Friday, 19 October 2018 14:30

US looks for new coal export outlets

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As US coal consumption declines, the US Department of the Interior is indicated that it is considering using military bases to accommodate export facilities for coal or natural gas. Six proposed coal ports in Washington and Oregon have been rejected or shelved due to worries about air and water pollution and rail safety, combined with changing market conditions. The department’s strategy is to use naval facilities on the west coast regardless of whether or not the states where the bases are located agree to it. Washington State governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement questioning the “harebrained” logic behind this move in view of Pentagon reports on climate change.

Friday, 12 October 2018 13:06

USCG sets vision for maritime commerce

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US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz has released the Coast Guard's 40-paged document that outlines their "VISION for Enabling Maritime Commerce."  The document establishes three lines of effort that are critical to the success of the Coast Guard: 1) facilitating lawful trade and travel on secure waterways; 2) modernizing aids to navigation and mariner information systems; and 3) transforming our workforce capacity and partnerships to meet the increasingly complex operating environment.

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The Port of Long Beach will build and demonstrate a $7.1 million “microgrid” to show the promising new technology’s effectiveness in providing a clean, reliable supply of electricity for critical operations at the nation’s second-busiest seaport.  With the help of a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, the Port will install a solar carport, power storage systems and advanced controls at its security headquarters, the Joint Command and Control Center.  The goal of the California Energy Commission’s grant is to accelerate development of microgrids that can also improve participation in utilities’ demand response programs, where users agree to limit energy use during peak periods.

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The US Coast Guard has summarized its latest presentation on the US ballast water management program in its blog dated 10/2/2018. The bulletin covers a summary of compliance options and what one can expect during a port state control exam.

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California Governor Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law a bill that aims to hold retailers partly accountable for working with trucking companies that have a record of labour violations. The bill, SB 1402, makes retailers jointly liable for violations of state labour and employment laws when they hire trucking companies with unpaid final judgements for failure to pay truck driver wages, imposing unlawful expenses on employees, failure to remit payroll taxes or to provide worker’s compensation insurance, misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and other labour law violations.

Friday, 28 September 2018 14:56

Phase 2 on demurrage and detention review

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Over the next year the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will continue to address detention and demurrage practices, along with seeking further regulatory reform and regulatory priorities.Commissioner Rebecca Dye reported that there are six key questions that she will explore on the issues surrounding detention and demurrage and has set date for her first two field interviews:

  • Week of October 15, 2018 — Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
  • Week of October 29, 2018 — Port Everglades and Port of Miami.

A date for interviews in the Port of New York and New Jersey will be announced soon.

Friday, 21 September 2018 15:23

Hurricane Florence recovery underway

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The US Coast Guard issued a news release providing an update on Hurricane Florence response efforts in North Carolina. To date, USCG air and surface crews have rescued 1,103 individuals and 419 pets. Working with local county partners, Coast Guard crews were able to help assess and clear 765 miles of road, assess 23 bridges, and 14 dams. The ports of Wilmington and Morehead City are open with restrictions as port reconstitution operations continue. Port assessments identified more than 100 aids-to-navigation discrepancies, 24 have been corrected. 


Friday, 14 September 2018 11:24

Port of San Diego joins Green Marine

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The Port of San Diego has enrolled in Green Marine, North America’s largest voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry. Green Marine’s environmental program makes it possible for port authorities, terminal operators and ship owners to voluntarily reduce their environmental footprint through a comprehensive program that addresses key environmental issues that are common to most ports. The Port of San Diego established a Blue Economy Incubator in 2016 to foster sustainable aquaculture and pilot emerging blue technologies to deliver multiple benefits to the whole Port community such as fisheries enhancement, ecosystem restoration, water quality improvements, environmental monitoring, and education and outreach.

Friday, 07 September 2018 15:40

ILA approves six-year contract extension

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Thousands of members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO at ports from Maine to Texas overwhelmingly approved a six-year master contract extension with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that will labour stability to ports in the East Coast and Gulf Coast through September 30, 2024. The newly ratified contract sets clear guidelines on what type of automation ports in the eastern half of the US can adopt, and procedures for labour protection when they do. Specifically, the contract prohibits fully automated terminals or equipment and demands port employers negotiate job-protection strategies with the local union before any machinery "devoid of human interaction" is deployed.

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The Federal Maritime Commission's Commissioner Rebecca Dye has released key initial observations in the interim report for Fact Finding 28, an investigation into "Conditions and Practices Relating to Detention, Demurrage, and Free Time in International Oceanborne Commerce."  The resulting record strongly suggests that concerns about demurrage and detention in US trades are not limited primarily to weather-or-labor-related port congestion in 2014-2015, a small subset of large ports, or episodic events unrelated to potentially systemic issues. Additionally, the record supports further consideration of the benefits to the US international freight delivery system of:

  • Transparent, standardized language for demurrage, detention, and free time practices;
  • Clarity, simplification, and accessibility regarding demurrage and detention billing practices and dispute resolution processes;
  • Explicit guidance regarding types of evidence relevant to resolving demurrage and detention disputes;
  • Consistent notice to shippers of container availability;
  • An optional billing model wherein
  • MTOs bill shippers directly for demurrage; and
  • VOCCs bill shippers for detention; and
  • an FMC Shipper Advisory or Innovation Team. 

The final report for this FMC fact-finding investigation is scheduled for release by Dec. 2.

Friday, 07 September 2018 15:27

USCG updates guidance on sewage regulations

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The Office of Design and Engineering Standards announced the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-09, Change 1, “Voluntary Compliance with International Sewage Regulations in Annex IV TO MARPOL 73/78.”  The purpose of NVIC 01-09, Change 1 is to provide additional guidance for vessel owners or operators as well as manufacturers of any shipboard sewage processing equipment, including facilities that test shipboard sewage and related processing equipment, to voluntarily request US Coast Guard certification of compliance with international sewage regulations in Annex IV to MARPOL 73/78. It also provides for reciprocity under Annex IV for non-U.S. flagged ships operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Friday, 07 September 2018 15:18

GAO issues report on seaway challenges

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Stakeholders identified several challenges that affect traditional uses of the Great Lakes-Seaway such as the transport of dry bulk commodities and imported steel, and also considered the challenges affecting “emerging use” of the system, such as the cruise industry and container market.  These included increase pilotage rates, condition of lock infrastructure, complexity of ballast water regulations, insufficient dredging, winter closures, and inadequate portside infrastructure.

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