Friday, May 15, 2020

Compass Courses Training Deemed Essential Washington Business

By Karen Robes Meeks

Edmonds, Washington-based Compass Courses has been deemed as an essential business, and classes are running as scheduled. “We’re ready to provide mariners with the quality training that seafarers worldwide have come to expect,” says owner Julie Keim. The classes adhere strictly to USCG, CDC, State, and Federal guidelines to comply with current COVID-19 safety protocols and will continue to follow any changes/updates made to these guidelines.

“We’ve reduced class sizes and we’re requiring all students and instructors to wear a face mask or covering, to practice proper hand hygiene, and to observe appropriate social distancing while in our facilities,” Keim says.

All the company’s fire training is now being performed at Clatsop Community College’s Maritime and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS) in Astoria, Oregon. Their state-of-the-art facility is designed to provide training for all levels of professional mariners and is one of the most comprehensive training centers in the United States.

“We’ve partnered with Starline Luxury Coaches to provide transportation for up to twelve students on board a 56-passenger bus, configured to allow proper social distancing,” Keim says. She notes that students should come prepared with a mask and be ready to follow social distancing rules. Call 425-778-1923 to enroll or visit

Port of Long Beach Moves Fewer Containers In April

By Karen Robes Meeks

The health crisis’ effect on the economy continues to affect the Port of Long Beach, which saw 17.3 percent fewer containers last month than April 2019, the port’s busiest April ever, according to new numbers released this week.

Long Beach handled 519,730 TEUs in April, including 253,540 TEUs of imports and 102,502 TEUs of exports. These fell 20.2 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

Empty containers also dropped 12.2 percent to 163,688 TEUs year over year.

For the first four months of this year, the port handled 2,202,650 TEUs, down 9.5 percent from the same time last year.

“We look forward to a recovery stage and rebounding cargo shipments as the nation contemplates relaxing shelter-in-place orders, people return to work and consumer demand rises – however it will not be in the short term,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “In the meantime, we continue to collaborate with importers, exporters, terminal operators and labor to develop a recovery plan while ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of goods moving through the Port of Long Beach.”

Port of Oakland Portends Downturn

By Karen Robes Meeks

Loaded April cargo was up 1.4 percent year over year at the Port of Oakland, but the port expects decreased cargo volumes in the coming months due to the global economic impact from COVID-19.

Oakland moved 3.2 percent more exported cargo and 0.9 percent fewer imports last month when compared to April 2019, according to new numbers released this week.

Meanwhile, empty containers dropped 29 percent last month, pushing the port’s overall cargo volume down 6.5 percent. The port expects a downturn in the coming months as shipping lines cancel vessel calls in response to COVID-19. About 11 percent of vessel calls bound for Oakland in May and June have been canceled.

“Our April cargo performance was better than expected, but it was most likely a blip resulting from the release of pent-up demand when factories re-opened in China after being quarantined,” the port said. “We’re faring better than some other ports, but our forecast in the coming months is overall volume throughput decline of 5-to-10 percent.”

Lynden Improves Mobile Capabilities

By Karen Robes Meeks

GPS map tracking and shipment details and other functions have been expanded in Lynden’s mobile app.

Improvements include time and date stamps on received and delivered statuses, equipment number(s) are shown in search results, shipment details pages, and on the available Excel export for easier searching and tracking, especially if customers have multiple loads, according to the company.

The app also has improved GPS maps, which now is featured in more in-transit shipment statuses.

“Most notable are shipments on Alaska Marine Lines’ barges which can now be tracked every mile of the journey,” the company said. “Maps are also offered for select truck shipments and show freight scanned into most Service Centers for all modes.”

Visit for more on the app.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Port of Seattle Considers Projects to Help Local Economy Amid COVID-19

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle recently updated its 2020 plans for construction to aim its project investment and hiring to help with the local economy recovery.

Some 20 projects worth approximately $1.5 billion will be impacted based on economic considerations.

The port is looking into accelerating the construction of projects such as the North Satellite modernization, the international arrivals facility, airfield pavement work, passenger loading bridges replacement and the replacement of Terminal 46 north berth not related to proposed cruise terminal.

“As one of the largest public sector builders in the region, the port is uniquely positioned to help lead the region’s recovery,” said Port Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “Our goal is to help keep construction workers employed by providing certainty to large public works construction projects, accelerating some projects where feasible, and by supporting our private sector partners.”

USCG Signs Exchange Program MOU with Australian Agency

By Karen Robes Meeks

Personnel from the US Coast Guard and the Australian Department of Home Affairs will be able to participate in an officer exchange program, thanks to a recent memorandum of agreement (MOU) inked by Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, commander of Coast Guard 14th District, and Kingsley Woodford-Smith, assistant commissioner of the Australian Border Force.

The MOU allows one Australian Border Force marine unit officer to work a four- to six-week assignment in Honolulu, Hawaii, while a Coast Guard officer will serve with the Australian Border Force fleet.

"The memorandum of agreement solidifies an already incredible relationship with our Australian partners in the Blue Pacific region," said Cmdr. Jason Brand, chief of enforcement, Coast Guard 14th District. "The agreement enhances the interoperability between the U.S. Coast Guard and Australian Department of Home Affairs by creating a personnel exchange system designed to share experience, professional knowledge, and doctrine between the partners. This exchange is another tool for our work to promote and further a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Work Underway on Bike /Walk Path Part of Long Beach Bridge Project

By Karen Robes Meeks

Work on the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path is underway on the south side of the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project.

According to the port, steel platforms are being installed to form the 12-foot-wide path named after the deceased city Bicycle Master Plan creator and Long Beach Bike Festival founder.

The new path – which will include three observation decks – will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to go to and from the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Pico Avenue on the port’s east side and is expected to end on the new bridge’s west side at State Route 47.

Three Cruise Ships Idle in Oakland

By Karen Robes Meeks

Three passenger ships that arrived in Oakland over the weekend will idle with only crewmembers while the US embargoes cruise operations, the Port of Oakland announced Friday.

The vessels, which include two Norwegian Cruise Line ships, contain no passengers and have no reported coronavirus cases. They could stay at berth for two to three months. The ships will be tied up at Oakland’s Outer Harbor Terminal and at Howard Terminal on the Oakland Estuary, both of which are not being used for container operations.

This move to provide berthing space comes as more than 100 cruise vessels are looking for safe harbor all over the world.

“We’re a container port, but we’re still in the shipping business,” said Port Executive Director Danny Wan. “These ships are under federal requirements to report health concerns, and we understand that they haven’t had a history of coronavirus, so we’ll do what we can to help.” Crewmembers aren’t expected to disembark in Oakland, according to the port.