The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

Shipping container terminal operator ICTSI penalised for Health and Safety issues

From the United Kingdom comes this report in the Handy Shipping Guide:

The longstanding dispute between the longshoremen who work in the Port of Portland and employers simmers on, and the latest development will doubtless engender an ‘I told you so’ from the dock workers who are employed at the ICTSI Oregon container shipping terminal based within the West Coast port. For more than two years the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has stood accused by the operator of illegally slowing down work whilst, for its part, the union has repeatedly claimed that Health and Safety measures are not as they should be.

Now the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined the company, which took over the running of Terminal 6 in 2010, a total of $18,360 for breaches of safety which were said to have been uncovered during a routine inspection at the North Portland site.

The offences are grist to the workers mill, as internationally the employer is already under attack after accusations of serious wrongdoing at its Honduran operation where the father of local union boss Victor Crespo was murdered in January, Crespo himself having fled the country three months previously after assaults and death threats.

Read the rest at the Handy Shipping Guide


Shipping firms Hapag-Lloyd, CSAV agree to merge

CSAV ship

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG and Chilean rival Compania Sud Americana de Vapores say they have agreed to merge, creating the world’s fourth largest shipping company.

Hapag-Lloyd said Wednesday that once the merger receives the competition approval the combined company will have some 200 vessels and an annual turnover of 9 billion euros ($12.4 billion).

CSAV will receive a 30 percent stake in the new company. The other core shareholders will be Kuehne Maritime and the German port city of Hamburg, where Hapag-Lloyd is based.

From the Associated Press


Report suggests Port of Seattle consolidate, CEO won’t rule it out

Port of Seattle

The report says the port needs improved on-dock rail, but it has been limited in its ability to improve, especially near Terminal 46. The report goes on to say that the port needs dramatic and costly improvements to handle bigger ships.

A recently discovered report suggests the Port of Seattle’s marine operations are well below capacity, and it needs major improvements to stay competitive.

The Port of Seattle issued a release last January announcing it was filing a “discussion agreement” with the Federal Maritime Commission that would allow them to gather and share information “to identify potential options for responding to unprecedented industry pressures.”

“Nothing is off the table,” said Yoshitani. “The shipping lines are consolidating to form alliances, and it might be worthwhile for the ports to look at it.”

More at Northwest Cable News


March cargo numbers up at Port of Los Angeles, down at Port of Long Beach

Goods movement through the Port of Los Angeles soared by double digits in March while the Port of Long Beach fell slightly from the same time a year ago, according to the latest statistics released this week.

Overall cargo flow for Los Angeles jumped 34 percent to 503,168 container units. About 327,497 of those containers were imports, a 42 percent bounce from March 2013. Exports were also up 21 percent to 187,826 units.

Meanwhile, Long Beach moved 477,209 container units through its port in March, a 1.9 decline. Imports dipped 0.7 percent to 223,432 units, while exports dropped 1.5 percent to 53,883 units when compared with March 2013.

More at the San Bernardino County Sun


Cargill earnings hit by commodity market disruptions; others to report soon

Cargill Inc said that its quarterly earnings fell 28 percent, making it one of the largest companies yet to demonstrate how big commodity market disruptions this year have hurt its bottom line.

Minneapolis-based Cargill, a top global commodities trader, was hit by a triple-whammy of unexpected events, including a surge in energy prices in January, rail backlogs, and the rejection of U.S. corn shipments by China.

The problems are likely to have also hit Cargill peers such as Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) and Bunge Ltd (BG.N), which are due to report financial results in the coming weeks.

More at Reuters


Drewry: Shippers feel capacity cuts

From the Journal of Commerce:

Shippers can expect more cargo to be “rolled” to later voyages as container lines continue to cut costs by slow-steaming and laying up vessels, Drewry Maritime Research said in its latest Container Insight Weekly.

Drewry said slow-steaming and layups allowed carriers to limit effective capacity growth to 22 percent since 2008, despite introduction of larger ships. Without those measures, capacity would have grown 40 percent, Drewry said.

“In 2013 alone, slow-steaming and layups reduced available supply by nearly 3 million TEUs,” Drewry said.

More at the JOC


Evergreen shipper alarms Panama by moving through Suez instead

From Prensa Latina:

The Chinese company Evergreen Marine, a Panama Canal client, has triggered alarm in the isthmus after confirming that some of its ships will use the Suez Canal, due to delays in Panama’s third lock.

Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge Quijano, in a lecture to 450 clients of the inter-oceanic way, said a reduction of the Canal’s income is predicted, but there is no way that works on its extension can conclude before December, 2015, a date that itself is questionable, due to huge delays and a sluggish resumption in the works after a two month stoppage.


Grain movement improving in Canada, says Viterra CEO

Movement of grain by rail in Western Canada has improved slightly over the last few weeks, according ot the president and CEO of Viterra North America – one of Canada’s largest grain shippers.

“The weather obviously has improved and we’ve seen improvements to West Coast shipments. We’ve also started to position product in Thunder Bay,” says Kyle Jeworski. “We still continue to have challenges moving grain into markets such as the US and Eastern Canada, but we are moving in the right direction.”

He says his company is helping the railways – CP and CN Rail – meet their federal mandate of shipping 5,500 cars of grain per week.

More at Portage Online


Maersk Line struggling to fill mega container ships

Triple-E class ship Maersk McKinney Moller

Maersk Line currently has seven Triple-E ships transporting containers between Asia and Northern Europe. They are expected to gradually take over from smaller ships on important routes. Pictured: Triple-E class ship Maersk McKinney Moller in Poland.

The Danish shipping giant Maersk Line is having trouble loading up its new Triple-E mega container ships to capacity because only two docks in Asia have the necessary infrastructure to do so.

The world’s largest ships will have to wait until the end of 2014 to begin to sail with full shipments as central European harbours are still unable to handle fully loading the 18,270-container-capacity ships.

“Right now there are only two harbours in our network, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas, that can handle fully loading Triple-E ships,” Thomas Riber Knudsen, the head of Maersk Line’s Asia and Pacific region, told Lloyd’s List. “At the moment we are only able to load about 16,000 containers on the ships.”

More at the Copenhagen Post


OSHA fines Port of Portland terminal operator ICTSI for ‘serious’ safety violations

Philippines-based ICTSI operates Terminal 6 in Portland

”The union, meanwhile, has repeatedly said the company skimps on safety at the site known as Terminal 6,” reported the Associated Press.

The company that operates the Port of Portland’s container terminal has been fined $18,360 following a safety inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Documents show the federal agency levied the penalty last week after a routine inspection of the North Portland site in late February. The inspector found ICTSI Oregon to be in violation of more than a dozen worker safety codes, such as not informing employees about potential exposure to airborne lead and having workers operate machinery that lacked proper guards against flying objects.

The union, meanwhile, has repeatedly said the company skimps on safety at the site known as Terminal 6.

“We’re grateful that OSHA is stepping in to hold ICTSI accountable for its failure to protect the men and women who work at Terminal 6,” ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said from San Francisco. “ICTSI is accustomed to operating in low-wage countries where workers don’t have the same rights we have in the United States.”

More from the Associated Press


Viterra increasing capacity at grain terminal at Port Metro Vancouver

From a Viterra news release:

Viterra, part of Canada’s Agricultural Business Segment of Glencore, has announced that it is executing a series of operational improvements and upgrades at its Pacific Terminal at Port Metro Vancouver.

Some of these projects include the installation of new bulk weighers, upgrades to shipping conveyors and rotary cleaners, and improved electrical and dust control systems. The most significant project planned is the installation of a new ship loader system, which is expected to significantly increase shipping capacity and allow for the loading of “post-Panamax” vessels. It is anticipated that all of these initiatives will be completed by 2016 and result in a rated capacity up to 6 million metric tonnes annually.


Deadlock continues on Baltimore ILA pact

Excerpts from the JOC:

Dennis Daggett

”We are committed to assist you to achieve a fair and equitable local contract and to remove any financial burdens or obstacles that are an attempt by employers and a misguided arbitrator to weaken your efforts for union representation.” — Dennis Daggett, president of the ILA’s Atlantic Coast District, in an open letter to Local 333 members

ILA Local 333 struck for three days last October but resumed work after Arbitrator M. David Vaughn ruled the union had violated the no-strike clause in the ILA’s coastwide master contract [and] ordered the union to pay $3.8 million in damages.

Local 333 voted down the employers’ “best and final” offer in February after Dennis Daggett, president of the union’s Atlantic Coast District, said a “no” vote would put the local in a better position to negotiate down the arbitrator’s award.

The ILA is insisting that the $3.8 million arbitrator’s award be lifted before negotiations resume. The Steamship Trade Association has said its final offer is already on the table.

Read more at the JOC


Port of Prince Rupert sees tonnage drop in first quarter of 2014

While most Prince Rupert terminals saw year-over-year increases in March, overall tonnage has dropped by more than 17 per cent in 2014.

In March, 28,145 tonnes were handled at Westview Terminal, which brings the year to date total to 81,277 tonnes.

Combined, port of Prince Rupert tonnage dropped 26 per cent this March, with 1,681,316 tonnes being moved through operations compared to 2,292,379 in March 2013. This is largely attributed to the decrease in tonnage at Ridley Terminal. So far this year there has been close to 17.6 per cent fewer tonnes handled compared to last year, with 4,908,513 tonnes being moved in 2013 and 5,952,250 tonnes being moved in 2014.

More at the Northern View


USAID’s ‘cockamamie’ secret campaign to undermine Cuba via social media

'Tio Sam'

Cuban activists poked fun at ‘Tio Sam’ (Uncle Sam) after learning that the U.S. was behind their social networking tool and planning to use it to instigate a ‘Cuban uprising.’

When is humanitarian aid from the U.S. a cover for espionage? And should the U.S. agency in charge of humanitarian aid ever be a conduit for spying? Those are the questions being raised in Congressional hearings investigating the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) about its involvement in a social media program in Cuba designed to undermine the Cuban government.

Simply put, the program was to create a “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo (operational from roughly 2010 to 2012) that would allow Cubans to use cellphone text messaging to circumvent Cuban government restrictions on the Internet. Although created and funded through USAID, ZunZuneo subscribers were not to know that the network had been created by the U.S. government, nor to know that USAID contractors were collecting subscribers’ private data. Initially, it would be used for non-controversial, non-political content, but when the network reached a critical mass, the U.S. contractors running the network would introduce political content aimed to foment a “Cuban spring,” or in the words of a USAID memo, to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”

In the wake of the NSA scandal regarding the misuse of governmental powers and the subsequent testimony of NSA executives denying—and lying—about the program, can USAID be trusted?

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly


First ship plugged-in to new Port of Hueneme AMP system

The Port informs that it has conducted its first operational and safety vessel test of its recently installed Auxiliary Maritime Power (AMP) system. Port crews were on hand to view this first vessel ‘plug in’ by Hamburg Sud’s ‘M/V Cap Pasley’, carrying fresh fruit for Chiquita Brands of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Port of Hueneme explains that the initial test of ‘plugging in’ a vessel is critical to assessing performance of this new and very high voltage shore power system. It is also vital to ensuring all trained units including ILWU and ship operators become comfortable with operating the gear. The process tests the vessel’s ability to synchronize with and connect to the Port’s grid-based electrical system.

More at Marine Link