Friday, April 10, 2020

Port of Los Angeles Cargo Numbers Plummet

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles saw cargo volumes plunge 30.9 percent to 449,568 TEUs compared to the same period last year, its lowest amount of monthly cargo since February 2009, according to numbers released Wednesday.

Imports for March also dove 25.9 percent to 220,255 TEUs, exports fell 23.8 percent to 121,146 TEUs and empty containers tumbled 44.5 percent to 108,168 TEUs year over year.

For the first quarter of 2020, volumes have fallen 18.5 percent compared to 2019.

In a recent video update, Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said cargo volumes would be soft and that the port is operating at 80 percent of normal volume.

“We’ve had two serious shocks to our supply chain system. First the trade war between the US and China and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” Seroka said in the release Wednesday. “With US retailers and cargo owners scaling back orders, volumes are soft even though factories in China are beginning to produce more. Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain.”

COVID-19 Affects Port of Long Beach March Cargo Numbers

By Karen Robes Meeks

With growing coronavirus concerns prompting nearly two dozen canceled sailings in the first quarter of 2020, container volumes fell 6.4 percent in March at the Port of Long Beach, according to the figures released Tuesday.

Long Beach handled 517,663 TEUs, down 6.4 percent from March 2019, while imports dipped 5 percent to 234,570 TEUs and empty containers fell 21 percent to 137,652 TEUs.

Meanwhile, exports rose 10.7 percent to 145,442 TEUs when compare to the same period a year ago.

“The coronavirus is delivering a shock to the supply chain that continues to ripple across the national economy,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’re definitely seeing a reduction in the flow of cargo at San Pedro Bay, but the ports remain open and operating, and we are maintaining business continuity.”

While it continues to operate, the port is minimizing COVID-19 risk exposure with more frequent and intense cleaning efforts on the docks, port offices and other common areas.

“The health and well-being of our entire workforce, our stakeholders and our community remain a top priority as we balance our duty to keep goods moving through this vital link in the national supply chain,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal. “In the face of new challenges, the Port of Long Beach continues to adapt to the needs of our customers and consumers.”

Port of Seattle Temporarily Halts Construction Projects

By Karen Robes Meeks

In order to finish reviewing and updating jobsite safety plans to protect against COVID-19 spread, the Port of Seattle announced that it will temporarily stop approximately 20 construction projects from April 9 to April 13.

Northwest Seaport Alliance projects are not affected by the temporary pause, the port said. Contractors were required to turn in updated safety plans by March 27 to show how they would apply public health recommendations that minimize COVID-19 spread at their job sites.

According to the port, contractors have already enacted a number of health recommendations such as social distancing and more sanitization.

“Maintaining safety, health, and wellbeing is our top priority,” said Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck. “We need to work with our contractors so that they can establish effective safety plans and practices that can carry us forward for the next weeks and months. Our workers and the community will be better off now and in the long run if we pause now to get construction safety right.”

Port of Olympia Offers Tenants Relief

By Karen Robes Meeks

Effective immediately, the Port of Olympia is offering 90 days of relief to tenants affected by COVID-19, thanks to a recent decision by port commissioners to temporarily suspend issuing notices of default, late fees, and penalties for nonpayment of rents immediately.

The port originally published the resolution being in effect for 60 days but has since updated that number to 90 days for real estate leases and liveaboard moorage, or until the commission terminates or extends the time period.

Under the resolution, Swantown Marina vessel owners who use their vessel as their main home and have approved liveaboard status won’t have their vessels impounded and sold if they have been affected by COVID-19. They must provide self-certification that the health crisis has affected their ability to pay rent or moorage.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Port of Portland Continues to Operate

By Karen Robes Meeks

As vital infrastructure to the region, Port of Portland marine terminal facilities will stay open for operations while Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives Executive Order is in place.

The port’s marine terminals remain open and operational, as they continue to help move critical goods in and out of the region.

According to the port, “While the port has seen some declines in auto imports and exports, its bulk marine facilities—which handle grains, potash and soda ash—are experiencing normal export numbers.”

South Korea shipping company SM Line continues to call at Terminal 6 weekly, said the port.

Visit for updates.

Port of Oakland Lauds Dockworkers

By Karen Robes Meeks

Days before annual Western Hemisphere Ports Day, Port of Oakland dockworkers were honored by the port for their dedication to the movement of goods amid the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Ports including Oakland have been declared essential infrastructure and must keep operating for the public good and the future of trade,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “That couldn’t happen without the waterfront work force that keeps cargo moving. Dockworkers, truckers, all of those on the front line of the supply chain have earned our sincerest gratitude.”

While a shelter-in-place order is in effect in Alameda County, the port continues to operate to keep vital goods flowing, with some adjustments. For example, marine terminals have reduced operating hours to do preventative cleaning. Meanwhile, “vessel schedules have stabilized after shipping lines cut 20 voyages to Oakland between February and April,” the port said.

Cruise Ship Cleared to Dock at Port of San Diego

By Karen Robes Meeks

The cruise ship, Celebrity Eclipse, was able to dock at the Port of San Diego’s B Street terminal last week after precautionary measures were enacted to curb COVID-19 risk exposure.

Before disembarking roughly 2,300 passengers over a two-day period, the port and agency partners made sure passengers and crew completed a CDC COVID-19 survey prior to arrival. Ship staff also conducted temperature monitoring and isolated anyone with symptoms. The cruise ship terminal was cleaned and disinfected and extra hand washing stations were made available.

The decision for the cruise ship to come into port was not taken lightly and involved the US Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control, Customs & Border Protection, the California Office of Emergency Services and San Diego County Health and Human Services. According to the port, the Eclipse is the last ship currently scheduled to disembark in San Diego.

The ship is expected to return to San Diego, this week, with only crewmembers onboard after disembarking the remaining 200 passengers to Acapulco, Mexico, as these passengers didn’t have appropriate documentation to enter the US. The crew will remain on board.

“The public may see cruise ships lay berthing (to dock without passengers) or anchoring in and around San Diego Bay until at least mid-April,” the port announced. “Per the cruise lines, crew members still under contract must remain on the ships.”

Cruise ships that are or will be anchored or berthed without passengers in and around San Diego Bay include Regent Seven Seas Splendor, which is set to remain at Broadway Pier until April 11; Disney Wonder, which is docked at the B Street cruise terminal until April 19; and Celebrity Millennium, which docked at B Street Pier on April 2 for supplies.

Visit for additional information.

Hawaii’s Harbors Division Gets Affirmation for Revenue Bonds

By Karen Robes Meeks

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division’s ‘AA-’ rating for harbor revenue bonds Series 2010 A and 2010 B.

Fitch did a portfolio-wide review of North American standalone port credits after the COVID-19 outbreak prompted changes in the market and its bond ratings affirmation is a reflection of HDOT’s financial management and steady cargo movement.

“Fitch Ratings review affirms the State’s role in providing public confidence on the continued shipment of goods through our ports.” said Transportation Deputy Director for Harbors Derek Chow. “The Hawaii shipping industry continues to meet the needs of the people of Hawaii during the COVID-19 outbreak and Harbors Division staff continue to report to work to perform their essential functions to support the movement of goods into Hawaii and maintaining essential functions.”

The Harbors Division adopted a cash flow model to fund large capacity Harbors Modernization projects such as the first phase of Kapalama Container Terminal, said Transportation Director Jade Butay.

“The Harbors Division will continue using pay as we go funding for projects in an effort to minimize selling bonds and will incur debt as needed for modernization projects that improve efficiency of cargo movement throughout the islands,” Butay said.