Thursday, November 17, 2016

Humboldt Bay Shipping up 70%!

Since I was elected commissioner for the 4th Division of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District (HBHR&CD) in 2009 the narrative from some people critical of the commission has been a conceived notion we have given up on shipping and only focus on Aquaculture. This is not the case. We have had setbacks that we were not able to control such as shoaling caused by  sediment from the Eel river that received large volumes of rain this last year. This caused a few ships to be turned away, but overall we are surviving.

In 2016 we are expected to reach cargo levels of 583,019 metric tons. That is a 70% increase from 2015! Not only that, projections for 2017 shows we will nearly reach the million ton threshold next year which would be an additional 68.1% increase and a level not achieved in Humboldt Bay since 1991! A quarter of a century ago! That was when we had 2 pulp mills and one sawmill on the peninsula with nearly 1,000 high wage union workers. How did this happen? California Redwood has made vast improvements and upgrades to their facility with hopes of 10-12 vessels in 2017 and Schneider dock has picked up more log customers and Sierra Pacific dock reports stabilized business.

I know many people feel the Timber Industry is dead, but Lumber/Logs and Wood Chips represent about 50% of our shipping tons. When the pulp mills were open they added another 350,000 tons a year. From 2000 to 2008 the Samoa Pulp mill represented about 25% of the total volume of tonnage. That was a huge loss.

So since I have been in office we have went from 316,480 metric tons of cargo to 583,019. An 84% increase. If we reach the projected 980,000 metric tons next year, that will be a 209.7% percent increase since I took office. Is that not pretty good shipping increases? And we should have 2 cruise ships to boot in 2017.

The HBHR&CD commissioners continue to be proactive in soliciting businesses that would be a good fit to the bay and we have done our best to lobby and make sure dredging by the Army Corp is done each year. We are thankful to have partnerships with California Redwood, Schneider dock, and Sierra Pacific to make sure this happens. 


Anonymous said...

what's the job-per-ton comparison from the pulp mill/lumber mill period to now?

The question obviously being is this as dense a feature jobwise as it was then?...and of course it isn't, but is there even such a metric?

That is a container ship, not a bulk carrier, right? How much container trafficv is there here?


Julie Timmons said...


Anonymous said...

Keep it going and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a lot of BS. You make it sound like your the driving force to keep shipping afloat.
What have you done to improve shipping here? There is nothing being shipped out of here that hasnt been shipped in the last forty years. Even the ship pictured is not in our bay.
The harbor use to promote a lot of jobs. Cruise ships do not bring any money into the port other than buying a few trinkets. Actually the port probably loses money with all the free gifts they get.

Henchman Of Justice said...


HOJ was speaking with an insiders wife about the Harbor District now and then.

HOJ mentioned over the past several years, the commission has actually done a good job and deserves some credit......the latest being a dredger.

Keep up the good work Richard.....and hope your shed is safe😉

Henchman Of Justice said...

Actually, the Harbor District is better now than ten years

samoasoftball said...

1:41pm-We have no container ships in Humboldt. I just did stock photo. Jobs to ton would be a good economic measure.
10:00pm-Just mentioning that we are not impeding shipping and have done all we can to support. We are not only promoting shipping jobs, we are helping create jobs through our aquaculture expansion project and of course the revitalization of Redwood Terminal II.
HOJ: Thanks for the props. e are doing our best.

gabriele gray said...

Late in replying but I hope my comments are useful.
I used to live inland 1973 to 1984 so know Eureka/Arcata and bay from that time. Since then I worked in ocean shipping before retirement.
I recently read about the planned cruise ship visits in 2017 and researched the shipping company and the planned cruises.
Here's the information:
I know Hapag-Lloyd very well, highly respected with equally high standards and an illustrious history. The cruise appears to draw from people from Northern Europe (originating and returning flights Frankfurt Germany).
In my career I've handled both imports and exports to Europe, enjoying working closely with my counterparts in the various foreign countries. For 10 years I took my vacations in Western Europe, staying in rental houses in small towns and making friends there. My life in Humboldt was of interest to many people I met since in included living near Native Americans, the 'Wild West' and especially the great forests. Anyone who has visited the Pyrenees between France and Spain has encountered much the same flora and fauna as in the North Coast, fish and fungi.
But....among some of the proposed activites for visitors from the ships is a visit to an oyster farm. Germany really has only one place where oysters are still farmed but in France the coast of Brittany offers oyster farming and harvesting that draw thousands there. From the town shores the farms can be seen and there are cafes along the way offering many ways to eat and order the oysters. Oysters are such a part of French life when I was in Paris over New Years I found one street in Montmartre closed off where side by side various sellers presented their best fresh (chilled on ice) oysters for New Year's Eve parties (retail sellers). This went on all day until all were sold out.
You may not know but most of the oysters now raised in Europe are not those which were native but rather our own 'western' oysters brought in to replace the native oysters which were dying out. So what Humboldt Bay has to offer is not a new or different oyster. And since the first cruise is in a month without a "R" in it, visiting oyster farms without being able to taste the produce might not be that attractive an offer.

gabriele gray said...

I think a trip to the Redwoods would draw many people, but I would like to suggest (based on the interests of the people I've come to know) that a visit to the Yurok facilities at Klamath be considered as well. It would be a unique experience; native handicrafts are available (I took a course in Hoopa on Indian jewelry and clothing and I know the local basketwork is highly prized). With all the focus on Standing Rock and the character shown by so many representatives from the various tribes I think it would be a rare opportunity for people from Europe to meet Native Americans in their environment. I am not suggesting a 'dog and pony show', rather I think that the Yurok tribe has the capacity to provide information and entertainment while still showing their character and self-respect.
A friend in Paris worked with a man in Germany who has watched every western film he could find (and goes to faux-western camps that are popular in Germany & elsewhere)....someone like him would absolutely love a visit to Carl Johnson's...I think this page from their site would make the people in charge of the tour pay attention:
I don't think the ship's visit would coincide with an auction but just the fact that auctions were held there would make buying belts and vests and such (or the decorative items) more than just 'souvenirs'.

The painted ladies in Eureka are attractive but since tours of the Carson House aren't possible, just looking at the old, nicely painted buildings isn't going to be that enticing to people who have seen towns and cities all across Europe that decorate their houses in many attractive ways.
France has an association which various towns compete to be a part of:
There is another association; the site is in French but google translate will do a very good job of rendering it into English. This sort of dedication which individual towns and cities put forth to provide an attractive location for people to visit is a great example for towns everywhere:

gabriele gray said...

Please, please do not plan on taking them to the Samoa Cookhouse. The logging display will not make up for the very commonplace food that is served there. Look at what is offered on board the ship and aside from pretty good friend chicken, the Samoa fare isn't worth the visit.
Depending on the weather, a slight detour to visit the Azalea Reserve (an easy walk with a good view of the bay) could be enjoyable.
While azaleas do grow in Europe, a semi-wild garden is not something you'd see there...(much too organized!).

I've met few Europeans who do not speak English (unless they don't want to be bothered by English-speaking tourists!==and by that I mean England-English) so I would suggest that a selection of books on Eureka/Humboldt be obtained and sent to Hapag-Lloyd for placement in the ships' libraries. A binder or two with colorful flyers about the area could be included.

In providing advice to travellers sometimes what is asked for is not available from regular sources, so I go to off-beat sources like blogs. I don't know how closely you work with the Eureka C of C, but if someone (college?) were interested, perhaps an internship could be set up to have the person investigate what bloggers are writing about the area and use that for feedback for locals and if positive, quote the blogger...perhaps the intern could be a blogger.
On Thorn Tree I have seen some of the best recommendations for visiting the Lost Coast from people who visited the US from Australia...

gabriele gray said...

In providing advice to travellers sometimes what is asked for is not available from regular sources, so I go to off-beat sources like blogs. I don't know how closely you work with the Eureka C of C, but if someone (college?) were interested, perhaps an internship could be set up to have the person investigate what bloggers are writing about the area and use that for feedback for locals and if positive, quote the blogger...perhaps the intern could be a blogger.
On Thorn Tree I have seen some of the best recommendations for visiting the Lost Coast from people who visited the US from Australia...

Another suggestion: People will ask about where they can get their passports stamped when they go to Andorra from France or Spain. The answer is they can't. With the EU and Schengen Zone, there are no inner border controls. But people want to collect stamps on their passports so some of the tour drivers will 'arrange' to get their passports stamped by the post office for a nominal fee of 10 euro or so. (it all goes to the driver, the post office charges nothing). With the new biometric passports few are stamped. CBP isn't at the Port (I imagine a boarding agent will meet the ship and a customs agent as well) but perhaps a symbolic certificate (Victorian typeface, etc) could be presented to visitors as if it were an old type sailing ship that brought them to Humboldt Bay. Nothing excessive, just a touch of 'history'. And if the problem with homeless on the streets continue it could be a time when the nice lady writing out their 'visa' could tell them that she is sorry to say that there are a few fallen souls that demon rum has taken over and please know that we do try to care for them. (one might also consider a tipsy logger coming up asking the woman for money and she tells him firmly but kindly that she'll not give him money for he'll spend it on drink but here's some food to nourish his body proper (and give him a sandwich on a somewhat rough roll). Chastened, he'd accept the sandwich, thank her, apologize to the people around them and leave.
It is not what you is how you present it.

And there should be other copies of the books places in the ships' libraries in case someone might want a copy for themself.

I hope you find some of the ideas offered useful. I don't know who is in charge of what will be offered to the cruise ship passengers but my point of view may be more informed by my European experiences...and the fact that I've never used a travel agent (except to buy a foreign to foreign air ticket) so I've never accepted someone else's ideas as to what is worth doing. Fortunately, Thorn Tree is my kind of tours, no 5 countries in 7 days....