Infrastructure Projects in Full Swing at Major West Coast Ports

Infrastructure Projects in Full Swing at Major West Coast Ports

A number of big and small West Coast ports are approaching coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic by investing in their future via innovative and forward-looking infrastructure projects. Several of the larger ports are focusing on modernizing their terminals, enhancing rail systems, reducing emissions and/or transitioning to hybrid, increasing shore power and designing projects that aim to improve efficiency and accommodate bigger ships. Here are some of the highlights of the projects: PORT OF LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners recently adopted a $1.9-billion budget for fiscal year 2022-23, much of which will be reinvested into the Port…
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Offshore Wind Update 2022

Offshore Wind Update 2022

A lot has happened since the Biden administration in May 2021 announced that California’s northern and central coasts would be open to offshore wind development, identifying two areas in particular: Morro Bay and Humboldt Call. The idea was to pursue the development of floating offshore wind platforms off the California coast as part of the Biden administration’s overall goal of generating 30 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind by 2030. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead agency on offshore wind. This past May, the department announced offshore wind lease sales for the first…
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Shoebox Be Gone! Truckable Towboats Incoming

Shoebox Be Gone! Truckable Towboats Incoming

A new truckable tugboat collaboration between Tacoma-based aluminum commercial boatbuilder Silverback Marine and Seattle-based naval design firm Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) appears poised to disrupt the small tugboat niche. The 25' 10-7/8" overall length, trailer-able design has standard 500 horsepower, 12,500 pounds of bollard pull and a still water range of 60 nautical miles pushing about 10,000 pounds at 4.1 knots. The truckable tug is also compatible with electric, hybrid and outboard propulsion systems. “It’s been an exciting journey and we’re happy to have connected with Elliott Bay Design,” Silverback Marine founder and owner Ian Gracey said. Silverback’s shipyard…
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Making Moves Toward Methanol

Making Moves Toward Methanol

As the U.S. marine industry pushes toward decarbonization, our domestic fleet will be the first to adopt and experiment with different propulsion methods. For the majority of passenger vessel operations, the most viable and fully developed option for substantively reducing carbon emissions will be all-electric propulsion—where it can be practically implemented. However, certain vessels may not be able to accommodate marine battery systems due to weight or space constraints. For others that operate on longer routes, have highly variable operating profiles or serve rural areas where the addition of shoreside charging infrastructure is impractical, all-electric propulsion may not be achievable.…
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Cargo Congestion: An Update

Cargo Congestion: An Update

For the past two years, West Coast cargo congestion has dominated headlines as dozens of vessels at anchor wait to come into seaports and stacks of containers linger at terminals, exposing an already fragile supply chain. The congestion problem -- which stemmed from the pandemic-driven cargo volumes that shattered records last year -- caught the attention of the federal government, which announced it is prioritizing strengthening the supply chain with billions of dollars of investment in port and waterway infrastructure. While consumer demand has slowed a bit from last year’s record pace of goods flowing into U.S. ports, it nonetheless…
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Cargo Congestion: Expert Forecasts

Cargo Congestion: Expert Forecasts

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are expected to eventually shift more of their spending from goods to services, but ongoing gridlock at seaports and recent efforts to decarbonize container vessels may continue to affect ocean freight rates in the trans-Pacific. So said experts at a Feb. 28 panel at the Journal of Commerce’s TPM22 Conference in Long Beach, Calif. The panel of experts - which included Rahul Kapoor, vice president and head of commodity research, maritime and trade at IHS Markit, and Thorsten Meincke, a board member for logistics company DB Schenker, spoke about the container…
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Doubling On-Dock Rail Capacity:  The Port of Long Beach’s Pier B Project

Doubling On-Dock Rail Capacity: The Port of Long Beach’s Pier B Project

Without much fanfare, the stage is being set for a $1.55 billion, decade-long project to nearly double the Port of Long Beach’s (POLB) on-dock rail-service capability. The project is advancing as Long Beach plans for a continuation of growth after its 2021 record of handling 9.4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units), a 16% increase. The goal for the project is to move as much as 35% of cargo through on-dock rail, compared to roughly 20% today. Construction is set to begin next year. Port Executive Director Mario Cordero summed up the project. “The Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility advances…
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New Vessels and Tugboats:  Technology, Environmental Awareness Tops Agenda

New Vessels and Tugboats: Technology, Environmental Awareness Tops Agenda

While the U.S. shipbuilding industry has diminished over the past few decades, some are still welding, riveting and brainstorming to fill the oceans and waterways with pleasure boats and enormous freighters that can drift by in relative silence. But before the actual hands-on labor can begin, concepts and designs are created on paper and computer screens. Shipwrights and designers alike are no longer mainly focused on churning out what’s “tried and true.” As the 21st century presses on, maritime vessel designers are becoming more attuned to specific needs and global technology, all while trying to minimize their impact on our…
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Historic Columbia River Lightship and Large Buoy Return to Astoria Museum

Historic Columbia River Lightship and Large Buoy Return to Astoria Museum

In 1872, the entrance to the Columbia River was the site of the first lightship on the West Coast. And the final lightship version, WLV-604, was the last to be retired in 1979, after 28 years of service. When loaded with fuel and stores, the vessel’s hull resembled a 128-foot cargo vessel with a displacement of over 600 tons. Most of this was not actually cargo—the look was the result of the heavy construction to survive everything the sea could throw at it, plus tons of ballast to prevent a knockdown in storm conditions. It was replaced by a U.S.…
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Designing the Future-Proof Ferry

Designing the Future-Proof Ferry

Schedule predictability is always at the top of the commuter’s list of demands, so for ferry operators, staying on schedule is crucial. If a ferry sails a couple of hours late, the impact on passengers is significant. To maximize reliability of their fleets, ferry operators demand exceptional dependability from their installed equipment and integrity of energy sources—including the assurance of guaranteed fuel supplies. If there is even the slightest question about reliability, availability or cost effectiveness related to fuel energy, then operators will demand alternative energy options such as back-up generators, energy storage at terminals and/or hybrid engines that burn…
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