Friday, December 20, 2019

Cargo Still Down at Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Tariffs continue to affect cargo movement at the Port of Long Beach, which saw its numbers fall nearly 4 percent last month.

Long Beach handled 599,985 TEUs, a 3.5 percent decrease compare to November 2018, with imports dropping 8.3 percent to 293,287 TEUs. Meanwhile, exports rose 6.9 percent to 123,705 TEUs and empty containers dipped 1.7 percent to 182,992 TEUs.

“The effects of these tariffs are being felt by everyone, from American manufacturers and farmers to the consumers who purchase goods moving through our Port complex,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “As we wait for a resolution to this protracted trade war, the Port will remain competitive by delivering exceptional customer service and moving ahead with capital improvement projects that will allow us to grow well into the future.”

So far, 6.9 million TEUs have moved through the port this year, a pace that makes 2019 the port’s second-busiest year. Its best year was 2018.

“We appreciate our terminal operators, truckers, unionized dockworkers and all the other men and women who keep our Port humming with activity,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal. “We’re hoping to close the year on a positive note that focuses on our continuing efforts to move cargo efficiently and sustainably.”

Seattle Wins Cruise Port Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

Major online cruise resource Cruise Critic recently bestowed The Port of Seattle the honor of Best North American Homeport 2019 and listed Seattle as a ‘Cruiser’s Choice’ in their Top 5 Destinations of 2019.

Cruise Critic described Seattle as “the perfect Pacific Northwest jump-off to the Last Frontier,” praising the free Port Valet for passengers and its plans to open an environmentally friendly terminal in 2023.

“We thank Cruise Critic for their award for Best Homeport 2019, this is a huge honor for the Port of Seattle,” said Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “We’ve worked hard each year to welcome cruise passengers to our wonderful city, and to provide as many opportunities to get them to stay a few extra days. With great public transportation options and our own Port Valet Program, we will continue to innovate and offer the best hospitality possible. It is especially gratifying to be recognized for our efforts to make our home port the most environmentally progressive in the nation.”

This year, the port is poised to serve more than 1.3 million passengers at its Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 and Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91, while hosting seven major cruise lines.

The port expects 225 cruise ship calls in 2020.

Oakland Hires New Attorney

By Karen Robes Meeks

Michele Heffes is the Port of Oakland’s new Port Attorney, the first woman to hold the title in the port’s 92-year history.

Heffes, a 31-year port veteran, takes over for Danny Wan, who became the Port’s Executive Director on Nov. 14. She started at the port in 1988 as an environmental scientist. In 1993, she became a Deputy Port Attorney, then served other roles in the Port Attorney’s Office, including Assistant Port Attorney.

“I’m honored to serve as the Port Attorney for the preeminent public institution in the Bay Area,” said Heffes. “I look forward to working with the Board and executive management team in fulfilling the Port’s strategic priorities in a socially responsible manner.”

Heffes earned her bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and her law degree from the University of San Francisco.

LTI Moves Homes for Vets

By Karen Robes Meeks

To assist the nonprofit Impossible Roads Foundation with a special Veterans Day project, LTI, Inc. employees drove from Seattle to Ferndale, Wash., to deliver 13 Matson-donated 40-foot high-cube containers that were transformed into homes for disabled veterans in Whatcom County.

Every tiny home created has been dubbed 'The Impossible Tiny Home' because “it is a small miracle that all of the materials, insight, design, labor, and personnel came together to build them,” said John Hope of the Impossible Roads Foundation.

"You guys truly are lifesavers," Hope wrote to LTI, Inc. "We do not know how we could build and provide these tiny homes to veterans without the kindness and generosity of you delivering them to us."

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Los Angeles to Team with Indonesian Port

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles and Indonesia Port Corporation (IPC) PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (Persero) will team up to share best practices related to infrastructure, operations and trade competitiveness.

Officials from both ports recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on issues ranging from the environment to technology that boosts supply chain efficiency.

“Increased global competitiveness, supply chain innovation and the more widespread use of sustainable operations technology can only happen if ports join forces in earnest to share ideas and expertise,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This agreement today is another example of the Port of Los Angeles’ commitment to further promote international cooperation and collaboration across the globe.”

“PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II is excited to establish more formal ties with Port of Los Angeles to collaborate closely in the years ahead,” said Elvyn Gani Masassya, President Director of PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (Persero). “From the environment to new technologies, business systems to infrastructure development, there is a great deal that we can learn from one another to improve operations and advance global trade, innovation and sustainability,” Masassya said.

Clean Truck Workshop Webcast

By Karen Robes Meeks

Want to hear more about the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach’s Clean Truck Program rate proposal but can’t physically attend the workshop on Dec. 18? You can catch it live online at

As part of the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update, a proposed 2020 rate structure on trucks handling containers to and from marine terminals is being considered in an effort to quicken the San Pedro Bay truck fleet’s conversion to cleaner trucks. Rebates may be possible for trucks that meet near-zero or zero-emissions.

The workshop, which will include a presentation on the proposed rate and related timeline, will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 18, in the Bob Foster Civic Chambers at Long Beach City Hall, 411 W. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, Calif.

For more information, visit

Washington Maritime Accelerator

By Karen Robes Meeks

Eleven startups have been chosen to take part in Washington state’s first maritime accelerator scheduled to launch next month, according to Washington Maritime Blue, the Port of Seattle, and WeWork Labs.

The 11 companies – of which more than 30 percent were founded by women and 70 percent are based in Washington state – are Beam Reach, Discovery Health, ecoSpears, eOceans, Equll, MER Equipment, Net Your Problem, oneTank, OneForNeptune, Pure Watercraft, and SPBES.

Over the next four months, the companies will be housed at WeWork Labs where they will receive intensive programming, as well as access to WeWork Labs’ global network of mentors and advisors. According to the press release, this first cohort also will receive “additional mentorship opportunities, drawing on Maritime Blue's coalition of industry experts, as well as ‘pilots with enterprises’ demonstration and sales opportunities, and vast connections to the global maritime industry.”

USCG Teams with University of Washington

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard will be formally collaborating with the University of Washington Tacoma to develop the next generation of Coast Guard leaders.

Officials from the agency and the university took part in a signing ceremony at William W. Philip Hall last week.

"The Coast Guard is excited to work with the University of Washington Tacoma to provide further opportunities for leadership, scholarships, and paths for public service,” said Rear Adm. Jack Vogt, commander of the 13th Coast Guard District. “Together we will work to teach, develop, and guide the future men and women who will lead our country, especially here in the Pacific Northwest and abroad, and further national safety and security."

One program, the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI), focuses on helping underrepresented students get a degree while at the same time allowing them to join the Coast. "The CSPI initiative at the University of Washington Tacoma is unique in that it allows the Coast Guard to recruit future leaders from our tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest, a population that has been underrepresented in the Coast Guard,” said Vogt.

For more, visit