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.

Politico: ‘Trump launches war on unions’


Politico reports that ‘The president-elect seems to be assembling a pro-business Cabinet that could clash with unions at every turn.’

Excerpts from Politico:

The war between Donald Trump and the nation’s labor unions is on.

Labor leaders, who spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning against Trump, said after the election they’d give him a chance to deliver on his pro-worker agenda. But the cease-fire eroded in just the past 24 hours.

The emerging battle could set the tone between Trump and unions — and affect the future of the U.S. labor movement itself. Trump won the election with the help of union household voters in key states, such as Ohio and Michigan. In the soul searching after the election, labor needed to decide whether to stand with or against him.

So far, Trump is making that decision easy. The president-elect seems to be assembling a pro-business Cabinet that could clash with unions at every turn.

Read the rest at Politico


US shippers resisting major trans-Pacific contract rate hikes

From the Journal of Commerce:

Backed against a wall of deep losses and weak demand but emboldened by a doubling of spot rates since mid-2016, container lines are warning trans-Pacific shippers of significantly higher spot and contract rates next year. Shippers, however, aren’t convinced the fundamental drivers around pricing have changed, setting the stage for fierce negotiations, the result of which could determine which carriers stay afloat in coming years.

Container lines are seeking eastbound rates of at least $1,500 per 40-foot container to the West Coast and $2,800 per forty-foot-equivalent unit to the East Coast, according to analysts and liner executives. The largest beneficial cargo owners this past year have been paying rates of about $750 per FEU to the West Coast and as low as $1,400 per FEU to the East Coast. That compares with rates earlier in the decade of about $2,000 per FEU to the West Coast and $3,000 per FEU on all-water services to the East Coast.

More at the JOC


Port of Oakland’s TraPac terminal mandates cargo appointments

A third marine terminal operator wants truckers to make appointments before picking up cargo at the Port of Oakland, officials at the California port said Dec. 1.

Wilmington, Calif.-based TraPac announced it was requiring appointments for all import container pick-ups as of Dec. 6. TraPac said the appointment system will reduce waiting times by more evenly distributing truck arrivals throughout each day.

TraPac said truck dispatchers can log on to the nationwide port information system eModal to make appointments. The company said the requirement for appointments applies — for the present — only to loaded import containers.

More at The Packer


Maersk Line to buy container shipping line Hamburg Süd

Denmark-based shipping company Maersk Line has agreed to acquire German container shipping line Hamburg Süd from its owner Oetker Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Subject to final agreement and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

With 130 container vessels and a container capacity of 625,000 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU), Hamburg Süd currently employs 5,960 people in more than 250 offices worldwide, and markets its services through Hamburg Süd; CCNI, based in Chile; and Brazil-based Aliança brands.

Maersk Line CEO Søren Skou said: “The acquisition of Hamburg Süd is in line with our growth strategy and will increase the volumes of both Maersk Line and APM Terminals.”

More at Ship Technology


Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump

The Washington Post has published the following opinion piece by Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Today, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation’s workers should be very nervous.

In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.

More at the Washington Post


OSHA cites SSA for violations after fatal fall of ILWU member Jimmie Meadows

Our hearts are still broken from losing our brother in June. From an article titled ‘Washington Marine Cargo Handling Company Cited for Willful Safety Violations After Worker’s Fatal Fall’:

Jimmie Meadows, ILWU

Jimmie Meadows, March 3, 1968 – June 25, 2016

For longshoremen who load and offload timber in the upper Northwest, every ship that sails into port carries a reminder of the litany of hazards they face at work. Loads of extremely heavy logs must be handled carefully to avoid serious and potentially fatal injuries. At the same time, employers must take all necessary steps to ensure the work area is free of avoidable hazards – a lesson apparently lost on a Seattle-based cargo handling company following the June 2016 death of a 48-year-old longshoreman.

Jim Meadows was employed by SSA Pacific when he suffered fatal injuries after he fell 10 feet onto the metal deck of the Forest Trader, a 21,000-ton bulk carrier cargo ship registered in Panama.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited his employer today for willfully failing to protect its workers from falls into hatches and cargo holds. The citations follow an OSHA investigation prompted by Meadows’ death. Agency inspectors who boarded the vessel found numerous hazardous areas where no netting or fall protection measures existed.

“Jim Meadows death was preventable, if only a few commonsense measures had been taken to prevent his fall and to protect his coworkers,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA regional administrator in Seattle. “OSHA has cited SSA Pacific for similar violations in Oregon and Florida in the past three years in the hopes of avoiding a tragedy like this. Every employer has a solemn duty to make sure its workers return home safely at the end of every shift.”

More at WorkersCompensation.com


Trump’s Transportation pick Chao ‘hostile to unions, hostile to all workers’

Elaine Chao

Elaine Chao was deputy secretary of transportation in the administration of George H.W. Bush and she headed the Labor Department under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

Excerpts from ”Transport pick Chao gets conservatives’ praise, labor criticism” in Bloomberg:

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Elaine Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary who antagonized unions and cheered conservatives, to lead the government’s transportation policy.

“She was not only hostile to unions, she was hostile to all workers,” said David Madland, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive policy group. “The only thing they really did was promulgate new rules to make it much harder for unions to operate.”

More at Bloomberg


Port of Everett takes a ‘big beating’ with cargo decline

Lower oil prices, a weaker Chinese economy and trade sanctions with Russia are contributing to less cargo passing through the Port of Everett this year.

While a decline had been expected, it was greater than what port officials had forecast because of a dramatic drop in cargo for oil projects in Alaska and Canada.

Log exports through October slightly are behind where they were 12 months ago. Carl Wollebek, the port’s chief operating officer, said they likely will close that gap by the end of the year.

Timber exports are expected to be about the same in 2017, he said.

More at the Daily Herald


Worker captures 'maravilla' of Panama Canal opening all 14 gates

Gatun Panama Canal

Click on the image to view the full article and video

”Otra maravilla que me permite mi trabajo”

”Another wonder that my job allows me to see”

– Worker narrating video as the Panama Canal mitigates flooding from Hurricane Otto

This is the spectacular moment all 14 doors of the Panama Canal dam are opened, to mitigate flooding caused by Hurricane Otto.

The dam is on Lake Gatun, an artificial lake to the south of the port city of Colon on the Caribbean sea.

It has been opened to prevent the canal and surrounding villages from flooding and is the first time in four years that the 14 doors have been opened at the same time.

The equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools of water pour through the gates every second.

Source: The Daily Mail


Idle container ship fleet retreats from record high

From the Journal of Commerce:

The idle container ship fleet has retreated from a recent record high on accelerated scrapping of older tonnage and revived chartering of smaller ships, Alphaliner says.

As of Nov. 14, there were 363 unemployed ships of more than 500 twenty-foot-equivalent units with an aggregate capacity of 1.49 million TEUs, equivalent to 7.4 percent of the global fleet, according to the industry analyst.

This compares with a high of 397 vessels of 1.59 million TEUs, an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, two weeks earlier.

More at the JOC


Panama vs Suez: Which do alliances favor?

From Port Technology:

New alliance service networks for Asia-East Coast North America favor the Panama Canal routeing ahead of the Suez Canal, according to Drewry. … The expansion of the Panama Canal at the end of June has been a game changer. Several Asia-ECNA via Panama loops have been upgraded to deploy ships of 8,000 TEU and above. Following the expansion the average size of ship deployed on the route has increased by 44% to 6,600 TEU.

In time, possibly as soon as April next year, that figure will surpass the size of ships on the Suez route. There are now seven Panama Canal services which contain ships of 8,000 TEU or more with the biggest found on the G6 Alliance’s NYX, which uses 10 x 10,000 TEU units. With fewer Suez services in the network from 2Q17 carriers will be able to go bigger on the new Panama loops, without risking lower ship utilization.

More at Port Technology


Pacific Northwest seaports prepared for wind energy shipments

Wind energy components being handled by members of ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver, WA.

Wind energy components being handled by members of ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver, WA.

Imported wind energy components are a growing opportunity for the Port of Vancouver USA and Port of Longview on the Columbia River and for Port of Olympia on the Salish Sea. The United States Congress extended the Production Tax Credit, which will propel the wind farm industry for years. Transportation and logistics companies will find new business from the construction of new wind farms and by refurbishing capacity of existing sites across the United States.

More at the American Journal of Transportation


Grain ship runs aground in Columbia River, returns to Kalama


Several hours after running aground in Skamokawa, Wash., the Nenita was refloated and towed back to Kalama for inspection and repairs. No injuries or contamination were reported.

From ‘Bulk carrier Nenita ran aground in Columbia river in USA’ in the Maritime Herald:

The bulk carrier Nenita ran aground in lower Columbia river near Skamokawa in Washington, USA. The vessel was en route from Kalama to Qinzhou in China with cargo of grain, but shortly after leaving the port suffered engine failure and lost propulsion power. The crew was unable to stop the dead inertia and the bulk carrier left the fairway, grounding into the sandbank with the fore part. It was understood the bow was breached but there was no danger for the seaworthiness of the cargo ship.

During grounding and further salvage, the traffic at lower Columbia river was hampered and partially blocked by the grounded vessel. However, there was no congestion and disruption of the traffic at the shipping way.

The bulk carrier Nenita (IMO: 9304289) has overall length of 225.00 m, moulded beam of 32.00 m and maximum draft of 13.10 m. The deadweight of the vessel is 76,807 DWT and the gross tonnage is 40,042 GRT. The bulker was built in 2006 by Sasebo Heavy Industries in Japan.

More at the Maritime Herald


ZPMC boosts cranes to work big ships at Port of Los Angeles

ZPMC Port of LA

American Shipper reports that APMT’s cranes currently can reach across the deck of 13,000-TEU vessels to load and unload containers. The upgrade will allow the facility to handle 20,000-TEU vessels.

Excerpts from American Shipper:

ZPMC, the Chinese manufacturer of massive ship-to-shore cranes used at container terminals around the world, is in the process of raising 10 cranes at APM Terminals’ (APMT) Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles so they can reach across next-generation ultra-large container vessels that carriers are deploying on trunk routes to maximize transport efficiency and reduce operating costs.

ZPMC North America is using an industrial jacking system to install leg stubs on the cranes and increase their height by an additional 33 feet, making them the tallest port cranes in North America. The project, which began July 1, includes installing new energy-efficient LED lighting systems, repairing forestays and repositioning the cranes, the company announced Wednesday. So far, one crane adjustment has been completed and work on the second one is underway, officials said.

Jeff Rosenberg, vice president of sales and marketing for ZPMC Crane Services, said in an interview that ZPMC has subcontracted labor for the work to a contractor that uses mechanics belonging to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

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ILWU members help public radio survive in Alaska

Alaska Public Radio benefits from ILWU member contributions

Alaska Public Radio benefits from ILWU member contributions. Radio station KUCB provides essential news and information for a diverse community in a remote part of Alaska where natives, newcomers and Filipino immigrant families work in the maritime and fishing industry.

Radio station KUCB is a relatively small operation compared to her big-city sisters in the Lower 48, but she provides a vital lifeline of news and information for thousands of residents living around the small town of Unalaska and the Port of Dutch Harbor, located in the Aleutian Islands, hundreds miles from Alaska’s mainland on the edge of the fish-rich but notoriously deadly Bering Sea.

Falling oil prices have been hard on Alaska’s state and local budgets – resulting in 50 percent less state funding for KUCB. “We were really concerned about our budget this year because of the funding cuts, but the ILWU and other groups really came through for us,” said station manager Lauren Adams. The station held a one-day pledge drive on October 14 with a $20,000 goal – but ended up raising a record-breaking $30,000.

More than $3,000 of those dollars came from ILWU members who responded to a challenge from longshore worker Juliet Vries, who volunteers each year during the pledge drive. A total of 25 ILWU members stepped forward to help the cause.

“The ILWU is strongly invested in our community here and they showed that during our pledge drive. We can’t thank them enough for contributing when our station needed it most,” said Adams who has managed the station for 12 years.

Source: The Dispatcher at ILWU.org