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U.S. DoT grants $220 million for port development program



U.S. DoT grants $220 million for port development program. Image: Pixabay
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The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the award of more than $220 million in discretionary grant funding to improve port facilities in 15 states and territories through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program.

“This $220 million in federal grants will improve America’s ports with nearly half the projects are located in Opportunity Zones, which were established to revitalize economically distressed communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

U.S. maritime ports are critical links in the U.S. domestic and international trade supply chain and this funding will assist in the improvement of port facilities at or near coastal seaports. The Port Infrastructure Development Program aims to support efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to ensure our nation’s freight transportation needs, present and future, are met. The program provides planning, operational and capital financing, and project management assistance to improve their capacity and efficiency.

Of the 18 projects that were awarded grants, eight are located in Opportunity Zones, which were created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments.

“This critical investment demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to supporting our nation’s ports and maritime industry,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “These grants will help our nation’s economy and ensure that America’s ports can continue to operate effectively in the competitive global marketplace.”

Ports provide countless jobs for Americans and are key to a nation that heavily relies on its maritime services. By providing the funding to support the improvement of this critical infrastructure component, MARAD and the Department of Transportation are ensuring these services will succeed during the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.

A complete list of grant recipients is below:

Seward, Alaska
Marine Terminal Freight Dock & Corridor Improvements (awarded $19,779,425)

The project will expand the existing dock by approximately 375 feet to deeper water to accommodate growing freight cargoes and to minimize operational conflicts between freight and cruise movements, both onshore and in the harbor. The Corridor Improvement Project component will create a roadway connection between the Freight Dock and the existing Airport Road, allowing improving safety between onshore freight movements and cruise passenger pedestrian movements.

Los Angeles, California
SR 47-Vincent Thomas Bridge & Harbor Boulevard-Front Street Interchange Improvement Project (awarded : $9,880,000)

This grant will help reduce delays and accidents at the Port of Los Angeles. The project interchange directly serves two container terminals, which handle approximately 5% of all waterborne containers entering/exiting the U.S. About 40% of all U.S. imports and 25% of all U.S. exports move through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  This project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Palm Beach, Florida
On-dock rail facility development (awarded $13,224,090)

The project will construct an intermodal container transfer facility on-dock, capable of serving multiple berthed vessels simultaneously. The completion of this project is critical to addressing the major challenge to the Port’s realizing its maximum container throughput and reaching its full potential as a regional economic engine with minimal negative impact on the regional highway network.

Burns Harbor, Indiana
Burns Harbor Bulk Storage Facility (awarded $4,000,000)

The project will convert a vacant gravel yard into a multimodal bulk storage facility. The project will create supply chain improvements in the safe, efficient, and reliable transportation of bulk cargoes. It will also generate benefits including reducing transportation costs, minimizing highway congestion, and maintenance costs, reducing environmental impacts, and improving transportation safety.

Avondale, Louisiana
Avondale Dock Conversion Project (awarded $9,880,000)

This grant will help convert a former Avondale Shipyard wharf to a modern cargo dock. Once transformed, the dock will enable the Avondale Industrial Marine District (AIMD) port facility to handle dry bulk and breakbulk cargoes more effectively in general commerce from the west bank of the Mississippi River and will also help to improve truck traffic flow. This project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Baltimore, Maryland
Sparrows Point Bulk Expansion Rail Modernization and Berth Rehabilitation Mid-Atlantic Multi-Modal Transportation Hub (awarded $9,880,000)

This grant will add additional waterside access, create a bulk import and export terminal, install a modern gate complex, and upgrade the heavy-duty road network. Furthermore, the project will upgrade rail connectivity and repair all degraded utilities.

Portland, Maine
Linking Intermodal Needs and Rural Freight Knowledge – LINK Project (awarded $4,098,360)

This grant will fund the modernization of gates and scales, improvements to existing warehouses, and rail improvements at a bulk transfer facility to improve the intermodal efficiency of the port. The project is in an opportunity zone.

Kansas City, Missouri
Missouri River Terminal Intermodal Facility (awarded $9,880,000)

This grant will be used to provide regional access to the marine river network, rail, and highway transportation network. This project includes advanced project planning and redevelopment activities of the MRT site such as preventative flooding maintenance, environmental remediation efforts, site design, land acquisition, and limited pavement and rail access development. The project is in an opportunity zone.

Wilmington, North Carolina
Container Gate Innovation & Access (awarded $16,073,244)

This grant will provide for a new container gate to increase throughput capacity by utilizing technology and innovation—including Optical Character Recognition and Weigh-in-Motion Sensors, which will allow drivers to enter and exit the port without stopping for processing. The proposed improvements also allow the Port to streamline container traffic flow throughout the terminal and open up additional yard storage capacity.

Conneaut, Ohio
Port of Conneaut Connector (awarded $19,527,640)

This grant will help connect truck and rail freight to the Port of Conneaut, a Great Lakes deep-water port on the shores of Lake Erie. The project entails construction of: a dredge material facility to maintain shipping access to the Port along the Conneaut Creek channel; a new 1.64-mile roadway from US 20 to the Port of Conneaut; and a new rail spur infrastructure to connect the East Conneaut Industrial Park to the Port of Conneaut. The connector will provide critical infrastructure needed to facilitate commercial/industrial development in a region lacking “last mile” truck freight connectivity to its Great Lakes port.

Coos Bay, Oregon
Coos Bay Rail Line Phase II Tie and Surfacing Program (awarded $9,880,000)

This grant will rehabilitate and replace ties and resurface track at various locations along the Coos Bay Rail Line (CBRL). This project proposes to replace 67,000 crossties and resurface main line, sidings, an industrial lead, rail yard and spur tracks with ballast along the 121 miles of track that stretches from Eugene to Coos Bay, Oregon. The project is in an opportunity zone.

North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Unlocking the South Berth at Pier 1 (awarded $11,141,000)

This grant will support the reconstruction of the South Face of Pier 1, which involves the replacement of a portion of the face of the pier with a steel pile supported concrete pier structure. This project will bring the southern berth at the Pier to a state where it can be utilized to accommodate the burgeoning auto import and export industry, bringing the total number of available roll-on, roll-off berths at the Port of Davisville from two to three.

Brownsville, Texas
Grain & Bulk Handling Facility Development, Expansion and Upgrade Project (awarded $14,504,850)

This grant will support the development, expansion and upgrade of a grain and bulk handling facility. The project consists of fixed landside, rail, and road improvements, as well as related planning and other development activities. Once completed, the project will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods. The project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Port Arthur, Texas
Port of Port Arthur Navigation District (awarded $9,722,223)

This grant will support the replacement of aging critical port infrastructure while improving cargo mobility and productivity. The project will include the deconstruction and removal of a metal clad dockside transit shed, reconditioning of a concrete slab, the erection of a building providing useable storage and approximately a covered area for all-weather truck and rail loading.

Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk International Terminals Central Rail Yard Expansion Project (awarded $20,184,999)

This grant supports the construction of eight working tracks—which will create two bundles of four tracks each, in addition to a center working area for transferring and staging containers. Associated lead-in tracks will incorporate turnouts and switches from the terminal’s main rail line and vehicle crossings. Additionally, the project will create a return access road that will separate rail dray traffic returning to the container yard from general truck traffic.

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Crown Bay Terminal Improvements Project (awarded $21,869,260)

This funding will support the reconstruction and modernization of cargo handling and storage infrastructure at the Crown Bay Terminal. The project includes bulkhead rehabilitation, concrete apron restoration, reconstruction of three cargo storage areas; and security improvements including lighting, fencing and fire protection.  The project will facilitate more efficient cargo movement both into and out of St. Thomas. The project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham Shipping Terminal Rehabilitation Project (awarded $6,854,770)

This grant will support construction of a larger, more robust heavy load area and the removal of rock outcrops in front of Berth 1 that limit the draft of ships docking at the facility. The project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Seattle, Washington
Terminal 5 Uplands Modernization and Rehabilitation Project: Final Phase (awarded $10,687,333)

This grant will support infrastructure improvements including surfacing, paving, and reinforcement of a terminal-wide storm water treatment system. Additionally, the project will focus on upsizing electric refrigerated plug capacity and on-terminal rail infrastructure improvements.

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Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal launched



Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal launched. Image: Intellian
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Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal has now been launched and is expected to quickly secure a reputation as the most powerful and technically advanced Iridium Certus® terminal on the market.

With its best-in-class RF performance, the C700 can deliver out-of-the-box uplink speeds of 352kbps and downlink speeds of 704kbps by default, with equally impressive low-elevation-angle RF efficiency thanks to its unique 12-patch phased array antenna technology.

It will support three high-quality, low-latency phone lines simultaneously; and as a solid-state antenna with no moving parts inside, the C700 is especially robust, requiring no scheduled maintenance over its lifetime.

The advanced performance of the C700 provides customers across all markets with the flexibility to deploy it as the primary communication antenna or as a companion to a VSAT system for seamless redundancy.

For primary communications, the Below Deck Unit (BDU) incorporates key features which make it ready to deploy without additional cost, including firewall, IP PBX, WAN port and built-in Wi-Fi. Hardware and software functions such as these, incorporated into the system, make the C700 the most powerful, feature-rich L-band solution on the market, delivering best in class performance and functionality.

The innate stability and reliable connectivity afforded by the C700 also make it an ideal platform for future safety services, including the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

The C700 delivers installation efficiency both through the product design and the commissioning process. The BDU, weighing approximately 1.2kg, is available as a standalone bulkhead mount system or a 19” all-in-one rack-mount version.

With its small, lightweight and space-saving form factor, the C700 can be carried on board by just one technician or crew member for rapid and low-cost installation. Once the C700 is installed, the built-in, user-friendly AptusLX software enhances the commissioning and setup experience of customers and partners.

Wouter Deknopper, Vice President and General Manager of Maritime, Iridium, observes: Many vessel owners and operators may decide against VSAT for budgetary reasons, lack of deck space or the absence of adequate coverage on their voyage routes, so Iridium Certus is ideal as a primary means of communication, supported by the ease of upgrading to the C700 from an existing system.

“Iridium Certus also excels as a VSAT companion, combining the benefits of LEO with GEO, and L-band with Ku-band. VSAT can suffer from certain degradations and also isn’t global. That’s where you need a strong hybrid system, and Intellian of course is a highly respected manufacturer of maritime VSAT antennas and the new C700, so it is in a strong position to offer a very competitive turnkey hybrid package on the market. The flexibility of the airtime packages Iridium and our partners offer for Intellian customers is also an essential consideration in such uncertain times for the shipping industry and beyond.”

L-band is particularly resistant to rain fade and other forms of atmospheric interference, and the C700’s 12-element antenna arrangement is designed to supply rapid and efficient tracking performance, leading to optimal high-speed data and voice connections. Troels Christensen, Product Manager, EMEA, Intellian, explains: “The signal stability is exceptional even on fast boats or smaller vessels in rough seas, where you may experience heavy pitch and roll.”

An attractive proposition for crew communications with its multiple high-quality voice lines, the C700 is also protected with Intellian’s international support and service network infrastructure, and comes with a three-year warranty for parts and labor.

“The fact that it can be retrofitted by reusing a vessel’s old mast mount, cables and power supply saves additional time and money,” adds Mr. Christensen. “There’s no need for extra boxes, there are no hidden costs, and Iridium Certus provides truly global coverage, even at the poles, so the C700 is an L-band innovation that pays ample dividends not just for smaller vessels, but right across the board.”

Eric Sung, CEO, Intellian Technologies, concludes: “We’re delighted to partner with Iridium and believe our C700 is a great addition to our innovative maritime product portfolio. The new C700 antenna is a great choice for multiple customer segments, delivering an affordable solution which leads the market in speed and functionality.”

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Korean Register authorized to provide statutory services to Brunei



Korean Register authorized to provide statutory services to Brunei. Image: Unsplash
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The Korean Register has been appointed to deliver statutory services on behalf of the Government of Brunei.

Korean Register will act as a Recognized Organization (RO), with KR surveyors conducting vessel surveys and audits, issuing certificates for Brunei’s flagged ships and ensuring full compliance with the SOLAS, MARPOL, ITC, ILL, and MLC regulations and international conventions.

Brunei is a country where the oil and gas industry accounts for 90% of the national economy, as a result, the shipping industry is well developed and focused on the transportation of these commodities.

KR has had a presence in Brunei since 2016, when it joined with a local partner in a joint venture to provide engineering services, third party inspection and certification services for oil and gas plants.

Hyung-chul Lee, Chairman and CEO, KR said: “This is an important achievement for KR, building on our solid reputation in the oil and gas sector. We are delighted to be expanding our services to our customers in Brunei and look forward to providing immediate, high quality services wherever they are.

“Today, KR is known as one of the industry’s most reliable class partners, clearly demonstrated by the fact that we are now authorized to act as RO – conducting surveys, issuing certificates and ensuring compliance with international regulations – by 81 flag administrations all around the world.”

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Damen Shipyards Group completes rebuild of ‘OceanXplorer’



Damen Shipyards Group completes rebuild of ‘OceanXplorer’. Image: Damen Shipyards
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Damen Shipyards Group has recently completed the extensive rebuild of cutting-edge research vessel OceanXplorer at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam. The vessel will contribute significantly to OceanX’s mission – to explore the ocean and bring it back to the world. In this way, the initiative aims at the building of a global community engaged with understanding, enjoying and protecting our oceans.

Upon completion of the project, OceanXplorer has become the most advanced exploration, research and media vessel in the world. As OceanX’s new flagship, she builds on the legacy of the organisation’s first vessel, Alucia and takes things to the next level. Equipped with a series of submersibles, sonar arrays, manned submarines, an ROV and AUV, OceanXplorer is able to explore and map the depths of the oceans.

The vessel is able to collect live samples and bring them aboard where they can be analysed by scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories – with the capabilities, amongst other things, to carry out DNA sequencing.

OceanXplorer’s outstanding research facilities are paired with Hollywood quality filming and media studios – developed in partnership with renowned filmmaker James Cameron. With this, the vessel’s findings can be live-streamed to audiences worldwide at the exact moment of discovery.

Damen served as main contractor in this complex and challenging project, fulfilling an extensive scope of work that brought together various disciplines from across Damen Shipyards Group – including offshore and survey newbuild, repair & conversion and yachting specialisms.

The project required Damen to rebuild the vessel – a former offshore survey ship – in essence from the main deck upwards by stripping the existing accommodation and adding a complete new and much larger accommodation to house the new laboratories, workshops and submarine hangar. Also a fully integrated heli hangar was added to the superstructure as well as extensions on both sides of the accommodation decks to house new cabins over the (increased) full beam of the vessel. Following the structural part, the work included overseeing the complete integration of all ship’s systems including specialist hydrographic and laboratory systems and an innovative IT infrastructure to facilitate the combination of state-of-the-art research facilities with the on board Hollywood standard cinematography and media studios.

Damen worked closely with OceanX’s specialist teams, developing the scope of the project in order to fulfil all requirements. This included responsibility for the interior and exterior of the vessel. The ship is unique in its combining of up-to-the-minute research facilities – courtesy of renowned naval architects Skipsteknisk – and top-of-the-line interior accommodations, designed by Christina Fallah. The vessel’s additional interiors as well as its exterior were styled by Steve Gresham.

The project also required Damen to undertake a docking scope, including removal and refurbishment of azipull and bow thrusters, blasting and coating of tanks and complete overhaul and upgrading of crew accommodation.

Tjarco Ekkelkamp, project director for the OceanXplorer project at Damen said, “This has been a challenging project, the result of which we are very proud of. On the one hand, this shows the extensive capabilities of Damen as a group – the powerful synergies within our group, covering both newbuild and repair & conversion capabilities and spanning commercial vessels and superyachts. On the other, this is a vessel that represents a force for good in the world – one that will enhance human involvement, understanding and ultimately conservation of our oceans. With our strong commitment to maritime sustainability, we are delighted to have played our part in the development of OceanXplorer.”

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