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Porto Itapoá Innovates with In-House Emergency Cage for Port Rescue Operations


Porto Itapoá Innovates with In-House Emergency Cage for Port Rescue Operations

In a groundbreaking move within the Brazilian port industry, Porto Itapoá introduces an exclusive and innovative solution for emergency situations: its own rescue cage. Recognizing the absence of such equipment in the national market, the Porto Itapoá team took the initiative to develop a cage tailored to the specific needs of port operations.

Designed for critical rescues, the cage features four doors, ensuring easy access for rescue teams. This meticulous design aims to optimize rescue operations during emergencies, guaranteeing efficiency and swift responses. Equipped with a hoisting system, the cage facilitates the allocation of potential accident victims, streamlining maneuvers and expediting rescue efforts, even in maritime scenarios.

Sergni Pessoa Rosa Jr., Director of Operations, Technology, and Environment at Porto Itapoá, emphasizes the necessity for this solution, stating that existing options in Europe did not meet their specific requirements. The collaborative approach undertaken during the cage’s conception, involving active participation from various sectors of Porto Itapoá, ensured that the equipment addressed the real demands of port rescue accurately.

While the introduction of the emergency cage signifies a significant addition to Porto Itapoá’s operations, it remains a measure they hope never to employ. However, its presence underscores the terminal’s commitment to operational excellence and prioritizing life protection.

As the sole port in Brazil with this safety innovation, Porto Itapoá not only enhances its preparedness for critical situations but also solidifies its reputation as an innovator and leader in safety within the national port industry.



Editor’s note-In this exclusive interview with Erik Stromberg, executive director of Lamar University’s Center for Port Management, we discover how the center’s advanced and continuing education programs are taking professional development in the port industry to the next level. 

Global Trade: What can professionals anticipate with a master’s degree in Port and Terminal Management from Lamar University?

Erik Stromberg: In brief, the goals for our graduates are, one, to improve their management skills and perform their current job better and, two, to increase their opportunities to grow their port and terminal management responsibilities. 

Allow me to step back and talk about public port management, and the skills and aptitudes required for success. I should say that I am more familiar with the challenges of managing a public port than a private marine terminal, but there is overlap, as well as a significant difference. 

Both require, to varying degrees, management skills and familiarity with the technical aspects of the industry, from planning, engineering and risk-based property and asset management, to business development; from government and public relations to terminal operations, safety and security; from IT and digital technologies to HR. In other words, both public and private port managers need to know how to run a business. While most port authorities lease out terminals and other facilities, many have decided their best interest lies in operating the terminals they own.  

The most profound distinction, however, between a port authority and a private terminal operating company lies in their ultimate stakeholders. Private terminals are owned by family, management or investors, or if publicly traded, its shareholders. A port authority is a public enterprise ultimately owned by and accountable to the taxpayer.  

The public aspect of managing the port creates a special challenge. It is my view that most public port industry leaders think of themselves as business people doing the public’s business, rather than public administrators trying to run an organization like a business. This is why our program is supported by Lamar’s Business College, as well as our Industrial Engineering Department. But the public aspect of port management must be abided. It doesn’t guarantee success, but ignoring public concerns is a risky strategy. And for every port authority, there are multiple public constituencies, further complicating matters. 

Global Trade: Why should professionals pick this program to enhance their career?

Erik Stromberg: Simply put, there is no program devoted to the advanced education of port and marine terminal managers in the hemisphere. The asynchronous program is fully online, facilitating access by students from wherever they live. We have designed flexibility into the program to help our students accommodate a significant demand on their work and personal lives. 

Taking one course per term, it typically takes two years to complete. Our program is affordable, at just over $14,000 for the master’s degree. Furthermore, based on the MOU Lamar has with the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), students with the Association’s Professional Port Manager certification can waive up to 15 credit hours toward their master’s degree. 

Stepping back, a fundamental question is: “Why a master’s degree?” In the continuum of professional education and training, a master’s degree represents a commitment and a focus not available with continuing education or an undergraduate degree. Our students enter Lamar’s advanced education in port management program seeking the “mastery” of a set of interdisciplinary skills and knowledge for the purpose of their application in the management of ports and marine terminals. In other words, theoretical study is valued to the extent it can be applied in practice. 

Our online platform facilitates not only access by working professionals entering the program as students, but also to the world of industry experts who sign up as adjunct faculty eager to teach what they’ve learned throughout their careers. Our students come from within the port and terminal operating industry seeking to enhance career opportunities, along with those from outside the port industry wanting to enter the exciting field of port and terminal management. Lamar’s interactive, online learning platform also facilitates the ability of students to learn from each other as well as from our faculty.

Global Trade: Can you briefly review what the student should expect in the way of course work?

Erik Stromberg: To start with, the 12-course program does not stretch the student’s quantitative skills (i.e., no calculus), but it’s still pretty intense. We have had exceptions, but one course per term seems to be enough for our working professional students to handle.   

The port master’s degree curriculum pulls in business and industrial engineering courses that provide both technical knowledge and “soft-skills,” management education. 

A summary of our degree program would mention the following:

-comprehensive and in-depth study and understanding of the public port and private marine terminal operating industry and the environment in which it operates

-analytical and decision-making skills

-leadership and team building skills

-lessons learned and best practices from industry experts, including student/faculty and student/student interaction 

-online, asynchronous learning

-latest advances in technology and management 

-focused and facilitated study opportunity of port and terminal operating industry

Global Trade: How does Lamar select the faculty for this program?

Erik Stromberg: Industry experts serving as adjunct faculty members teach fully half of our 12-course curriculum. I guide our students through Introduction to Port Management with a preponderance of guest lecturers. These industry veterans have an abiding interest not only in sharing their knowledge and experiences, but also continuing to learn and explore with our working professional students. 

The remaining courses are taught by faculty from the Industrial Engineering Department and the College of Business. Every course is populated with guest lectures given by subject matter experts from outside the university. 

Besides my Introduction to Port Management class, courses taught by our adjunct faculty are: Strategic and Facility Planning; Security and Emergency Management; Port Asset and Property Management; and Freight Transportation Logistics. Guest lecturers are used throughout the curriculum. 

The center’s Advisory Board members play a very helpful role in both serving at times as guest lecturers, as well as suggestions for curriculum content and adjunct faculty.

Global Trade: Have Lamar Business and Industrial Engineering faculty been able to create or adapt existing graduate-level courses to accommodate the needs of a port management curriculum?

Erik Stromberg: Absolutely. With the addition of industry experts serving as guest lecturers, these courses blend theory and practice. Included are the following courses: Capital Planning and Implementation; Legal Framework of Ports and Trade; and Marine Terminal Operations.

Global Trade: How is Lamar University handling challenges with the pandemic while still providing educational excellence?

Erik Stromberg: The current crisis has disrupted the traditional classroom experience. However, the pandemic has spotlighted successful, remote learning platforms, including Lamar’s, which has been utilized for over a decade.

Given that access to potential students as well as adjunct faculty and guest lecturers is facilitated by online learning, the challenges presented by the pandemic have been minimized. 

Center for Port Management Students Speak for Themselves

“I find the program challenging and providing new skills for how I manage my port projects and my decision-making process. I already see the value of the program as a tool to advance my career.” 

-Ron Coddington, port engineer, the Port of Palm Beach

“It made me a better manager, broadening my perspective and forcing me to think more analytically about the issues I regularly deal with.” 

-Larry Kelley, CEO, Port of Port Arthur (and the program’s first graduate)

“It is the only port-specific graduate program in the country that is focused on developing the interdisciplinary skills required of effective and impactful port managers. This means that students are exposed to every aspect of the port business, from business administration to engineering, economics to operations, and everything in between.” 

-Sean Fairchild, U.S. citizen currently working as a port industry consultant in Bogota, Colombia


To learn more about Lamar University’s Center for Port Management master’s degree program, and other continuing education opportunities, visit management.


Does Your Sustainability Plan Include Propane? Here Are 3 Reasons It Should.

Clean Air Month, celebrated in May, brings heightened awareness to an important issue for ports and port communities.

Ports traffic a high number of ships, vessels, barges, and boats on a daily basis and, because many are powered by dirty, high-carbon bunker fuel, air quality issues are a particular concern in and around port communities. As the momentum to reduce emissions and improve air quality continues to grow across the international port industry, many port authorities are seeking cleaner energy alternatives to use on-site.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), switching to cleaner fuel is one of the most effective strategies for emissions reduction. That means clean, low-emissions energy sources—like propane—can offer considerable environmental and economic advantages for various port applications.

1. Propane-powered equipment reduces emissions

Diesel engines are the current workhorse of the American economy, and although they can be reliable and efficient, older diesel engines can emit significant amounts of air pollution, including particulate matter, NOx, and carbon dioxide, according to the EPA. And while many port authorities think the solution to lower emissions is to electrify their equipment, they’re likely unaware that propane has a cleaner and more transparent emissions profile when lifecycle emissions are taken into consideration. This includes site-to-source emissions produced in the creation and transmission of electric forklift batteries.

Sometimes data can speak louder than words and the Propane Education & Research Council has valuable data to support the claim that this is the cleanest energy source for port operations. Most notably, using propane produces 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid, according to data from PERC. And thanks to propane’s energy versatility, crews can reduce emissions across a port with propane-powered forklifts, port and terminal tractors, light- and medium-duty vehicles, shuttles, power generation, and even small marine vessels.

For smaller material handling needs on-site, propane forklifts reduce emissions compared with their diesel and electric counterparts. Compared with electric, propane can reduce SOx emissions by 76 percent, and compared with diesel forklift engines, propane forklift engines can produce up to 97 percent fewer hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions—without any drop-off in payload or power.

Propane can bring emissions reductions to a port’s vehicle fleet, too. Terminal tractors powered by propane autogas produce 12 percent fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-fueled terminal tractors, according to data from the Argonne National Laboratory. And propane autogas vehicles reduce NOx emissions by up to 36 percent compared to diesel vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 22 percent compared to gasoline vehicles, and up to 45 percent less particulate matter than electric vehicles throughout the full fuel cycle.

2. Propane is environmentally friendly

When ships come in and out of ports day in and day out, not only do they release harmful emissions into the atmosphere, but they can also have a negative impact on water resources, ecosystems, and marine life. Powering land- and sea-side port equipment with propane can introduce a more environmentally-friendly solution. It is an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act. Additionally, the energy source is non-toxic and, if leaked, it vaporizes and dissipates into the air, eliminating contamination to air, land, and water resources. Spilled gasoline or diesel, on the other hand, can quickly contaminate these resources.

3. Propane is only getting cleaner

The energy source itself is seeing innovation and in the near future, more propane will be made from renewable sources. Renewable propane is a byproduct of the renewable diesel and jet fuel production process, which converts plant and vegetable oils, waste greases, and animal fat into energy. Because it’s produced from renewable, raw materials, renewable propane is even cleaner than conventional propane—and far cleaner than other energy sources. And considering its chemical structure and physical properties are the same as traditional propane, renewable propane can be used for all the same applications.

To learn more about the environmental benefits and versatility of propane for port operations, visit


Matt McDonald is the director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at



Global transportation in 2020 has been defined by supply chain disruptions. The year started off under the impact of the China trade wars and quickly devolved into full-scale disruption with the onset and reaction to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

As an international freight forwarder serving over 150 countries, Suddath has been on the front lines helping customers navigate these challenges to keep their supply chains moving. Since July, we have continued to see a positive shift in the volume numbers, with port activity beginning to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. That leaves many wondering if our industry is nearing a post-pandemic era, and what that world will look like.

Supply Chain Disruptors

To understand where we are going, we start by looking back at the beginning of the year. The industry was still feeling the full impact of the increased complexity and protection policies over global trade. Most notably, the trade war between China and the U.S. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread through China, where the origins were traced to Wuhan, China’s economy and manufacturing plants went nearly silent for more than six weeks, with little goods produced or shipped to ports around the world. 

According to a China Economic Update Report by the Asia Perspective management consulting firm, China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 6.8 percent from January to March 2020, and its exports fell by 11.4 percent in the first quarter of 2020. According to the same report, during this time period, imports to China from around the world also fell by 0.7 percent. The country’s GDP had a slight recovery from April to June, with a 3.2 percent, however it was still well below pre-COVID-19 numbers. 

These declines in volume forced ocean carriers to reduce their capacity, often through the use of blank sailings or scheduled sailing that were canceled by an ocean carrier, so a vessel bypasses certain ports or even cancels full vessel rotations. Seatrade Marine News reported a total of 435 blank sailings by container lines through April 2020, as carriers continued to match capacity with decreased demand. In the U.S., we have witnessed similar results, such as the ports in South Carolina reporting 72 blank sailings between January and July with a corresponding overall decline in port volume for the year. 

Ocean carriers continue to utilize blank sailings as they try to match volume with capacity. Equipment shortages are plaguing the industry as empty containers dwell in places they are not needed and are in short supply where they are needed, such as China and the Far East. Container repositioning, or moving empty containers to new locations, is among the supply chain disruptions of blank sailings because the empties simply do not get repositioned as efficiently as they would during normal operating periods. 

Looking Up

While it is clear these supply chain disruptors still have a far-reaching impact, there are indications from the global economy that we may be headed in a better direction. Most U.S. ports had seen double-digit reductions in overall port activity from the onset of COVID-19 through June. However, things took a turn for the better in July. 

The Port of Los Angeles reported that September volumes were 13.3 percent up from the same month in 2019; in addition, the port reported the best quarter in its 114-year history. 

This recent surge in port volumes is making it more difficult for truckers to get appointments to move containers into and out of the port in the allotted time frame. South Carolina ports experienced a similar trend, with September year-over-year activity the strongest since the pandemic onset, and vehicle movements through the port show continued recovery. 

There are several factors that have contributed to this uptick in activity, including: 

-Most of the world’s manufacturers are back to business, leading to an increase in production around the globe

-The U.S. government lifted some travel restrictions for military families, with conditions, which has spurred movement around the globe

-A global decrease in blank sailing, particularly to and from Far East ports, which were bypassed earlier this year, but have become active again

The recent spike in activity bodes well for the global economy as we continue to move through the COVID-19 era. Per McKinsey & Company and Deloitte Insights, U.S. consumer demand seems high with optimism and retail sales recovering, which appears to be driving the surge in recent activity. 

The future is still very much in question as several ocean carriers are still forecasting some, albeit fewer, blank sailings in the coming months, but the seven-day Golden Week festival shut down factories across China in early October and caused blank sailings to surge temporarily. 

With the recent changes toward the better, the question becomes: Will the global economy remain strong as we continue into the next stage of the COVID-19 era, or will there be new spikes that cause another global economic slowdown, potentially worse than the last? 

It appears ocean carriers have adapted to the supply chain disruptions and are working to smooth the supply chain as numbers return to normal. While we have heard similar sentiments from other forwarding companies recently, this alone is not enough to declare us in the clear of challenges posed by COVID-19, but it is promising information.

The Future of Shipping

The future of the trade industry in the post-pandemic era is impossible to predict, however, we continue to see ports invest in development and technology to be poised to handle the growing demands of the future. 

Sustainability through technology has been a driving factor for the industry for years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Ports are incorporating alternative power as well as investing in practices that increase sustainability and decrease their footprint to be more attractive to partners. Organizations are looking for 3PLs, ports, and steamship lines that follow sustainability best practices, use clean energy such as solar and wind, and recycle ships properly. 

With the future of COVID-19 impacts unclear, the shipping industry has more incentive than ever to focus on and invest in smart technologies that continually strengthen supply chains. 


Bob Fruchterman is senior vice president, International Logistics, at Suddath, where he is responsible for all international transportation and logistics including import, export, ocean and air. He also specializes in managing commercial projects in the energy, mining and construction fields around the world.

Mr. Fruchterman has more than 35 years’ experience in the international transportation and logistics industry. He has managed everything from large U.S. government-financed projects in the former Soviet Union to shipping equipment and supplies to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Economics.

hurricane dorian

Hurricane Dorian Leaves GT USA’s Canaveral Cargo Terminal Damage-Free

The only reported undamaged container terminal at Port Canaveral will once again begin operations on Friday morning. The Canaveral Cargo Terminal (CCT) was confirmed as “cleared” following an inspection revealing no damages left behind by Hurricane Dorian.

“Although Hurricane Dorian packed quite a punch in Port Canaveral, the hard work of the Emergency Response Team, Brevard County Sheriff’s Department, USCG, Canaveral Port Authority and GT USA personnel allowed GT USA to open the Canaveral Cargo Terminal and be fully operational less than 24 hours after the storm passed,” said Peter Richards, CEO, GT USA.

“I want to extend my thanks to all parties that assisted in getting the facility up and running so quickly.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all the Bahamian people who have been affected by the devastation that Dorian brought to the north of their country.”

The multi-purpose cargo terminal was confirmed for an “expedited reopening” during the arrival of the M/V OCEAN GIANT from its resupply voyage. Proactive storm preparations between Port Canaveral and GT USA are being attributed for minimizing the time between Dorian and the continuation of operations.

Hurricane Dorian is currently being reported as a Category 2 as it approaches the North Carolina coast with reports anticipating the strongest winds to impact the region. Additional reports confirm parts of Canada are under alert including Atlantic Canada, Novia Scotia.

Holiday Imports Decline as Port Issues Linger

Los Angeles – Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to continue to slow down this month as cargo congestion and other issues continue to impact port operations on the U.S. West Coast.

The volume slide is a result of “far-sighted retailers instituting costly contingency plans early on to ensure that holiday merchandise would be on the shelves or sitting in a warehouse ready to go,” according to National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold.

“However, we are still hearing from retailers experiencing delays at West Coast ports, and retailers are also looking ahead to the spring season,” he said, commenting on the most recent Global Port Tracker report released today by the NRF.

“We believe it’s imperative for President Obama to encourage the parties to seek the help of a federal mediator to resolve the ongoing contract negotiations so serious solutions to address the ongoing issues can be discussed and the uncertainty that has plagued our nation’s busiest ports for months can finally be brought to an end.”

A major transpacific shipping alliance – the G6 – has reacted to the congestion problem by suspending eastbound calls at the Port of Los Angeles for the next four sailings of its Asia-U.S. West Coast service, due to “ongoing congestion.”

The G6 is comprised of APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK Line and OOCL.
It’s also been reported that G6 will skip other calls at APL’s Global Gateway South terminal in Los Angeles in order to “remain fluid,” according to an APL customer advisory.

Carriers calling Los Angeles and other U.S. West Coast ports have been significantly impacted by chronic backlogs that have plagued the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex over the past few months.

The congestion in Southern California is due to a combination of chronic issues plaguing both Los Angeles and the neighboring Port of Long Beach that include a shortage of the chassis need to move containers in and out of the ports; unrest amongst truckers required to meet what they feel are increasingly burdensome environmental regulations; and labor negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) that have dragged on for months with, some feel, no end in sight.

The contract between the PMA and the ILWU expired on July 1, prompting ongoing concerns about the potential shift of cargo to ports on the U.S. East Coast.

The NRF report was researched by business consultancy Hackett Associates.

According to Hackett Associates President Ben Hackett, “The question is whether cargo currently being diverted to the East Coast will shift back to the West Coast once congestion in Los Angeles/Long Beach ends or are we experiencing a longer-term shift?” Hackett said. “Time will tell.”