Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Los Angeles Port Chief Announces
Cargo Numbers, 2021 Priorities

About 9.2 million TEUs flowed through the Port of Los Angeles last year, the fourth busiest year on record, Executive Director Gene Seroka announced at the recent virtual Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s sixth annual State of the Port of Los Angeles.

The port saw cargo volumes surge in the last half of 2020 by 50 percent over the first half of 2020, according to the port, which finished the year about 1.5 percent down from 2019. There was a 94 percent jump in the week leading up to Christmas compared to the same time in 2019.

“Our container business in 2020 was the most erratic we have ever seen, with volumes plunging nearly 19 percent in the first five months of the year, followed by an unprecedented second-half surge,” Seroka said. “Our ILWU longshore workforce did a great job adapting to the huge swings in volume, as did port truckers and everyone else involved in moving cargo through our Port. In a year of great difficulty, we are extremely grateful for the tenacity and resolve of all of our partners.”

Seroka also spoke about prioritizing the creation of more jobs, growing cargo, speeding up the development of zero emission technology and modernizing and optimizing the supply chain.

“If we want America to improve as a leader in global trade, we need nationwide port data connectivity with agreed-upon data standards and open architecture system that provides interconnectivity between major U.S. ports, service providers and the freight they move,” said Seroka.

In his speech, Seroka introduced the creation of The Control Tower, the latest in Port Optimizer™ cloud-based data solutions. Developed with Wabtec, The Control Tower will offer “new levels of metrics and data including real-time port level views of turn times, truck capacity management information and detailed velocity metrics,” according to the port.

New Changes at Maritime Firm

Hockema Whalen Myers Associates, Inc. kicked off 2021 with the announcement of a new name and management changes to the company, which specialized in engineering and consulting services, naval architecture and marine engineering.

The longtime West Coast firm - which has offices in Seattle, Washington, and Bend, Oregon - has been renamed Hockema Group, Inc. effective Jan. 1.

The company also announced changes in leadership. Founder Hal Hockema will ease back on day-to-day management and continue on a part-time basis as an advisor.

John Myers will serve as company president and managing principal. Michael Minnig will take on Myer’s former vice president and senior principal role, while Craig Pomeroy is the principal naval architect.

Julie Hockema, who will ease into part-time work, will stay on as business manager and bookkeeper, the company said. Shannon Potter joined the company last year as administrative manager.

Michael Whalen, who sold his company Fisker‐Andersen & Whalen to Hal and Julie Hockema in 2004 and stayed on as senior principal, retired last year, but will remain involved with the company.

Applications Sought for National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee

The Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing is looking for those interested in being part of the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee.

The role calls for a candidate with a QMED rating endorsement. Those with an officer rating cannot apply. Established by the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, the committee is tasked with advising the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security through the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on U.S. Merchant Marine personnel-related issues such as training, qualifications, certification, documentation, and fitness of mariners, according to the agency.

For more, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/12/2021-00383/national-merchant-marine-personnel-advisory-committee-vacancy. Candidates should reach out to Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255 or megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

Port of Long Beach Releases Cargo Numbers

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a trade war with China, the Port of Long Beach finished 2020 strong, handling more than 8.1 million TEUs, its busiest year to date, according to newly released numbers. The seaport saw a 6.3 percent jump in overall cargo from 2019, with imports up 6.4 percent to nearly 4 million TEUs, exports up 0.2 percent to nearly 1.5 million and empty containers that are sent overseas to be restocked with goods up 9.9 percent to 2.6 million TEUs.

The port beat its prior annual record by 22,292 TEUs (set in 2018).

“I want to thank our frontline workers on the docks who kept cargo moving during this unprecedented moment in history, ensuring the safe, secure and timely delivery of vital medical equipment and consumer goods,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We have all endured incredible hardships with COVID-19, but I am looking forward to 2021 as a time of economic recovery and a renewed focus on our industry partners, infrastructure projects and community stakeholders.”

The numbers looked bleak in early 2020 when the port saw canceled sailings and a 6.9 percent drop in cargo compared to early 2019 due to the effects of the pandemic. The port was able to rebound later in the year as consumers adjusted to the new normal and demand grew for medical and home improvement supplies.

“This record demonstrates the effort of our dockworkers and the Port’s determination to collaborate with our partners to overcome the devastating economic challenges presented by COVID-19 and the trade war with China,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We look forward to continuing to work toward economic recovery along with our stakeholders.”

For more, visit polb.com/statistics.

Friday, January 15, 2021

South Terminal Project Completed

The long-awaited $57 million South Terminal modernization project at the Port of Everett has been completed, port officials announced this week.

The updated terminal allows the port to accommodate bigger ships and heavier cargoes, including the new 777X and other wide-body aircraft, and more diverse cargo. It also supports efforts to bolster the regional economy.

In the last 10 years, over $125 million has been put into port facilities to meet market demand and the needs of its customers. The South Terminal is vital to the port’s modernization efforts. In 2018, the port started on the second phase of the project to strengthen the wharf and included moving two Post-Panamax container cranes from the Port of Los Angeles, and improving the electrical dock infrastructure for shore power.

“Having this modernized facility now open for business is more important than ever as our region and nation focuses on the economic recovery needs in front of us in light of this pandemic,” Port Commission President Glen Bachman said. “Completion of this project directly benefits our local, regional and national economies, enhances our national transportation network in support of the movement of commerce, and maintains and grows the 40,000+ family-wage jobs supported by Port operations.”

USCG Cutter Joseph Gerczak on Patrol

The crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak recently stopped in Honolulu after finishing the first stage of their patrol to uphold illegal fishing rules in the Pacific and augment maritime law enforcement self-sufficiency with Kiribati partners, the agency said.

The crew traveled about 2,400 million from Hawaii to Kiribati from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.

“We’re working to increase awareness of unlawful fishing operations in remote territories of the United States, the Pacific, and the Republic of Kiribati’s exclusive economic zones,” said Lt. James Provost, commanding officer of the Joseph Gerczak. “Over the course of our patrol we queried one Chinese fishing vessel while enforcing Kiribati's sovereignty.”

The crew supported Operation Blue Pacific Task Force to ensure stability and security throughout the Indo-Pacific, the agency said.

“Effective maritime domain awareness requires unprecedented information sharing,” said Cmdr. Jason Brand, chief of enforcement, Coast Guard District 14. “We are eager to collaborate with Kiribati on initiatives of common interest.”

Update on Merchant Mariner Credentialing Endorsements

Qualifying mariners will be issued STCW endorsements for Basic and Advanced International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low Flashpoint Fuels (IGF) Code Operations if they have completed the STCW requirements and ask for the endorsement, the National Maritime Center announced Tuesday.

Applications for IGF Code Operations endorsements should be sent in accordance with CG-MMC Policy Letter 01-21. National endorsements for IGF Code Operations will not be issued by the National Maritime Center.

Inquiring mariners should reach out to the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at MMCPolicy@uscg.mil or 202-372-2357. Visit https://www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_center/ for more.

CAAP Meeting Set for Jan. 27

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will update the public on the status of their San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan goals on Jan. 27.

The meeting – the first for 2021 – will take place virtually from 10 a.m. to noon.

The ports first created the plan in 2005 and since then has seen pollution from port operations decrease, including diesel particulate matter, which fell 87 percent, nitrogen oxides by 58 percent and sulfur oxides by 97 percent.

The ports updated its plan in 2017 to quicken its goals to a zero-emissions and focus on lowering greenhouse gases. The goal is to lower GHGs by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, according to the ports.

Visit cleanairactionplan.org for more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

NOAA, The Ocean Foundation Announce
New Partnership

NOAA and The Ocean Foundation have joined forces to further research, conservation and oceans on a global level, thanks to a memorandum of agreement inked in early December, it was announced Jan. 5.

Learning more about climate change and ocean acidification’s impact on oceans and coasts, researching the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and developing sustainable U.S. marine aquaculture are among the initiatives that both sides intend to prioritize under the new agreement.

The new partnership between NOAA and the foundation is the latest in a series of science and technology team ups developed in the last year by NOAA, all in support of the Presidential Memorandum on Ocean Mapping of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and Shoreline and Near Shore of Alaska and the goals unveiled at White House Summit on Partnerships in Ocean Science and Technology in 2019, according to NOAA.

“We know that a healthy ocean is the ‘life-support system’ for human wellbeing, planetary health and economic prosperity,” said foundation president Mark J. Spalding. “Our partnership with NOAA will allow both partners to continue our long-established international scientific relationships and research collaborations, including capacity building, that are the foundation for more formal international agreements — something we call science diplomacy — and build equitable bridges between communities, societies, and nations.”

Pacific Maritime Magazine and Fishermen’s News to Resume Print Editions

The new owner of Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine on line newsletters has announced that it will resume publication of the monthly print editions this spring.

San Diego-based Training Resources Limited, Inc (TRLMI), the largest privately held provider of maritime training in the Western United States, purchased the on line titles from the Philips Publishing Group and officially took ownership of the digital publications last September.

“We are in the business of providing mariners with knowledge through education,” said TRLMI CEO Dave Abrams. “Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine have been providing knowledge through current industry news for decades, so they are a natural extension of our existing business. The titles give us the ability to provide mariners and commercial fishermen with advocacy and news about the industries we train them for. After 6 months of learning the markets, we are ready to bring the print editions back to life.”

President of Philips Publishing Group Peter Philips and his brother Chris Philips, who served as publications’ managing editor, are delighted that TRLMI will be continuing publishing these magazines.

Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine are the most widely circulated and highly regarding industry titles on the Pacific Coast,” he said. “I can’t think of a better successor to Philips Publishing than a business involved in the education of mariners.”

Go to maritimepublishing.com for more information.

New Port of San Diego Commissioner Sworn In

Port of San Diego’s newest board commissioner representing National City is Sandy Naranjo, who was sworn into office virtually earlier this month.

The political economist and labor and environmental justice advocate joins the seven-member board that governs the Southern California port. She has served in various committees, including the National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis to the Sweetwater Authority Citizen Advisory Committee, the AB 617 steering committee to advise the San Diego Air Pollution Control District and the California Energy Commission’s Advisory Committee for the Clean Transportation Program Investment Plan, according to the port.

“Commissioner Naranjo’s background in environmental justice and economics will serve us well as we strive to balance the diversity of interests on our vibrant waterfront,” said Chairman-Elect Michael Zucchet, “She brings a bold and progressive perspective that will benefit our communities.”

Matson Announces Initial 4th Quarter Results

Honolulu-based Matson, Inc. on Monday the initial financial results of its fourth quarter.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Cox said Matson ended a strong year with continued solid performance in the fourth quarter from Ocean Transportation and Logistics amid the challenging effects caused by COVID-19.

"Within Ocean Transportation, our China service saw significant demand for its CLX and CLX+ expedited ocean services through year end and was the primary driver of the increase in consolidated operating income year-over-year,” he said in a press release. “We continued to see favorable supply and demand dynamics in the transpacific trade lane during the quarter, and we continue to expect largely all of these trends to remain favorable in the first half of 2021 as the pandemic persists. As the pandemic subsides with widespread vaccination, we expect some of the supply and demand factors that we are currently benefiting from to remain and continue to drive demand for our CLX and CLX+ services."

In its other core tradelanes, Matson saw a rising demand for sustenance and home improvement goods, which led to increased quarterly year-over-year volume growth in Hawaii, Alaska and Guam, Cox added.

Logistics operating income rose year-over-year due to more “goods consumption and inventory restocking and tight supply and demand fundamentals in our core markets.”

The company anticipates its fourth quarter operating income for Ocean Transportation to be $100 million to $105 million and Logistics operating income to be $8 million to $9 million. Net income and diluted EPS for the fourth quarter is expected to be $76.1 to $81.6 million and $1.74 to $1.87, respectively, according to Matson.

Port of Camas-Washougal Honored for Award

The Port of Camas-Washougal has been honored with the Washington Public Ports Association’s 2020 Community Engagement Award.

The port won the award for its work with stakeholders on the 10-year Parker’s Landing Waterfront Development project. In its application, the port spoke about its community interaction over the project slated at a former lumber site along the Columbia River in east Clark County.

Since the mill’s shutter in 2010, the port implemented cleanup efforts and engaged community members in a series of open houses for the public, which “viewed this site as a natural beauty for its access to the Columbia River and a great place for a commercial development. The main messages were this site would have public access to the river along with the commercial development.”

Residents - including schools - also added input on waterfront trail and park features.

“The public had been a part of the process since day one and helped mold and develop the vision for the final Master Plan,” the port said.

Friday, January 8, 2021

USCG, Navy Search for Fishing Vessel Crew

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy are trying to locate a life raft possibly used by crew members of a Taiwanese fishing vessel found adrift about 550 miles northeast of Midway Island.

Rescue Coordination Center Taipei first reported on New Year’s Eve night that it lost contact with the vessel Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18, the agency said.

When Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu watchstanders tried a number of times to make contact with the vessel without any response, a they sent out a SafetyNet broadcast, reached out to area commercial vessels and deployed an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew to look for the Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18.

Hercules found the vessel and tried to contact the crew but no one responded. Poor weather and low fueled limited Hercules’ ability to further investigate the vessel, but Hercules was able to capture images of the vessel. An analysis of the images showed ship damage and a missing life raft. As many as 10 crew members could have been on the raft, the USCG said.

USCG Cutter Polar Star Heads
to Dutch Harbor, Alaska

For the first time since 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star returned to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, last Tuesday.

The Seattle-based heavy icebreaker was there for a logistics stop as part of a months-long deployment in the Arctic to safeguard the country’s maritime sovereignty and security in the polar area, which include patrolling the Bering and Chukchi Seas and the Maritime Boundary Line between the U.S. and Russia.

The crew supported scientific research efforts such as deploying four ice buoys as part of a scientific partnership with the University of Washington and Office of Naval Research. The crew also sent multiple sensors to study Arctic waters for the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

While at Dutch Harbor, no one will be allowed on or off the vessel to minimize COVID-19 exposure, unless it’s for pre-approved logistical reasons.

From Dutch Harbor, Polar Star crew members will head north and “continue to hone the crew’s icebreaking proficiency, conduct scientific research, and patrol to detect and deter illegal fishing by foreign vessels in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone,” the agency said.

Maritime High School to Open in September

When it opens in September, the new Maritime High School will host its first ninth grade class. The new high school was born out of a partnership between the Highline Public Schools, the Northwest Maritime Center, the Port of Seattle, and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, along with various community and industry members to support students.

“Student learning will center on the environment, marine science, and maritime careers working on or near the water,” according to the port. “To do this, students will engage in integrated projects, learning across all high school content areas.”

There will be classroom time, distance learning and regular experience in the field and boat-based learning. Students will be able to do internships in their junior and senior years to garner workforce skills and experience.

By the time they graduate, students will have the skillset to start a Maritime career, ready to continue on to a 2 or 4-year college, the port said.

Sessions via Zoom are set for 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 and 6 p.m. on Jan. 21 for English speakers. For Spanish speakers, there’s a session at 6 p.m. on Jan. 11.

For more, visit https://www.highlineschools.org/school-learning-sites/choice-schools/maritime-high-school.

Port of Bellingham Officers Chosen for 2021

Ken Bell will be this year’s president of the Port of Bellingham’s Board of Commissioners, while fellow commissioners Michael Shepard and Bobby Briscoe will serve as vice president and secretary, respectively, for 2021, the port has announced.

Bell will also represent the port on the Whatcom Council of Governments and the Whatcom County Economic Development Investment Program Committee.

Briscoe will be the port representative for the Washington Public Ports Association, while Shepard will serve on Western Crossing (Shared Port and Western Washington University Development Entity).

The port commission will meet regularly at 4 p.m. in the Harbor Center Conference Room at 1801 Roeder Ave. in Bellingham. The next meeting is set for Jan. 19. In light of public safety amid COVID-19, the public will be able to participate in the meeting via Zoom video conferencing. Meetings will be streamed live and archived on the port’s YouTube Channel.

For more on accessing the meetings, reach out to Carey Jones at 360-715-7386 or by email at careyj@portofbellingham.com.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Charting a New Course

By Dave Abrams, Publisher

We made it! A new year – good riddance 2020! I know the storm is not over yet, but with the promise of the new vaccines, I think we can see the dark clouds lifting on the horizon. I recognize that I am the eternal optimist, but I have a good feeling 2021 is going to end up as a much improved version of its older brother.

I have a number of New Year rituals. Of course there is the standard post-holiday diet, cleaning off all the paper that had accumulated on my desk all year, and taking some time to reflect on what we accomplished. Then it’s on to the new plans. As the saying goes “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. Or for us mariners, that would be “any course will take you there”. No prudent mariner would leave port without a plan of where they were going and the route they were taking to get there. Each year is a new voyage for me – or three actually – one for my personal life, family life and business life. I set my goals for each of these three areas, and then chart my course on how to achieve those goals. I don’t always complete every voyage (especially when a global pandemic gets tossed in the way), but I always make progress, and get a chance to try again next year!

Whatever your new year rituals are, I wish all of you safe journeys and best wishes for a successful 2021!

You can reach Dave Abrams at dave@maritimepublishing.com

NOAA, USAID Ink MOU to Fight Illegal Fishing

NOAA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are teaming up to tackle illegal fishing, thanks to a new memorandum of understanding signed by both organizations to address the ongoing issue, which threatens food security, economies, fisheries and marine environments.

The MOU – which builds upon NOAA’s broader efforts with the U.S. State Department and U.S. Coast Guard – allows the agencies to further support one another’s programs, raise awareness of the innovative ways illegal fishing is being addressed with the help of public and private sector alliances and further incentivize compliance and consequences for disobeying fisheries rules.

“Together, our two agencies are well positioned to help nations combat IUU fishing practices which have emerged as a leading maritime security threat and are associated with human rights abuses and other forms of transnational crime,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “I commend the staff of NOAA and USAID who worked to develop this agreement, and thank all those who work every day to stop IUU fishing through diplomacy, enforcement, and science.”

Passenger-less Cruise Ships to Stop
at Port of L.A.

In the coming weeks, passenger-less cruise ships will be making pit stops at the Port of Angeles for fuel, supplies and services, the port said Dec. 28.

Ships from Princess Cruises, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line are expected to come to L.A. and dock at the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal. Over two dozen cruise ships are expected at the port through early February, the port said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has halted cruise operations since March, the visits for fuel and supplies are “part of the cruise lines’ operations to reestablish the ships in U.S. waters as a prerequisite to meet federal regulations in order to resume cruising in the future,” according to the port, adding that a date hasn’t been set for U.S. passenger sailings.

Meanwhile, the port continues to track the situation closely and work with emergency and public health agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

For more, go to www.lawaterfront.org.

Port of Oakland Extends PLAs

Port of Oakland officials have added five more years to a project labor agreement that allows the hiring of East Bay workers for port construction projects.

The agreement - first negotiated in 2016 between the port and local labor groups - will further boost the number and pay of local hires and disadvantaged workers seeking trades careers. So far, local trades people have earned more than $19 million and 2,336 residents joined the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County apprenticeship programs because of the PLA in place, the port said.

"Our agreement specifically addresses the need to increase participation of local, minority and disadvantaged workers," said Port of Oakland Director of Social Responsibility Amy Tharpe. "It also strengthens key partnerships within industry and labor so that we can prepare our workforce for a post-pandemic construction environment.”

USCG Cutter Active Returns to Port Angeles

After 46 days in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active came back to its Port Angeles homeport Dec. 18.

The crew of the 210-foot medium endurance cutter travelled 10,056 nautical miles patrolling the Central American coast and teaming up with U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew members from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) to locate and prevent drug smuggling vessels.

Cutter Active also partnered with Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team, which added to the unit’s enforcement capabilities.

During the deployment, Active crew members interdicted a pair of suspected drug smuggling vessels, took control of about $159 million worth of cocaine and held 13 suspected narcotics traffickers.

“The Active crew gave everything to this deployment,” said Cmdr. James O’Mara, Active's commanding officer. “We proved our readiness by adapting to an unscheduled embarkation of a HITRON helo and seamlessly integrated that crew. We cancelled port calls, extended patrol legs, stretched our fuel state and food stores to the limit, all in support of this mission. The crew answered the call, and they executed with distinction. Our success traces back to the support from our families – and these results serve as a capstone for an entire year of operational results, which have confirmed, for me, that no crew compares to Active. Period.”