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May 20, 2016

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

 

Ottomotto, a newly unveiled startup formed by veterans of the Google car project, is planning to provide self-driving technology to today’s long-haul trucks.

 

It’s a logical first application. Semitrailers spend most of their time on highways, and highway driving is by far the easiest sort of driving to automate. So close is the industry to that goal that companies like Tesla and Daimler already feel the need to use buzzers and other tricks to prod drivers away from their daydreams when their hands are off the steering wheel for more than a few seconds.

 

Anthony Levandowski left the Google car project to start the company back in January, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lior Ron, who had been in charge of Google Maps, also joined, along with 39 others, including some from Tesla and Apple—both of which are also working on robocar technology.

 

Levandowski told the Journal that his company, which he calls Otto for short, wouldseek a competitive advantage by retrofitting existing trucks rather than putting self-driving systems into new ones. Otto, so far mostly a self-funded operation, is working with three Volvo trucks. 

 

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

 

One big incentive for roboticizing the truck fleet is to stretch out the thin supply of long-haul drivers, which is 50,000 short of the mark in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations. Strict rules require that drivers rest at set intervals, a problem that could be eased if drivers could lounge in the back of the cabin while the truck cruises the highway unattended.

 

Other firms are taking a different tack. For instance, Peloton Technology, of Mountain View, Calif., specializes in platooning, in which a lead truck driven by a professional driver leads a string of autonomous trucks behind it. Volvo, an investor in Peloton, has long been a pioneer of platooning, as it recently demonstrated with three convoys of two or three trucks each; the longest convoy trip was from Stockholm to Rotterdam.

 

Drivers had to be in all the trucks, and they had to attend to the road, as the laws still require. But even so, platooning saves time and money by allowing the trucks to stay in close formation, thus minimizing air resistance.

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

Oct 28, 2016

Port of Oakland reduces diesel emissions 76% in 10 years

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Port of Oakland, a major source of pollution announced just how much just a decade of really reducing pollution, really has benefited everyone. 

Compared to 2005, 2015 ended with an overall 76% decrease in diesel emissions from all sources from ships to port vehicles and everything in between.

These numbers do make us one of the cleanest ports of our size in the country, if not the world," says Richard Sinkoff, the Port's Environmental Manager.

Emissions from locomotives: down 89%. Cargo handling machines: down 82% Ships themselves: down 75%. That's because the Port installed dockside shore power which many, eventually all ships, can plug into and shut down their massive diesel engines.

"This is one of the only places in the world where ships are required to plug into grid power and the reduction of diesel particulates is tremendous when the plug in," says Port Director Chris Lytle.

But the reduction in particulate pollution from trucks, the stuff that really hurts your lungs and harms your health, which is the number one source here at the Port of Oakland, has been nothing short of spectacular.

Because regulators required truckers to upgrade or replace their old smoke bomb rigs, port trucks put out 98% less pollution than a decade ago because they were sickening and killing the neighbors.

"We suffer three times the particulate matter of anywhere else in the Bay Area and black children are two and a half times more likely to visit the ER for asthma than any other Bay Area children," says Lynette Gibson-McIllheny of the Oakland City Council.
But it's getting better and better.

"These are the cleanest trucks used in any port, any place in the country," says Port Director Lytle. It's very good but we still have a ways to go. "My dream, my goal and the next campaign will be, 'how do we get to zero emissions?'" says  Margaret Gordon, a West Oakland resident and activist.

There's good news on that front too. GSC Logistics has one of the port's largest truck fleets. "In fact, GSC Logistics will be testing battery operated trucks in 2017," says Scott Taylor, GSC Logistics CEO. "And really transform the Port and the local community so that we're not relying on fossil fuels," adds Jack Broadbent, Directro of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

 

 

Online Edition

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Port of Oakland, a major source of pollution announced just how much just a decade of really reducing pollution, really has benefited everyone. 

Compared to 2005, 2015 ended with an overall 76% decrease in diesel emissions from all sources from ships to port vehicles and everything in between.

These numbers do make us one of the cleanest ports of our size in the country, if not the world," says Richard Sinkoff, the Port's Environmental Manager.

Jun 07, 2012

U.S. agency is told Canada is diverting minimal cargo from American ports

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The Canadian government and other officials have told the Federal Maritime Commission that over a period of 10 years, only 2.5 per cent of U.S.-bound cargo was imported via Canadian ports.

WASHINGTON — A commissioner on a U.S. agency probing whether Canadian ports on the West Coast are luring lucrative cargo business away from their American counterparts says the problem may be minimal.

The Canadian government and other officials have told the Federal Maritime Commission that over a period of 10 years, only 2.5 per cent of U.S.-bound cargo was imported via Canadian ports, the agency’s Rebecca Dye said Thursday.

Speaking at a Canadian American Business Council conference on China, Dye didn’t say when the commission would complete its investigation and deliver its findings to U.S. Congress.

But the matter has been a simmering trade irritant between the U.S. and Canada ever since a pair of senators from Washington state complained that Canadians are unfairly subsidizing the diversion of cargo ships away from their American competitors, particularly in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Andrew Mayer, an official at the Prince Rupert Port Authority also at the conference on Thursday, pointed out that Canadian officials hardly give cargo ships a free ride. While the U.S. taxes shippers, Canada charges them a user fee, he said.

“We charge them to help fund the maintenance of these ports, but we don’t have a tax,” he said.

He added that cost considerations aren’t a “significant component” in why overseas exporters choose a particular port.

“Their primary concerns are speed, reliability and efficiency ... shippers do not choose Prince Rupert because of costs,” he said.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell urged the Federal Maritime Commission to launch the inquiry last fall. They soon had the support of several lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

In their letter to the agency, the senators pointed out that the U.S. Harbor Maintenance Tax is not collected at border crossings when cargo enters the country on trains from Canada after arriving in North America via Canadian ports. They suggested it should be.

Indeed, their complaints prompted some American lawmakers to mull over a US$140-per-container levy on cargo entering the United States after coming through B.C. ports.

Canadian opponents says such a levy amounts to a punishing tariff on every container entering the United States from B.C. ports.

The Federal Maritime Commission’s chairman, Richard Lidinsky, suggested last year that he was sympathetic to the concerns of American port authorities.

While Canadian and Mexican ports are free to compete with their U.S. counterparts for cargo, he said, “they should do so on a playing field that is not artificially tilted by governments’ policies.”

At the heart of the debate is the growing popularity of Prince Rupert, a $170 million port that opened four years ago with $60 million in subsidies from both the B.C. and federal governments.

The U.S. tax is levied, in part, to cover the cost of dredging port channels on the American West Coast. Dredging isn’t necessary in Prince Rupert’s deep channels, Mayer noted on Thursday, and Vancouver requires only minimal dredging.

There’s another advantage to Prince Rupert — cargo ships travelling from China arrive several days earlier at the port, and Vancouver, than they do to at U.S. ports on the West Coast.

That’s especially true of the port of Los Angeles after ships travel what’s known as a circular route across the Pacific Ocean and end up far closer to the Canadian destinations at the end of their treks.

Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, has said Prince Rupert was becoming a favoured port not just because it’s the closest of any West Coast port to Asia, but also because it has the lowest rail grade to U.S. centres such as Chicago and Memphis, and its terminals are not burdened by urban congestion.

The cargo dispute reared its head just as Canada and the U.S. were about to announce the Beyond the Border initiative, a sweeping agreement aimed at easing trade and bolstering security at the Canada-U.S. boundary.

“I have urged our staff to consider the many reasons, in addition to tax policy, that may motivate a shipper or ocean carrier to use a particular North American port,” Dye told the conference.

“In addition, I have urged the staff to keep in mind the progress the United States and Canada have made to implement the Beyond the Border.”

Online Edition

The Canadian government and other officials have told the Federal Maritime Commission that over a period of 10 years, only 2.5 per cent of U.S.-bound cargo was imported via Canadian ports.

WASHINGTON — A commissioner on a U.S. agency probing whether Canadian ports on the West Coast are luring lucrative cargo business away from their American counterparts says the problem may be minimal.

Nov 09, 2016

Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports Team Up With Maersk to Track Emissions and Energy Efficiency of Ships

Online Edition

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has teamed up with container shipping giant Maersk on a new project that aims to track vessel emissions and energy efficiency of ships calling at the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The project, which will span three years, builds on a $125 million investment by Maersk Line to upgrade 12 containerships as part of its “radical retrofit” program to reduce fuel consumption and increase capacity of vessels regularly calling at the ports.

The two ports are contributing a combined $1 million to install real-time tracking systems that represent an industry-leading application to pinpoint vessel emissions while ships are at sea and at berth.

“This project is a vivid example of the deep commitment to environmental sustainability that we have grown to expect from our goods movement partners, as we all work together to create a healthier planet,” said Port of Long Beach Interim CEO Duane Kenagy. “We’re pleased to be a part of this project, and we hope it will serve as a model to encourage even more progress and creativity in emissions reductions from ocean-going vessels.”

“Maersk Line’s extraordinary commitment to cleaner, more efficient vessel operations represents a quantum leap in the environmental progress of our entire industry,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We applaud Maersk Line for its leadership and innovation, and we are eager to do our part to advance fundamental change that will result in cleaner air for our surrounding communities and around the world.”

The project will continuously record how much fuel each engine uses in conjunction with speed, engine power, weather and other operational variables through use of mass flow meters and an interface to the on-board Integrated Control System to capture performance data. Information will be uploaded to Maersk Line servers via satellite, and each ship will be able to communicate in real-time with Maersk Line’s Global Vessel Performance Centre to increase operational efficiency.

“This is the equivalent of strapping a Fitbit onto a large container ship,” said Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director of Environment and Sustainability for Maersk Line. “We’ll be tracking vessel performance and emissions 24/7. This advances our ability to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants on a global scale.”

Under its “radical retrofit” program, Maersk Line upgraded vessels that already plug into shore power at the San Pedro Bay ports. The additional improvements include redesigning the bulbous bow of each vessel, replacing existing propellers with more efficient models, and “derating” the main engines to make them more efficient at lower speeds.

The retrofit program also involved raising the bridge of the ships to increase each vessel’s capacity from about 9,500 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to about 11,000 TEUs. This allows Maersk Line to carry more containers per vessel while decreasing their environmental impact per container moved.

The energy efficiency makeover is expected to decrease each ship’s fuel consumption by more than 10 percent, saving an estimated 10,000 metric tons of fuel on an annual basis. This would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 31,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year and lead to similar reductions of diesel particulate matter (DPM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). 

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are the two largest ports in the nation, first and second respectively, and combined are the ninth-largest port complex in the world.

Since 2007, Maersk Line has reduced GHG emissions associated with its vessel operations by 42 percent on a per container, per kilometer basis. The retrofits and TAP demonstration project with the San Pedro Bay ports will help Maersk Line reach its goal of a 60 percent reduction of CO2 and other pollutants by 2020.

 

Online Edition

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has teamed up with container shipping giant Maersk on a new project that aims to track vessel emissions and energy efficiency of ships calling at the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The project, which will span three years, builds on a $125 million investment by Maersk Line to upgrade 12 containerships as part of its “radical retrofit” program to reduce fuel consumption and increase capacity of vessels regularly calling at the ports.

May 25, 2012

ILA Agrees to Halt Slowdown, NYSA Says

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A longshore labor dispute that produced three days of work slowdowns and long delays for trucks at Port of New York and New Jersey marine terminals apparently was settled Friday.

Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, said the NYSA and International Longshoremen’s Association submitted the dispute to an industry arbitrator under their contract’s dispute resolution provision.

“This dispute was handled by that provision, and while an agreement is being finalized which addresses all elements of the dispute, I have received very strong assurances by the ILA that service in all facilities is being normalized,” Curto said Friday afternoon.

Curto wouldn’t discuss the nature of the dispute, but several other sources said it was triggered by the union’s displeasure at the firing of two ILA maintenance and repair workers at APM Terminals.

The slowdown and resulting delays aggravated truck traffic jams during the busy period before the Memorial Day weekend. At one point, drivers had to wait as long as six or seven hours outside terminals, said Dick Jones, executive director of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers. At midafternoon Friday, drivers were still reporting waits of as much as three hours.

 

 

Online Edition

 

A longshore labor dispute that produced three days of work slowdowns and long delays for trucks at Port of New York and New Jersey marine terminals apparently was settled Friday.

Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, said the NYSA and International Longshoremen’s Association submitted the dispute to an industry arbitrator under their contract’s dispute resolution provision.

Jan 06, 2016

Assemblymember Frazier’s Statement on Governor’s Transportation Package in 2016 Budget

Online Edition

cid:image002.jpg@01D14876.089D6A90

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 6, 2016

CONTACT:

Ella Strain

916-319-2011

Ella.Strain@asm.ca.gov

 

ASSEMBLYMEMBER FRAZIER RELEASES BOLD TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PACKAGE TODAY

 

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, unveiled legislation to provide much-needed transportation funding for California. 

AB 1591 will raise over $7 billion annually and fund two major initiatives:  trade corridor improvements and road maintenance and rehabilitation. "California must invest in its trade corridors if we hope to develop and sustain economic vitality. Manufacturers and farmers want to be able to move their goods to market and AB 1591 will provide the investments we need to ensure that they can," stated Frazier.

AB 1591 further answers the challenge Governor Brown made last year when he called upon the Legislature to provide $5.9 billion annually to fix state highways. According to Frazier, “You can’t put out half a fire. The funding proposals developed over the past year do not begin to sufficiently address our highway and bridge maintenance needs. Failure to adequately fund deferred maintenance is short-sighted and will leave our highways congested in gridlock.”

Frazier spent the past seven months listening to the public, industry experts across the state, and his colleagues in order to develop a comprehensive plan to effectively tackle California’s transportation needs. AB 1591 looks to make these investments now, rather than costing us exponentially more in the long-run.

“Anyone who travels on California’s roads or rides our buses and trains can attest to the dire need for significant investment in our state’s infrastructure,” said Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “I commend Assemblymember Frazier for his diligence in considering a wide variety of perspectives as he developed this proposal.”

The revenue generated in Frazier’s plan is a portfolio approach drawing equitably from multiple sources. Key components of the transportation funding package include:

  • Restoring revenue from weight fees imposed on large trucks to the State Highway Account. This revenue, nearly $1 billion, will be directed to improvements in the state's major freight corridors;
  • Ensuring additional revenues generated are used to address road and bridge maintenance, rehabilitation, and, as appropriate, increases in capacity;
  • Allocating cap and trade auction proceeds to transportation projects that ease congestion and therefore provide significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in trade corridors;
  • Imposing moderate increases in gas tax, diesel tax, and vehicle registration. The state's aging infrastructure is degrading at an increasingly rapid pace. These funds will ensure existing assets are protected;    
  • Repaying outstanding transportation loans. These loans were made at a time when the General Fund was in crisis. That is no longer the case. These funds need to be returned to the transportation purpose for which they were intended;
  • Increasing allocations to intercity rail and transit programs;
  • Ensuring all vehicle owners pay to support the transportation infrastructure by imposing a nominal surcharge on electric vehicles; and
  • Initiating proper oversight on highway expenditures.

 

To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier please visit his website at www.asmdc.org/frazier or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-513-0411.

 

Follow Assemblymember Jim Frazier on Facebook and “Like” him for updates on events and happenings in the 11th AD.

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Nov 15, 2016

Port of Los Angeles and GE Transportation Partner to Digitize Maritime Shipping and Help Goods Reach Consumers Faster

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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15 2016 – (NYSE:GE) – With consumer spending on the rise, U.S. businesses need greater reliability and visibility from the supply chain to maintain their edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Given that 90 percent of global trade moves on the ocean, seaports are critical nodes of the supply chain. However, today’s major ports face the growing challenge of serving a new generation of massive container ships and the complexity of handling cargo carried by vessel-sharing alliances – constantly shifting arrangements between cargo ship operators where they share space on ships as a cost-saving strategy.

To keep cargo flowing efficiently through America’s largest container port, the Port of Los Angeles and GE Transportation are partnering to pilot a first-of-its-kind port information portal, a unique approach to demonstrate the benefits of digitizing maritime shipping data and making it available to cargo owners and supply chain operators through secure, channeled access. The digital platform will provide stakeholders with greater line-of-sight and planning capabilities to more effectively service ultra-large container vessels. Cargo data used in the two-month pilot project will include filtered information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system.

"Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Commerce has redoubled our efforts to help strengthen the competitiveness of our ports and supply chain stakeholders through the adoption of digital solutions," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "The innovative steps being taken in Los Angeles will demonstrate the value of new IT systems to ports and shippers, and help catalyze the voluntary implementation of these systems at ports throughout the U.S. We commend the Port of Los Angeles and GE for launching this visionary initiative."

The pilot project is a critical first step toward enabling next-level collaboration and coordination among the many stakeholders involved in the conveyance of waterborne cargo containers. It will enhance supply chain performance by delivering fast, data-driven insights through a single portal to partners across the supply chain.

“To keep pace with the rapidly changing shipping landscape, operations at our ports must evolve,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles. “Digital solutions that enable supply chain partners to receive a ship’s cargo information well in advance of arrival, like with the digital portal we are envisioning with GE Transportation, are a critical key to optimizing U.S. cargo efficiency and trade competitiveness.”

Ultimately, the goal of the port information portal is to improve data-flow between cargo owners, shipping lines and other stakeholders so that port and terminal operators have an extended window of time to track inbound cargo to more effectively service vessels, optimize cargo movement and improve the predictability and reliability of the supply chain. Port and cargo stakeholders manually tested this advance exchange of data during the largest-ever container ship call last December.

“Our partnership with the Port of Los Angeles will unlock the power of big data at one of the largest ports in the world and demonstrate how digital can enhance and improve operations,” said Jamie Miller, President and CEO, GE Transportation. “This initial pilot will generate the insights to build a smarter, more efficient supply chain moving forward.”

The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s largest container port, and GE Transportation has deep expertise in leveraging the power of digital to keep industries moving forward. Together, they are committed to increasing and enhancing the capabilities of the port information portal that will enable the supply chain to more seamlessly integrate and improve outcomes at the Port of Los Angeles and beyond. 

To learn more, visit www.invent.ge/GETMM16.   

About GE Transportation

At GE Transportation, we are in the business of realizing potential. We are a global technology leader and supplier of equipment, services and solutions to the rail, mining, marine, stationary power and drilling industries. Our innovations help customers deliver goods and services with greater speed and savings using our advanced manufacturing techniques and connected machines. Our digital solutions, which provide data-driven insights to improve efficiency, utilize Predix – GE’s cloud-based operating system for the Industrial Internet. Established more than a century ago, GE Transportation is a division of the General Electric Company that began as a pioneer in passenger and freight locomotives. That innovative spirit still drives GE Transportation today and is strengthened by our ability to serve customers more holistically through the GE Store – a global exchange of knowledge, technology and tools across all GE businesses that ultimately provides better outcomes for customers. GE Transportation is headquartered in Chicago, IL, and employs approximately 10,000 employees worldwide.

About Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles, America’s Port® and the premier gateway for international commerce, is located in San Pedro Bay, 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. This thriving seaport not only sustains its competitive edge with record-setting cargo operations, but is also known for groundbreaking environmental initiatives, progressive security measures, diverse recreational and educational facilities, and emerging LA Waterfront.

The Port of Los Angeles encompasses 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. It features 27 passenger and cargo terminals, including automobile, breakbulk, container, dry and liquid bulk, multi-use, and warehouse facilities that handle billions of dollars’ worth of cargo each year.

 

Online Edition

Jan 06, 2016

Assemblymember Frazier release bold transportation funding package today

 Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, unveiled legislation to provide much-needed transportation funding for California. 

AB 1591 will raise over $7 billion annually and fund two major initiatives: trade corridor improvements and road maintenance and rehabilitation. "California must invest in its trade corridors if we hope to develop and sustain economic vitality. Manufacturers and farmers want to be able to move their goods to market and AB 1591 will provide the investments we need to ensure that they can," stated Frazier. 

AB 1591 further answers the challenge Governor Brown made last year when he called upon the Legislature to provide $5.9 billion annually to fix state highways. According to Frazier, “You can’t put out half a fire. The funding proposals developed over the past year do not begin to sufficiently address our highway and bridge maintenance needs. Failure to adequately fund deferred maintenance is short-sighted and will leave our highways congested in gridlock.” 
Frazier spent the past seven months listening to the public, industry experts across the state, and his colleagues in order to develop a comprehensive plan to effectively tackle California’s transportation needs. AB 1591 looks to make these investments now, rather than costing us exponentially more in the long-run. 

“Anyone who travels on California’s roads or rides our buses and trains can attest to the dire need for significant investment in our state’s infrastructure,” said

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “I commend Assemblymember Frazier for his diligence in considering a wide variety of perspectives as he developed this proposal.” 

The revenue generated in Frazier’s plan is a portfolio approach drawing equitably from multiple sources. Key components of the transportation funding package include: 

•    Restoring revenue from weight fees imposed on large trucks to the State Highway Account. This revenue, nearly $1 billion, will be directed to improvements in the state's major freight corridors; 

•    Ensuring additional revenues generated are used to address road and bridge maintenance, rehabilitation, and, as appropriate, increases in capacity; 

•    Allocating cap and trade auction proceeds to transportation projects that ease congestion and therefore provide significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in trade corridors; 

•    Imposing moderate increases in gas tax, diesel tax, and vehicle registration. The state's aging infrastructure is degrading at an increasingly rapid pace. These funds will ensure existing assets are protected; 

•    Repaying outstanding transportation loans. These loans were made at a time when the General Fund was in crisis. That is no longer the case. These funds need to be returned to the transportation purpose for which they were intended; 

•    Increasing allocations to intercity rail and transit programs; 

•    Ensuring all vehicle owners pay to support the transportation infrastructure by imposing a nominal surcharge on electric vehicles; and 

•    Initiating proper oversight on highway expenditures. 

To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier please visit his website at www.asmdc.org/frazier or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-513-0411. 

 Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, unveiled legislation to provide much-needed transportation funding for California. 

Oct 01, 2016

Smartphones Speed Up Shipbuilding

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Construction of two new day ferries at Ketchikan for the Alaska Marine Highway System is being aided these days by the use of smartphones on the shop floor, one of Vigor’s innovations to spede up and improve the efficiency of shipbuilding.

Vigor is under contract to deliver the two ferries, capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and 53 vehicles, in late 2018.

Up until earlier this year, no cell phones were allowed on the shop floor, but then along came the mobile app TRELLO, a web-based project management application that Vigor managers say is cutting down on the amount of time spent having work team meetings, identifying and making any needed changes, and planning ahead.

“We used to have a meeting of all supervisors at work stations, about what needs to be done from today up to an eight week planning horizon and make sticky notes for each day,” said Doug Ward, director of shipyard development for Vigor at Ketchikan.

“There would be notes from each craft and each team and it was very complex, to keep real time information on every work station.

“This application TRELLO replaces all those sticky notes, and is flattening out distribution of information,” he said. “Eventually we hope TRELLO will help us avoid so many daily meetings across the entire shipbuilding process.”

TRELLO was introduced to Vigor by its naval architects, Glosten, in Seattle. Young naval architects also introduced Vigor to another phone app that allows for redlining, making corrections to plans.

“It allows Vigor to download shop drawings to smartphones, and if workers come across an exception where pieces are not fitting according to plan, what used to take weeks to redline and get down to naval architects, can be done using the app.

“Now our supervisors and workers can stand on the  shop floor, look at the plan, take a photo and draw red lines on cellphone touch screens, and send it out across the entire ship production team, so everyone can see what the condition is, who is working on it, and what is coming up,” Ward said. “Some of these redline changes can be managed in just a few hours, rather than days.

“we are really looking at cost control and schedule control processes, he said.

Vigor is also doing more in the way of outfitting vessels sooner in the production schedule than most shipyards do, Ward said/

Most shipyards build the whole module and then begin outfitting it, but Vigor is using the unit construction approach. The unit, which is part of the module, is built upside down and then shipyard employees begin outfitting it with pipes and electric equipment, doing any necessary welding, and installing electric lights and insulation, plus a coat of paint before putting the unit into the module and installing the entire module aboard the ship.

“It’s speeding up the construction schedule at lot,” he said.

Most of the some 180 Vigor employees at the Ketchikan shipyard are Alaskans who were trained at the Ketchikan shipyard are Alaskans who were trained at that shipyard, Ward said. When Vigor first began operating the facility, which is the primary maintenance facility for AMHS vessels, they had to bring in contract workers, but over the last year those employees have been phased out in favor of Alaskans trained there, he said. According to a report on the economic impact of the Ketchikan shipyard prepared for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority by the McDowell Group, average wages paid by Vigor Alaska to shipyard workers last year was $60,685.

Other Ketchikan shipyard projects in process include mechanical work and painting of a small charter vessel and steel repairs, maintenance, and painting of the CN Aquatrain, a unique rail-marine barge service operated by Foss Maritime, said Al Turner, senior projects manager for Vigor at Ketchikan.

Print Edition

Construction of two new day ferries at Ketchikan for the Alaska Marine Highway System is being aided these days by the use of smartphones on the shop floor, one of Vigor’s innovations to spede up and improve the efficiency of shipbuilding.

Vigor is under contract to deliver the two ferries, capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and 53 vehicles, in late 2018.

Sep 01, 2014

Chinese Port Truckers Strike Over Pay, Working Conditions

Print edition

The U.S. is hardly the only place where drayage truck drivers are frustrated with what they say is a lack of wage increases and tough working conditions. In Ningbo, China, truck drivers’ demand for higher haulage rates bubbled into violence. After a week of strikes, drivers serving the port returned to work on Aug. 25. Ningbo-Zhoushan is the world’s sixth-largest container port and the third-busiest in China, handling nearly 1.5 million 20-foot containers a month. The labor action came in the midst of peak season, when ships headed to the U.S. are full and reports of proliferating about cargo booked at lower freight rates being left behind, or rolled, to subsequent sailings. It’s not known whether the drivers’ demand for better pay was successful, but the incident further shows that drayage in the U.S. and globally is one of the most volatile links in the supply chain.

Print edition