Friday, December 18, 2020

Cargo Volumes up at Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles saw a 22 percent jump in cargo year over year when the nation’s busiest seaport moved 889,746 TEUs last month, according to new numbers released Monday. Imports for November were up 25 percent to 464,820 TEUs, while exports dipped 5.5 percent to 130,917 TEUs. Empty containers - many returning to Asia - rose 34.2 percent to 294,010 TEUs last month when compared to the same time last year.

More spending by consumers, holiday shipments and warehouse restocking have been driving the increased numbers in recent months, according to the port.

“Since August, monthly cargo volume has averaged almost 930,000 TEUs,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s unusual to see this kind of import activity this late in the year. But 2020 has been anything but normal.”

With consumers continuing to stay at home and buy goods rather than services, the port expects robust activity at the port for at least several months, Seroka said.

“To help stakeholders manage the cargo influx, the port has introduced new data tools for asset planning, provided additional land for chassis and containers, and is working with cargo owners large and small to prioritize their shipments.”

USNS Fisher Arrives at Port of Vancouver USA

On Saturday, USNS Fisher, a 951-foot long vessel with the Military Sealift Command, dropped anchor at the Port of Vancouver USA, where Fisher will call home for the next nine months, the port announced.

The vessel, which will be based at berths 13 and 14, allows the military to quickly load and unload Army vehicles and large equipment. MSC oversees 125 civilian-crewed ships including Fisher and conducts “specialized missions, strategic pre-positioning combat cargo at sea and moving military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners,” according to the port.

“For the Port of Vancouver to host the USNS Fisher for an extended period of time is an honor and shows the aptitude of the port and the capabilities of the Columbia River,” said Alex Strogen, chief commercial officer for the port. “With a 43-foot shipping channel and the infrastructure capable of safely mooring the vessel, supplying necessary utilities and the low-cost of electricity in this area, the Port of Vancouver USA is a dynamic establishment that builds upon the Columbia River’s international maritime hub.”

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USCG, Border Patrol Conduct Joint Effort Along U.S.-Canadian Border

The U.S. Coast Guard recently teamed up with Border Patrol members near Southeast Alaska and the Canadian border to ensure border security and motor vessel safety and raise awareness among mariners on border crossing requirements.

Crew members of Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130J Super Hercules transported Border Patrol agents and equipment from Anchorage to Juneau, while Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew members pointed out vessels of interest to the Border Patrol and Coast Guard members that were on Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium.

Crew members jointly accomplished four boardings to discuss vessel safety and rules related to U.S.-Canadian border crossings, including those pertaining to the Taku Inlet. Mariners need to turn in proper Notice of Arrival information per federal regulations when they come from a foreign port, according to the USCG.

"Partnerships between federal, state, tribal and other local agencies are necessary to provide an enforcement presence across Alaska's expansive geographic and maritime domain," said Lt. Jeff Schoknecht, Sector Juneau enforcement officer. "These joint operations improve training and establish more efficient tactics and techniques that enables greater search and rescue and law enforcement responses."

Port of Long Beach Offer Sponsorships

Nearly $400,000 in sponsorship funds have been approved by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, the body that governs the Port of Long Beach.

The funds will pay for 89 community events and projects, including CityHeART’s COVID-19 and Me Virtual Storytelling Workshop, the Andy Street Community Association’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: A Black History Project, and the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Recovery and Resiliency Program Series, according to the port.

“We’re proud to continue our commitment to the community through our robust sponsorship program,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Supporting these organizations is especially important as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Over $9 million in sponsorships have been awarded by the port since 2007.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

USCG Encourages Fishermen to Practice
Vessel Safety

As Dungeness crab season opens Dec. 16, commercial fishermen can safeguard from emergencies by practicing vessel safety, said the U.S. Coast Guard.

Before crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise, commercial fishermen should alert the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16 or 22A and offer the name of the vessel name, location, number of people aboard, where the vessel is going and any limitations. They also need to report whether the vessel had a safe transit after crossing.

On deck, everyone should wear life jackets or immersion suits when crossing a restricted bar. They must be worn by all persons on deck, or located in any open areas of the vessel while crossing a restricted bar. Not complying may mean up to $25,000 in fines, according to the USCG.

“Without a doubt, Dungeness crab fishermen are anxious to start the 2020-21 commercial crab fishing season,” said Lt. Carl Eschler, the assistant chief of the investigations division at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland. “Be it their first time or 101st time navigating over a bar, fishermen are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard station to familiarize themselves with bar conditions and reporting methods. Contacting the Coast Guard prior to crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise is more than just a good idea for commercial fishermen, it is a requirement."

This year, Marine Safety Unit Portland officials have answered more than 95 commercial fishing vessel-related marine casualties, or “non-standard event that disrupts normal operations; like an emergency, accident, collision or damage involving a vessel” in domestic waters, the agency said.

AAPA Urges Federal Leaders to Help
Maritime Sector

The American Association of Port Authorities recently joined other maritime organizations in urging Congress and Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin to aid the hard-hit maritime industry with $3.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.

“America’s maritime transportation system, including its ports and their direct workforce of more than 650,000 front-line personnel, have kept essential goods moving to medical professionals, first responders and vital manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses during the pandemic,” said AAPA President and CEO Christopher J. Connor. “Their dedication and perseverance has enabled commerce to continue flowing during a time of great risk, upheaval, stress and greatly increased costs, allowing millions of Americans to safely and comfortably work from home.”

Despite trade upticks at major U.S. seaports, most ports continue to suffer financially, especially those that don’t handle containers such as steel, grain and other bulk commodities, Connor said.

“The relief we’re seeking is about ensuring ports and other maritime transportation businesses are able to keep pace with the accelerating costs of protecting their workers while keeping their workforce employed, and maintaining a state of readiness so they can significantly aid in the nation’s eventual economic recovery,” Connor said.

NOAA’s 15th Arctic Report Card Released

Earlier this month, NOAA released the findings of its 15th Arctic Report Card.

The report card, generated from the input of 133 scientists from 15 countries, reports that increasingly warm temperatures continue to affect the Arctic. For example, the Eurasian Arctic saw its lowest June snow extent in the last 54 years, a result of high temperatures felt this past spring across Siberia. Moreover, the second-warmest average annual land-surface air temperature in the Arctic since 1900 was observed between October 2019 and September 2020. The report also shows that the Arctic ice has become thinner and more fragile in the last 10 years. This year’s Arctic minimum sea ice extent was reached in September, the second-lowest in satellite record, according to NOAA.

“The transformation of the Arctic to a warmer, less frozen and biologically changed region is well underway,” said Rick Thoman, Alaska Climate Specialist with the International Arctic Research Center, and one of the report card’s editors.

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POLA Trade Director Honored

Port of Los Angeles Director of Trade Development Marisela Caraballo DiRuggiero was recently named Global Trade Catalyst of the Year by the Los Angeles Chapter of Women in International Trade.

The award honored the leadership and experience of DiRuggiero, who has been with the seaport for almost 20 years. In her capacity, DiRuggiero leads the port’s Trade Development Division and the award-winning program Trade Connect, which helps small and midsize companies expand their business.

“I’m thrilled to see Marisela recognized for her hard work, dedication and contributions to promoting and expanding trade through our Port, the busiest in the Western Hemisphere,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner President Jaime Lee. “With her help and expertise, the Port of Los Angeles has gained enormous influence on the world stage and is recognized around the globe for its leadership in many critical aspects of trade and commerce.”