Friday, May 8, 2020

Port of Los Angeles April Cargo Numbers Released

By Karen Robes Meeks

April cargo numbers at the Port of Los Angeles improved 53 percent from March, but were down nearly 7 percent from the same time last year, according to new numbers released Wednesday.

Los Angeles saw 688,999 TEUs flow through its seaport, which is currently operating at about 80 percent of normal capacity. That’s down about 6.45 percent from April 2019.

Imports for April rose 2.6 percent to 370,111 TEUs, while exports fell 16.2 percent to 130,321 TEUs and empty containers were down 14.4 percent to 188,567 TEUs when compared to April 2019.

“Given the unique circumstances of a trade war and pandemic, April volumes are better than expected,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “As we move deeper into the remainder of the second quarter, we’re forecasting significantly lower volumes, particularly on the import side. There are at least 28 voided vessel sailings. Retailer orders are soft as consumer purchasing and confidence has dropped precipitously.”

Port of Oakland Sees New Vessel Service

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Port of Oakland announced a new vessel service that will provide a direct link between Oakland and the Middle East for the first time.

Japan’s ONE line has started operating Far East-Pacific 2, a new weekly service with 18 mega vessels connecting Oakland to Asia and Saudi Arabia.

The ONE Aquila, the first vessel under this new service, was expected to be in Oakland this week at Oakland International Container Terminal.

“Naturally we’re encouraged by this development,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “The size of the ships means extra cargo capacity coming to Oakland and the Port rotation extends Oakland’s reach in global markets.”

The Far East-Pacific 2 service encompasses nine ports in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, the US and Saudi Arabia.

Matson Releases First Quarter Earnings

By Karen Robes Meeks

Honolulu-based Matson, Inc. posted a net income of $3.8 million for the quarter ending on March 31 and a consolidated revenue of $513.9 million, the company announced this week.

That’s compared to the same time last year, when it reported a net income of $12.5 million and a consolidated revenue of $532.4 million for the first quarter 2019.

Matson’s Chairman and CEO Matt Cox said that Matson's businesses performed well in the first quarter, but this was prior to seeing most of the impacts from the evolving COVID-19 situation. “Our China service returned to normal volume levels in March, slightly ahead of our expectation, and we saw relatively steady volume in our Hawaii, Alaska and Guam tradelanes as consumers bought essential goods and home food,” he said. “But we also faced challenges at SSAT and in our Logistics business segment due to the COVID-19 situation."

Cox also said that Matson’s Hawaii, Guam and Alaska tradelanes are facing dramatically reduced tourism, and “each of our business lines is faced with an economic backdrop of increasing uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Regardless, we remain focused on safeguarding the health and safety of our employees and maintaining our best-in-class vessel on-time performance to provide a high-quality service to our customers and the communities that count on us during this difficult time,” he said. “We are also focused on ensuring Matson has adequate financial liquidity, and our most recent debt agreement amendments provide the necessary headroom for us to manage through the economic downturn."

Port of Vancouver USA Receives Major Wind Turbine Blade Shipment

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Vancouver USA recently received its biggest wind turbine blade shipment so far with the delivery of 27 blades and other parts for a Canadian wind project that’s expected to open in 2021.

Turbine manufacturer Goldwind and the wind project owner Potentia Renewables teamed up on the delivery effort. The components and blades are expected to be taken to laydown space at Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 before being moved by Totran Transportation Services over 21 weeks to Saskatchewan, Canada.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic the port continues to operate to keep the supply chain and commodities moving,” said Port CEO Julianna Marler. “The port has proven our unique ability to handle these types of large projects. Customers know our heavy lift mobile cranes, acres of laydown space, highly-skilled workforce, and dedication to renewable energy make the Port of Vancouver the perfect port for receiving wind energy components.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

New Foss Tug Arrives in Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks

This past weekend, Long Beach welcomed Foss Maritime’s new ASD-90 tug, The Jaime Ann.

The new tug, which will be homeported in Long Beach, is the first of four ASD-90s built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for the Saltchuk family of companies and strong enough to guide the biggest tankers and container vessels on the West Coast. The new tug features 6,866 horsepower, 90 tons of bollard pull and two MTU Tier 4 engines.

“The Jaime Ann was built to satisfy the requirements of the State of California – requirements we believe will soon be required of the rest of the country and the world,” said Foss Maritime Project Manager Janic Trepanier. “Her innovative design offers greater operating efficiencies by producing lower emissions resulting in less maintenance down time.”

The Jaime Ann’s sister tugs, the Sarah Averick, the Leisa Florence, and the Rachael Allen are expected to be delivered later this year.

“We are excited to see Jaime Ann arrive in her new homeport,” said Saltchuk Marine CEO Jason Childs. “Her addition to the Foss fleet demonstrates our continued commitment to our mariners, our customers, the environment, and the State of California.”

Port of Olympia to Re-Open Some Facilities May 5

By Karen Robes Meeks

Starting May 5, the Port of Olympia will reopen Billy Frank Jr. Park and Trail, Port Plaza, Swantown Boatworks, Swantown Marina public boat launch, Swantown boat launch parking lot, and the Swantown restrooms near BC docks.

The decision comes after Governor Jay Inslee sanctioned the partial re-opening of some outdoor activities, provided that safety and health practices are honored.

For Billy Frank Jr. Park & Trail, part of the trail will stay closed to curb pedestrian traffic within the Swantown Boatworks operational area.

Those enjoying the Port Plaza should practice social distancing. Swantown Boatworks will be running but the office will stay closed to the public. Those using the boatyard should not bring guests and those in the boatyard need to be 10 feet from the Boatworks staff.

Only one lane of the Swantown Marina boat launch will be open. There will be social distancing and traffic control markers in the land and water side.

Port of Camas-Washougal to Open Two Launch Ramp Lanes

By Karen Robes Meeks

Amid the opening of some recreational fishing and traffic expected to increase as a result, two lanes will be open at Port of Camas-Washougal 's launch ramp for launching and retrieval beginning May 5.

The most eastern and western lanes will be open for boaters as long as social distancing is practiced.

“The Port will continue to monitor launch activity and allow recreational launch ramp usage as long as it complies with social distancing requirements recommended by federal, state and local health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” announced Port CEO David Ripp. “Should distancing become an issue at the ramps the Port may implement additional closures.”

USCG Cutter Returns to Honolulu

By Karen Robes Meeks

After 37 days at sea, crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) returned to Hawaii following patrols that covered 7,118 square nautical miles that supported counter-Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing and regional security operations in Oceania.

"I'm extremely proud of our crew, overcoming the challenges Coronavirus has brought and successfully conducting our first operational patrol," said Capt. Alan McCabe, commanding officer, Midgett. "Now more than ever, ensuring our persistent presence in the region is vital to protecting national interests. We are proactively conducting our missions and appreciate the excellent support from within the Service.”

The presence of a National Security Cutter in this part of the Pacific to enforce Conservation and Management Measures established by the WCPFC and working cooperatively with the FFA represents the US and the Service's commitment to the agency's partnerships in the region, said McCabe.

"The prevention of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated tuna fishing is vital and will have a direct, positive effect on peace, governance, and continued American presence throughout the region."