Unprecedented December storm damaged Shoreside Power System at the
Port of Hueneme, causing more than $30M in damages
[Port Hueneme, CA – Jan. 22, 2024] –
The Port of Hueneme, the pioneering West Coast Port in adopting Shoreside Power for cargo vessels, faced substantial setbacks following severe damage to its Shoreside Power System during an unprecedented rain event on December 21 and 22, 2023.
Torrential rainfall, exceeding three inches per hour, impacted the City of Port of Hueneme and surrounding communities, leading to substantial damage and flooding to the Port’s Shoreside Power System—a 1,000-year storm event.
Throughout the 48-hour storm, Port crews worked tirelessly to pump water away from the system. However, the overwhelming force of water and converging stormwater flows from the local community and Naval Base Ventura exacerbated the situation, resulting in significant flooding. The Port, working in concert with Southern California Edison, promptly deactivated power to the shoreside power electrical infrastructure to ensure the safety of its staff, labor and the community.
Internal and external engineering teams including Schneider Electric, Southern California Edison, H3 Engineering and CAL-OES are conducting a thorough assessment. Projected costs to rebuild the system are upwards of $30 million to $40 million.
“The Shoreside Power technology first implemented by the Port of Hueneme in 2014 was a remarkable leap toward sustainability in the maritime industry,” said Vahik Haddadian, CEO of H3 Engineering and technical expert for the Port. “The setback underscores the need for resilient infrastructure in the face of extreme weather events. I recommend the Shoreside Power be rebuilt to the highest standards required by the industry and for safety requirements.
Local 46 ILWU offered its support from the docks with more than 200 jobs filled at dispatch. Unionized trades also made a strong showing with representation from the Tri-Counties Labor Trades Council Local 46, IBEW, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Teamsters and LIUNA 585. “We must look at our history and how our Port has been critical to the growth of our community and great union jobs. When we received the call, we mobilized in an all-hands-on deck manner, and today we are here to stand by our Port” said Joshua Medrano, Executive Secretary of the Tri-County Labor Council.
The Port of Hueneme is fully committed to aggressively pursuing all available avenues and assistance to restore the Shoreside Power System. Collaborations with Ventura County Office of Emergency Services (VCOES), California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES), and local, regional, state and federal authorities are underway to secure financial support for restoration efforts.
As a result of the damage, ocean going vessels will not be able to plug into Shoreside Power. The Port is closely monitoring air quality in collaboration with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and other environmental groups.
“This unforeseen challenge poses a significant impact on our community and operations,” said Oxnard Harbor District Board President Celina Zacarias. “The collaboration between the Port, local authorities and community members is crucial as we work toward recovery and strengthening our resilience.”
Despite this setback, the Port remains steadfast in its commitment to environmental sustainability, having been a pioneer in mitigating diesel emissions and will keep the course for zero emission targets for at berth vessels and all yard equipment by 2030.
In the short-term, the Port is exploring strategies to minimize impacts on operations, including the commission and purchase of an emissions capturing bonnet system and other innovative options. Long-term, the Port continues its dedication to pioneering technologies for decarbonization.
“Our commitment to environmental sustainability remains unwavering,” said Port of Hueneme CEO Kristin Decas. “We appreciate the understanding and support from our community. With collective efforts, we are confident in overcoming this challenge and emerging stronger than before.”
The event concluded with a symbolic demonstration of solidarity from Port officials, community leaders, and labor, all lining up in front of the damaged system to form a “powerwall,” pledging to work together to secure funding and rebuild the Shoreside Power System.
For more than 80 years, the Port of Hueneme has been a cornerstone of economic activity in Ventura County, generating $2.8 billion in economic activity and supporting 24,997 trade-related jobs.
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Photo: 1 Flooded and Damaged Shoreside Power Infrastructure
Photo: 2 Cargo and Flooded Terminal
Photo: 3 Parked Vehicles in Flooded Port Terminal
Photo: 4 Outside of Shoreside Power System
Photo: 5 Inside of Shoreside Power System
Photo: 6 Port Officials, Community Leaders, and Labor Come Together in Solidarity
Photo: 7 Oxnard Harbor District President Celina Zacarias and Commissioner Jason Hodge
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The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. Five locally elected Port Commissioners govern the Port. The Port consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $2.8 billion in economic activity and creating 24,997 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $236 million in direct and related state and local taxes, which fund vital community services. In 2017, the Port of Hueneme became the first port in California to become Green Marine certified and was voted the Greenest Port in the U.S. at the Green Shipping Summit. www.portofh.org.