Friday, April 3, 2020

Charleston Ice Plant’s Rebuild in Oregon Continues

By Karen Robes Meeks

Work continues on the rebuilding of the Charleston Ice Plant, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay announced this week.

A December fire devastated the plant, and repairs include replacing piles and decking at the dock head, and installing new ice making equipment. About 13 of the 49 new piles have been placed, with more piling being delivered on a barge as early as April 7, the port said.

The plant makes commercial grade flake ice that is vital for many fisheries that need their catch chilled until it reaches the market. The commercial fishing industry is a significant economic sector in southwestern Oregon. “The Ice Plant is one of the few public commercial flake ice facilities on the Oregon coast, making restoration of its services all the more critical,” the port said.

Port of Los Angeles Chief Talks Cargo, Medical Supply Needs

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a video message update Thursday, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka reiterated that all terminals at the port remain open and are operating at 80 percent of normal volume.

“The difference being is that China's manufacturing community is not quite up to full capacity yet,” Seroka said. “We had two shocks to our supply chain system –first the trade war between the US and China and now the COVID-19 pandemic. With US retail and cargo owners scaling back on orders, we may not see an April increase in cargo, even though factories in China are beginning a modest uptick in volume.”

Seroka noted that “Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain. That said, we are operating continuously and efficiently and ready to meet the needs of our regional and national economies.”

Part of that effort is balancing out the supply chain, he said, adding that a 23,000 TEU vessel recently arrived at the port – the biggest to call at a port in the Western Hemisphere – to help take away export cargo and empty containers to make way for more imports.

Seroka also spoke about taking on an additional role in the fight against COVID-19. This week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti asked Seroka to be the city’s Chief Logistics Officer in charge of coordinating vital medical and health supplies to healthcare professionals.

“Through the city-led initiative called Logistics Victory Los Angeles, or LOVLA, we will work with major hospitals in the greater LA area to help source and procure critical medical supplies needed to fight this pandemic,” he said.

He asked the public’s help in this endeavor.

“There is a critical need in Southern California for N95 masks, other masks, ventilators that are both intrusive and non-intrusive, IV-drip apparatus and other medical supplies,” said Seroka. “We are trying to move these supplies quickly to hospitals and health care providers. If you can offer these supplies, please email”

Port of Long Beach Helps to Expedite Vital Health Equipment

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach is teaming up with stakeholders and the medical suppliers to help fast-track the shipments of medical gowns, gloves and other essential health equipment made in Asia that are key to battling the COVID-19 crisis.

The vital goods are being guided through several Long Beach marine terminals and placed in special staging areas for truckers to quickly deliver to regional distribution centers.

“It’s encouraging that in these challenging times, when port staff members reached out to our stakeholders about expediting medical supply shipments, they found a great deal of willingness to quickly band together and ensure rapid and early delivery,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. The port Business Development team has been coordinating with Ohio-based Cardinal Health to bring these goods to Long Beach.

“It’s great to see this come together as we all move quickly to prioritize getting products where they are needed in this uncertain time,” said Patrick Halloran, director of Global Trade Logistics for Cardinal Health.

Port of Olympia Helps Port Tenants Affected by COVID-19

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Olympia tenants affected by COVID-19 got some relief this week when port commissioners agreed to temporarily suspend issuing notices of default, late fees, and penalties for nonpayment of rents effective immediately.

The resolution ensures that Swantown Marina vessel owners who consider their vessel their main home and approved live-aboard status won’t have their vessels impounded and sold if they’ve been affected by the health crisis.

Those seeking suspensions or deferrals must furnish self-certification that Covid-19 has affected their ability to pay rent or moorage, the port said.

Qualified tenants and live-aboards won’t be charged interest and/or lease reinstatement fees.

The resolution will be in effect for 60 days and can be dissolved or extended by the commission.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Foss Maritime Tugs Escorts USNS Mercy

By Karen Robes Meeks

Foss Maritime’s tugboats Alta June, Bo Brusco, and Arthur Foss as well Foss company AMNAV’s Patricia Ann, met and guided the USNS Mercy into Berth 93 at the Port of Los Angeles.

“Foss is proud and honored to assist this important vessel into port,” said Paul Hendriks, general manager of the Foss Southern California Office. “Leading the way were Captains John Strunk, Ryan San Jose, Stan Sato and Drew Kerlee (AMNAV), who have a combined 85 years of experience providing safe operations in the harbor.”

The 1,000-bed USNS Mercy arrived Friday morning to take on non COVID-19 patients and relieve hospitals dealing with the fast-spreading coronavirus.

“While we are happy to see the USNS Mercy docked at the port ready to serve, we hope her stay is a short one, which would indicate that the medical crisis is subsiding and the shoreside medical community can care for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus” said Hendriks. “The medical assistance the USNS Mercy has provided to impoverished communities around the world for the past 45 years has been nothing but life changing for the tens of thousands of patients they’ve treated. She is truly a beacon of hope.”

Parts of Seattle’s Terminal 46 to Support Field Hospital

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has made portions of Terminal 46 open for trailers, container equipment and storage to help the US Army’s Field Hospital 10, which is being established at Century Link Exhibition Center.

The temporary field hospital will serve patients not affected by COVID-19 to help area hospitals respond to the health crisis.

“The NWSA’s approved licensee to operate cargo operations at T-46, Foss Maritime, is uniquely situated and qualified to work with military, hospital, health, and other stakeholders to provide the necessary services as requested,” said Commissioners John McCarthy and Peter Steinbrueck, Port commission presidents and co-chairs of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “We greatly value the opportunity to work with all entities to protect the health and safety of our region during this time of crisis. The temporary hospital facilities will be for non COVID patients."

Kenneth Duncan Joins Port of Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

Maersk executive Kenneth W. Duncan is the new director of commercial operations for the Port of Long Beach. Duncan will take over for Noel Hacegaba, who was promoted to Deputy Executive Director of Administration and Operations in 2017.

Duncan’s oversight will encompass the port’s Business Development, Tenant Services and Operations, and Security Services divisions.

Prior to coming to the port, Duncan served as vice president of lifestyle and apparel sales for North America at A.P. Moller-Maersk, where he oversaw an accounts portfolio with an annual revenue of more than $2 billion, according to the port. He spent 13 years at Maersk Line in various roles.

Duncan earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in global logistics from Cal State Long Beach and a master’s of business administration from the University of Southern California.

“Ken has vast experience and insight into the complex global supply chain,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “He’s worked everywhere from the executive suite, to global and regional sales, right down to the terminals where equipment is dispatched to move goods to stores. His skills will be valuable to us as we continue to improve our infrastructure and strengthen what is already the best customer service in the Americas.” He is expected to start in the new role on April 27.

Port of Port Townsend Hires New Operations Manager

By Karen Robes Meeks

Terry Khile has been named the Port of Port Townsend’s new operations manager, replacing business manager T.J. Quandt, who left earlier this year to work for the Port of Olympia.

In the newly created role, Khile will be tasked with overseeing all port facility operations, including three marinas, upland shipyard and the Jefferson County International Airport, as well as 17 port employees.

“This is a great move for the port and for Terry,” said Executive Director Jim Pivarnik. “Terry knows the operations of the port forwards and backwards. He’s held just about every job here over his almost 32 years at the port.”

Khile is a Port Townsend native who attended the local high school and grew up around his father’s boat building business. His first job at the port was in his early 20s checking the docks before being a laborer in the shipyard. He worked as the port’s environmental compliance officer, assistant harbormaster, and hoist and yard manager.