Friday, April 16, 2021

Port of Los Angeles Boasts Record Cargo

The Port of Los Angeles last month posted its busiest March and best first quarter ever, according to data released this week.

The nation’s busiest seaport handled 957,599 TEUs, a 113% jump from the same time last year, giving the port its biggest year-over-year increase in a given month, data show.

The port moved 490,115 TEUs in imports last month, a 123% spike from March 2020, while it handled 122,899 TEUs in loaded exports, a 1.5% year-over-year increase. Empty containers, which have been in high demand in Asia, soared 219% from March 2020 with 344,585 TEUs.

“As more Americans get vaccinated, businesses reopen and the economy strengthens, consumers continue to purchase goods at a dizzying pace,” said port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “I applaud our longshore labor force, truckers, terminal operators and supply chain partners who are working day and night to process the additional cargo.

Overall, the port has seen 44% more cargo this year so far when compared to the same time last year.

“Collectively, we have been able to significantly reduce the amount of container vessels awaiting offshore,” said Seroka. “I’m also proud of the steady progress being made to vaccinate waterfront workers at the port’s on-site location and elsewhere.”

NOAA Selects Contractor for Alaska Port Facility Upgrade

Alaska-based firm Ahtna Infrastructure & Technologies, LLC has been chosen to work on NOAA’s port facility improvement project in Ketchikan, Alaska, the agency announced.

Ahtna was awarded the $18,771,041 contract to remove the current pier and related buildings and accomplish a number of upgrades, which include building a new office, large floating pier, steel access trestle and upgraded utility systems to serve ships.

“This NOAA port revitalization project is a great example of building back better by investing in modern and sustainable infrastructure,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The improvements to NOAA’s Ketchikan facility will enable the agency to support safe navigation and commerce in Alaska and the region more effectively than ever.”

When the project is finished in December 2022, NOAA will have an Alaskan homeport to support Ketchikan-based NOAA ship Fairweather and other visiting ships.

“We look forward to serving Alaska and the nation from this greatly improved facility,” said Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, deputy director of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. “This represents a major milestone in NOAA’s effort to recapitalize the agency’s fleet and supporting infrastructure.”

Port of Seattle OKs Funds for Pier 86 Study

Funds for a cost and feasibility study to restore the Pier 86 Public Fishing Pier has been approved by the Port of Seattle Commission.

The study, to be performed jointly with the Expedia Group and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will look into what it will take to rebuild the pier with a “ferry float” to transport commuters locally and to the Expedia Campus, which opened near Pier 86.

Expedia Group is contributing $250,000, while the Department of Fish and Wildlife is providing to $167,000 to help fund the study.

“It is critical that we determine the best path forward to returning this great public benefit back to the Seattle waterfront for greater access that provides public equity,” said Port Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck. “By taking the time to study the engineering demands and construction costs of a new pier, we can best steward our public and private funds so the public has the confidence that we have used these resources wisely and will benefit everyone.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is excited about the public/private partnership which will bring back public fishing to Pier 86, a high priority for the department since the facility closed in 2018, said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife North Puget Sound Regional Director Brendan Brokes.

“We look forward to seeing this project along for public benefit,” Brokes said.

The study will eventually come before the commission for review, with Site Analysis and Design and Project Budget work to be finished by July. Permit documents and implementing agreements could be done by January 2022 if partners agree to move forward, the port said.

USCG Debuts Mobile Communications Vehicle

For the first time in a training exercise, the U.S. Coast Guard recently deployed its mobile communication vehicle (MCV) to Juneau, Alaska.

The vehicle is one of three MCVs sent to participate in a joint training exercise with Coast Guard 17th District and Coast Guard Sector Juneau continuity of operations. The vehicle, which can offer communication and internet capabilities, gives first responders expanded capabilities in the event of an emergency, disaster recovery, and other activities.

“Each year the 17th District and Sector Juneau simulate a loss of their primary workspaces that requires them to exercise the evacuation, relocation and resumption of Coast Guard mission essential functions at various designated alternate locations,” explained Chief Petty Officer Suzanne Bitinas, operations specialist, 17th District. “Communication systems such as the MCV deployed during these continuity exercises are critical as they provide redundant and reliable communication systems that further ensure Coast Guard support of its critical mission areas.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Port of Long Beach Shatters Monthly
Cargo Record

For the ninth straight month, the Port of Long Beach shattered cargo volume records, with March volumes reaching 840,387 TEUs, up 62.3% from the same time a year ago, according to new numbers released by the port April 8.

March - a month that is traditionally slow for shippers – proved to be the busiest month for the port on record, beating Long Beach’s previous record of 815,885 TEUs, which was set in December 2020.

Meanwhile, the port handled 74% more in imports than March 2020 with 408,172 TEUs. The POLB also moved 139,710 TEUs in exports, a 3.9% drop year over year, while empty containers rose 112.5% to 292,505 TEUs.

“Although the pandemic is receding, consumers are spending less on travel this year and turning toward online retail in unprecedented numbers to purchase exercise equipment, office furniture and home improvement items,” Port Executive Director Mario Cordero explained. “The demand for e-commerce is happening more quickly than we anticipated, but we will continue to collaborate with our industry stakeholders to catch up with the unprecedented cargo volume at our gateway.”

Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna said the port was pleased that many who work on the waterfront have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and are keeping cargo flow moving.

“Even as we set records, the economy is still in recovery mode, so it is vital to keep our supply chain workforce strong,” he said.

Elliott Bay Design Group Names New President

Industry veteran Robert Ekse has been named the new president of naval architecture and marine engineering for the firm Elliott Bay Design Group by its Board of Directors, the company announced Monday.

Ekse, who was previously the firm’s project operations director, takes over from current president and Chief Engineer Brian King, who is retiring after 33 years with the company. King plans to stay active in EBDG projects on a limited basis as principal emeritus.

“Brian will be deeply missed, but his many accomplishments will be a reminder of his contributions to our industry, our company and our future,” said John Waterhouse, chair of EBDG’s Board of Directors. "As we look to the future, we are confident Robert's appointment will lead us to success as we grow and diversify internally and externally."

Ekse, a principal in the firm, will oversee the EBDG’s team and business affairs, including its subsidiary company, SeeSaw Services, and be tasked with furthering the firm’s big strategic objectives. He approaches the role with three decades of marine industry experience from well-known firms such as Vigor, Alaska Marine Highway System, Alaska Ship & Drydock and Crowley Marine Services.

"Robert is a natural leader who empowers and motivates those around him,” King said. “His hands-on approach to management coupled with his energy and commitment will guide the company to many great achievements. I am very excited to be leaving the leadership of this company in such capable hands.”

Port of Everett Welcomes 1st Cargo Ship to New Modern Terminal

Earlier this month, the M/V Westwood Columbia became the first cargo vessel to arrive at the Port of Everett’s newly improved South Terminal.

“This momentous occasion brings years of planning and $57 million in strategic capital investment to fruition,” Port Chief Operating Officer Carl Wollebek said. “This new terminal allows us to market our facilities to larger ships and heavier cargoes to keep our region competitive and support the port’s cargo diversification and economic recovery efforts.”

Capt. Mike Ross, vice president of Westwood’s Marine Operations and Vessel Safety, said that having the upgraded South Terminal now available will enhance the opportunities for bringing in bigger products and more business to the city and for Westwood Shipping Lines, the largest shipping line servicing the Port of Everett.

“We look forward to growing our business relationship with the Port of Everett, and being able to offer the increased crane capacity is certainly going to open up more business opportunities for both of us,” Ross said.

USCG Cutter Kimball Returns to Honolulu

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kimball returned to Honolulu on Friday after 82 days at sea.

During that time, crew members of the 420-foot Legend-class National Security Cutter returned after finishing an expeditionary patrol that supported military operations in the Pacific Ocean, the agency said.

They partnered on a number of missions, including search and rescue and IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing enforcement operations.

“I’m tremendously proud of my crew’s exceptional performance, especially considering how their dedication and teamwork allowed them to overcome the many challenges associated with operating by ourselves for long periods of time in remote locations and the difficulties created by the global pandemic,” the Kimball’s commanding officer, Capt. Holly Harrison, said. “They adapted and overcame every obstacle and challenge put in their way.”

Crew members queried 21 foreign fishing vessels, and boarded six that provided “vital information reports for the partners in their efforts to combat IUU,” according to the agency.

“The National Security Cutters bring a capacity and capability into the Coast Guard which are truly game changing when it comes to curbing IUU in the Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Sibley, commander of Coast Guard 14th District. “Patrols such as the Kimball’s display these cutters’ ability to cover large swaths of the Pacific and support our partners in joint conservation efforts while contributing to the overall stability of the region.”