Friday, October 18, 2019

Fake Filters Seized

By Karen Robes Meeks

Approximately $224,000 worth of counterfeit refrigerator water filters were recently seized at the LA/Long Beach Seaport by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in partnership with import specialists assigned to the Machinery Center of Excellence and Expertise.

The 5,200 fake filters were found while CBP officers examined a Chinese shipment bound for the state of Washington and Machinery Center import specialists confirmed that the filters violated Brita, GE, Frigidaire, PUR and NSF certification protected trademarks.

“Protecting our communities from untested and potentially harmful imports is paramount for CBP,” said CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, Carlos C. Martel. “The risk is the consumer inadvertently may be exposing their family to drinking water that is not up to industry standards.”

According to a study conducted by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, counterfeit refrigerator water filters pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety. The use of fraudulently copied trademarks, branding and misleading claims make the filters look legitimate and while the water may look, smell or taste fine, the counterfeit filters that were tested show that they fail to remove lead from water. Further, many of the filters tested introduced harmful chemicals into clean water.

“It is incredibly difficult for consumers to spot counterfeit filters – and they are widespread online,” said Jill A. Notini, spokeswoman for Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

“We are grateful that CBP officers were able to stop this large shipment of counterfeit water filters from finding their way to online markets,” she said, adding that “5,200 counterfeit filters equates to more than 33 million glasses of potentially unsafe water that could have been put into the hands of Americans across the country.”

Long Beach Sees Best September Ever

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach posted its best September in history last month, handling 706,956 TEUs of cargo, according to the port’s latest numbers released Wednesday.

That represents an increase of 0.8% compared to September 2018.

Imports dipped 0.7% to 354,919 TEUs, exports increased by 1.4% to 123,215 TEUs and empty containers were up 2.9% to 228,822 TEUs.

“We saw increased ship calls in September,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’re ready to provide high-quality service to all vessels, though we continue to advocate for an end to the cycle of tariffs to give American businesses the certainty they need to thrive. I’d like to thank our terminal operators, the ILWU, ocean carriers, beneficial cargo owners and our many supply chain partners who made this record result possible.”

Pace-wise, the port is trailing a bit. It handled 1,992,728 TEUs in the third quarter of this year, 3.7% less than the 2018 third quarter when the port posted record-breaking numbers.

Still, Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal said the port will “have one of its busiest years ever, despite the challenges related to the trade war.”

“Top-notch customer service is our calling card, and we’ll continue to collaborate with our customers to enhance their ability to move cargo faster and more reliably during these challenging times,” she said.

Vancouver USA Commissioner Awarded

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Vancouver USA Commissioner Jerry Oliver was presented with the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Distinguished Service Award on Oct. 9.

Oliver, who was first elected to the board in 2007, was chosen for “his dedicated service to the maritime industry, including leadership on port and navigation issues that impact the economic health of Southwest Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest.”

“Commissioner Oliver has been a strong advocate for the Columbia Snake River System, particularly the Columbia River Channel Deepening Project and the jetties at the Mouth of the Columbia River,” said PNWA Executive Director Kristin Meira. “We are proud to honor his 12 years of dedicated service to the Port of Vancouver and the region.”

The award comes at the end of Oliver’s involvement on the board. Earlier this year, the commissioner announced he would not seek a third term and would step down when his term expires Dec. 31.

Bellingham Reopens Waterfront Park

By Karen Robes Meeks

After an initial postponement due to rain, the Port of Bellingham has reopened the Waterfront Bike Park to the public. The opening was delayed so that crews could fix unexpected erosion caused by massive rain, repairs that couldn’t be made until the track dried out. The park, a collaboration between the port and Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, features a large pump track and singletrack sidewalk on an uneven gravel surface in addition to picnic tables, according to the port. The bike park is part of a long-term plan to develop a city park that stretches through the middle of the downtown waterfront.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Los Angeles Box Numbers Down

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles handled 779,903 TEUs in September, 2.7 percent less than the same period last year, according to the latest statistics.

Imports fell 2.9 percent to 402,320 TEUs and exports dropped 11 percent to 130,769 TEUs year over year. This represents the 11th consecutive monthly decline of exports. Meanwhile, empty containers rose 2.9 percent to 246,814 TEUs.

These numbers are compared against a record breaking 2018 and an all-time record for September.

“The ill-advised U.S.-China trade war continues to wreak havoc on American exporters and manufacturers,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We've seen declining exports for 11 consecutive months while our fastest growing market segment is exporting empty containers back to Asia. It's likely we'll see softer volumes in the fourth quarter. We must have a negotiated settlement of the trade war as it is beginning to affect the more than 3 million jobs in the US that are tied to this port complex.”

Port of Seattle Extends Industrial Area Housing

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle’s industrial-zoned Tsubota site will continue be a homeless encampment through November 2020, according to the port commission’s recent decision to extend its lease with the city of Seattle for one year.

“The Port of Seattle is pleased to partner with the City of Seattle and the community in addressing the homelessness crisis in our region,” said Port Commission President Stephanie Bowman. “We hope extending this lease for another year will help more people get shelter and the help they need so they can transition successfully into permanent housing.”

“The Human Services Department is grateful to the port for its support of Interbay Safe Harbor Village,” said Seattle Human Services Department Director Jason Johnson.

“Since 2017 the partnership has made lasting, positive impacts on the lives of over 324 people served, or 277 households, as well as on the surrounding community. HSD is honored to continue this partnership and provide life-saving services and shelter to assist people in finding paths to permanent housing,” he added.

Coast Guard Responds to Diesel Spill

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the US Coast Guard responded to a diesel spill in West Bay Marina near Olympia, Wash., following the sinking of 92-foot recreational yacht King's Way.

The agency enacted the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and asked Global Diving and Salvage to remove the spilled diesel, and recover any leftover pollution within the yacht, which had a reported 1,200 gallons of fuel.

Officials from the Incident Management Division, Washington State response personnel from Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Port of Olympia were also on hand to curb the environmental impact of the spill.

Sham Shoes Seized

By Karen Robes Meeks

About 14,800 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes were seized by US Customs and Border Protection agents at the LA/Long Beach Seaport with the help of officials at the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Center of Excellence and US Homeland Security Investigations special agents assigned at the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center.

The shipment of shoes that came from China in two cargo containers were misdeclared as “napkins.” They were counterfeits of the brand’s Air Jordan and Air Max shoes, according to CBP.

“Intellectual property theft is a crime that leads to lost revenue for American industry, a loss of American jobs, and often poses a threat to public health and safety,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “CBP is the frontline that protects American ingenuity, without any doubt, one of the most valuable assets of our country.”