Friday, January 24, 2020

California Independent Truckers Get Brief Reprieve from AB-5

By Karen Robes Meeks

California’s independent truckers scored a win last week when US Southern District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez granted a preliminary injunction to halt the state’s enforcement of a new employment classification test against motor carriers until a final judgment is rendered, the California Trucking Association (CTA) announced.

“This ruling is a significant win for California’s more than 70,000 independent owner-operators and CTA members who have worked as independent truckers for decades, and who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to own their own vehicle and comply with California’s strict environmental guidelines and regulations over the years,” said CTA CEO Shawn Yadon.

The association filed the preliminary injunction motion as part of its lawsuit challenging Assembly Bill 5, which was to take effect Jan. 1.

In his 23-page Jan. 16 decision, Benitez said “There is little question that the state of California has encroached on Congress’ territory by eliminating motor carriers’ choice to use independent contractor drivers, a choice at the very heart of interstate trucking. In so doing, California disregards Congress’ intent to deregulate interstate trucking, instead adopting a law that produces the patchwork of state regulations Congress sought to prevent. With AB-5, California runs off the road and into the preemption ditch of the FAAAA (Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994).”

For more on the decision, visit

Port of Los Angeles Director Appointed to State Workforce Board

By Karen Robes Meeks

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Port of Los Angeles Director of Labor Relations and Workforce Development Avin Sharma to the California Workforce Development Board, which advises the governor in workforce development-related policies.

“Avin brings a wealth of experience in building high road training partnership among management and labor that will be a huge asset to the Board’s work and mission,” said Tim Rainey, Executive Director of the California Workforce Development Board. “We’re honored to have him join the Board and represent the Port of Los Angeles.”

Before coming to the port in 2017, Sharma served in the Obama Administration as White House liaison and counselor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor, economics director for the presidential personnel office at the White House and special assistant to the chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission at the U.S. Department of Justice.

“I’m extremely honored to be appointed to this prestigious board, which has done so much to advance the workforce needs of California,” said Sharma. “I plan to make the most of this opportunity to help prepare and ready our state’s workforce for success in the decades ahead.”

Port of Everett Seeks Input on Crane Lighting Demo

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett would like the community to participate in a crane lighting demonstration happening from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5 at the seaport.

The port is gathering feedback on a pair of Federal Aviation Administration airspace navigation compliance options it is considering related to the installation of container cranes acquired for South Terminal.

The FAA requires that any structure taller than 200 feet located within applicable flight zones must be marked or illuminated per FAA Obstruction Marking and Lighting Requirements.

The South Terminal cranes are 215 feet tall, and the port is near the flight paths for both Naval Station Everett and Providence Hospital. As such the port is considering the following options:

• Keep the cranes as they are and mark the parts that exceed 200 feet with the current white and orange hash markings, or

• Paint the cranes to match the port’s shorter, 197-foot tall cranes at Pacific Terminal, and install red and white pulsating lights, to be continuously lit, on the portion that exceed 200 feet.

To find out more information and to weigh in go to

Port of Hueneme Has a New Board President

By Karen Robes Meeks

Jess Ramirez will serve the next year as president of the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Oxnard Harbor District, which governs the Port of Hueneme.

Ramirez takes over for Commissioner Jess Herrera, who was honored with a commemorative gavel for his 2019 service as board president. First elected to the board in 1992, Ramirez has served as president five times. Before retiring last year, he worked as a longshoreman for 51 years.

“The Port of Hueneme is the Greenest Port in America,” he said. “During my tenure as Port President, I want to build on this accomplishment and usher in policies that support our economic vibrancy while moving the Port towards carbon neutrality. I am especially excited about an urban tree project that is currently in the idea stage but can grow to become a model for ports around the globe.”

Jason Hodge will serve as Vice President and Mary Anne Rooney as Secretary.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Port of Los Angeles Chief Announces Plans, New Cargo Numbers at State of the Port

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles handled more than 9.3 million TEUs last year, nearly beating a cargo record, Executive Director Gene Seroka announced at last week’s annual State of the Port.

“In the face of lagging exports due to international trade tensions and tariff uncertainties, the Port of Los Angeles has maintained strong momentum and kept cargo flowing,” Seroka said. “This feat was only possible because of the extensive cooperation and continued efficiency improvements by our terminal operators, supply chain partners and longshore workforce.”

At the event hosted by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Seroka also spoke of plans to kick off the Port’s new Labor Collaborative, a targeted workforce development effort to address port-related work and training needs, as well as the nation’s first Terminal Efficiency Incentive Program that aligns with the port’s new truck reservation system and rewards improved truck turn times.

“It’s time for the courage and long-range vision to imagine what this port will look like in the years ahead and set a course in that direction,” Seroka said. “It’s going to take collaboration to keep cargo volumes strong and our Port community thriving in the midst of increasing competition, an uncertain trade environment and a world where technology is essential to success.”

Port of Vancouver USA Creates New Community Fund Program

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA has developed a new community fund program to support projects that promote trade, tourism and jobs in the region.

The port has set aside $5,000 for the first year of the program, which will be used to fund projects and programs within the port district.

“Over the years, the port has received requests from school groups and others to help with educational and development programs, but we have never had a mechanism to provide assistance,” said port Chief External Affairs Officer Ryan Hart. “We hope this new program will allow some very deserving projects in our community to move forward and we’re excited to see what kind of applications we receive.” Visit for more information on the program and to download application form. Application must be submitted by Feb. 7. The port is expected to name award recipients by Feb. 28.

Port of San Diego Swears in 2020 Executive Officers

By Karen Robes Meeks

Ann Moore has been sworn in as Chair of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, with Michael Zucchet as Vice Chair and Dan Malcolm as Secretary.

Moore said her theme for this year is “Port of the Future” and added that the focus will be advancing the Port Master Plan Update and continuing the transformation of the Chula Vista Bayfront.

“I’m inspired by ports around the world that continue to reinvest in their waterfronts to keep them new and fresh to meet changing public needs,” Moore said. “Seattle comes to mind with its Pike Place Market and plans for a waterfront aquarium. Sydney is another premier example with its iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The best waterfronts don’t remain the same and that’s how I see the Port of San Diego’s role for San Diego Bay – planning for the future while also being flexible so we can continue to evolve.

Empties Led to Dip in 2019 Cargo Volume at Port of Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland moved 1.8 percent fewer containers in 2019 handling 2.5 million TEUs last year compared to 2.55 million TEUs the year before, according to latest numbers released Friday.

A 13 percent decrease in empty containers is part of the reason for the lower overall number. Still, the port posted record import and export numbers.

According to the port, exports rose by 3.7 percent – thanks to new markets demand for US agricultural goods – and imports by 1 percent in 2019, resulting in 1.9 million loaded TEUs, breaking the 2018 record of 1.86 million TEUs.

“We’re encouraged that our loaded imports and exports set annual records,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We are looking to improve on this cargo performance in the coming year, especially if the US and China can continue to break down trade barriers.”

Friday, January 17, 2020

SM Line Arrives at Port of Portland

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, SM Line made its first vessel call to the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6. The arrival of the 4,360-TEU Qingdao, marked the start of weekly container shipping service for the company at the Oregon seaport.

The inaugural call – which departed the Port of Ningbo in China on Dec. 22 as part of the South Korea-based container carrier’s Pacific Northwest Service – included nearly 200 containers being imported, more than 70 export containers going to Korea, and 330 empty containers. The company’s service route includes stops in Shanghai, Pusan, Vancouver, BC and Seattle, Wash, the port said.

“We are excited to welcome SM Line’s maiden voyage to Portland,” said Port Executive Director Curtis Robinhold. “Their weekly container service provides an important option for regional shippers and will better connect Oregon businesses to global markets. It is such an encouraging sign to see Terminal 6 busy and productive.”

Oregon Ports Partner on Dredging Efforts

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and the Port of Siuslaw have teamed up to finish dredging at the Port of Siuslaw inner boat basin, which accumulated so much debris that some slips were unusable, according to the port. The project – the culmination of a year of planning between Business Oregon and both ports – calls for the removal of roughly 12,000 cubic yards of sediment from the marina.

“Dredging is of dire importance to Oregon’s public ports as drivers of economic development,” says David Huntington, Port of Siuslaw manager. “This is a project that benefits our marina customers, the waterfront environment, and our entire community.”

“As the stewards of the state dredge, it is important to us to ensure safe navigation throughout Oregon coast,” said Charleston Marina Harbormaster Brandon Collura.

According to the port, the Port of Siuslaw Marina project will be the fourth successful dredging project since the Port of Coos Bay assumed maintenance and operational responsibilities in 2016

Port of Seattle Commission Elects its Officers for 2020

By Karen Robes Meeks

Peter Steinbrueck will lead the Port of Seattle Commission for 2020 as its elected President. Commissioner Fred Felleman will serve as Vice-President and newly elected Commissioner Sam Cho will be Secretary.

“The Port of Seattle has a critical mission to foster economic development and living-wage jobs, as we advance social equity and environmental stewardship for the region and state,” said Steinbrueck. “I’m grateful for the support and confidence of my commission colleagues, and for Commissioner Stephanie Bowman’s effective leadership as president last year. Those priorities will shape our work on new waterfront facilities in Elliott Bay and bring improvements to Sea-Tac Airport.”

Port of San Diego Appoints Interim Port Auditor

By Karen Robes Meeks

Former Assistant Port Auditor Mark Yeilding has been appointed as the Port of San Diego’s Acting Port Auditor. Yeilding, who started in his new role earlier this month, takes over for the retiring Robert “Bob” Monson.

Yeilding, who came to the port in 2014 as an auditor, became Assistant Port Auditor in 2018. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from USC and is a Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Government Auditing Professional.

“Mark has done a superior job in his role as Assistant Port Auditor and has demonstrated that he has the ability to lead the Port Auditor’s Office to be a regional model that will enhance the public’s understanding and trust in the port,” said Port Commission Board Chair Ann Moore. “We are grateful to have him lead the Auditor’s Office during this transition and are confident he will serve the port well in his new capacity.”

Meanwhile, the port said it is searching nationwide to fill the post and is expected to choose someone for the permanent position by the end of this month.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Port of Long Beach to Host State of the Port

By Karen Robes Meeks

Long Beach Board of Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal and Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero will speak at the annual State of the Port address on Jan. 22.

The two leaders will review the port’s accomplishments of the past year and discuss the prospects for 2020.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom, located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, Calif. Free parking can be accessed from Pine Avenue. Lunch and the program will start at noon.

To RSVP, contact Kimberly Sides at (562) 283-7710. The port also plans to broadcast the event live via webcast at starting at 12:25 p.m.

CBP 2020 Trade Symposium to Discuss USMCA, E-Commerce

By Karen Robes Meeks

International trade organizations, interagency collaboration, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are expected to be discussed at the upcoming US Customs and Border Protection’s 2020 Trade Symposium in Anaheim, Calif.

The event will also address topics such as forced labor, e-commerce (specifically Entry Type 86, 321 Data Pilot), the latest on implementing the CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria, the future state of In-bound and Export capabilities, as well as ACE, the Blockchain proof of concept and emerging technologies.

The event will take place on March 10-11 at the Anaheim Hilton in Anaheim, Calif. To register, visit

USCG Honors Fallen Coast Guardsmen, Mariners in Washington

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard on Saturday paid tribute to deceased Coast Guardsmen and mariners with a morning memorial service at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Ilwaco, Wash.

The event, which included words from former shipmates, land and sea wreath ceremonies and the ringing of the bell after each name was read, honored those who lost their lives to help others in trouble along Oregon and Washington coastal waters.

Among those recognized were four Coast Guardsmen aboard Motor Life Boat 36384 who died on Feb. 5, 1946, while searching for two crab boats near Ocean City, Wash., and three Coast Guardsmen aboard Motor Life Boat 44363 who died on Feb. 12, 1997, trying to save two crewmembers aboard the 31-foot sailing vessel Gale Runner near the Quillayute River Bar.

"Memorials provide an important link to the past, and it is important to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice," said Capt. Jeremy Smith, commander, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. "These memorials allow us to remember the bravery and courage of those who have come before us, while also reminding us of the risks and dangers of our chosen profession."

Port of Everett Signs MOUs with Neighboring Cities

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett recently celebrated its new partnership with the cities of Arlington and Marysville with the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that pave the way for the Cascade Industrial Center (CIC) to generate more jobs and bolster the region economically.

The MOUs allow the port to leverage its resources and expertise in various areas such as financing, grants, planning and environmental support and regulatory strategy to help the center. The CIC area offers more than 1,700 acres of buildable manufacturing and industrial opportunity close to vital transportation arteries such as I-5, the port, BNSF rail and the Arlington Municipal Airport.

As part of the celebration, the City of Arlington and Arlington Public Schools also launched the new Arlington Career Internships Program for local high school juniors and seniors.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Port of Vancouver USA Launches New Project Website

By Karen Robes Meeks

Stakeholders looking for progress reports on the Port of Vancouver USA’s Terminal 1 project can now visit the new dedicated website,, to find out the latest information.

The site presents background information and status updates and offers details about the terminal’s history, funding sources, key partners and upcoming events.

“We’ve made a lot of headway on Terminal 1 in the past year,” said Jonathan Eder, executive project sponsor. “The AC Hotel by Marriot broke ground, the Vancouver Landing amphitheater planning is complete, and the design has been released for the northern portion of the site. We’re excited to have the website available for the public and our partners to track the project’s ongoing progress.”

Port of Redwood Unveils Long-Term Strategy

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Port of Redwood City Board of Port Commissioners approved a long-term plan to positively bolster the port’s economic and quality-of-life impact to the region.

The 2020 vision consisting of 45 recommendations aims to optimize the land use, enhance infrastructure and operations, protect the environment and strive to expand the maritime and commercial business opportunities at the widely-known dry bulk port. According to the port, the vision also includes diversification opportunities for RO/RO and project cargo.

The three-level vision was developed to guide the port for the next 25 years, starting with short-term plans through 2026.

Recommendations include more public waterfront access as well as commercial and recreational uses for the shoreline, a public or private ferry service to South San Francisco Bay and the development of “cargo velocity standards” to make cargo movement more efficient.

“This comprehensive vision has been a year in the making, and carefully balances economic, environmental and community interests to maximize the value of the Port to the region,” said Port Executive Director Kristine A. Zortman.

For more information, visit

San Pedro Bay Ports to Host Clean Air Workshop

By Karen Robes Meeks

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will host the first stakeholder advisory group meeting of the year on Jan. 15.

The meeting will address the latest information on the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan 2017 Update and focus on gathering input on the recently released Draft Economic Rate Study and the potential Clean Truck Rate.

The public meeting will take place 10 a.m. to noon at the Harbor Administration Building located at 425 Palos Verdes St., San Pedro, Calif., 90731. It will also be webcast live.

For more details, visit

Port of Olympia Welcomes New Senior Harbor Manager

By Karen Robes Meeks

Timothy J. (TJ) Quandt is the Port of Olympia’s new senior harbor manager.

Quandt comes to the port with strong maritime, business operations, and customer service experience. In his previous role at the Port of Port Townsend business manager, Quandt oversaw three marinas, a boatyard, a recreational vehicle park, and a fuel dock. He previously worked as an assistant harbormaster, hoist operator and commercial fisherman.

"The port received many excellent applications for this position, and while the competition was close, we found TJ to be the best fit for the Port of Olympia,” said Executive Director Sam Gibboney. “We are looking forward to having TJ on the port’s leadership team and working with him to move Swantown Marina & Boatworks into the future under his leadership.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

New Brusco Tug

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Hueneme recently acknowledged the arrival of Brusco Tug & Barge, Inc.’s new environmentally friendly tug, the Teresa Brusco.

The new vessel – which has a Tier 3 engine and 61-ton bollard pull capability – replaces the Lulapin. It represents a nearly $10 million capital investment by the company. The cleaner tug will mean lower vessel emissions, including an 80 percent decrease in NOx.

“This significant upgrade to Brusco’s fleet keeps with the Port’s commitment to environment – as the Greenest US Port and Green Marine-certified (a third party environmental verification program), we take the health of our water, air and community very seriously,” says Port Director and CEO Kristin Decas. “We value the fact that Brusco is investing in our Port’s green future.”

New Vancouver USA Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Jack Burkman is the newest Port of Vancouver USA commissioner. He represents District 3. He was sworn in Dec. 30 at the port’s Administrative Office, as he began a five-year term.

Over the last 30 years, Burkman has served the Clark County community as a three-term Vancouver City Councilmember and a 10-year Clark College Trustee. He is also involved in several boards, including the Regional Transportation Council, C-Tran, Portland Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, Fort Vancouver Regional Library, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the YWCA Clark County.

According to the port, Burkman is in favor of developing more family wage jobs in Southwest Washington, making freight mobility more efficient, and creating a skilled workforce in the Greater Vancouver community. He also supports “continued transparency, community involvement, and fiscal responsibility at the port.”

New Camas-Washougal Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Camas-Washougal recently welcomed its newest port commissioner.

According to the port, Cassi Marshall is a Clark County native who graduated from Prairie High School in Vancouver, Wash., and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in aero/astro-engineering from M.I.T. in Cambridge, Mass.

Marshall worked as a structural dynamics engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California before relocating to Camas. She spent the next 17 years, working as a student coordinator and executive assistant for the Washougal School District.

She currently operates a business with her husband that uses her planning and resource management expertise.

Marshall is an active member of the community, including her involvement with the Camas Parks Commission.

New Leader for Bellingham Commission

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Bellingham Commissioner Michael Shepard will lead the commission for the coming year.

Shepard was chosen by his peers to become president, while Commissioner Bobby Briscoe will take on the role of Vice President and Ken Bell that of Secretary.

This year, commissioners will represent the port on the following local boards:

• Whatcom Council of Governments: Bobby Briscoe
• Washington Public Ports Association: Michael Shepard
• Whatcom County Economic Development Investment Program Committee: Ken Bell
• Western Crossing (Shared Port and Western Washington University Development Entity): Ken Bell

Regular Port Commission meetings will now take place at 4 p.m. in the Harbor Center Conference Room located at 1801 Roeder Avenue in Bellingham, Wash., unless otherwise specified.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Everett Wins Marina of the Year

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Everett Marina was recently named the 2019 Marina of the Year in the large marina category (250+ slips) by Marina Dock Age magazine. The announcement was made during The Docks Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

The Port of Everett Marina – the largest publicly run marina on the West Coast – was one of more than 20 US facilities considered for the award.

The facilities are scored based on several factors, including business operations, facility improvements, advertising and marketing, environmental responsibility and community involvement. “Recent in-water and upland developments, quality customer service, high environmental standards, community and industry engagement and unique special events were among the attributes bringing Port of Everett’s ranking to the top,” according to the release.

“The Port of Everett is so much more than its 2,300 slips, which is an incredible amount of boaters to serve,” Marina Dock Age Editor Anna Townshend said. “Beyond all those vessels and the boatyard, it’s a local public treasure for anyone that wants to enjoy the waterfront. Not many marinas may be as big as the Port of Everett, but everyone can take away something from its amazing operation.”

USCG Seeking Portland Bridge Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard is asking the public to weigh in on any navigation issues related to the proposed Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project in Portland, Ore.

The new seismic-friendly bridge would replace the current Burnside Highway Bridge on the Willamette River, at river mile 12.4, in Multnomah County.

The public has until Jan. 17 to submit input on “the proposed bridge’s ability to meet the reasonable needs of navigation.” Multnomah County has created a navigation impact report for the project. That data will factor into the Coast Guard’s preliminary navigation determination.

Submissions may be sent to Commander (dpw), Thirteenth Coast Guard District, 915 2nd Ave, Rm 3510, Seattle, Wash., or via email at or by calling 206-220-7282.

For more information, visit

Long Beach Bridge Tours

By Karen Robes Meeks

Want a closer look at the new $1.47 billion span that will replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, Calif.? The port is offering its popular construction site tours and has opened free registrations for two new opportunities set for Jan. 16 and Feb. 20. Visits will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Visitors will be bused to two locations on or close to the construction area to view and photograph the project from a variety of different angles.

Upon completion, the new bridge will feature six traffic lanes, a taller clearance for large cargo vessels to pass through and a bike and pedestrian path.

For more information on the project, go to

To reserve your place on one of the tours visit

Lynden Observes Red Dog Mine Anniversary

By Karen Robes Meeks

NANA/Lynden Logistics, LLC recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its bid to take over the onsite trucking services for Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue, Alaska.

During that time, the 50 drivers and mechanics that make up the core of the team have moved more than “57 billion pounds of zinc and lead concentrates, 320 million gallons of fuel and 1 million tons of freight between the Red Dog Mine and port site 52 miles away,” according to the company.

"When we took over in 1999, we inherited tractors and trailers from the prior contractor and immediately saw an opportunity to improve the equipment to a more stable, environmentally safe and productive design," said General Manager Mark Tatlow. "We switched from a 9-axle tractor trailer set with a dolly to an 11-axle trailer set with the rear trailer connected directly to the lead trailer. This allowed us to increase our payload from 170,000 pounds to 280,000 pounds. We eliminated the dolly and pintle hitch between the two trailers, so they are connected by a single connection point for increased stability. We also added a solid lid to the trailers and eliminated the side dump doors to reduce dust escaping during transport."

"We are proud of our partnership with NANA and the shareholder and non-shareholder drivers and mechanics at the mine,” Tatlow said. “Each day they safely and professionally operate specialized equipment in the harsh Arctic environment and have contributed to the dramatic improvements we have seen over the past two decades.”