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.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies at age 65

Today the ILWU grieves the loss of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who valued and supported workers in his many years of public service. Our condolences to his wife Anita, daughters Tania and Brianna, and all who were fortunate to know him. Rest in Peace, Mayor Lee.


Ocean carrier alliances expand

While the changing atmosphere of ocean carrier alliances for containerized cargo isn’t something new, it has been a tumultuous few years in the industry. What used to be four primary alliances has now transformed into three new large ocean carrier alliances.

Effective on April 1, 2017, these three large alliances are considered formal carrier alliances, and were a dramatic display of the vast changes being made in the industry, as they now cover 95 percent of global container trade. The alliances are: the 2M Alliance (MSC, Maersk, Hamburg Sud, Hyundai), the Ocean Alliance (CMA CGM, APL, COSCO, China Shipping, OOCL, Evergreen) and The Alliance. (NYK Group, “K” Line, MOL, Yang Ming, Hapag-Lloyd, UASC).

With the changes in carrier ownership over the past year, some of the “carriers” listed as alliance members are now actually a brand of the carrier owner. For example, Maersk is buying Hamburg Sud, Hapag Lloyd bought UASC, CMA CGM owns APL, and COSCO is purchasing OOCL. Japanese carriers will also form a single entity in April 2018. And consequently, the overall pool of competitors keeps decreasing.

More at Supply and Demand Chain Exec


Prominent Australian union leader faces court after supporting MUA dockers at ICTSI terminal

Luke Hilakari is secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council. Photo: Pat Scala

Luke Hilakari, secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, VICT to explain how it discovered his private address and why it served him at home on a Saturday afternoon rather than at his office at Trades Hall. Photo: Pat Scala

From a Sydney Morning Herald article titled ‘High-profile union leader faces court over waterfront blockade at Australia’s ICTSI terminal’:

One of Victoria’s most prominent union leaders has been hit with legal action over a two-week picket line blockading millions of dollars of pre-Christmas cargo on the Melbourne waterfront.

The dockside picket line, which received a mass show of support from several unions on Friday, has been stopping freight trucks from accessing more than 1000 stranded shipping containers carrying Christmas retail goods, Christmas decorations, fresh food and medicine.

International stevedore Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) has previously won orders in the state’s Supreme Court for the maritime union to lift the illegal picket line.

However, the campaign has since been taken up by the wider union movement, which has continued manning the controversial blockade.

More at the Sydney Morning Herald


After protesting at ICTSI terminal, Australian unionist served legal papers at family home

From an article titled ‘Webb dock escalation met with escalation’ in Australasian Transport News:

Luke Hilakari

Luke Hilakari

In what looks like a serious escalation of the Webb Dock dispute that has halted container transport out of Victoria International ContainerTerminal (VICT), the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) says secretary Luke Hilakari was served with legal documents.

Hilakari is said to have received relating to union actions at Webb Dock, at his family home on Saturday afternoon.

“This is the first time any Secretary of Trades Hall has ever been directly targeted in such a hostile manner,” the VTHC says.

“This is a severe and unprecedented escalation by VICT, who have attempted to intimidate not just Trades Hall but all Australian working people through this extreme action.”

The VTHC cast the action as intimidatory and questioned how Hilakari’s home address was found and why the papers were not served at his Trades Hall office.

Read the rest at Australasian Transport News


More than 1000 workers protest ICTSI's terminal in Australia

Courtesy News Corp Australia

Courtesy News Corp Australia

From an article titled ‘Militant unions escalate picket at Webb Dock’ at News Corp Australia:

More than 1000 fired-up union workers have walked off the job in an industrial dispute over a casual worker denied shifts at the Victorian International Container Terminal.

In an expletive-ridden speech, CFMEU boss John Setka declared the company was in “big trouble” as workers stood together to protest their rights.

Maritime Union of Australia Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey claimed a security audit identified over 20 workers who did not have the correct clearances, but the worker in question was excluded because of his union membership.

“His only crime was pushing the union membership inside the dock,” he told workers.

Read the rest at News Corp Australia


US Ports criticise tax reform bill

From Container Management:

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has criticized aspects of new legislation being proposed by the US authorities.

In a statement, the AAPA said that infrastructure funding would be made more difficult by provisions in two separate ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ bills which have been approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Both bills would repeal the tax exemption for advanced refunding of bonds, which the AAPA claims would affect the ability of issuers to refinance those bonds at lower rates.

Additionally, the bill passed by the House of Representatives would eliminate tax-exempt status for Private Activity Bonds (PABs),

According to the AAPA, approximately 27% of the US$451bn in long-term, tax-exempt U.S. municipal bonds were advance refunded in 2016 to take advantage of lower rates.

According to AAPA, its US member ports and their private sector partners are in a building boom, planning to invest $155bn into capital projects between 2016 and 2021. Many of these improvements will be financed through municipal and private activity bonds.

AAPA said that one of the many examples of the predicted impacts of the changes, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – which comprise the largest port complex in the United States – have each estimated the loss of tax exemptions on PABs and advance refundings would increase the cost of financing their port infrastructure.

More at Container Management


ICTSI ‘not welcome in Africa’

Global port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) is facing continued resistance to their Africa expansion plans, with the Philippines-owned company again the target of demonstrations, this time in Durban, South Africa.

A maritime industry conference featuring a speaker from the embattled ports company will be hit by protest action from worker and community organisations in South Africa who are concerned about labour abuses in ICTSI’s global network.

The port operator has attracted international condemnation in recent months over emerging patterns of labour violations, poor safety standards, and sloppy management practices.

Tim Vancampen, CEO from ICTSI’s DRC operation, will be given a fierce reception when he presents to the conference at 11:45 AM local time today.
The demonstration is being led by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Edgar Mbina, Regional Secretary of SATAWU, said: “We are here to send a message to ICTSI that their business model of poor safety and undercutting conditions is not welcome in Africa. We stand with workers in Madagascar, workers in Papua New Guinea, and workers around the world who are fighting for jobs and decent conditions. Wherever ICTSI chooses to expand, we’ll be there, standing with those workers, fighting for justice and decent treatment.”

In October 2017, a report on ICTSI’s expansion, ‘ICTSI’s global expansion: a risky proposition?’ (https://goo.gl/UfZgyv), detailed the emerging pattern of labour violations across ICTSI’s terminals, including paying poverty wages, poor safety standards endangering workers lives, and illegally out-sourcing jobs to labour-hire companies. The report, authored by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), demonstrates that ICTSI has a problem with governance.

ITF President Paddy Crumlin said: “ICTSI has a problem. Their rapid expansion has not been accompanied by sufficient managerial oversight to ensure productive industrial relations and compliance with local laws. We’ve seen this in port after port, country after country.”

In October, ICTSI was hit by lawful demonstrations and actions worldwide in a renewed international push against injustice in the company’s global terminal network. ITF affiliate unions held protest actions across 14 locations spanning Africa, Europe and Asia, directly targeting existing ICTSI ports, ports where ICTSI is seeking to expand, and ports that share critical shipping connections with ICTSI ports.

“These latest demonstrations send a message to governments and investors thinking of partnering with this company,” Paddy Crumlin said.

“ICTSI needs to sit down with the ITF and work out how we can resolve these issues throughout their network.

“The ITF, and our unions, are committed to supporting port operators who provide good jobs and good industrial relations practices in their ports.”

Source: ITF news release


Port of Seattle reaches $8 million settlement over wrongful firings

From the Seattle Times:

A jury awarded $16 million to two former Port of Seattle employees it determined were wrongfully fired, among the biggest verdicts of its kind in state history. A settlement between the plaintiffs and the Port caps damages at $8 million, with all sides agreeing not to appeal.

The settlement is the latest fallout stemming from a years-long controversy over racial discrimination and restaurant leases at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The taxpayer-subsidized Port has faced two lawsuits over the issue that, as of May, had cost it $1.7 million in outside legal fees alone.

John Creighton, the Port commissioner at the center of the plaintiffs’ allegations, said he had nothing to do with the firing of Zachrisson and Lincoln but believes it was the right decision.

More at the Seattle Times


CMA CGM completes Sale of Los Angeles Terminal

The CMA CGM Group completed on Dec. 2 the sale of a 90% equity interest in Global Gateway South terminal (GSS) in Los Angeles to EQT Infrastructure III (EQT Infrastructure) and its partner P5 Infrastructure (P5), for an Enterprise Value of USD 875 million.

Consequently, CMA CGM received a cash consideration of about USD 820 million that may be completed according to the terms announced last July.

CMA CGM will remain a minority shareholder with 10% of the GGS terminal and will continue to be a major user of the facility.

The disposal of GGS enables CMA CGM to strengthen its financial structure in line with the plan communicated at the time of NOL’s acquisition in June 2016.

More at Marine Link


China’s COSCO overtakes Maersk as top container shipper in third quarter: Alphaliner

From Reuters:

China’s COSCO Shipping took the top spot in the number of container liftings in the third quarter, overtaking Denmark’s Maersk Line for the first time, data from shipping consultancy Alphaliner showed.

China’s government is pushing to raise the country’s profile in global shipping and last year merged two state-owned firms to form COSCO Shipping, aiming to challenge the dominance of top players Maersk Line and Switzerland’s MSC.

Read the rest at Reuters


Federal grant to help Port of Long Beach retrofit diesel-burning engines

From the Long Beach Post:

A $2.4 million federal grant awarded to the Port of Long Beach (POLB) will help the complex begin to decrease its pollution levels just weeks after the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved its updated Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) that has goals of bringing it to zero emissions by 2035.

The grant comes from the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) which was renewed in 2010, and through it, has provided funds nationally to help reduce diesel emissions. The $2.4 million awarded to the POLB will go toward retrofitting three gantry cranes to all-electric operations as well as retrofitting four tugboats with the “newest and cleanest” engines available, according to a release from the Port.

Read the rest here


Panamanian president Varela: China to accelerate its Latin American rise

Excerpts from AFP:

China is taking steps to increase its presence in Panama in order to expand its influence throughout Latin America, according to Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela.

Varela made the comments upon returning home from a historic visit to China and meetings with President Xi Jinping. The two presidents signed 19 accords ranging from trade and investment to immigration, tourism and energy. Panama also opened its first embassy in China.

“This visit will mark a before and after, without any doubt,” Varela said.

The government of Panama expects investments from China for major infrastructure projects including ports, energy plants, a fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, a train line to the Costa Rican border, and a third metro line in the capital.

Read the rest at AFP


FMC’s Doyle to Exit Commission in January, 2018

Excerpts from Marine Link:

On Nov. 27, the Office of Commissioner William P. Doyle of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission issued the following:

“Last week, I notified The President of the United States Donald J. Trump of my intention to leave the Federal Maritime Commission effective January 3, 2017. It has been an honor and a privilege to continue serving in the Trump Administration. I thank President Barack Obama for nominating and appointing me twice as a Commissioner. I have learned so much in this position, and I thank you both for the opportunity to serve the Unites States of America.”

In the wake of the 2016 Hanjin Bankruptcy, Commissioner Doyle advocated for more financial safeguards in the industry. The collapse of Hanjin Shipping was a wake-up call for the entire ocean transportation chain. More than $14 Billion in cargo was stranded at sea and ships were scattered all over the globe at anchor or just outside territorial waters.

Read the rest at Marine Link


China wants to build railway through Brazil for access to ag products

From Folha de S.Paulo:

The China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), which is one of the biggest railway companies in the world, is considering the possibility of heading a consortium that would build the East-West Integration Railway (Fiol), connecting it to the port of Ilhéus (Bahia). Only a short stretch of the railway is currently operating.

China’s intentions are clear: it wants to direct soybeans – which, of the products it imports from Brazil, is only behind iron ore – from the midwest of Brazil to the port in Bahia.

But there are geopolitical factors at play as well. China would like to establish alternatives to the Panama Canal, which was financed by the US in the 20th century, and is perceived by the Asian country as being controlled by the United States.

Read the rest here


U.S. consumer confidence near 17-year high; goods trade deficit widens

From Reuters:

U.S consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labor market, while house prices rose sharply in September, which should underpin consumer spending and boost economic growth.

The near-term growth outlook was, however, marred by other data on Tuesday showing a big rise in the goods trade deficit in October and a drop in inventory accumulation. The wider goods trade gap and weak inventory investment prompted economists to slash their fourth-quarter gross domestic product estimates.

Read the rest here