Friday, September 13, 2019

Long Beach Seeking Bids for Rail Project

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners agreed earlier this week to seek out construction bids for a planned rail project at the Port of Long Beach.

The Double Track Access from Pier G to J Project is expected to make cargo movement up to 25 percent more efficient by placing more cargo on rail as opposed to trucks.

The $25 million project, expected to be completed in 2021, will add a new 9,000-foot mainline track to help trains serve four terminals in the port’s south basin. The port will invest $11 million into the project, and a grant from the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program will fund the rest.

“The Double Track Access from Pier G to J Project is part of our ongoing efforts to improve the Port so that Long Beach remains globally competitive and environmentally sustainable well into the future,” said Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal.

The commission is expected to award a construction contract by December.

Another Record for LA

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles has established a new single-month cargo record for the fifth month in a row, the port announced Tuesday.

Last month, the port handled 861,081 TEUs, a 4.2 percent jump from August 2018. It is the port’s busiest August in its 112-year history.

Imports rose 4.1 percent when compared to August 2018 reaching 437,613 TEUs. Exports fell 10 percent to 146,284 TEUs, the tenth straight month of decreases. Empties jumped 13.8 percent to 277,183 TEUs.

Eight months into 2019 and Los Angeles’ volumes are up 5.7 percent compared to the record year of 2018.

“Our strong volume growth this year is due in part to our global supply chain relationships, aggressive marketing and improvements in operational efficiencies,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We continue to build value with the Port Optimizer™, a digitization tool which increases visibility of incoming cargo and improves logistics planning and overall efficiency.”

Seroka added that the final months of 2018 ended with “an extraordinary influx of imports to beat expected tariffs on China-origin goods.”

“We don’t expect to see those kind of volumes in the months ahead,” he said. “We need a negotiated settlement of the U.S.-China trade war to restore global trade stability.”

Vancouver, USA Tours Serve 400

By Karen Robes Meeks

More than 400 people attended the Port of Vancouver USA’s tour season this past summer, which allowed the public to see port facilities up close. This year, there was a waitlist for the tours.

“At almost every tour people are amazed by the magnitude of business taking place at the port,” said Community Relations Manager Julie Rawls, who conducts each tour. “The most frequent comment I get from community members is that they had no idea this kind of activity was taking place right here in their own backyard.”

The tour consists of a presentation about the port and commodities that are imported and exported, followed by a guided bus tour of the port’s marine, rail and industrial operations.

Tours are expected to continue in 2020, with dates to be announced early next year.

Visit for more information.

Redwood City Hosts First Responders

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Redwood City – an official FEMA-designated Federal Staging Area (FSA) for the South San Francisco Bay area – recently hosted more than 75 regional first responders for an annual emergency drill. The four-hour exercise – which simulated a post-7.9 magnitude earthquake scenario – tested the response of regional fire departments, Redwood City Police Department and city staff, as well as FEMA Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 3.

“Emergency drills like this are conducted annually to keep first responders ready and allow them to continuously learn new ways to better collaborate on recovery efforts,” said Ted Born, operational planner for FEMA Region 9 who attended the exercise as an observer.

“Last year’s exercise was influential in initiating development of the Bay Area Port Recovery Plan, post-earthquake,” said Born. “As the only deep-water port in the south Bay Area, (the Port of Redwood City) is a strategic location for the delivery of emergency provisions along the San Andreas Fault and a key part of the Bay Area’s earthquake recovery plans.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Vancouver, USA Sponsors Maritime Exhibit

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA is sponsoring the exhibit entitled Currents of Progress: Clark County Rivers, Roads and Ports now open at the Clark County Historical Museum.

The display, which is the result of a yearlong effort will remain open through 2023. It features “interpretive panels, historical objects, and interactive stations” that allow guests to explore and interact “with the history and future of these important facilities and systems in Clark County and Southwest Washington,” the port reported. It looks at the Native American Nations and their relationships with the waterways and the creation of the Vancouver, Camas-Washougal and Ridgefield ports.

“Working with the Clark County Historical Museum staff on this exhibit was a wonderful experience,” said Port of Vancouver Chief External Affairs Officer Ryan Hart.

For more information, visit

USCGC Mellon Homecoming

By Karen Robes Meeks

After 80 days patrolling the Pacific Ocean safeguarding against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity, crewmembers of US Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717), which included two Canadian fishery officers, came home to Seattle, Wash., last Sunday. This is the second joint operation in 2019 between the US Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans, Canada’s Conservation and Protection program.

A priority for the US and Canada, IUU fishing undercuts the global economy of billions of dollars and undermines legitimate fish harvesters in addition to affecting food security.

During the patrol, officers boarded 45 vessels and found 68 potential violations, including improper gear, fishing for sharks without a license, evidence of illegal shark finning.

“IUU fishing is one of the greatest threats to the ocean’s fish stocks,” said Capt. Jonathan Musman, Mellon’s commanding officer. “It was an honor to be on the front lines of enforcement efforts of the distant waters fishing fleets.”

Container Joint Powers to Meet

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility Joint Powers Authority governing board will meet on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif. The authority was established in 1983 to oversee the creation and operation of the 148-acre facility, which was developed to improve truck and rail cargo flow through the Port of Los Angeles and the Port Long Beach. The facility, about five miles away from the twin ports, is run by Union Pacific.

The meeting will take place at the Bob Foster Civic Chambers, 411 W. Ocean Blvd., near the Port of Long Beach Administration Building. For more information, visit the Joint Powers Authority's website at or call Elena Flores at 562-283-7056.

USCGC Robert Ward Completes Successful Drug Patrol

By Karen Robes Meeks

The first drug patrol of the US Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward (WPC-1130) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean recently yielded approximately 2,800 pounds of seized cocaine worth an estimated $38.5 million. Another 3,000 pounds recovered by Robert Ward crew members in mid-July was moved to the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623) and brought to San Diego as part of a 13-ton bulk offload.

“The Cutter Robert Ward and three other newly-commissioned cutters based in San Pedro are strengthening the Coast Guard’s safety, security and counter-smuggling efforts along our coast and in the shipping zones off Central and South America,” said Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. “I’m proud of the Ward’s crew and applaud their actions to disrupt the cartels that profit from crime, addiction and ruin American lives.”

Commissioned in March, the Robert Ward is among the four newly commissioned Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters based in San Pedro. They are part of the agency’s efforts to bolster forces in the area and enhance safety, security and emergency response capabilities.