Friday, May 22, 2020

Port of Olympia Cancels 2020 Tours

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Port of Olympia announced the cancelation of its popular public working waterfront tours for 2020 due to COVID-19.

The free tours provide an opportunity for the public to explore and learn more about Thurston County’s shipping terminal, its equipment and its economic role.

“These are challenging times, and we had to make the tough decision to cancel the public tour program in an effort to keep our community and staff safe,” said Executive Director Sam Gibboney. “While we will not be holding the tours this year, we look forward to sharing the behind-the-scenes look of the working waterfront with citizens in 2021.”

Visit for more information.

Harbor Freight Tools Donates PPEs to LA Effort

By Karen Robes Meeks

Southern California company and longtime Port of Los Angeles customer Harbor Freight Tools has donated 1,500 nitrile gloves, 500 N95 respirator masks, almost 9,300 deluxe face shields and 60 five-gallon spray bottles toward Los Angeles’ efforts to get personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, the port announced this week.

“We are greatly appreciative to Harbor Freight for this generous donation, as PPE equipment continues to be urgently needed by frontline health care workers throughout the region,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka, who has been tapped by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to lead as Chief Logistics Officer during COVID-19. “Harbor Freight is a great example of what the private sector can do to help during this pandemic.”

The donation is among the several that have been made by companies and organizations, resulting in the procurement of millions of PPE supplies.

“We know how acute the need is for personal protective equipment, especially for the heroic healthcare workers on the front lines caring for COVID-19 patients,” said Eric Smidt, owner and founder of Harbor Freight Tools. “We’re grateful for their work and dedication and proud to partner with the Port of L.A. to deliver our PPE donations to hospitals in our hometown.” Check out for more details.

Lynden Transport Delivers School Building

By Karen Robes Meeks

Lynden Transport is doing its part to help students get back on track after a school in Kaktovik, Alaska, burned down in February.

Lynden drivers recently moved 12 modular buildings from Edmonton, Alberta and 13 from Wasilla, Alaska to Deadhorse, Alaska. Rolligons – large tire vehicles designed to traverse the sensitive tundra – brought them to Kaktovik. These modular buildings will become classrooms for students in the small Native Alaskan Village.

"The nearest school is 150 miles away so we need to get these buildings delivered as soon as possible," said JD Lavender, Branch Operations Leader for Willscot, Lynden's customer. “I have been impressed with the Lynden team and the drivers' attention to safety” he said.

Prior to the fire, the school and gym was the heart and hub of the area.

Port of Redwood City Awards $21,000 in Sponsorships

By Karen Robes Meeks

Six area groups committed to the Silicon Valley community were recently awarded a total of $21,000 in sponsorships by the Port of Redwood City Board of Commissioners.

They include Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation, the Redwood City Library Foundation, City Trees, Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, Sequoia YMCA and San Mateo County Historical Association.

The second annual community sponsorship program funds local events and efforts that highlight community-forward maritime activities, focused on economic growth, environmental stewardship, youth and education, and community benefit.

“The Sponsorship Program is one way the port delivers on our commitment to serve Silicon Valley,” said Board of Port Commissioner Chair Ralph A. Garcia. “We are pleased to support important community programs, while also educating our community on the Port’s varied businesses.”

Events and programs chosen by the port program are expected to take place between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

USNS Mercy Leaves Port of Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

After spending the last seven weeks taking on non COVID-19 patients to help relieve area hospitals, the USNS Mercy has left the Port of Los Angeles and returned to its San Diego homeport.

Foss Maritime and sister company Amnav used their new tugboats to guide the Military Sealift Command Hospital Ship out of the port. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the sailors and medical staff of the USNS Mercy for their selfless service,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a one-of-a-kind mission, said Mission Commander, Capt. Daniel Cobian, commodore Destroyer Squadron 21.

"We provided the framework for the medical treatment facility to meet the mission and be the relief valve, freeing up beds at local hospitals,” he said. “I have continued to be impressed with how the Mercy crew came together and worked toward this goal. I have every confidence that the personnel from Mercy who will continue to work at the skilled nursing facilities as the ship returns to San Diego will continue to provide the high-quality medical care that has been the hallmark of this mission."

Port of Long Beach Announces Environmental, Business Division Leads

By Karen Robes Meeks

Two longtime officials at the Port of Long Beach will lead the port’s environmental planning and business development divisions.

After serving as acting director, Matt Arms will serve as director of environmental planning, which oversees the port’s most significant environmental programs, including the Green Port Policy and the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. Arms started at the port in 2003 as an assistant environmental specialist.

Roger Wu who has been serving as the port acting director in charge of developing revenue opportunities will now head the business development division.

Wu, who started at the port 2007 as marketing manager in the trade relations division, was previously assistant director of business development.

New Duwamish River Park Moved Forward

By Karen Robes Meeks

A formerly contaminated industrial property will become a new 13.5-acre Duwamish River park with 2,500 linear feet of shoreline, thanks to a recent action by the Port of Seattle Commission.

The Terminal 117 Habitat Restoration and Duwamish Shoreline Access Project will build upland habitat and bring back priority habitat for Chinook salmon and other species. When completed, the public space will feature a pier, public art, walkways, and elevated viewpoints.

“Habitat restoration is a major element of the port’s cleanup efforts along the Duwamish River,” said Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “Through innovative collaboration with our federal and local partners, we are able to make this project satisfy our triple bottom line approach, providing key economic, ecological, and community benefits to the Duwamish Valley community.”

Blessing of the Fleet Event Canceled

By Karen Robes Meeks

This year’s annual Blessing of the Fleet and Memorial Service in Charleston, Ore., has been canceled to observe public gathering restrictions and social distancing related to COVID-19, the Port of Coos Bay announced.

The service, which would have taken place on Memorial Day at the Charleston Fisherman’s Memorial Garden, commemorates area men and women involved in commercial fishing and the fishing industry who have died since 1941.

Names will be added to plaques in the Charleston Fisherman’s Memorial Garden, including Bill Ainsworth, Jack L. Hutchens and Wayne James Clemens.

Floral arrangements or memorial wreaths are acceptable as long as they are made of biodegradable materials. The port is encouraging the public to practice social distancing at the memorial garden.