Friday, October 30, 2020

Port of Los Angeles Unveils New Online
Permitting Portal

The Port of Los Angeles wants to make its permitting process easier with a new online portal,

Last year, the port started developing a way to handle permits online. The new portal is in line with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Aug. 7 Executive Directive for Contactless Government asking all city departments to offer their services digitally.

The port as the Los Angeles Harbor Department oversees the Harbor District for the city and state under the State Tidelands Trust. The public needs permission from the port for various activities, including “leasing, construction, repairs, demolition, environmental testing, operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and hosting events on port property,” according to the port.

Email to for more.

USCG Seeks Input on Waterway Closure

U.S. Coast Guard officials are considering a contractor’s request to block a waterway for two weeks to allow them to demolish the old West Sammamish River Bridge at Sammamish River at Mile 0.5 near Kenmore, Washington, the USCG said Wednesday.

The contractor wants to block navigation to the waterway from midnight on Jan. 18, 2021, to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2021.

Mariners will need to stay at least 100 yards away from the area while demolition takes place to ensure safety. Maritime first responders will be able to pass as long as they give at least 30 minutes of advance notice, though if contractors are in the middle of a lift operation maritime responders won’t be able to pass until the lift operation is complete.

Mariners have until Nov. 27 to weigh in on the request. Email to submit input.

NWSA Moved 308,682 TEUs in September

The Northwest Seaport Alliance - the partnership between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma - handled 308,682 TEUs last month, according to new numbers released Oct. 20.

While the ports handled 11.1 percent fewer shipments overall from the same time a year ago (347,278 TEUs in September 2019), the September numbers represent the ports’ best month of the year. Previous months in 2020 don’t surpass 300,000 TEUs, according to the statistics.

And despite imports falling 6.8 percent year over year, the ports saw their biggest monthly volumes for loaded imports since September 2019 with retailers replenishing goods in preparation for the holiday shopping season, according to NWSA.

Like other ports, the NWSA has experienced the economic effects of the pandemic, with 59 canceled sailing this year.

So far, the gateway has moved more than 2.4 million TEUs in overall volumes for 2020, a decrease of about 16.8 percent from the same time period in 2019.

USCG, State Team to Remove Sunken Vessel
in Hawaii

The U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Hawaii and a vessel owner have been working together to remove a recreational vessel that sank Saturday night in Hawaii Kai.

Sector Honolulu watch standers were alerted about the sunken vessel, which was leaking fuel into the canal. An absorbent boom was used by Hawaii Kai Marina Patrol to stop the fuel spill from spreading.

“The Coast Guard is committed to ocean safety and preservation,” said Chief Warrant Officer Russell Strathern, from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Mitigating the pollution threat and assessing impact is our priority and we are working closely with the state and responsible party throughout the process.”

The vessel owner’s insurance company also responded to the incident, working to curb the environmental impact and prepare the vessel for salvage Tuesday, the agency said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

NOAA, Alaskan Council Partner
on PORTS System

NOAA and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council have teamed up to develop the third new Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System, or PORTS system, in an effort to boost maritime safety and efficiency off Valdez, Alaska, NOAA announced earlier this month.

The Valdez PORTS, which marks the 36th system in the national network, will encompass a current NOAA National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) station at Valdez and a pair of new council run-and-maintained meteorological-ocean buoys that size up “tidal currents, wind, air temperature, water temperature and barometric pressure,” according to the agency. One buoy is at the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Valdez Marine Terminal off Jackson Point. The second buoy is close to the Valdez Duck Flats.

“This new system, and the others like them around the country, reduce ship accidents by more than 50 percent, increase the size of ships that can get in and out of seaports, and reduce traffic delays,” said Steven Thur, acting deputy director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “They also provide real-time, resilience-ready data as coastal conditions rapidly change, potentially threatening our coastal communities.”

The Port of Valdez anticipates a rise in commercial ship traffic and passenger cruise ships are in the next five to 10 years, according to NOAA.

“While the council’s sole purpose for installing these buoys is to promote the environmentally safe operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated tankers, we believe the integration of this metocean data into NOAA’s PORTS will benefit and improve safety for a variety of other maritime users,” said Donna Schantz, executive director for the council. “This is another excellent example of how collaborative science can have wide-ranging impacts for the betterment of all.”

USCG Helps Alaskan Fishing Vessel in Distress

U.S. Coast Guard crew members aided a disabled fishing vessel, the 55-foot Elise Marie, taking on water about six miles south of Icy Bay, Alaska, the agency said Wednesday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew sent over a dewatering pump to the vessel to help control the flooding before Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick crew members towed the vessel to Yakutat.

"This successful case highlighted the importance of mariner preparedness," said Lt. Joseph Sullivan-Springhetti, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick. "The master has good communication equipment and survival gear onboard, which allowed us to find them quickly, tow them safely, and with confidence.We were also really fortunate to have the support of the Yakutat Police Department, who met us late in the evening and helped bring the vessel in to the pier safely."

Port of Long Beach Posted Busiest Month Ever

Cargo volumes at the Port of Long Beach were up 12.5 percent last month with 795,580 TEUs, marking the port’s busiest month in history, according to new statistics released by the port Oct. 21.

The port also moved 14.3 percent more imports with 405,618 TEUs and 8.7 percent fewer exports with 112,556 TEUs last month when compared to the same time last year. The port also handled 277,406 TEUs last month, 21.2 percent more than September 2019. Long Beach surpassed its previously best record, which took place in July with 753,081 TEUs.

The port is attributing the numbers to rising demand for office equipment and home-improvement goods during the pandemic. The port also saw 92 cargo vessels call at the port last month. Nineteen of them were unscheduled calls, making up for the canceled sailings that happened earlier in the year because of COVID-19.

“Large retail stores are reopening, merchants are stocking up for the winter holidays and the increased use of e-commerce appears to be an enduring trend picked up by consumers during the recent stay-at-home orders,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Still, we must move ahead with caution during the remaining months of 2020 because the national economy continues to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

West Coast Port Projects Net Federal Grants

West Coast ports were among the more than a dozen agencies receiving over $220 million in port-related improvement grants from the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Oct. 15.

The federal grants will improve America’s ports with nearly half the projects in Opportunity Zones, which were created to revitalize economically distressed communities, according to Chao.

Grant will fund:
  • The Bellingham Shipping Terminal Rehabilitation Project, which received more than $6.8 million toward building a bigger heavy load area and taking away rock outcrops in front of Berth 1.
  • The final phase of the Terminal 5 Uplands Modernization and Rehabilitation Project in Seattle, which netted more than $10.6 million toward surfacing, paving, and reinforcement of a terminal-wide stormwater treatment system and other work.
  • Coos Bay Rail Line Phase II Tie and Surfacing Program in Oregon, which received over $9.8 million.
  • The Marine Terminal Freight Dock & Corridor Improvements in Seward, Alaska, which garnered over $19.7 million toward extending the dock by about 375 feet, allowing for more freight cargo and curbing conflicts between freight and cruise movements onshore and in the harbor.
  • The SR 47-Vincent Thomas Bridge & Harbor Boulevard-Front Street Interchange Improvement Project in Los Angeles, which received $9.88 million.
“Support for this federal grant came from all levels of government,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation, including its Maritime Administration, the members of Congress who represent the Port, and state and local leaders for recognizing the urgent need to modernize this critical junction of the National Highway Freight Network.”