Ports America Stevedoring secured a new logging customer, Ryan Schneider, in Eureka, California to load logs from Northern California's redwood forests, which also include pine, oak, fir, cedar, redwood and alder. Eureka is a good loading port as the channel and bay are dredged to 42 feet enabling vessels to enter.
Over the course of 11 days, Vancouver's Terminal Manager Marlin Pulliam and Superintendent Mike Epperson oversaw the handling and loading of approximately 34,000 logs ranging from 20 to 40 feet in length. Marlin and Mike made the journey to Eureka, a 450 mile trek/9 hour drive from Vancouver, WA, to prepare for the operation. In tow were two company rigs full of stevedoring gear, office supplies, electronics, and a four man safety boat to bring all the necessary tools to the new job site. An outside vendor delivered the heavier equipment such as the gearbox, gangway, and safety stand.
The Ports America Vancouver team utilized experienced workers from Eureka's Local 14 and two foremen with a strong background in log loading. In addition, a travel gang from Stockton came to assist in the operation to help supplement the local's membership of 14 registered men. After twenty-two gang shifts, the Goshawk set sail on October 7.
The operation was a huge success. Both the buyer and terminal operator were extremely pleased with Ports America's stevedoring operation, ability to connect and guide labor, as well as meet operational expectations within a tough timeline. Due to this, the Chinese buyer requested bids on work in Astoria and Coos Bay, OR. Additionally, a potential customer in Eureka, has also requested a quote for loading wood chips.
The team hopes to return in November for another log load out, with an expected 6-8 vessels per year, weather permitting. Weather plays a huge factor in this type of operation as logging cannot be done in wet weather.
The fascinating photos of the log loading operation on the vessel, African Goshawk, operated by Mur.