Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee - March 24, 2016 - Minutes
Thursday, March 24, 2016, 11:30am-1:00pm
Port of San Francisco, Embarcadero Room
Meeting Summary Notes
Port of San Francisco
- Self-introductions by all present.
- Maritime Update (Peter Dailey)
- Norwegian Cruise Line's US-flag cruise ship Pride of America was at SF Pier 70 Drydock for 2½ weeks for major renovations (February 26-March 14). Approximately 1,000 people worked round the clock. It was a big economic boon for the shipyard. The ship shifted to Pier 27 cruise terminal on March 15 to embark passengers, but the sailing was postponed one day because workers were still painting, putting in lounge chairs, and installing carpets. Passengers received a $300 stipend to stay in a hotel in San Francisco.
- The Ports of San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, Eureka, Astoria, Seattle, Victoria, and Hawaii are all members of Cruise the West, an association of West Coast cruise ports and harbors. Cruise the West had a booth at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference held March 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale. Metro Cruise, operators of the Pier 27 and Pier 35 cruise terminals, also had a booth; Local 10 was represented; cruise executives from all major lines and ports and destinations from around the world attended this conference.
- One of the seminars was on port and terminal development. The moderator was Luis Ajamil of Bermello Ajamil & Partners, one of the architectural firms that designed Pier 27. He focused on Pier 27 as a highly successful urban model cruise terminal that had public access, special events, and blends seamlessly with the city. It was well received and encouraged a lot of the decision makers.
- Chris Christensen views the Port, the terminal operator, and labor, as a tripod, working as one to support the ship and customer (the cruise lines). He said these entities are a unified group, working in their respective areas, but with the same goal in mind.
- Stein Kruse, Chief Executive Officer of Holland America Group, which includes Princess Cruises, the Port’s primary cruise client, made a point to speak to Peter and Mike at the conference. Peter commended Mike Nerney for his work representing the Port of San Francisco in cruise shipping over the years. The Port’s cruise business is at record levels of ship calls and passengers.
- The Port Commission approved a homeless shelter with 150 beds at Pier 80, Shed A, through May 15, 2016.
- On the April commission calendar, the Port is seeking approval for a terminal agreement for Pier 80 with the Pasha Group. There is no contract yet, but there have been meetings with labor on a regular basis, and a Memorandum of Understanding is in place. The Pasha Group, based in San Rafael, was founded in San Francisco in 1947, initially shipping cars out of Fort Mason. They are now the largest auto stevedoring company on the West Coast. The vision is for Pier 80 to be an auto import/export facility. Cars will be imported from Mexico to California. Pier 80 has been underutilized for many years, and this is a great opportunity. The hope is to begin operations in July 2016, with a vision of 40k-150k automobiles coming through the first year.
- Greetings from Interim Executive Director (Elaine Forbes)
- Elaine Forbes became Interim Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco on 3/1/2016, filling the position vacated by Monique Moyer. Elaine has been with the Port for nearly six years as the Chief Financial Officer. Elaine was born in San Francisco and is an urban planner by training. Early in her career, she worked as a redevelopment agency planner for the City of Oakland. She became interested in land use issues and worked for the SF Board of Supervisors under Harvey Rose, Budget Analyst for the City & County of San Francisco. Elaine then became the City Planning Department's Chief of Staff and Finance Director. Monique Moyer invited Elaine to join the Port because of her development background and interest in solving financing questions, especially on big projects.
- Elaine believes that maritime is central to the Port's mission and she has enjoyed working on the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal Project and sees several exciting maritime opportunities on the near term. She is pleased in the growth of our cruise calls and economic prospects on the southern waterfront. She feels it is important to keep maritime berths and industrial lands available and complimented Port staff for their work in this area. Elaine is pleased to get to know MCAC members and is always available to assist.
- There is an ongoing national search to fill the Executive Director position at the Port.
- Report on Waterfront Plan Working Group (Ellen Johnck, Anne Cook)
- Below is transcript of discussion concerning Waterfront Plan Working Group.
- (Anne Cook) We are on Phase I on the Waterfront Plan update process. Our purpose is to go through topic by topic to get the working group to understand and get realistic, useful guidance about updating the plan. We started with an orientation. We did finance recently, and before that, we did Maritime and went through industry by industry. Peter did a presentation of each industry. We also had presentation on the regulatory environmental report because that is such a constraint on the Port. All presentations are on the sfgov website. The sea level presentation was quite excellent, trying to distill very complex information into a 1 hour presentation. The next meeting will be on the Seawall, which is a continuation of the issues that we face with Sea Level Rise as those two interrelate. We will continue on to Transportation, then Urban Design and Historic Preservation. Phase I will be completed in early December. When we go into Phase II, we will be talking about issues that will require guidance from working groups. There are often trade-off questions, like recreational boating, which can come into conflict with our working waterfront. A lot of the issues that come up are operational and tenant issues that we face every day. Some things are solved through a lease agreement or an environmental impact report. Our job is to figure out how to resolve these issues.
- (Ellen Johnck introduces Ken Kelton, who represents recreational boaters) Ken, you wanted to say a couple of things about the conflicts between kayakers and cargo operations…Yes, I am involved with a large kayaking community out of south beach. I've got a bicycle and I'm connected. But I know there's a lot of conflict out there among the small craft boaters. So I did this meeting that the Port had as a workgroup meeting a couple of months ago and I want to point out that it looks like complete stupidity (on the part of small craft boaters), but a lot of it is ignorance: They just haven't a clue, and I would hope to facilitate some process on our side where we can do a little better education. One thing was the yacht club down here a couple of years ago where a representative of the Bar Pilots Association gave the "yachtees" a presentation on what bigger ships can't do, and tug boat considerations and such. Well, most of these small craft sailors, as you might expect, were quite surprised by all of this. I was a little further ahead of them as when my kids were younger I spent a lot of time with Kevin Doyle, who was Port Captain for Westar Marine, and would go with him on his 30-hour run up the Petaluma River. And, anyway, there is a lot of ignorance, and if there is some way we could get the word out there as there are a lot of small craft boating organizations that we have in the area, they are probably eager to have speakers.
- (Ken Kelton) And the other thing, I personally would like to see some informational feedback from this effort in the sense of "where are the hot spots?" It's not just going to be everywhere, because it's not going to be certain places that are absolutely critical - marginal hot spots - for example, anything along the Ferry Building. It's just not a good idea to be bobbing around out there under the pier. And, a lot of it is, they're just clueless. And if we can identify the spots that are most important. I am told about this Crane Cove development at Pier 70, and understand there will be a kayak launch, but I look out and I see shipyard work and the Drydock, and the thing is, everything is in slow motion out there as though they're hardly moving, and that's for a couple of good reasons. But if any kayaks could be going out through there, there is a lot of room for education, signage, and just getting the word out. Also, I'm all too familiar with San Francisco Boatworks down there, in the same zone, trying to get their boats in and out next to restaurant parking and traffic that's coming in. And you might add a high-speed ferry into that zone, good idea. Well, anyway, there are danger zones and hotspots where we can educate and convene meetings and information can be conveyed. And if there was some presentations from the Pilots Association about the colossal limitations to their maneuverability, then that should eliminate a little bit of this ignorance.
- (Joe Reilly) The initial concern about the education and outreach of the small craft boaters making them aware of the rules of the road and what occurs on the water, that is what the State legislature approved under SB 941, Chapter 433 (this bill prohibits the operation of a vessel that is propelled by an engine in the waters of the state except by a person who is in possession of a valid vessel operator card developed and issued by the division, and requires the division, on or before January 1, 2018, to develop the vessel operator card and enforcement processes). This instructed the Dept. of Boating and Waterways to develop a vessel operating fund that is for all operators, power or sail, who have to go online and take a short course about rules of the road and boater safety and then they can print out a card that shows a boating safety officer or Coast Guard boarding officer they have complied. Right now there is a working group that the Division of Boating and Waterways is chairing that is working on how they are going to develop this and get it out to the public. So I don't know the date on then they will complete this, but that is something that should happen in the next two or three years. So there will be a vessel operator's course and that's just one part of it.
- (Ken Kelton) There's also a working group within the Harbor Safety Committee I believe called "Power to the People," or something like that, and they are the recreational boating and human powered craft group, and they have regular working session where they bring their issues and learn about what's going on in the commercial market. They meet on the second Thursday of every month. It is chaired by Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and a representative selected from industry.
- (Don't know who) I took a couple of Germans out sailing on the Bay once and they were absolutely thrilled, it was great. And they asked, "What type of credential do you need to rent a 30' sailboat?" Well, a credit card is all you need, and they were flabbergasted by that. This points out that it would really be worthwhile to have more regulation out there, but it's not going to happen overnight.
- (Joe Reilly) There is a lot of resistance to this idea from recreational boaters being licensed or even given any type of software card. Recreational Boaters of America and California have strongly opposed any of the legislation passed last year. So then obviously developing any of this legislation sets off their book card program. So now, everybody on the Bay or in California waters has to have a license, including stand up power boarders and kayakers. And so on the website a lot of the levels of requirement were removed from the legislative language and now I think there are certain vessel lengths that, whether powered or sail, that are engaged.
- (Peter Dailey) A couple of things. To Ken's point, yes it is an area of concern. Human powered craft and 950 foot long ships don't go together very well. The shipyard at Pier 70 has military vessels in drydock regularly with anybody in a small boat coming up alongside. The cruise ships, we have federal laws where you have to stay, I think, 200 feet away. And then there are certain throughways like Alcatraz, up by Hornblower landing, which is a bad, blind corner; Pier 45 where Red & White is, the water's lousy for small craft: it's really choppy.
- (Peter Dailey) But I think the next step is the Harbor Safety Committee might be a good place for you to contact and begin, Ken, maybe with some of the Power of the People group. That's a formal gathering of the Coast Guard and other people in uniform so it would be a good starting place, I think, to begin a dialogue and learn of some other places that we're not thinking about. Also, to your point, we should be doing signage, more education. Let's face it, you've got a couple of guys who have gone out to a ball game, they're in a kayak and have a couple of beers in them they go to Pier 40 put a kayak in the water, then get bored, Lord knows where they go: The next thing you know they have a Bay & Delta tug bearing down on them and then you end up with tragic accidents we all want to avoid. So I think we can all cooperate, we can all get along, it's just a matter of education, cooperation, and lot of communication and I think the Harbor Safety Committee is the place to continue that.
- Waterfront Plan update on Port website: http://sfport.com/waterfront-plan-update
- Solafidei Unified Maritime Academy (Sebron Flenaugh III)
- Sebron Flenaugh III made a presentation on Solafidei Unified Maritime Academy.
- The Department of Education, Department of Transportation, and Department of Labor released a workforce evaluation on the transportation industry in 2015. Transportation was looked at as a whole, divided into six sectors (Maritime, Trucking, Passenger, Transportation, Rail, and Highway Construction). From the study, there will be 130k jobs available in the maritime industry in 2022. As of now, we are not poised to fill that incredible gap. In light of this, the Solafidei Unified Maritime Academy school will built.
- The average age in the industry is 49% are 45 years and older, with 51% under 45. With attrition and growth, we have an opportunity to teach children (6th to 12th graders) about the industry and connect them to careers in the maritime industry. Sebron would like to take the opportunity to speak to the individuals in the industry about what type of skill sets you look for when hiring, what your needs are, what type of certifications are desired, and any information to help shape the program.
- The vision is once students graduate, they can go right into available jobs. The reality is that you don't necessarily need to go to college to have a career in the maritime industry. The first school will be a charter school in Vallejo, but eventually, it will be a charter management organization (a group of schools). The target date to open the first school is Fall 2018. Over the next ten years, a goal would be to see schools all over the Bay Area.
- Sebron provided a report entitled "Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways Across the Transportation Industry" along with a summary of critical observations. These documents will be distributed with MCAC minutes.
- Ray Paetzold: The Harbor Safety Committee discusses issues, similar to those in the MCAC meetings, at length. The agenda and minutes are posted on the Marine Exchange website (http://www.sfmx.org/).
- David Beaupre: Construction for Crane Cove Park, next to the shipyard, will start this summer.
- Veronica Sanchez voiced concerns with how can tenants financially adapt to land use and regulatory pressure.
- David Beaupre: Maybe by May 2016, we can generate a map of all maritime tenants, their location, and when their term expires, and maybe their function, to help identify when we need to relocate a tenant due to land use pressures.
- New Business and discussion of agenda topics for future meetings
- Update on Warriors Arena Project was requested.
- Forward Calendar
- Next MCAC meeting: Thursday, May 19, 2016, 11:30-1:00, Pier 1, Bayside Conference Room.