Friday, September 20, 2019

Bonneville Lock Closed

By Karen Robes Meeks

Bonneville Lock remains closed to all river traffic and Bradford and Robins Islands are closed to public access while the US Army Corps of Engineers makes repairs to the navigation lock.

The Corps announced the temporary closure on Friday, September 8, after finding a mechanical issue. The lock had been drained and inspected, and repairs to the damaged concrete are underway.

More than a dozen commercial vessels are expected to be affected by the lock closure, including seven from Tidewater Barge Lines; four from Shaver Transportation; and three from American Cruise Line, according to the Coast Guard.

"We appreciate the close coordination with Portland Army Corps of Engineers staff as we work together to ensure the safe re-opening of the lock and waterway, given the area's importance to transportation and commerce," said Capt. Alan Moore, the commanding officer at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland.

Located 40 miles east of Portland, the Bonneville Dam is the first of eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, a major waterway for goods flowing to and from the region.

For the latest on the lock closure, go to the USACE Portland District Lock Status Webpage with Facebook/Twitter links at:

Chris Lytle Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Containerization and Intermodal Institute bestowed upon Port of Oakland retired Executive Director Chris Lytle its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honor, which was presented at the Institute’s annual Connie Awards banquet, caps off a 53-year maritime career that includes various roles in the private and public sector.

He was executive director of the Port of Long Beach before arriving at the Port of Oakland, where he led the Northern California seaport for the last six years before retiring in July.

“I’ve had a long and satisfying career and this recognition makes it easier to step away,” said Lytle, 73, who is serving as a consultant for the Port of Oakland until the end of the year. “I’m leaving the industry with great memories and pride in what I’ve accomplished alongside hundreds of wonderful colleagues.”

Community Outreach at Redwood City

By Karen Robes Meeks

Redmond City, the port of Redwood City and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority will be hosting a series of community outreach and ridership forecast activities at upcoming fall events.

The three agencies are looking into the feasibility of constructing a ferry terminal and running a new ferry service to and from Redwood City.

The study will explore ridership potential, number-crunch operation costs and estimate economic and social benefits. It will also consider potential routes and landing sites for ferries, including San Francisco and Oakland.

Community outreach opportunities include the Salsa Festival on Sept. 21, PortFest on Oct. 5, Farmers Market on Saturdays and the San Carlos Art & Wine Fair, October 12-13.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Long Beach Containers Down Over Year

By Karen Robes Meeks

Last month, the Port of Long Beach moved 663,992 TEUs, 2.3 percent less than it did in August 2018, according to recent numbers released by the port.

Imports in August fell 5.9 percent to 322,780 TEUs, while exports jumped 4.5 percent to 124,975 TEUs from the same period a year ago. Empty containers dipped 0.3 percent to 216,238 TEUs.

Long Beach has handled more than 4.9 million TEUs so far this year, 6.6 percent less than during the same eight-month span in 2018, a record year for the port. It was, nevertheless, the fifth busiest August in the port’s history.

“These results are strong for any North American seaport, but lag behind our record high numbers last year, when retailers shipped goods to beat expected tariffs,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are still on track for one of our busiest years ever and our focus remains on delivering efficiency and reliability as we await the swift resolution of the US-China trade dispute,” he added.

International trade has continued and will continue to evolve, said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal.

“Our focus as policy makers for the Port must be long-term, and our future as the primary gateway for trans-Pacific commerce remains very positive,” she said. “We are investing billions in efficient and sustainable cargo movement to serve the needs of the supply chain today and decades from now.”

Road Closure to Affect Port of Everett Access

By Karen Robes Meeks

For 10 days starting Sept. 17, West Marine View Drive will be closed to make way for the city of Everett’s Grand Avenue Park Bridge project. Interwest Construction Inc. will shut down all five lanes of West Marine View Drive between 13th and 18th streets to vehicular traffic between Sept. 17 through Sept. 26.

The closure will allow Interwest to conduct its final alignment of the bridge.

Drivers wanting to access the South Marina, Port Gardner Landing, Marina Village and all businesses and facilities in these areas must approach from the south.

Those planning to head to the Central Marina, North Marina, Boat Launch and all businesses and facilities in these areas must approach from the north.

Pedestrian access will also be affected around the construction area.

For more details, visit or contact the city directly at 425-257-7206 or

Oakland Volumes Rise

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland kicked off its peak season with volume growth.

Imports in August rose 3.1 percent to 88,323 TEUs – the port’s busiest August for imports – while exports inched up 1 percent to 75,080 TEUs from the same period a year ago. It represents the sixth consecutive month of export gains. Meanwhile, empty containers fell 14 percent.

Oakland is crediting August’s numbers to strong U.S. consumer demand for the rise in imports and overseas demand for American farm goods for the export increase.

“It’s good to see volume trending in the right direction,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Let’s see now if we can keep it going through the fall.”

New Redwood City Port Commission Chair

By Karen Robes Meeks

Commissioner Ralph Garcia will serve as chairman of the board of the Port of Redwood City’s Port Commission. The announcement was made at the Sept. 11 meeting. He will be taking over for outgoing Chair Lorianna Kastrop.

First appointed to the port commission in 2005 and reappointed in 2007 and 2012, Garcia served more than a decade on the Redwood City Planning Commission, including a two-year term as chairman. He has owned Ralph’s Vacuum and Sewing Center in Redwood City for over four decades.

Commissioner Richard Claire will serve as the board’s vice chairman, while Commissioner R. Simms Duncan will fill the Board Secretary position. The board unanimously approved the election of the officers.