Friday, February 14, 2020

Port of Long Beach Cargo Down in January

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach saw cargo movement fall 4.6 percent last month compared to January 2019 according to numbers released Wednesday. The port handled 626,829 TEUs, including 309,961 imported TEUs and 108,624 exported TEUs. When compared to the same period last year, imports were down 4.3 percent and exports fell 7.4 percent. Empty containers also dropped 3.7 percent to 208,244 TEUs.

“The new year is starting with a new set of challenges that are impacting importers and exporters, but we remain optimistic and expect to see modest growth in 2020,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are collaborating with our industry partners to focus on long-term growth, sustainability and the reliable movement of goods through the Port of Long Beach.”

The port is confident that it will grow cargo volume and market share by working together with industry stakeholders, said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal.

“We remain focused on our new bridge opening later this year, a $1 billion investment in rail projects over the next decade and other projects that will deliver cargo quickly and efficiently,” she said.

Imports and Exports Up at Port of Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland saw a 7.3 percent increase in loaded imports and handled 3.3 percent more loaded exports in January than it did a year ago, according to the latest figures released Tuesday.

After three consecutive months of decline, Oakland showed an increase in imports, while exports have been up for the fourth straight month. The port also posted a 17.7 percent decrease in empty containers year over year.

Port officials are crediting the increases in loaded imports and exports to strong domestic and Asia consumer demand, but the coronavirus could dampen trade growth.

“It’s possible,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “The uptick in January was encouraging but we’re hearing from shipping lines that cargo volume could moderate over the next few months.”

Port of Los Angeles Official Reappointed to State Commission

By Karen Robes Meeks

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently reappointed Port of Los Angeles General Counsel Janna Sidley to the “Little Hoover” Commission, whose purpose is to investigate state government operations and policy, and through reports and legislative proposals, make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to promote economy, efficiency and improved service in state operations.

Sidley, who oversees all litigation involving the Harbor Division of the City Attorney’s office, will continue to serve on the independent state oversight panel, which she has been a part of since 2016.

“It’s been an honor to serve on this prestigious panel for the last four years. This reappointment will allow me to continue working on initiatives that are improving and enhancing the effectiveness of government operations in California,” said Sidley. “I am grateful to Gov. Newsom for his confidence in me to continue in this role on the Commission.”

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Vessel Operator Pleads Guilty in Bilge Waste Discharge Matter

By Karen Robes Meeks

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Singapore) PTE LTD. (Bernhard), has pleaded guilty in federal court to keeping “false and incomplete records” about how bilge waste was discharged from the tank vessel Topaz Express. This is considered a felony violation.

The plea agreement calls for the company to serve a four-year probation, enact a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan that will apply to all of its 38 vessels that call on US ports, and pay a $1.75 million fine, the largest imposed by the District of Hawaii for this kind of offense.

“This case was built on the hard work of Coast Guard inspectors and investigators and we appreciate the strong partnership with the Department of Justice to hold polluters accountable,” said Capt. Arex Avanni, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “All vessel owners and operators are responsible for maintaining their vessels and preventing illegal discharges of oily wastes into the ocean. We are committed to the people of Hawaii to protect our waters and the Pacific Ocean from the damage caused by pollution from illegal dumping.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Cargo Volumes Dip at Port of Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles saw a 5.4 percent drop in cargo movement last month when compared to January 2019, according to new numbers released Thursday.

The port handled 806,144 TEUs, including 414,731 TEUs in imports, a 3.5 percent decrease from the same period last year. Following 14 straight months of declines due to tariffs on US products, exports rose 2.2 percent to 148,206 TEUs. Meanwhile, empty containers fell 12.4 percent to 243,207 TEUs.

“We anticipated that tariffs would continue to impact cargo volumes as we moved into 2020, and our January volumes reflect that ongoing trend,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The coronavirus, which prompted China’s Central Government to extend the Lunar New Year holiday, adds a new layer of uncertainty to global trade. The Port of Los Angeles is committed to ongoing collaboration with our customers and supply chain partners to innovate and adapt to new trade patterns.”

Port of Oakland Names New COO

By Karen Robes Meeks

Oakland International Airport Assistant Director of Aviation Kristi McKenney is the new Port of Oakland Chief Operating Officer, a newly created role.

McKenney, who came to the port in 1994 as an environmental planner before becoming assistant director of aviation in 2014, will now be tasked to oversee port operations, including engineering services, environmental programs and planning, utilities and IT, as well as ensuring the port is complying with board policies and government regulations.

“I’m grateful to the Board for establishing the COO position and pleased that Kristi is joining our executive team,” said Port Executive Director Danny Wan. “We’re developing an ambitious growth strategy for the port and she’ll be instrumental in advancing it.”

McKenney lives in Oakland, Calif. She has a bachelor of science degree in aeronautics from San Jose State University and a master of science degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

US Coast Guard Working on Vessel Aground in Hawaii

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and contractor personnel are teaming up to respond to the removal of potential pollutants that may stem from a 63-foot fishing vessel that ran aground on Monday on rocks northwest of Hilo Harbor, Hawaii.

There are two marine batteries as well as up to 1,800 gallons of diesel aboard the Midway Island, a US-flagged vessel that was grounded after traveling from Los Angeles, Calif. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the incident.

Meanwhile, a safety zone that extends 100-yards in all directions from the source has been established. The agency is asking the public to steer clear.

Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports to Consider Clean Truck Rate

By Karen Robes Meeks

A proposed Clean Truck Rate resolution will be considered by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor boards later this month. If approved, the proposed rate, which is said to help speed up the introduction of cleaner drayage trucks at the twin ports, could be collected as early as the latter half of 2020.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners will consider the Clean Truck Rate proposal at a meeting schedule for 9 a.m. on Feb. 20 at the Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro, Calif., 90731. The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners will decide on the Clean Truck Rate proposal on Feb. 24, The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Bob Foster Civic Chambers at Long Beach City Hall, 411 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, Calif., 90802.

Both meetings will be on livestream.