Friday, April 23, 2021

Inbound Cargo at Top U.S. Ports Rises a Combined 43%

 Loaded inbound cargo traffic at the top five U.S. West Coast ports rose 43.6% in February compared with the same month last year, according to newly released data from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

The five biggest ports -- Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma -- saw a combined 967,931 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, or TEUs, come across their docks, compared with 673,845 units during the same month last year, PMSA data show. Canada’s Port of Vancouver also saw a big bump in traffic, registering 146,659 TEUs in February, compared to 114,201 units the year before, a 28.4% increase.

“Those five ports in California and Washington state collectively handled 50.3% of all inbound loads discharged at the sixteen American ports we track,” the PMSA explained in a statement. “That was up sharply from their 42.9% share a year earlier.”

The news was not as positive for outbound loaded TEUs at those same ports. The San Pedro Bay ports -- L.A. and Long Beach -- saw a combined 15.2% drop in full container exports compared to February 2020. The Northwest Seaport Alliance (comprised of Seattle and Tacoma) experienced a 13.6% drop in loaded outbound TEUs. Overall, the big five U.S. ports experienced a combined 14.1% decline in full exports from the same month a year ago, while Vancouver, Canada’s volumes were down 17.3%.

The 936,004 loaded TEU exports that sailed from mainland U.S. ports in February was the lowest number since last May’s 819,877 TEUs, PMSA-compiled data show.

USCG To Decommission Cutter Munro

 This Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro is expected to be formally decommissioned after serving for 49 years, the USCG announced this week.

Named after Medal of Honor recipient and Signalman First Class Douglas Albert Munro, the vessel is the Coast Guard’s lone remaining 378-foot Hamilton class cutter.

The decommissioning is scheduled to take place at Coast Guard Base Kodiak with limited attendance and is expected to include Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard; Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area; and Capt. Riley Gatewood, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro.

The ceremony will recognize the cutter’s legacy and the USCG personnel who have served as Cutter Munro’s crew members throughout the years.

The event, which is scheduled for 11 am Alaska Daylight Time on Saturday (noon Pacific time), can be viewed at

Tribal, Canadian Marinas Remain Closed

 In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, certain tribal and Canadian marinas will remain closed to mariners, the U.S. Coast Guard said April 21.

The reminder comes as Washington state boat ramps and recreational fishing is reopening.

As of Tuesday, Neah Bay and the Makah Reservation on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County, Washington will stay closed to all visitors, including the Makah Marina and boat launch. Non-tribal sport and commercial fisheries won’t be able to access the Makah Reservation and land or sea entry is prohibited.

Also, until further notice, the Makah Marina Mini-Mart won’t offer marine fuel to non-residents.

For more information on this, visit or call the Harbormaster at (360) 645-3015 or the Big Salmon Fishing Resort at (866) 787-1900.

In the case of the Quileute Nation, fuel will only be sold on a case-by-case basis, but visitors cannot leave their vessels. Mariners must call ahead to make sure of availability at the Quileute Marina at 360-374-5392. Other services will not be available.

“All Canadian ports/marinas remain closed to U.S. boaters,” according to the USCG. “For U.S. boaters seeking entry to Canada, please call in and report to a Canada Border Services Agency at a designated reporting site and state the purpose of your trip.”

If it’s considered essential travel, visitors will be allowed to enter and asked to quarantine for 14 days. If not, visitors will be turned away.

“We ask that in addition to planning for a safe boating excursion, you also plan ahead so you don’t find yourself in a situation in which you might need to stop at a tribal or Canadian marina for fuel or supplies,” said Cmdr. Torey Bertheau, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

Port of Everett Formalizes Economic, Jobs Partnership

 The Port of Everett has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Kansas City-based industrial developer NorthPoint Development, LLC to help attract companies to the 4,000-acre Cascade Industrial Center in North Snohomish County, the port revealed this week.

The MOU allows the parties to team up on efforts to draw importers and exporters, develop recruitment leads and take part in a new Center of Excellence for Mechanical Engineering that’s focused on instrumentation and fabrication, the port said.

The MOU also allows the port to broaden its Foreign Trade Zone outside the port district to “create magnet ‘tax-free’ zones within NorthPoint’s development site, providing an attractive business incentive and a recruitment tool to foster new shipping opportunities and cargo diversification efforts,” according to the port.

“NorthPoint is a first-class company and community developer,” Port CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with NorthPoint and working collaboratively to leverage the valuable investments being made here with the port’s international Seaport logistics and our unique economic development tools we hold as a Port District, including our FTZ expansion capacity.”

Matson Forgoes May Layberth at Port of Olympia

 A plan to have a Matson Inc. vessel arrive at Port of Olympia for layberth has been put on hold.

The Honolulu-based company recently notified the port of its decision to keep its vessel in service at this time rather than laying it up at the port.

“While we are disappointed, this turn of events is not shocking given the volatility in the market right now,” said port Executive Director Sam Gibboney. “The international shipping market can change in a matter of days or even hours, and we are still in uncertain times and must be prepared for surprises.”

Olympia remains in talks with Matson over a possible layberth in the future, possibly in the fourth quarter of this year, the port said.

Meanwhile, the m/v The Dream (the former Evergreen State ferry that was sold in late 2020) is at the port for the layberth until at least June 30, according to the port.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Port of Everett Gains New Tenant

Space company Off Planet Research, LLC has inked a new lease with the Port of Everett for 2,156 square feet of space at the former Ameron pole manufacturing site, the port announced Monday.

The firm, which makes “manufactured soils and ice to emulate extra-terrestrial planets, and provides a laboratory testing environment and materials to ensure equipment durability despite abrasive lunar dust,” will open next month on the property along West Marine View Drive between 10th and 13th streets.

"OPR is excited to be making the move to the Port of Everett," said Melissa Roth, OPR co-owner and lead researcher. "We are looking forward to meeting and working with local companies, including those outside the traditional space and aerospace sector.”

Off Planet’s move to Everett marks the beginning of a vision by the port to reimagine the eight-acre former brownfield site into the new Maritime, Exploration and Innovation Complex, a job space dedicated to blue economies.

The port plans to have as many as five mid-sized companies at the complex, which could generate 293 new jobs on site and another 250 indirect jobs.

“OPR’s decision to locate in our emerging Maritime, Exploration and Innovation Complex marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the Port of Everett and Snohomish County,” Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “We are thrilled that OPR’s work creates new synergies with local instrumentation developers and offers diversity to the local economy and new job opportunities for the county’s large advanced manufacturing workforce.”

Matson Releases Preliminary Q1 Results

 Ahead of its first quarter earnings call set for April 27, Matson, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Cox recently said the company’s 2021 is “off to a strong start” with solid performance from Ocean Transportation and Logistics.

"Within Ocean Transportation, our China service continued to see significant demand for its CLX (China-Long Beach Express) and CLX+ expedited ocean services as volume for e-commerce and other high demand goods remained elevated, which resulted in very strong pre- and post-Lunar New Year volumes,” he said. “Our financial performance in the China service was the primary driver of the increase in consolidated operating income year-over-year.”

He predicted that ongoing supply chain congestion, particularly at the California ports, will likely continue through the second quarter and peak season.

“We also expect demand in the Transpacific trade lane to remain favorable as elevated consumption trends, including heightened e-commerce activity, are expected to continue beyond the second quarter,” Cox explained. “Consequently, we expect significant demand for our expedited CLX and CLX+ services to remain throughout the peak season into late October.”

LA Port Promenade Project Progresses

The $70.8 million Wilmington Waterfront Promenade project near the Port of Los Angeles is well underway, with a 2023 completion anticipated, officials have revealed.

Since breaking ground in October, crews have been hard at work on the project, which calls for a new community park near the Banning’s Landing Community Center, as well as a waterfront promenade, public pier, public dock for commercial boats, a 2,500-sq. ft. space for commercial development and Water Street upgrades, according to the port.

“The whole team at the port has done a wonderful job on the Wilmington Waterfront project, made themselves available to the community throughout the planning process and really listened to suggestions and ideas,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner Lucia Moreno-Linares. “After many years of hard work, we can really see this project starting to come together.”

Meanwhile, the Avalon Promenade & Gateway, which complements the Waterfront Project, is in the design phase, with construction of Phase One to begin in 2023. When completed, the $23.8 million first phase is expected to include a new pedestrian bridge along Avalon Boulevard. Phase Two involves linking Avalon Boulevard to the waterfront, and features an entry plaza and new public space.

“The Wilmington Waterfront Promenade and upcoming Avalon Promenade & Gateway are so important in connecting the Wilmington community with its historic waterfront,” said port Director of Waterfront and Commercial Real Estate Mike Galvin. “These two projects will create more open space for recreational activities and provide tremendous economic benefits by activating the Avalon Corridor and Wilmington’s commercial core.”

Port of Long Beach Awards Asthma Project Grants

 Local medical groups will receive nearly $3.7 million in grants from the Port of Long Beach’s Community Grants Program to offer asthma assistance to underserved communities.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services will administer the $3 million port grant for The Children's Clinic, St. Mary Medical Center, and the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, which will unite to serve as much of the community as possible with little overlap.

Pools of Hope has said that it will use its $649,195 port grant to partner with the LAC+USC Breathmobile on a mobile clinic unit that will visit school children in North Long Beach, Compton and Paramount.

“These selections ensure our funding will impact the maximum number of people, which is a fundamental goal of the Community Grants Program,” said Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We would like to thank the advisory committee and port staff who work hard to administer our efforts to improve air quality impacts on those affected by goods movement.”