tariffs on the international movement of agricultural products, manufactured goods, household items and retail products is real.”

Lytle also asked the Trump Administration not to impose tariffs on cargo-handling equipment produced in China. Next year, Shanghai-based ZPMC is expected to deliver three new ship-to-shore cranes to the port’s largest marine terminal.

“There is not a comparable domestic producer of ship-to-shore cranes,” Mr. Lytle explained. “Tariffs could severely impede and/or prevent our marine terminal partners from making the critical infrastructure investments needed to adapt to the changing international trade landscape.”

San Diego Hotel Moves Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Chula Vista Bayfront resort hotel and convention center project in the Port of San Diego moved forward last week when port commissioners agreed to issue a Coastal Development Permit and granted project approval to RIDA Chula Vista, LLC.

When completed, Gaylord Hotels will operate the Chula Vista Bayfront resort hotel and convention center. It will include up to 1,600 hotel rooms, about 400,000 square feet of convention and meeting space (including pre-function space) and retail and resort amenities including a spa, a pool with a lazy river and bike and boat rentals.

The project will also include “a public esplanade and a plaza and activity village with pedestrian promenades and bike paths, dining and snack stands, game activities, public art, and a pool with public access.”

“These are significant milestones,” said Chairman Garry Bonelli, Board of Port Commissioners. “Residents from around the region as well as visitors and conventioneers can experience our revitalized bayfront. Thousands of folks will be employed at the Chula Vista Bayfront.”

If the next steps - which include securing financing, getting building and grading permits and closing escrow - are accomplished, site preparation and public infrastructure could take place in mid-2020.

“We established many goals in the very beginning and we’re delivering,” said Port of San Diego Commissioner Ann Moore, the Board’s Chula Vista Representative. “This project will bring a world-class hotel and convention center to the Chula Vista Bayfront while also providing a vehicle to build future public parks, restore sensitive habitat, and construct public infrastructure.”

Honolulu Removes Derelicts

By Karen Robes Meeks

Three derelict vessels that may have posed a risk of sinking during a severe storm have been removed from Honolulu Harbor, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division.

Earlier this month, the Kulamanu was towed from Pier 7 and to Kalaeloa Harbor, where it is being prepared for sea disposal, while fishing vessels Manaloa and Pacifica were moved from Pier 12 to a contractor.

“We have initiated steps to remove risks that could hamper the recovery of the Harbors during the hurricane season,” said Deputy Director Derek Chow, Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division. “Mariners need to know the HDOT will also pursue owners to the full extent of the law to recover the expenses incurred by the State.”

Removing the three vessels cost HDOT $748,350.

New Healy Officer

By Karen Robes Meeks

Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley is now the commanding officer of the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a medium icebreaker and the high-latitude research vessel that is deployed to the Arctic.

In a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Seattle, Durley takes over for Capt. Greg B. Tlapa, who will be chief of response to the Coast Guard’s 9th District in Cleveland.

Durley was previously with the Office of Navigation Systems at Coast Guard Headquarters, where she worked as a program manager responsible for aiding in navigation, vessel traffic services, navigation standards and marine planning within the US maritime transportation system, according to the Coast Guard.

As the largest ship in the US Coast Guard, Healy is 420-feet long vessel with a displacement of more than 16,000 tons and a crew of 87.