Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee - March 16, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
March 16, 2017 - 11:30am
Pier 1
San Francisco, CA 94111
1 Shannon Alford Port of San Francisco
2 Lauren Dickson Metro Ports
3 Michael Gerbracht BAE Systems
4 Aaron Golbus Port of San Francisco
5 Catharine Hooper Maritime Consultant
6 Ellen Johnck Ellen Joslin Johnck, RPA
7 Cathryn Lucido Metro Ports
8 Denise Lum Port of San Francisco
9 Jim Maloney Port of San Francisco
10 Brendan O'Meara Port of San Francisco
11 Ray Paetzold SF Bar Pilots
12 Joe Reilly Port of San Francisco
13 Gerry Roybal Port of San Francisco
14 Veronica Sanchez Master, Mates, & Pilots
15 Marina Secchitano Inland Boatman's Union
16 Levi Strandberg Metro Ports
17 Ken Tashian Port of San Francisco
18 Oscar Wallace Port of San Francisco
  1. Welcome
  • Self-introductions by all present.


  1. Maritime Update (Peter Dailey)
  • Michael Nerney and Brandon Chapman are in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week attending the annual Seatrade cruise conference.
  • BAE Systems, who had been long-term operator of the Pier 70 shipyard, sold their lease to Puglia Engineering, an established ship repair operator better suited for smaller contracts. Since the sale, however, conflicts and lawsuits have arisen due to the deteriorating condition of the Eureka drydock. For now, the shipyard is operating under a 90-day interim agreement.
  • Volume in the auto operation at Pier 80 is continually increasing.  Since September 2016, there have been 11 ships, totaling approximately 15,000 cars. One of the Port's biggest customers is Tesla, with an export facility in Fremont. Pasha is close to signing an agreement with a U.S. company to import cars that are manufactured in India.
  • Brendan O'Meara attended an automobile conference and reported the following:  A representative from PricewaterhouseCoopers, accounting firm based in Detroit, gave an update on the car industry. With the new presidential administration, he suggested that the major players in the auto industry should take a "wait and see" approach.  Auto sales have been at an all-time high worldwide, but are expected to drop a little next year, go back up, then sales are projected to move steadily for the next five years.  As for the auto processing side, the outlook is good for companies with more land and less commitments. This puts the Port in a good place because we are still building our customer base. The Port is negotiating with three auto manufacturers. One is days away from being announced, which will bring in 23,000 cars, two ships a month.
  • Hanson Aggregates continues to import aggregate from Canada.  They are switching quarries so nothing has been imported yet this year. The first vessel is expected in April 2017.  This will give some time to work on the stackers and rail improvements.  Due to the quarry switch, there will be larger shipments but less frequent ship calls.
  • Ellen Johnck has been contracted by Golden Gate Scenic Steamship (DBA Red & White Fleet) to help with their lease renewal and permitting process. They are currently month-to-month and are requesting a 20-year lease with the Port. Red & White would like to improve the landside and waterside operational efficiency for passengers by moving their berth operations, adding new gangways, and installing a new ticket booth.  Ellen is pursuing a shorter-term approval process under CEQA with the City Planning Department due to this being a major improvement.
  • The Port Commission approved a $1.4 million grant received from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) that will allow the Port to replace an old locomotive.  The new locomotive will reduce air emissions up to 90%. SF Bayrail has added new track to the railyard off Cargo Way to store more trains as business increases due to the Warriors arena project.


  1. Freight Rail Update (Jim Maloney)
  • A "Freight Rail Summit" was held at the Port in February. Some of the action items to promote freight rail include:
  • Organizing an informational "Freight Rail Symposium" at the Port, potentially in lieu of next MCAC meeting in May, and ask Port of Redwood City to co-host.
  • Revising Port freight rail brochure highlighting benefits of freight rail.
  • Scheduling individual meetings with SF Caltrain Board members.
  • Obtaining electrification plans from Caltrain to review options to gain rail clearance for auto railcars.
  • Establishing Freight Rail Task Force to meet with members of the Board of Supervisors and write letters to Caltrain and elected officials.
  • Looking for opportunities with local media and trade publications to highlight Port freight rail story.
  1. Port Maintenance & Homeless Issues (Ken Tashian & Oscar Wallace)
  • Tom Carter and Ken Tashian are the representatives from the Port for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, a new department created by the Mayor's Office.
  • Homelessness is a national problem.
  • Ken Tashian created a Portwide Security Coalition that meets every six months.
  • Any entities that have security along the waterfront are working together to identify common issues and shares resources.  Their common goal is to provide safety for the public up and down the waterfront.
  • The Mayor's Office has a mantra: "Every engagement with a homeless person is an opportunity to provide services."
  • Ken encourages everyone to load 311 application and requests are dispatched to the appropriate department.
  • The presentation is available here:
  1. Waterfront Plan Working Group (Ellen Johnck)
  • We are almost 1½ years into the Waterfront Land Use Plan process.
  • All meeting agendas, minutes, presentation, and supporting documents on the Plan can be found on the Port website:


  1. General Discussion
  • Veronica Sanchez: Port Staff announced San Francisco voters will be asked to approve a $350 million bond measure to fund repairs to the Seawall Resiliency Project.
  • Joe Reilly: San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will be updating the city wide debris management plan. The plan will be finalized in six months.  There was a consensus from the group to invite DEM to make a presentation to the MCAC on how the plan will affect maritime and its partners.
  • Veronica Sanchez: On March 21, Blue & Gold and WETA will christen a new 400- passenger vessel at Pier 9, Hydris, the first of seven new vessels entering service on San Francisco Bay between now and 2018. Ferry ridership has increased 75% in the past five years.


  1. Forward Calendar
  • Next MCAC meeting: Thursday, May 18, 2017, 11:30am-1:00pm, at Port of San Francisco offices, Pier 1, Bayside 1 & 2 Conference Room.