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Summary for September 22 - September 26, 2008:
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Singapore signs MOU for maritime R&D

A S$3.4 million collaboration between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), a research institute under the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), was announced Sept. 19 by the MPA.

The Memorandum of Understanding between MPA and IHPC will enable maritime companies to leverage on IHPC’s computational science and engineering capabilities through a three-year Maritime Research Program.

Some research topics of interest to participating companies include the development of advanced designs for semi-submersible jack-up rigs and the application of large-scale computational fluid dynamics.

“Today’s MOU brings on board the involvement of a national research institute in the areas of port, shipping, and offshore and marine engineering. We welcome the participation of maritime companies in the programme,” said BG (NS) Tay Lim Heng, chief executive, MPA.

As part of its efforts in developing the Singapore maritime cluster, MPA has been working with key agencies, industry partners and the research community — both local and foreign — in promoting maritime R&D, port authorities said.


Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore


Aker delivers fifth vessel    

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Sept. 19 delivered its fifth product tanker to American Shipping Co.

The tanker is the fifth in a series of 12 that will be delivered to American Shipping Co. and, in turn, chartered to OSG America, and it’s the third vessel in the series to be used in transporting petroleum products for BP.

“Ten years ago, there was no shipbuilding taking place here in Philadelphia. Today, we deliver our ninth vessel and deliver it as promised,” said Jim Miller, president and CEO, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. “These actions are a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our skilled shipyard employees.”

The Overseas Texas City is the first vessel built at the yard to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Tier II requirements, according to the news release.

The vessel was modified to incorporate three improved diesel-powered electrical generating sets to run the vessel’s electrical system, which will result in lower levels of pollutants while in operation.

Three other vessels are currently under construction at the yard, all of which will include these modifications.


Aker Philadelphia Shipyard


YRC Worldwide names CFO, exec VP

YRC Worldwide Inc. Sept. 18 announced that Timothy A. Wicks has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective Oct. 13.

Wicks will be responsible for all aspects of the corporation’s finance activities including treasury, tax, accounting and financial reporting and will report to Bill Zollars, chairman, president and CEO of YRC Worldwide.

Wicks comes from UnitedHealthcare, where he served as senior vice president, strategic growth initiatives, and was primarily responsible for launching new distribution and investment capabilities.

“Tim’s leadership experience in various strategic and financial roles will be invaluable as we take our next step in the transformation of our organization,” said Zollars.

Wicks graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. degree in economics in 1988.

After working in finance and economics for Northwest Airlines, he attended Harvard Graduate School of Business and obtained an MBA with concentrations in finance and corporate strategy. Wicks was co-founder and president of Great Northern Capital for six years before joining Dell Inc. as director of global business strategy.


YRC Worldwide


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

San Pedro ports look to Oct. 1 deadline

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach both say that the Clean Trucks Program will begin as scheduled on Oct. 1.

The Port of Los Angeles Sept. 19 announced that Licensed Motor Carriers (LMCs) must submit their Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program concession applications by this Wed., Sept. 24, to be approved as trucking concessionaires by the Oct. 1 start date of the program.

The port will continue receiving and processing applications on an ongoing basis but, “based on the overwhelming response by the trucking community, the port cannot ensure that applications received after Sept. 24 will be processed by Oct. 1,” port authorities said.

The Port of Long Beach Sept. 22 confirmed that as of Oct. 1, model year 1988 and older trucks “will not be allowed to access port terminals.”

The port also said it will begin distributing window stickers this week that will temporarily allow access for compliant trucks, identified through the port’s concession agreements and, in a few weeks, the port will roll out an electronic system for compliance oversight.


Port of Los Angeles

Port of Long Beach


GAO projects higher costs for radiation detection

The Government Accountability Office Sept. 22 said that an independent cost estimate suggests that the total cost of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s program to equip U.S. ports of entry with radiation detection equipment will likely be about $3.1 billion.

That figure is at least $1 billion more than the Bush administration had planned to spend.

According to their plan, DNDO will buy and deploy multiple types of Advanced Spectroscopic Portals, including those designed to screen rail cars and airport and seaport cargo, as well as mobile ASPs — spectroscopic equipment mounted on vehicles — to provide greater flexibility in screening commerce.

The Bush administration had planned to use more than 2,000 of the current and advanced detection machines to screen rail cars, airport and seaport cargo.

The current monitors often don’t distinguish between radiation from “normal” sources, such as kitty litter, and radiation that is a public threat.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach get 400 to 500 nuclear alarms a day, and the new equipment should reduce that to 40 to 50, administration officials have said.


Government Accountability Office


SCSPA releases 1st air emissions report

The South Carolina State Ports Authority Sept. 22 released an air emission report, the first of its kind in the Southeast, according to SCSPA officials.

The key finding, as expected, is that trucks and ships constitute the majority of each pollutant related to port operations.

The Port of Charleston accounts for up to 5 percent of air pollution within the three-county area, with ships and trucks generating the majority of that contamination.

Moffatt & Nichol of Long Beach, Calif., assembled the inventory, which covers emissions related to ships, trucks, trains, harbor craft and cargo-handling equipment all the way from the sea buoy outside Charleston Harbor throughout the tri-county region.

“The new inventory, the first for any port in this region, will help us better understand both the sources and the scope of port-related air emissions,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., SPSCA president & CEO. “This is just the latest action as the Ports Authority works to do its part to improve regional air quality.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sept. 19 announced it has selected the SCSPA as one of seven recipients in the region to receive emissions reduction grant funds.


South Carolina State Ports Authority


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

POLA audit faults contracting, purchasing

The City of Los Angeles Controller’s Office Sept. 23 released a performance audit of the city’s Harbor Department’s Contracting Practices.

Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick wrote in the 32-page report, “My audit found that the [Port of Los Angeles] does not have an effective centralized oversight function. As a part of this deficiency there are a lack of clear guidelines on the use of change orders and contract amendments.”

Further, she wrote, “Policies and procedures for evaluating proposals and awarding contracts are not always followed” and “Individual projects are assigned to ‘as-needed’ contractors without ensuring fair and open competition.”

The Controller’s Office examined port contracts awarded from March to July, which included security projects, technology enhancements, community outreach programs and environmental policies.

Three of the contracts reviewed had a total of 28 changes, adding about $8.5 million to the original costs.

In the review of commodity contracts, the audit found that many purchases were made without a purchase order preceding it.

The audit also found that internal cost estimates and contract cost reviews were not completed to ensure a contractor’s proposed costs were reasonable.


City of Los Angeles Controller’s Office


EPA lists first $3.4 mil for emissions reduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sept. 24 announced the first $3.4 million in funding for clean diesel projects under the $50 million Diesel Emission Reduction Program.

This campaign makes awards to save fuel and lower greenhouse gas and diesel exhaust emissions from the country’s existing fleet of 11 million diesel engines.

Three organizations received $3.4 million for small trucking firms to lower fuel costs and shrink their carbon footprints through innovative loans and rebates, the EPA said.

The organizations receiving funds under the national diesel program are the Community Development Transportation Lending Services, Washington, D.C.; Cascade Sierra Solutions, Ore.; and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Missouri.

EPA will also begin disbursing $14.8 million for State Clean Diesel Programs. All 50 states will receive funds, and 35 states will put matching resources toward the program.

Later this fall, $27.6 million in grants will be distributed by EPA’s 10 regional offices. Grant awards for emerging technologies totaling approximately $3.4 million will be announced this winter.


EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Program


Crowley equipment order tops $21 mil

Crowley Maritime Corp.’s liner services equipment fleet is continuing to grow this year with the acquisition of $21 million worth of containers, chassis, refrigerated containers, trailers and generator sets, the company detailed Sept. 23.

A part of the order — 600 45-ft. dry containers and chassis — is currently being received in Jacksonville and immediately deployed in the company’s Puerto Rico, Caribbean and Latin America services, according to Crowley.

“Maintaining a competitive edge in our industry means we need to offer our customers the highest quality equipment of the right type and consistently make it available when and where they need it,” said Rob Grune, Crowley’s senior vice president of Puerto Rico/Caribbean Services.

“Since 2003, we have invested more than $209 million in equipment for our liner services fleet,” Grune added.

In all, Crowley is acquiring 600 45-ft. dry containers, 600 45-ft. chassis, 120 40-ft. high-cube and 40 20-ft. standard refrigerated containers, 150 45-ft. flat bed trailers, 50 mafi trailers and 274 generator sets in 2008. The refrigerated containers, gensets, flatbeds and mafis were received earlier this summer.

The company also used the equipment order to try a new type of container — 45-ft. dry containers with recycled, composite flooring, which is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional wood floors. Twenty of the 600 45-ft. containers have the composite floors.


Crowley Maritime Corp.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ninth Circuit Court rejects ATA injunction

The last potential legal impediment to the Clean Trucks Program commencing as scheduled Oct. 1 at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were removed yesterday, Sept. 24, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a request by the American Trucking Associations for an injunction.

The court ruled that the ATA “has failed to establish that it will be irreparably injured absent an injunction, or that the public interest lies in favor of granting an injunction.”  

The ATA will continue to have an appeal pending from District Judge Christina A. Snyder’s denial of a preliminary injunction on Sept. 9.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals, at the same time as it denied the ATA’s request for an injunction, also denied the ATA’s motion to expedite its appeal. As a result, it appears unlikely that the ATA’s appeal will be decided until after completion of a full briefing and argument in 2009. 

In an unrelated development, the Federal Maritime Commission announced that it plans to investigate the two ports’ programs to see if they violate the Shipping Act of 1984.


American Trucking Associations


Port of Tampa welcomes Zim’s Kaohsiung

The Tampa Port Authority Sept. 21 welcomed the inaugural port call of Zim Integrated Shiping’s M/V Kaohsiung, the largest containership to call at Tampa to date.

The 4,038-TEU capacity Kaohsiung is part of Zim’s Asia-Gulf Express (AGX) service, which provides weekly sailings from Asia directly to Tampa.

“The arrival of Kaohsiung and the upgrading of the AGX send a strong message to the trade about the importance of the Tampa market and the U.S. Gulf,” said Richard Wainio, Tampa port director and chief executive.

“Zim Integrated Shipping has been key to our container development, and we are excited that Zim has continued to invest in and upgrade its service via Tampa,” Wainio added.

The AGX, which began in August 2006, currently includes a fleet of 10 ships, providing weekly, fixed-day service to Tampa from China, Japan and Korea, with calls in Panama and Jamaica offering global connections.

TPA and its partner Ports America are currently expanding the Port of Tampa Container Terminal and proceeding with development plans that will see it increase from its current 25 acres to more than 125 acres.


Port of Tampa


Tideworks completes gate project at Portland

Tideworks Technology Inc., a leading provider of full-service terminal management and planning software solutions, Sept. 23 announced that the Port of Portland has successfully completed the second stage of a gate automation project with the implementation of gate Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Implementation of Tideworks GateVision, its proprietary gate operating system, was completed in December 2006. The OCR system further advances the port’s goals of streamlining gate processing and improving truck turn-times at Terminal 6, the Port’s primary container-handling facility.

“The implementation of gate OCR was seamless and has improved processing times by an additional 25-30 percent,” said Lee Roundtree, general manager of marine operations for the Port of Portland.

“The combination of GateVision with OCR represents a huge gain in efficiency versus the manual method and, ultimately, has allowed us to increase Terminal 6’s processing capacity significantly and continue to grow the container business at the Port of Portland,” added Roundtree.


Tideworks Technology Inc.

Port of Portland


Friday, September 26, 2008

Port of Seattle begins talks for freight ops

The Port of Seattle Sept. 25 announced that it will begin negotiations with GNP/Ballard for freight service operation on the northern portion of the Eastside rail corridor that the port is acquiring from BNSF Railway in a $107 million deal.

Any contract between the port and GNP/Ballard will not be finalized until the transfer of the corridor is complete, the port said.

GNP/Ballard — a partnership between Byron Cole, who operates the Ballard Terminal Railroad, and Tom Payne, owner of GNP Railway — will pay the port for use of the land, which runs from Snohomish and Woodinville in Washington, according to the port.

BNSF selected the short line operator.

King County will contribute $2 million toward the purchase price in return for an easement for trail development on the southern segment of the corridor. The Surface Transportation Board is expected to grant approval in the fall of this year.

The Port of Seattle, BNSF Railway and King County signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2007 that will result in the port’s acquisition of the 42-mile Eastside rail corridor from BNSF.


Port of Seattle


Bennett fills new position at No. Carolina ports

The North Carolina State Ports Authority Sept. 24 announced that it has promoted William C. Bennett, PE, MPA, to fill the new position of director of emergency preparedness and environmental affairs as part of the Ports Authority operations team.

Bennett will be responsible for developing and implementing an environmental sustainability plan for the Ports Authority to address energy and water conservation practices, environmentally friendly procurement and contracting procedures, recycling, air quality, training and public outreach.

“Emergency preparedness and environmental affairs are growing in their importance and impact in the port industry and for the Ports Authority,” said Thomas J. Eagar, chief executive. “I believe that Bill provides unique expertise to elevate these issues to the next level for our organization.”

Bennett joined the Ports Authority in 2002 after a 27-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, completed at the level of Captain of the Port.

Bennett has master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, and public administration. He is a certified Professional Engineer and has also been a Licensed Merchant Marine Engineer and an Accredited Marine Surveyor.


North Carolina State Ports Authority


Saga Pioneer in maiden call at Port of S.F.

The Port of San Francisco Sept. 25 announced that the newest vessel in Saga Forest Carriers’ fleet, the Saga Pioneer, made its maiden call at the Port of San Francisco recently.

The 46,559-deadweight-ton breakbulk carrier discharged 4,500 tons of steel coils, rebar and pipe at Pier 80, the port’s primary breakbulk and general cargo facility, which is operated by Metro Ports.

“We are pleased to welcome the newest Saga Forest Carriers vessel to our port,” said Peter Dailey, port maritime director. “The breakbulk sector is one of the key components of our maritime business portfolio at the Port of San Francisco, and Saga continues to be a valued customer of the port.”

The Saga Pioneer loaded cargo in Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea before arriving at Pier 80. The vessel was to sail next to Vancouver, WA, to discharge additional steel cargoes before heading to Europe.

Launched in Oshima, Japan, in August 2008, the 654-ft. vessel was built by Oshima Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

Saga Forest Carriers is an international shipping company headquartered in Tonsberg, Norway, specializing in the transportation of forest products and breakbulk cargoes.


Port of San Francisco


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