Port of Virginia


The Port of Virginia has unveiled ‘Smart Stack’, its rail strategy designed to make the Port more desirable for shippers. The Port has made significant investments to connect its container terminals to the national networks of Class I railroads. For its rail services, the port authority has invested $25 million in on-dock track and related infrastructure, $18 million in rail cargo-handling equipment and $4 million in supporting information technology. At VIG Terminal, the port has doubled its on-dock rail capacity, with the final piece of that expansion work to be completed at the end of May. The expanded rail yard at VIG includes more than 20,000 linear feet of track, which is served by four new cantilever, rail-mounted gantry cranes.



561 Houston


The Genesis River, a 755-foot LPG tanker, collided with the tug Voyager near Bayport, Texas last Friday, resulting in a spill that has caused part of the Houston Ship Channel to close. The tug was transporting two barges loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate. One barge has capsized, and one is reported damaged. Each barge was loaded with an estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock, and media report estimate that 9,000 barrels were released from the damaged barge. Oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage attended the scene. As of Wednesday, the Houston Ship Channel reopened to two-way traffic.



Friday, 17 May 2019 13:45

New York rejects natural gas project

561 Pipeline


A bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply has been rejected by authorities. The proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project included about 37 km of submarine pipeline off New York City’s coast. The nearly $1 billion plan was denied by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which cited concerns over water quality and aquatic life. Its rejection follows similar decisions on natural gas projects made recently by Washington State and Los Angeles.



561 float planes


Six people have died after two float planes carrying cruise passengers collided in flight near Ketchikan, Alaska on Monday May 13th, just after 1:00PM. Victims include one Canadian, one Australian, and four American tourists. 10 people were rescued and brought to safety.

Jennifer Homendy of the US National Transportation Safety Board presented a graphic (above) of preliminary flight tracking data that shows the paths of the two floatplanes before the collided at the point the two lines meet. A preliminary report into the incident was expected in approximately two weeks.



561 humpback


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an advisory on the Whale Advisory Vessel Speed Reduction Zone in Southern California - Santa Barbara to reduce the impact of ship strikes on whales. NOAA strongly recommends that vessels 300 gross registered tons or larger transiting the Whale Advisory Zone do so at speeds not in excess of 10 knots. These areas contain populations of endangered blue, humpback, and fin whales that are federally protected under various Acts. The whale advisory zone extends from approximately Dana Point to Pt. Arguello and vessels are requested to transit at 10 knots or less anywhere in this zone. Vessels transiting the voluntary Western Traffic Lanes are also encouraged to transit within the Voluntary Western Zone to reduce the overlap of ships and endangered whales. Please report any collisions with whales or any observed injured or dead whales to NOAA at 877-SOS-WHALE (877-767-9425) or to the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. NOAA is asking for the public’s help in tracking whales. Please report sightings through WhaleAlert.



Friday, 10 May 2019 11:15

New technology added to Lake Erie

560 Lake Erie

The Lake Erie Energy Development Company (LEEDCo) has placed 16 high-tech buoys around the lake that are equipped with sensors that transmit a variety of real-time weather and scientific data back to shore, as well as a webcam mounted to its 6-foot-tall mast that relays 30-second snapshots of current lake conditions once hourly. The buoys detect a variety of data, including wind speed, wave height, water and air temperature, oxygen counts within the lake, and walleye migration patterns. Anyone can text certain buoys or view them online to get an up-to-date weather report.   

port of seattle


The Port of Seattle has shortlisted three teams for the development and operation of a new cruise facility at the north end of Terminal 46. The shortlist includes: Cruise Industry Leaders Group, a partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruise, MSC Cruises, Carnival Corporation and SSA Marine, a subsidiary of Carrix; Global Ports Holding and Civil & Building North America; and, the third one Ports America, teaming with Jacobs Engineering Group. The three teams responded to the port’s RFQ in March and will now be invited to respond to a request for proposals, expected to be released in June. The Port is targeting delivery of the new cruise terminal for the 2022 cruise season with early estimates pointing to costs of around USD 200 million.



559 Grey Whale


An unusually high number of grey whales are washing up dead on West Coast shorelines on their annual migration north. In one of the longest migrations of any mammal, grey whales migrate from their wintering areas near Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific every year. The whales are currently heading towards Canada, where they will pass by Vancouver Island on their way to Alaskan waters. Through studying the deceased whales, it appears that that food shortage is an underlying cause of the deaths. The research hasn't concluded whether the recent deaths are due to a decline in food sources or an overpopulation of grey whales or some combination of both.



588 Port Arthur


Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG export facility has been approved for construction by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). When complete, the project is slated to include two liquefaction trains, up to three LNG storage tanks and associated facilities that will enable the export of approximately 11 million tonnes per annum of LNG. The FERC order also approved the construction of the Texas and Louisiana connector pipeline projects that will provide natural gas transportation for the new liquefaction facilities.


558 USS Fitzgerald 678x381


On 11 April the US Navy dropped a charge of negligent homicide and other offences against Commander Bryce Benson, captain of the USS Fitzgerald on 17 June 2017 when it collided with the commercial vessel, ACX Crystal, in the waters off Japan’s coast about 80 n miles southwest of Tokyo. Seven US Navy sailors were killed that night. Charges were also dropped against Lieutenant Natalie Combs, the officer in charge of the Command Information Centre and responsible for advising the bridge on collision avoidance. Both Cmdr. Benson and Lt. Combs received letters of censure, with the common feature that their ineffective leadership and poor judgement or communication were causal factors in the collision. Letters of censure acknowledge acts of wrongdoing but have no legal ramifications.



Friday, 19 April 2019 14:41

US coal exports expected to surge

557 coal

Speculations are that a US-China trade deal might lead to surge in metallurgical coal exports from the US to China. A trade deal could eliminate the 25% tariff on coal and bring US exports up to 2 million mt-3 million mt per year versus the current 1.1 million mt per year. Earlier this month President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order seeking to address permitting and policy obstacles preventing the export of coal and other energy resources through West Coast ports. New port facilities and improvements have been halted or delayed by state, local and tribal governments in California, Washington and Oregon. The Trump Administration is concerned that the scope of certification has moved beyond water quality to a broader political agenda. The Executive Order requests a report on the economic impacts of blocking exports of domestic coal, oil and gas through the West Coast and focuses specifically on measures to streamline the certification process under the Clean Water Act. Utah and other western coal producing states will be contributing to the report to the President documenting the harms caused by inadequate coal export infrastructure and capacity.

Friday, 19 April 2019 14:39

APM and ILWU left to sort out automation

557 apm

The Los Angeles harbor commission’s is giving APM Terminals and longshore locals 30 days to come to an agreement on APM’s plan to introduce autonomous (driverless) straddle carriers on a 100-acre portion of its 440-acre Pier 400 terminal in Los Angeles. The PMA also cites automation as a potential source of increased productivity that terminals could deploy to lower operating costs so West Coast ports will be more competitive with US East and Gulf coast ports, and Canadian ports, in attracting and keeping discretionary cargo. The PMA Monday released a consultants’ study performed on its behalf citing cost differentials of 90-165 percent at other ports. The report stated that the West Coast share of discretionary Asian imports dropped from 56 percent in 2003 to 46 percent in 2008 due to higher operating costs, and, in competition with Vancouver and Prince Rupert, Canada, higher intermodal rail costs to Chicago compared with the intermodal rail pricing by US railroads.

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