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.

Hutchison Ports Australia and the MUA extend negotiations on workers sacked by email

Sacked by emailHutchison Ports Australia (HPA) has signed a new agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to extend until November negotiations over the sacking of 97 port workers by text message and email in August.

According to the parties’ new agreement, negotiations will be extended until November 16 under the auspices of Anna Booth, deputy president of the Fair Work commission (FWC), which is Australia’s workplace relations tribunal where conciliation proceedings will continue.

More at Container Magazine


El Faro cargo ship was expected to make Tacoma-Alaska run this winter

ILWU Local 23 tribute to El Faro

”ILWU Local 23 took a moment at the beginning of the shift at TOTE Wednesday night to say farewell to the ship ‘El Faro’ that sank last week in the Bahamas, and to have a moment of silence for the 33 crew members who tragically lost their lives. The captain of the TOTE vessel behind us is taking the wreath we gave him up to Alaska to throw it in the water where that vessel spent most of her life bringing goods from Tacoma to Anchorage for 20 plus years.” — From ILWU Local 23

Our condolences go out to the families, friends and colleagues of the 33 crew members of El Faro

From the Seattle Times:

The El Faro cargo ship that has been missing since Hurricane Joaquin hit the Bahamas last week was expected to return to Tacoma this fall after serving as a lifeline to Puerto Rico for the last nine years.

The El Faro was going to relieve a Tacoma ship being sent out for liquefied natural-gas conversion this winter, said John Parrott, president of Federal Way-based TOTE Maritime Alaska, a subsidiary of TOTE Inc. The subsidiary TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico owns the El Faro vessel.

The El Faro, on a course from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been missing since Oct. 1 as it sailed through the Bahamas at the height of the storm. It is still unclear how the missing ship will impact the TOTE Maritime Alaska operations, which offers twice-weekly cargo-ship service between the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Anchorage.

Read the Rest at the Seattle Times


Israeli shipping firm Zim to go public next year

Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Barclays Plc will lead an initial public offering of Israeli shipping firm Zim on Wall Street next year, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

One source said no date or valuation have been set but the offering will be in New York, likely on the New York Stock Exchange.

Zim said in an emailed response that it “has been contemplating going public and other financing options since 2007. This strategy has not changed. We have nothing to report at this time and do not comment on rumours”.

More at Haaretz


Turkey’s Yilport Holding acquires Portuguese firm Tertir’s ten port terminals

Turkey-based Yilport Holding has entered into an agreement with Portugal’s Mota-Engil Group and Novo Banco to acquire Tertir, a port management company, in the biggest investment ever by a Turkish company in Portugal.

Under the deal, Yilport Holding will take over the company’s portfolio of port terminals in Portugal, Spain and Peru. Additionally, it will operate and manage Tertir’s forwarder / support services businesses located across Europe and Latin America.

According to the company, Yilport Holding is expected to be ranked amongst the world’s top 20 international container terminal operators with the latest acquisition.

More at Ship Technology


$6 million in grants support Port of Stockton project

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a $1.9 million grant to the Port of Stockton for critical infrastructure upgrades to support regional economic growth.

Richard Aschieris, director of the Port of Stockton, welcomed the award and noted it was one of nearly $6 million in grants his agency had won to help improve Navy Drive and access to the port’s Rough and Ready Island.

Aschieris said the package included the San Joaquin Council of Governments pledging $2 million and U.S. Department of Homeland Security just under $2 million to the improvements.

More at the Stockton Record


2,600 shipments turned away as carriers seek to 'sniff out' misdeclared hazardous cargo

From an article titled ‘Maersk Line to bring in specialist software to sniff out misdeclared hazardous goods’ in The Loadstar:

MSC Flaminia

Ocean carriers have suffered numerous onboard blazes in recent years, with devastating effects in some cases, including on the 6,750 teu MSC Flaminia in July 2012 which claimed three lives and forced the ship to be abandoned mid-Atlantic.

One of the biggest concerns for container lines is the danger of fire onboard a ship, often originating from ‘rogue’ containers loaded with goods misdeclared as non-hazardous.

One liner operator recently told The Loadstar that misdeclared hazardous containers were “becoming endemic” in the industry, and those that are identified as misdeclared were probably the “tip of the iceberg”.

In Hamburg Maersk Line executives met with their counterparts at Hapag-Lloyd with a view to implementing a dangerous goods detection system similar to the German carrier’s Watchdog.

As a result of this extra diligence, Hapag-Lloyd said that in 2014 it shut out more than 2,600 shipments as “not being properly declared as dangerous goods”, averting potential catastrophes at sea.

More at The Loadstar


ICTSI rolls out online container booking system

From an ICTSI news release published at the American Journal of Transportation:

International Container Terminal Services, Inc., (ICTSI) the largest port operator in the Philippines has rolled out at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) the online container booking system, the Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS).

Booking an appointment can be done within minutes through three simple steps. After logging in, port users need to upload their container details in the system. The next step is to search for available booking slots within the given time zones, with users having 15 minutes to select their desired zones for each container. Once all the details have been reviewed and finalized, users can then proceed to confirm their appointment.

Read the rest here


Gavilon launches new portal for producers to personalize their grain experience

Gavilon news release:

Gavilon Grain, LLC has announced that it has launched a new web service, myGavilon, that allows customers to personalize their grain experience. Producers are able to access all of their transactions (i.e., balances, contracts and tickets) as well as weather, cash bid and futures market information all in one place.

“Producers have a lot of critical decisions to make and many things to keep organized. We developed myGavilon to allow our customers to have all of their important information in one place,” stated Greg Konsor, Vice President and General Manager for North American Grain at Gavilon. “We intend to work closely with our customers to find more ways to take advantage of the myGavilon suite of solutions to help our producers find more and better ways to succeed in the marketplace.”

Customers of Gavilon can sign up for myGavilon by visiting myGavilon.com or downloading the app on an Apple or Android device.


PMA warning over labour negotiations

The head of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) has said that that current bargaining practices between the parties in the West Coast longshore contract talks are “not sustainable.”

James McKenna said that because the PMA and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been busy implementing the new contract, they have not formally discussed the potential changes.

This, he said, invites outside intervention because the process is slowed down each time talks are held when a new change to a contract is proposed.

Mr McKenna suggested that future bargaining might be more productive if the negotiators around the table focused on the big issues such as wages, pensions and health care.

More at Port Strategy


Extended free time contributes to chassis shortages in LA-Long Beach

Spot shortages of chassis continue to plague terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach, seven months after the portwide “pool of pools” was rolled out by chassis-leasing companies with the intention of eliminating that very problem.

When a terminal does not have sufficient chassis to handle import loads, containers back up on the docks and congestion can develop quickly, especially in a port complex that averages more than 5,000 container moves per vessel call.

Ports on both coasts are developing programs designed to address the chassis shortages that have developed over the past year since most shipping lines sold their chassis to the big three leasing companies, TRAC Intermodal, DCLI and Flexi-Van.

More at the Journal of Commerce


Guatemalan union activist murdered in front of his home

Prensa Libre shows people gathering at the scene of the murder of Guatemalan union activist Mynor Rolando Ramos Castillo.

Prensa Libre shows people gathering at the scene of the murder of Guatemalan union activist Mynor Rolando Ramos Castillo, the sixth member of his union to be assassinated.

Mynor Rolando Ramos Castillo, a municipal worker in Jalapa, a city in southeast Guatemala, was shot and killed in front of his home over the weekend. His family detained the killer and turned him into the police. The killer confessed to accepting the hit for 1,500 quetzales (roughly $195).

Ramos Castillo was a union activist with the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Municipalidad de Jalapa (SITRAMJ), the city workers’ union, and was among 183 workers disputing illegal termination who had won a labor court’s order of reinstatement. Ramos Castillo and other laid-off city workers were targeted and harassed by city officials because they were active union members. He is the sixth member of his union to be assassinated.

More at the Solidarity Center


Study raises doubt about viability of Northwest Passage as shipping route

Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage connects the Beaufort Sea in the west with Baffin Bay in the east. It is a shorter route to move goods between the Pacific and Atlantic regions than the Panama and Suez Canals.

For years, scientists have obsessively monitored Arctic sea ice: how it expands in the winter months and how much of it shrinks in the summer. Now, a study that zeroed in on a big chunk of the Northwest Passage, says sea ice there remains too thick and treacherous to be a regular commercial shipping route for decades.

A team of researchers measured the sea ice thickness for about 1,000 kilometres between Resolute and Cambridge bays earlier this year and found that it’s up to three metres thick in most regions of the passage.

It would take 30, or even 50 years, before the ice becomes weaker, said Christian Haas, one of the authors of the study and Canada Research Chair for Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics at York University.

More at the Toronto Star


Despite warnings, lost ship El Faro steamed into Hurricane Joaquin

Coast Guard briefing on missing El Faro cargo ship

Coast Guard briefing on missing El Faro cargo ship

In the face of increasingly ominous warnings about Hurricane Joaquin from the National Hurricane Center, tracking data shows that the El Faro steered almost directly into the strengthening eye of a major hurricane, a decision that appears to have contributed to one of the worst cargo-ship accidents off the U.S. coast in decades.

While much remained unclear, some commercial shipping experts said federal investigators, who will produce the final report on the El Faro’s fate, will almost certainly focus on the call to risk navigating through a hurricane rather than the captain or company deciding to take the safer, but longer route down along the more protected Florida coast.

“He was going to cross the storm at some point. In my opinion, it makes no sense to do that. When you’re a ship, you want to avoid the storm at all costs,” said Capt. Sam Stephenson, who teaches emergency ship handling at Fort Lauderdale’s Resolve Maritime Academy.

More at MSN


U.S. leads Pacific Rim to historic TPP trade pact as critics line up

TPP protest signThe U.S. brokered a historic accord Monday to ease trade in goods and services among a dozen Pacific-rim nations that make up about 40 percent of the world economy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, five years in the making, will now be subject to months of scrutiny by lawmakers that could yet derail it. Critics on both sides of the U.S. Congress have denounced the deal, saying it threatens American jobs or fails to give companies enough protection.

The accord was announced after a week of final talks in Atlanta. Labor groups said the Pacific accord will send jobs out of the U.S. as previous trade accords have done. Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton called the pact “a bad deal for working families and communities” and said the union and its allies will “be certain to hold accountable those members of Congress who support this giveaway to the 1 percent.”

More at Bloomberg


Shell Arctic fleet can return to Seattle after favorable ruling

Royal Dutch Shell received some good news on Wednesday, when Seattle’s hearing examiner ruled that the oil and gas giant’s fleet of vessels, including its Polar Pioneer oil rig, could use the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. Foss Maritime Corp. which holds a lease on the terminal has a contract with Shell to service the company’s rigs and support vessels.

The Port of Seattle, thus, won the case against the City of Seattle and environmental groups that were arguing against the legality of Foss’s lease with the Anglo-Dutch company. The port and Foss Maritime were concerned that limiting the use of the terminal would be bad for competitiveness. In his ruling, the hearing examiner said that the city was unjustified in demanding new land-use permits. The city will not be appealing against the hearing examiner’s ruling.

This means that Shell’s vessels can now return to the port that was the scene of massive protests by environmental groups this summer.

More at Business Finance News