Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee - January 19, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
January 19, 2017 - 11:30am


1 Edgar Alvarado Port of San Francisco
2 Rebecca Benassini Port of San Francisco
3 Joe Bugard Red & White Fleet
4 Bill Butler Lind Marine
5 Brandon Chapman Port of San Francisco
6 Chris Christensen Longshoremen Memorial Association
7 Peter Dailey Port of San Francisco
8 Paul Dyson Dyson Rail (SFBR)
9 Jay Edwards Port of San Francisco
10 David Gavrich SF Bay Railroad
11 Michael Gerbracht BAE Systems
12 Aaron Golbus Port of San Francisco
13 Bobby Guillory ILWU 10
14 Ellen Johnck Ellen Joslin Johnck, RPA
15 Kari Kilstrom Port of San Francisco
16 Cathryn Lucido Metro Ports
17 Denise Lum Port of San Francisco
18 Jim Maloney Port of San Francisco
19 Stephanie Martin National Park Service
20 Pat Murphy Blue and Gold Fleet
21 Mike Nerney Port of San Francisco
22 Brendan O'Meara Port of San Francisco
23 Ray Paetzold SF Bar Pilots
24 Steve Pieroni Darling Ingredients
25 Joe Reilly Port of San Francisco
26 Veronica Sanchez Master, Mates, & Pilots
27 Eric Smith SF Bay Railroad
28 Dave Thomas San Francisco Water Taxi


1.   Welcome

  • Self-introductions by all present.


2.   Maritime Update (Port Staff)

  • BAE Systems sold their lease of the Pier 70 shipyard to Puglia Engineering, effective 1/1/2017. Michael Gerbracht will transfer from BAE to Puglia and remain as General Manager. He reported that BAE Systems is an international entity focused on large commercial portfolios, whereas Puglia Engineering is a smaller regional business with more flexibility to obtain contracts that BAE could not compete for. There are no changes from a labor standpoint. The new ownership gives the shipyard an opportunity to get more volume.
  • Brendan O'Meara reported that Pier 80 is jam-packed full of cars. Next week, the seventh auto ship will call to Pier 80 since Pasha took over in August 2016, with approximately 8,000 cars handled to date. So far, 60% are exports and 40% are imports. As volume picks up, the number of imports should increase. The goal is to create local jobs and to hire through CityBuild, a program of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The Port is working with Pasha to aggressively market Pier 80.
  • Michael Nerney reported on the cruise industry at the Port. There were 80 cruise ships in 2016, and approximately 290,000 passengers, which is on par with 2015. For 2017, 82 ships and 300,000 guests are expected.  These numbers are up substantially from 5 to 6 years ago, where there were 40 ships and 100K passengers. The growth can be partly attributed to the Port’s new cruise terminal at Pier 27, which has been opened for two years (since Sept 2014) and has been earning consistently high ratings from Princess Cruises passengers.
  • The first cruise ship this year was Silver Whisper, a small luxury ship which carries less than 400 passengers. Silver Whisper started a 116-night world cruise in San Francisco that will conclude in Monte Carlo in May 2017. There are four other cruise maiden calls happening in the fall. This will be another solid year for cruise, and also special events (on non-cruise days).
  • In January, the Port Commission reelected Willie Adams as President and Kimberly Brandon as Vice President. The other Commissioners are: Leslie Katz, Eleni Kounalakis, and Doreen Woo Ho.


3.   Freight Rail Update (Jim Maloney)

  • Jim Maloney is back at the Port as a rail consultant. He reported that in 2011, the Port was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the US Department of Transportation's Federal Rail Administration (FRA) to rebuild Quint Street Lead, the connector track from the main line to the Port. The upgraded tracks will allow heavier locomotives and large unit trains to come directly to the Port, instead of stopping off in South San Francisco to switch out to smaller trains. The last segment of the project will be completed in February 2017.
  • On January 12, 2017, the Port Commission approved a five-year lease extension for San Francisco Bay Railroad. SFBR will invest $1.3 million dollars for 4,000 feet of new track in the rail yard. This replaces some of the track that was lost to Pier 80 due to the Pasha facility, and will help stage trains needed for the Warriors Arena project.
  • At the February 14 commission meeting, there will be an item to accept and expend a grant received from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The money will allow the Port to replace an old locomotive to a newer and cleaner locomotive which will reduce emissions up to 90%.
  • At Caltrain's board meeting on January 5, it was announced that Union Pacific will turn over their freight rail rights to Caltrain for the San Francisco-San Jose corridor; and Caltrain will hire a shortline operator. The operator will take over interchanging with the Port and all other freight and rail stakeholders on the Peninsula.
  • Ellen Johnck proposed sending a letter from MCAC to District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen in support of freight rail transportation. David Gavrich and Jim Maloney agreed to draft letter. It was also suggested that Port’s government affairs staff review freight rail situation and report back to MCAC as to possible next steps at a regional level.


4.   Waterfront Plan Working Group Update (Kari Kilstom & Aaron Golbus)

  • The most recent Land Use Subcommittee meeting was held on January 18, and a key agenda item was guidance and recommendations for Water Recreation, Maritime Berthing and Public Access. The consensus was to emphasize the importance of maritime berthing and operations.
  • All upcoming meetings, summary notes on past meetings, and updates on the Waterfront Plan can be found on the Port's website:

5.   National Park Service-Alcatraz update (Rebecca Benassini & Stephanie Martin)

  • The embarkation for Alcatraz tours is currently at Pier 31½. Over the coming months, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Port will negotiate an agreement regarding development of this campus as the exclusive site for visitors to access Alcatraz Island for the next 30 years. NPS will supply ferry concessioners through their competitive bid process. NPS will bring in one of their key partners, Golden Gate National Park Conservancy, to develop cohesion and sign work throughout the site, which will improve the visitor experience. The transaction documents (business terms) are currently being worked out. California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review has been commenced. NPS is due to issue their final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) next week. The design is expected to be concluded by February 2017. If approved by the Port Commission and Board of Supervisors by June 2017, NPS can select the new Alcatraz concessioner shortly after.
  • For more information, please refer to these presentations on the Alcatraz Embarkation Site and the Pier 31½-33 Design Update.

Alcatraz Embarkation Site

Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation Pier 31 ½ - 33 Design Update


6.   Old and New Business, General Discussion Agenda topics for future meetings (All)             

  • Veronica Sanchez requested a presentation on the proposed demolition of the I-280 off-ramp from Mariposa to King and potential impacts on maritime and other businesses in the area.
  • Wharfinger Brandon Chapman now serves on the executive board of the Propeller Club, a maritime industry networking group that promotes commerce and education. The next PC meeting will be on February 7, at Scott's Seafood in Oakland. The speaker will be John McLaurin, President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA).


7.   Forward Calendar

  • Next MCAC meeting – Thursday, March 16, 2017, 11:30am - 1:00pm, Pier 1, Bayside 1 & 2.