Friday, March 26, 2021

NWSA Welcomes New Zim Transpacific Service

This week, the Northwest Seaport Alliance welcomed Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.’s new expedited transpacific service.

The ZIM Southeast Asia E-commerce Express, which stopped at Husky Terminal for the first time Tuesday with the vessel Jackson Bay, offers shippers more ways to move cargo between the Seattle/Tacoma ports and Southeast Asia by providing a fast option for handling time-sensitive products. For this service, the company has committed seven sprinter ships.

“We have recently upgraded Husky Terminal, investing $250 million in modernization projects that include strengthening and realigning the berth and adding eight new super-post-Panamax cranes,” Port of Tacoma Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair Dick Marzano said in a statement. “Investments such as this and the Terminal 5 modernization in the Seattle Harbor are adding critical capacity and living wage jobs in our gateway.”

The NWSA is the port authority based in the Puget Sound region, comprising the Seattle and Tacoma seaports.

Oyster Project Nets Grant

The Port of San Diego and California Coastal Conservancy have received a $960,533 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant for their Native Oyster Living Shoreline Project installed next to the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve in San Diego Bay.

The $1.38 million pilot project, designed to help bolster the biodiversity and resiliency of a native oyster reef, could be installed in the coming months depending on the native oyster recruitment season, the port said. It was one of eight projects awarded grants this year. The Conservancy will fund the $419,467 not covered by the grant.

“We are honored to be among other great projects that received grant funding for wetlands restorations and enhancements throughout California,” said Port Commission Chairman Michael Zucchet. “We continue to move forward at a steady pace to be able to start the project and place the first nature-based solution of its kind in San Diego Bay. Living shoreline solutions like this have been gaining momentum throughout the state in recent years and we are eager to add one within our jurisdiction.”

Los Angeles and Nagoya Ports Talk Collaboration

In a virtual meeting earlier this month, representatives from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Nagoya, Japan, spoke about ways to work together on shared environmental and sustainability project priorities.

The March 9 meeting, which came a year after the pair agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding to regularly partner and share information on environmental matters, encompassed updates on various initiatives, including the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan; Wabtec’s Port Optimizer, and Toyota’s Hydrogen Utilization Study in Chubu.

“We’re very proud of our collaboration with the Port of Nagoya, particularly since advancing digital technology and fostering more sustainable, environmentally friendly operations is something that both of us greatly value,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The cooperation facilitated by this agreement—a testament to our strong relationship spanning more than 60 years—has been extremely beneficial in advancing our mutual goals.”

The Port of Nagoya has been designated by the Japanese government to host a Carbon Neutral Port Committee, said Governor Hideaki Ohmura, Aichi Prefecture, and president of the Nagoya Port Authority.

“We are committed to leading that effort to realize a decarbonized society and look forward to cooperation from the Port of Los Angeles,” Ohmura said. “We hope that our two ports will continue to prosper under this partnership.”

NOAA Upgrades Global Forecast System
Weather Model

NOAA’s Global Forecast System weather model is being enhanced with various features to improve performance, including the forecasting of hurricanes and rain and modeling for snowfall locations, the agency announced March 22.

The system will include the WaveWatchiII global wave model, which would allow NOAA to predict ocean waves as far as 16 days in advance.

In addition, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction production suite will merge atmospheric and wave forecast information for release together. Upgrades also include improving atmospheric physics to expand snow and precipitation forecasting capabilities.

“This substantial upgrade to the GFS, along with ongoing upgrades to our supercomputing capacity, demonstrates our commitment to advancing weather forecasting to fulfill our mission of protecting life and property,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

“Today’s upgrade also establishes a strong foundation for further planned enhancements that will allow for the assimilation of even more data into the model.”

Meanwhile, NOAA is also updating its Global Data Assimilation System, which allows the model to take in more information from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, “as well as flight-level wind, temperature and moisture observations from aircraft,” the agency said.

“These upgrades are part of the Next Generation Global Prediction System within the Unified Forecast System framework, which is an ongoing effort to leverage the expertise of the broader weather community and expedite the research to operations pathway,” Vijay Tallapragada, chief of the modeling and data assimilation branch at NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center, explained. “By coupling the WaveWatchIII and GFS models, we will extend current wave forecasts and integrate wave forecasting into the global model to streamline model products.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Energy-Friendly Del Monte Ships Arrive
at Port of Hueneme

The first of two modern, energy-saving ships from Del Monte recently made its way to the Port of Hueneme, the port said.

Port CEO & Director Kristin Decas and officials from Del Monte, Ports America, A.R. Savage and Son LLC and Moran Shipping Agencies welcomed the March 19 arrival of Del Monte Valiant. A second ship, the Del Monte Harvester, is expected to arrive in the coming days.

“Del Monte is our longest-standing customer at the port,” Oxnard Harbor District President Jason T. Hodge said in a statement. “This development shows 42 years of cooperation and collaboration between Del Monte and the Port of Hueneme, and we look forward to many more years of success.”

The pair is part of a new fleet of six, capable of carrying 1,276 TEUs with 634 plugs to accommodate 40-foot-tall, temperature-controlled cube reefer units. They are also equipped with a Hybrid Scrubber system.

“We have been working towards this goal since 2017 and could not be more excited to see it come to fruition,” said Helmuth Lutty, Senior Vice President of Shipping Operations for Fresh Del Monte Produce. “As one of the world’s leading producer, marketer and distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables, we have set a very high bar for all the reefer containers and ships in our fleet. These six new vessels set the bar even higher, and allow us to deliver the high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables we are known for while meeting our sustainability goals.”

Imports Rise at Port of Oakland

After a dip of nearly 12 percent in January, imported cargo at the Port of Oakland rose 26.2 percent in February compared to the same time last year, according to new numbers released March 15.

The Northern California port handled 80,200 TEUs in imports last month, its busiest February on record.

Meanwhile, the port moved 69,588 TEUs in loaded exports, an 11% drop from the same time a year ago. A reason for the decline? Not enough space on ships for exporters to load their goods.

Other than the January decline -- which was due to congestion at Southern California ports that delayed ship arrivals at Oakland -- import numbers at Oakland have been trending upward since the summer as consumer spending rises.

“It’s what we expected,” said Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Oakland continues to benefit from an unrelenting trade boom. We also completed the assembly of three new giant cranes, which will further improve efficiency.”

Engineers Call Port of LA Optimizer a ‘Gamechanger’

Earlier this month, the Port of Los Angeles received the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Gamechanger award for its Port Optimizer, a tool designed to give stakeholders up-to-data necessary to improve cargo flow among the supply chain.

“Harnessing the power of data to improve cargo efficiency continues to be a priority for the Port of Los Angeles, and our Port Optimizer is at the center of that effort,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are thrilled to be honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers for our digital approach to improving the performance and fluidity of the port supply chain.”

The award honors projects and programs that push innovation in infrastructure.

“The efficiency of our nation’s ports is essential to delivering goods in a timely manner and keeping the economy moving,” said ASCE President Jean-Louis Briaud. “While many of our efforts to prevent backlogs at these facilities is focused on dredging and the design of intermodal connectors, software can play a major role in keeping track of containers. I applaud the Port of Los Angeles and Wabtec Corp. for developing innovative technology that can help productivity at ports across the nation.”

New Charging Stations Installed at Port of Bellingham

Electric vehicle owners traveling in Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham will have new places to charge up, thanks to the Port of Bellingham, which recently installed six new charging stations.

The stations are located at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Fairhaven Station and in the Bellwether Garage next to Squalicum Harbor.

“Port waterfront infrastructure and large sectors of Whatcom County’s economy are on the front lines of global climate change,” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “Sea level rise, increasing ocean temperatures, and changes to weather patterns are just a few of the challenges facing our community. The port is committed to environmental stewardship and supporting the transition to electric vehicles in an important part of the solution towards mitigating the negative impacts of climate change.”

There is growing demand for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, with more than 50,000 electric vehicles registered in Washington, Fix said.

“The port now has electric vehicle charging stations at all major public transportation terminals in Whatcom County including Bellingham International Airport, the Alaska ferry, Amtrak and Greyhound,” said Fix. “There are also charging stations near the port’s marinas in Bellingham and Blaine, and the port will continue to look for opportunities to expand its electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet the essential transportation needs of Whatcom County.”