Friday, July 16, 2021

New Research Asserts Supply Chain Issues Drive Congestion at West Coast Ports

New research commissioned by the Pacific Maritime Association says that problems throughout the supply chain drive much of the cargo congestion at West Coast ports.

John Martin, the maritime economist heading the research, asserts that much of what’s slowing cargo movement happens away from the docks.

That includes overfilled warehouses and not having enough available shipping containers, rail cars, trucks or equipment to get the job done. This has caused backlogs at terminals and cargo ships at local seaports, which are experiencing record cargo movement.

“The San Pedro Bay Ports are of monumental importance to the economy of Southern California, as well as California’s statewide economy,” PMA CEO Jim McKenna said in a released statement. “This important new research makes clear that the ongoing terminal and vessel backlogs result from a cumulative collapse of the entire logistics supply chain, overwhelmed by the historic cargo surge.”

“As the supply chain continues to struggle to meet the demands of this historic import surge, we must work collaboratively across industries to identify solutions that span our entire logistics network,” McKenna said.

Everett Port Officials Break Ground on Terminal Project

The Port of Everett and local and federal officials celebrated the beginning of a long-planned $36 million Norton Terminal project Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony at the former Kimberly-Clark mill site.

Thursday’s event was a big moment for the port, marking the site’s final cleanup of the site to make way for a new marine terminal. It’s the centerpiece of the port’s “Mills to Maritime” initiative, an over $100 million plan to redevelop the old mill site into a new hub for maritime business, according to the port.

“This project is mission critical to this community and the economic vitality of our working waterfront and region,” port CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “This work literally paves the way to our economic recovery, supporting cargo and industry diversification and restoring meaningful family-wage jobs to this site.”

Part of the funding for the work comes from a $17.75 million federal BUILD grant administered through MARAD and a $7.65 million Washington State Department of Ecology MTCA grant, the port said.

Norton Terminal is expected to open in Fall 2022. The project’s estimated to yield over 800 construction jobs and support about 950 jobs.

Port of Los Angeles Posts June Cargo Record

The Port of Los Angeles had its busiest June to date, handling 876,430 TEUs last month, a 27% jump from the same time a year ago, according to statistics released by the port Wednesday.

The port moved 27% more imports with 467,763 TEUs and handled 96,067 TEUs in exports last month, a 12% drop from June 2020 and the smallest amount of exported cargo in 16 years.

Meanwhile, Asia’s demand for empty containers continues. The port showed a 47% spike in empties, moving 312,600 TEUs last month.

The port closed its fiscal year ending on June 30 with nearly 11 million TEUs, a first for a Western Hemisphere seaport.

“Key economic indicators all suggest that U.S. consumer spending will remain strong through the remainder of 2021,” port Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Even as Americans return to airline travel, vacations and in-person events, retail sales and e-commerce remain robust.”

Fall-forward goods such as back-to-school and Halloween items are arriving at the port, with some retailers shipping year-end holiday products early, Seroka added.

“All signs point to a robust second half of the year, which is good news for the nearly 1 million residents in the region who have jobs tied to the San Pedro Bay port complex,” he said.

Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Sustainability Commitment Recognized for 4th Straight Year

The Northwest Seaport Alliance has earned 75 Green Supply Chain Partner honors for the fourth year in a row. The distinction recognizes NWSA’s commitment to protecting the environment through proactive and collaborative partnerships with supply chain partners, stakeholders and communities throughout the Puget Sound.

The 75 organizations selected for the honors represent various trade sectors, including ports, trucking companies, railroads, shipping lines, freight forwarders and air cargo carriers. The companies are recognized for their commitment to supply chain sustainability and going above and beyond to ensure that their operations are socially and environmentally friendly.

The NWSA gateway has made significant progress in sustainability, reducing diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions by more than 90% since 2005. The Alliance, which consists of the shipping operations of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, recently adopted its 2020 Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which sets the goal of phasing out diesel pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with seaport activities by 2050.

Also, through the implementation of the NWSA Clean Truck Program, all drayage trucks serving the international container terminals are model year 2007 or newer, which equates to 90% cleaner trucks serving NWSA terminals.

Additional initiatives include investing more than one million dollars to convert lighting to energy-efficient LED fixtures, habitat development, mitigation banking, and shore power use on terminals.

“By continuously improving our facilities, vehicles, equipment, policies, and practices, we are creating a cleaner and healthier environment for our community and employees,” the NWSA said in a statement.

The complete list of 75 honorees is featured in the June 2021 issue of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Crowley to Build, Operate 1st Fully Electric U.S. Tugboat

Crowley Maritime Corp. will build and operate eWolf, the first all-electric powered harbor tugboat that can complete a job without expending a drop of fuel, the company announced July 12.

The electric tug will replace one that consumes more than 30,000 gallons of diesel per year. The eTug, which will operate at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, is expected to be operational by mid-2023.

The 82-foot vessel with 70 tons of bollard pull advances Crowley and the maritime industry’s efforts toward sustainability and decarbonization. Over the first 10 years of its use, the operation of the eTug is expected to reduce 178 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter, and 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) versus a conventional tug.

The eTug will be built by Master Boat Builders in Coden, Alabama, utilizing the design and on-site construction management by Crowley Engineering Services and its recently integrated Jensen Maritime naval architecture and marine engineering group. The vessel’s battery system will be charged at a specially designed, shoreside station developed with Cochran Marine.

It will also feature a design that allows the vessel to operate fully electric with full performance capabilities – and zero carbon emissions, according to Crowley Maritime. The eTug will feature a fully integrated electrical package.

“Our dedicated shipbuilding employees are proud to be working with Crowley to lead innovation with the construction of this first-of-its-kind tugboat,” Master Boat Builders President Garrett Rice said. “This vessel will set a standard in the U.S. maritime industry for sustainability and performance, and its zero-emissions capability and autonomous technology will benefit the environment and the safety of mariners and vessels.”

The eTug is being built as a result of a partnership between Crowley, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Maritime Administration, all of which provided financial support and other resources.

West Coast Port Leaders Urge Congressional Help on CBP Shortfall

Port of Hueneme CEO Kristen Decas and Northwest Seaport Alliance CEO John Wolfe recently met with Republican leaders on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security to talk about how an understaffed U.S. Customs and Border Protection is challenging ports and is asking Congress to help fill the staffing gap.

Decas and Wolfe spoke on behalf of American Association of Port Authorities members, saying that the shortfall of at least 1,400 CBP officers limits inspections and causes processing delays and adds to congestion at the ports. Furthermore, ports have had to pay CBP officers overtime to ease congestion, they said.

“Congress must fully fund and invest in CBP to ensure seaports don’t continue to bear the burden of facilitating unbearable demands,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez, Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee. “The work our seaports conduct to facilitate trade and commerce is essential to our economic recovery. Security at our ports has never been more important.”

The AAPA said it is also reaching out to committee Democrats for similar discussions.

PNW Ports Seek Public Input on Emissions Plans

The public is asked to weigh in on draft implementation plans for the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which seeks to address port-related air pollution.

This year, the ports of Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Tacoma, and the Northwest Seaport Alliance adopted a strategy that seeks to address climate change and air emissions at the ports in the coming years, with each port developing an implementation plan tailored to their business needs.

The strategy targets six areas: ocean vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, harbor vessels, rail and port administration and tenant facilities. The ports want the public’s input on their plans, specifically what projects to prioritize and which strategies best serve the public.

While the ports have been meeting goals to lower diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions when compared to 2005 levels, total GHG emissions across the four ports rose by nearly 5%, which the ports are attributing to cargo demands outpacing GHG emissions reduction efforts.

“This is an issue where we have overwhelming agreement on the urgency,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Taking community feedback on how to prioritize and implement this strategy, and making progress towards our zero-emissions future, is some of the most urgent and important work we will do this year.”

Comments can be submitted through Aug. 15 via online survey at, or during a July 15 webinar at

Heddle Shipyards Joins Green Marine Program

Canadian shipyard and drydock operator Heddle Shipyards is the newest business to join environmental certification program Green Marine.

Heddle Shipyards is one of the first 10 firms in North America to voluntarily participate in the program, which reviews an organization’s sustainability performance for ongoing improvement.

“We are determined to continue improving our environmental performance and participating in a rigorous and transparent environmental initiative such as Green Marine complements the sustainable development approach we have adopted,” Heddle Shipyards Health & Safety, Security & Environmental Manager Dan Cummings said.

“Green Marine is so pleased to welcome Heddle Shipyards into the Green Marine program, where it can benchmark its progress along with over 70 other U.S. and Canadian terminals and shipyards,” said Executive Director David Bolduc.

“Heddle Shipyards is already conveying its genuine commitment to sustainability through its ship recycling program that ensures vessels are appropriately dismantled at the end of their usage with all materials properly recycled or disposed,” Bolduc added.

Matson Announces Prelim Q2 Results

Matson Inc.'s ocean transportation and logistics businesses performed well in the second quarter as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Cox.

Cox recently announced that the company anticipates its second quarter operating income for ocean transportation of $197 million to $202 million and its logistics operating income of $12 to $13 million, with a net income and diluted EPS of $156.9 to $163.6 million and $3.58 to $3.73, respectively.

The Honolulu-based firm released its results ahead of its July 29 second quarter earnings call.

“Within Ocean Transportation, our China service continued to see significant demand for its expedited CLX and CLX+ ocean services as volume for e-commerce, garments and other goods remained elevated, and was the primary driver of the increase in consolidated operating income year-over-year,” Cox said.

Supply chain congestion and heightened consumption trends continue in the Transpacific trade lane, which Matson predicts will continue and lead to high demand at least until Lunar New Year (Feb. 1) in 2022, he added.

“As a result of the exceptional level of demand for our expedited Transpacific services, we recently announced the initiation of our CCX service as a seasonal string with Matson-owned vessels from China to the U.S. West Coast with Oakland as the first call,” Cox remarked. “Consequently, we expect our vessels in the CLX, CLX+ and CCX to be operating at capacity at least until Lunar New Year next year.”