California’s niche ports like San Diego, San Francisco, Richmond and West Sacramento are gearing up for a rebound with new facilities in the works. If these ports were located in another part of the country they would be attracting a great deal more ink. But nestled behind the considerable shadow of the San Pedro ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and to a lesser extent, the Port of Oakland, ports like San Diego, Richmond, San Francisco and West Sacramento are forging ahead with plans to build or expand facilities that cater to their specialized interests. Among those specialized interest are ro-ro and project cargo. The Port of San Diego has an interesting niche ro-ro business with Pasha Automotive Services. The ro-ro ship Pasha Hawaii, which is berthed at National City Marine Terminal, is a Jones Act vessel (US built and manned), which allows the ship to work the San Diego to Hawaii (US port-to-US port) trade lane. The vessel carries a wide range of rolling and oversized cargoes, including military, personnel re-locations and car rentals. According to Mike Caswell, Senior Vice President, Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals, “There’s somewhere between 150,000 to 180,000 cars – that go back and forth to Hawaii – a majority of them are rental cars.” Wind power shipments have become an important component of the port’s project cargo business. Earlier this month, the first of three scheduled shipments of tower components used for alternative energy windmills arrived in San Diego at the 96-acre Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. The shipments are imported from Vietnam for European-based Vestas America. BBC Chartering, an ocean carrier that specializes in project moves, handled the ocean carriage of the sixty tower sections. From the terminal, the tower sections were then trucked to a wind farm in Tehachapi, California. The tower components will be connected in groups of four, creating 15 towers that are each more than 260 feet tall. The second shipment is expected next month, and the third shipment by the end of the year. The Port of San Francisco is in the process of re-defining itself as a project-break bulk port. The Port has on-the-dock rail and five deep water berths. Pier 80 is the break bulk pier with three berths, 69 acres and nearly 400,000 sq/ft of covered space. The Port has some 550,000 sq ft of covered storage at its disposal. The wharf has a design load of 800 to 1,000 lbs. per sq. ft. and 145 acres of paved land for staging and marshalling of project cargoes. The Port, which is a major cruise ship destination, recently began cold ironing. The Port of San Francisco is the first California port, and one of only a handful of ports in the world, to provide shoreside electrical power for cruise ships while at berth. The first ship to cold iron was the Island Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, who developed the shore power technology in Juneau in 2001. It expanded to Seattle in 2005 and Vancouver in 2009. Currently nine of the Line’s ships are outfitted to plug into a shoreside power source. The Port of Richmond celebrated the opening of the “Honda Port of Entry.” A year ago, Honda broke ground on a site to import cars from Japan at the port. The first shipment of cars arrived in April. The project was designed to upgrade underutilized port assets. The Auto Warehousing Company (AWC) had operated its existing auto processing facility at the Port of Richmond’s Point Potrero Marine Terminal (PPMT) since 2004. The AWC facility at PPMT processed 85,000 Hyundai and KIA automobiles annually; these autos are imported from Korea by car-carrying ro-ros. AWC wanted to expand its operations at the Port of Richmond to develop a Northern California Port of Entry for Honda automobiles from Japan, with the intention of processing approximately 150,000 Honda automobiles annually. Part of the process involved repairing and expanding existing facilities while developing a rail yard adjacent to the facility for dir