Pier 80 Receives Cargo for PG&E Substation Project

Pier 80 Ship

Port of San Francisco’s Pier 80 Receives Cargo for PG&E’s Substation Upgrade Project

San Francisco, CA – Friday, May 8, 2015 – The Port of San Francisco’s Pier 80 Omni Terminal this week welcomed the M/V BBC Coral carrying the first two of three large spools of electrical cable and other equipment for upgrades to Pacific Gas &Electric’s (PG&E) electrical system in San Francisco. 

Work is currently underway to construct a new 230-kilovolt power line and upgrade two PG&E substations in San Francisco to improve reliability and harden its system for natural disasters including earthquakes.  Approximately 2.5 miles of new cable line will be installed beneath the floor of San Francisco Bay and connected to PG&E’s Embarcadero and Potrero Substations. 

“The new power line will provide an additional source of reliable electricity for San Francisco residents and businesses to meet growing demand and enhance readiness in the downtown area when a catastrophic emergency occurs.  Every day we’re working to build a stronger and more resilient system for our customers,” said Gregg Lemler, PG&E’s vice president of electric transmission operations.    

The two cable spools, along with the third one arriving by ship to Pier 80 in June 2015, will be loaded onto a cable laying barge.  The cable will be pulled through submerged conduit and buried under the Bay, connecting the two substations. 

The Port’s Pier 80 terminal, operated by Metro Ports, specializes in handling non-containerized breakbulk and project cargo like the 700,000-pound cable spools and electrical machinery delivered for the PG&E substation project.  The terminal is located one mile from the Potrero Substation at Illinois and 22nd Streets. 

“San Francisco’s Pier 80 continues to be a vital logistical link for supporting construction projects, and the jobs they create, for San Francisco and the entire Bay Area,” stated Port Maritime Director Peter Dailey. 

The cable and equipment were manufactured by J-Power Systems in Japan for Sumitomo Electric USA Inc., who supplied the product to PG&E.  J-Power Systems and Sumitomo Electric have been planning the complex project for over two years, coordinating the logistics through Schenker-Seino in Japan and Eastern Car Liner (ECL) Americas Inc. in the U.S. who chose the Port of San Francisco’s Pier 80 Omni Terminal to stage the operations. 

The weight and size of the cable spools complicated the project and required significant crane capacity and discharge direct to storage barges.   The solution was a creative use of BBC Chartering heavy lift vessels in combination with a storage barge contracted from The Dutra Group.  The first two cable reels were discharged from M/V BBC Coral directly to the storage barge.  A second BBC Chartering vessel arrives at Pier 80 in June and will remain on hire and act as an artificial floating crane to trans-load the heavy cargo from the storage barge to PG&E’s cable laying barge.  This will occur three times at approximately ten-day intervals as PG&E lays the submarine cable in San Francisco Bay between the Embarcadero and Potrero substations. 

“We investigated various crane options as well as conducting the operations at other public and private port facilities.  Ultimately we chose the use of the ocean vessels which enabled us to keep the project at the originally intended location of Pier 80,” said Bill Christ, Executive Vice President of ECL Americas.  “The cooperation of all the parties has been smooth, harmonious and professional.” 

“BBC Chartering is pleased to have shared in the execution of such an important energy expansion project for the Bay Area,” said Ed Bastian, Global Sales Director for BBC Chartering USA. 

The Port of San Francisco, an enterprise agency of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees a broad range of commercial, maritime and public access facilities along the City's waterfront that are held in public trust for the people of California. 

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Contact: Jim Maloney, Port of San Francisco
415-274-0519, Jim.maloney@sfport.com
(Links to photos below)

PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Rauenbuehler
PHOTO CAPTION: Pier 80 at the Port of San Francisco, M/V BBC Coral delivers the first two of three large spools of electric cable and equipment for upgrades to PG&E’s electrical system in San Francisco.