Friday, June 19, 2020

Global Slowdown Continues to Affect NWSA Cargo Volumes

The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled 240,671 TEUs in May 2020, a 23.8-percent decrease compared to May 2019. Full imports declined 22.9 percent while full exports decreased 15.5 percent.

Through the first five months of 2020, overall container volumes declined 18.8 percent compared to 2019. The NWSA handled a total of 1,277,227 TEUs year to date, marking the softest five months since 2009 when the gateway moved 1,210,284 TEUs. The economic fallout from the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains across the country and around the world. The NWSA gateway experienced a total of 46 blank sailings through May, driven by COVID-19-inspired slowdowns and the lingering trade dispute with China.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s total year-to-date domestic container volumes dipped 6.3 percent. Alaska and Hawaii volumes declined 6.6 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

Breakbulk cargo volumes were down 1 percent year over year to 118,000 metric tons.

Auto volumes year to date were 60,018 units, down 20.6 percent year over year.

Coos Bay Dredging Scheduled for Early July

American Construction Company has been contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers to perform maintenance dredging in the Coos Bay harbor from River Miles twelve to fifteen beginning on or around July 1, 2020. Dredging was also conducted in this section of the Federal Navigation Channel throughout the summer of 2019. This section of the Upper Bay spans from the Oregon Chip Terminal to the Georgia Pacific Sawmill site. Prior to the dredging work that took place in 2019, this section of the channel had not been dredged since 2010.

Maintenance dredging work will be performed continuously, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, and is scheduled to be completed October 31, 2020. It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the channel and placed offshore at Ocean Disposal Site H. American Construction Company will utilize the clamshell dredge The Patriot to load two split hull scows, the Liberty and the Freedom. The scows will be towed by Pacific Tug Company to the offshore material placement site.

During the dredging project, mariners are urged to use extreme caution when navigating in the Upper Bay this summer. At the dredge site, mariners are encouraged to transit at their slowest safe speed to minimize wake, and to proceed with caution after passing arrangements have been made.

The Coos Bay Federal Navigation Channel is 15.1 miles long from the mouth of the bay to its furthest reach. The authorized depth of the channel is currently -37 feet Mean Lowest Low Water (MLLW), and its authorized nominal width is 300 feet.

USDOT Announces $906 Million Infrastructure Investment

US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao has announced the Trump Administration intends to invest $906 million in America’s infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. The proposed funding will be awarded to 20 projects in 20 states.

“This Administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding will improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety, and support economic growth,” said Secretary Chao.

INFRA discretionary grants support the Administration’s commitment to fixing our nation’s infrastructure by creating opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.

INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Project applications were evaluated by a team of more than two-dozen career staff in the Department and selected based on established criteria to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals. The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.

As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the Department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the Department is free to begin obligating funding.

Maritime project awards include Port Tampa Bay in Florida, which will be awarded more than $19.8 million to improve capacity at Port Tampa Bay’s Hooker’s Point container facility to accommodate an additional 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually.

The Port of Houston Authority in Texas will be awarded more than $79.4 million to restore and strengthen approximately 2,700 linear feet of wharf and upgrade approximately 84 acres of yard space at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal.

Aqueos Corporation Completes Virginia Wind Farm Project

California-based Aqueos Corporation has completed a diving contract for support of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Generation Project development on the US East Coast.

The project required extensive upfront planning and detailed project development. Aqueos deployed an IMCA compliant diving system and personnel onto a 175-foot class lift boat to support the work. The work consisted of trenching the HDD pull in conduit, installation of sealing flanges, pull-in monitoring operations and protecting the HDD exit site by installing 45-tons of washed local gravel.

This project provided Aqueos with an opportunity to present our capabilities to leaders of the Offshore Wind Energy Sector: specifically, these include managing and meeting their expectations in performing work to international wind farm industry diving standards, as well as demonstrating our operational experience on the first offshore wind farm project to be installed in federal waters under the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) program.

Aqueos Corporation, with offices in Broussard, LA, and Ventura, CA, provides marine construction and specialty subsea services including a complete range of commercial diving, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and vessel-related services to the offshore oil and gas markets as well as municipalities, ocean outfalls and government projects.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Port Of Oakland Picks Longtime Shipping Vet as Maritime Director

Longtime shipping industry executive Bryan Brandes has been named Maritime Director at the Port of Oakland. The Port said today he was selected following a nationwide search. Mr. Brandes, a 25-year maritime veteran, replaces John Driscoll who left to manage the Alabama State Port Authority.

Mr. Brandes will lead a staff of 20 responsible for one of the nation’s 10 largest container seaports. Oakland’s Maritime Director oversees everything from facilities management to real estate negotiations.

“Bryan is coming in at a crucial time for us and we’re eager to put his skill and industry experience to work,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “He knows the players, knows the business and knows what it takes for us to succeed.”

The new Maritime Director arrives in Oakland with executive experience gained at shipping lines and marine terminals. He worked with ocean carriers Maersk Line and CMA-CGM as well as APM Terminals. Most recently, Mr. Brandes was Vice President, Pacific Southwest Region Operations for FlexiVan Leasing, an intermodal chassis leasing company.

As one of the leading gateways to Asia for US exports – especially farm goods – Oakland annually handles the equivalent of 2.5 million 20-foot cargo containers. Cargo volume has declined 7.8 percent in 2020 due to the economic fallout from coronavirus.

The Port said Mr. Brandes faces two challenges: recovery from the economic wallop and shaping Oakland’s maritime future. The Port and business partners have invested millions this decade in new logistics capabilities. Oakland is now upgrading to handle the latest class of ultra large container vessels.

“The Port has operated smoothly throughout the pandemic so we’re confident about recovery,” said Mr. Brandes. “And with the foundation we’ve got in place, I’m excited about our future. I can’t wait to get started.”

Port of Prince Rupert Volumes Remain Strong

The Port of Prince Rupert reports May cargo volumes are up 9 percent with 12,615,661 tons of cargo handled year-to-date, led by strong dry bulk volumes both for the month and year-to-date.

Ridley Terminals is experiencing the biggest growth in volume, up 68 percent from May 2019 volumes and up 39 percent year-to-date. The addition of propane volume from the AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, which has been operating for just over a year, has also contributed to the steady overall performance of the Port. As well, with strong demand for wood pellets, Westview Terminal is experiencing growth of 24 percent year-to-date.

The intermodal sector has been the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with a decrease in the movement of cargo on the entire trans-Pacific trade route. Volume at Fairview Terminal reveals a 12 percent decline year-to-date, though laden volumes have only decreased 6 percent. Throughput at Fairview Terminal declined 37 percent from May 2019, a significant decrease in volumes and employment hours that reflects the impact of containment measures in North America as a result of COVID-19.

Los Angeles Port, Department of Water and Power Swap Property

City of Los Angeles officials have announced an innovative land exchange transaction between the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) that will enable the Port to proceed with development of the Avalon Promenade and Gateway, a key component of its Wilmington Waterfront Development Program. The land exchange will also provide LADWP with land required to move forward with the redevelopment of its Harbor Generation Station in Wilmington.

“Today marks the first step in the construction of the long-anticipated Wilmington Waterfront, said Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino. “This new Waterfront will attract and incentivize further investment into Wilmington and improve the value of the entire community while creating new opportunities. With the expansion of the waterfront, Wilmington continues to be an up-and-coming neighborhood in LA.”

For more than a decade, the Port and LADWP have been working on a way to connect Avalon Boulevard to the Wilmington Waterfront through land controlled by LADWP, a four-acre parcel that currently houses a 500,000-barrel petroleum storage tank and other buildings. The land swap now gives the Port control of the parcel at Avalon Boulevard and Harry Bridges Boulevard, allowing the Port to move ahead with the next phase of Wilmington Waterfront development – the Avalon Promenade and Gateway.

Port of Vancouver, BC Recognizes Blue Circle Recipients

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has recognized 28 marine carriers and two terminal operators for a combined total of 30 Blue Circle Awards for their voluntary efforts to conserve energy and reduce emissions in the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Eighteen shipping lines, six cruise lines, four coastal marine operators and two terminal operators were the recipients of the 11th annual Blue Circle Awards. The awards recognize industry partners that excel in environmental stewardship and attain the highest level of participation in the port authority’s EcoAction Program and Energy Action Initiative.

“We are proud of the environmental leadership demonstrated by our terminal, shipping, and industry partners,” said Robin Silvester, president and chief executive officer at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “We are delighted to recognize 30 recipients with a Blue Circle Award this year for their efforts above and beyond regulatory requirements to conserve energy and reduce air emissions. Congratulations to the 2019 award recipients.”

Since 2007, the port authority’s EcoAction Program has recognized a variety of fuel, technology and environmental management options that make ship operators eligible to receive discounted harbor dues rates. In 2018, the port authority expanded its industry-leading EcoAction Program to increase the number of underwater noise-reducing options and updated the air emissions reduction options eligible for discounted harbor dues.

The Energy Action Initiative is a joint program with BC Hydro that helps terminal operators and other port tenants enhance their energy-conservation practices and save costs. The goal of this program is to protect the energy security of our growing port by reducing energy waste.