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.

Expanding capacity, bigger ships to test European ports this year

Rotterdam artists rendition

The first big event of the year will be the February rollout of the world’s first fully automated container terminal in Rotterdam, which threatens to unleash a rate war across the Le Havre-Hamburg range as carriers leverage the added capacity to beat down handling charges.

Europe’s ports face a rocky ride in 2015, dominated by a potential glut of container-handling capacity in the north that will only be partially offset by steadily rising transshipment traffic in the Mediterranean.

The leading hubs, mainly in Northwest Europe, also will have to deal with the accelerating influx of giant vessels capable of carrying 19,000 20-foot-equivalent units that regularly will load and unload as many as 7,000 containers on a single call.

More at Port News


Maersk Line will continue to slow-steam despite falling bunker prices

Maersk Line will not stop slow-steaming despite falling oil prices making it more economically viable to speed up ships, Joc reports.

According to a Maersk Line spokesman, “A move away from the current slow-steaming approach would entail a
fundamental change to the network.”

But with port congestion said to have been an issue in the industry over the last year, a number of carriers say that low bunker prices mean they now have the flexibility to speed up if needed, which should result in improved liner reliability.

More at Ship and Bunker


Winning Shipping in deal with Cargill, Bunge to move bauxite on Capesize: sources

Bauxite export facility at Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic.

Bauxite export facility at Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic.

Winning Shipping has fixed a contract of affreightment deal with ship-operator Cargill Shipping and Bunge Shipping to move 1.52 million mt of bauxite from the Dominican Republic to China over 2015, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Cargill and Bunge will each move four 190,000-mt cargoes over 2015 starting on March, loading from the port of Cabo Rojo and discharging at Qingdao, at $16.45/mt and $16.50/mt respectively, the sources added.

Since Indonesia implemented a ban on mineral exports January 2014, China has been importing bauxite from other countries, a shipowner source said. China started importing bauxite from the Dominican Republic in October 2013.

More at Platts


Farmer takes office as IANA chair

Katie Farmer, group vice president of consumer products at BNSF Railway, has taken office as the first woman to chair the Intermodal Association of North America’s board of directors.

Farmer succeeded Phil Shook, director of intermodal at C.H. Robinson, who remains on the board.

Trucker Kevin Lhotak, president of Reliable Transportation Specialists, Inc., was named treasurer.

Among the new IANA board members is David W. Manning, president of TCW Inc. and a vice chairman at American Trucking Associations.

More at Transport Topics


ILA President Harold Daggett Reaffirms Full Support To ILWU In Negotiations

ILA President Harold Daggett Reaffirms Full Support To ILWU In Negotiations; Attempts to Divert Cargo To ILA Ports Will Fail, ILA Leader Tells Shippers

NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (January 23, 2015) – Harold J. Daggett, President, International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO expressed strong support and solidarity of his entire membership to the members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) as they continue to negotiate a new contract with employers represented by Pacific Maritime Association.
“The ILA stands fully behind the ILWU as it seeks to negotiate a fair and strong contract for its members,” said ILA President Daggett. “We will closely monitor any attempts by shippers to try and divert cargo to ILA ports. This tactic by employers will not be successful – we are one and will support our ILWU Sisters and Brothers.”
The ILA condemns attempts by PMA in recent weeks to launch a vicious public relations attack against the ILWU and by corporations that are looking to strip union members of their rights.
“We say to the leadership of PMA – put your efforts into the negotiating table and not in misleading press releases,” said ILA President Daggett. “The ILWU has been negotiating in good faith since May 2014 and members have continued to work beyond the July 1st contract expiration. They have done their part and now PMA needs to do theirs.”
The ILA represents waterfront workers at all ports from Maine to Texas, Great Lakes Region, Eastern Canada, Puerto Rico and major U.S. rivers.


Shippers land $147,000 in fines for violating marine fuel sulfur regulations

China Shipping Container Lines

China Shipping was one of the four shipping lines that incurred the fines.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) has announced that its Air Resources Board (ARB) had fined four shippers a combined $146,719 for failing to adhere to the U.S. state’s marine fuel regulations.

CEPA listed the companies found to be in non-compliance as Wealth Ocean Ship Management Co., China Shipping Container Lines, Liberty One Ship Management, and Kitaura Kaiun Co.

The fines were levied for failing to switch to compliant fuels, or failing to do so in a timely manner, and ranged from $27,750 to $53,000.

More at Ship and Bunker


ICTSI's Port of Melbourne automation project chooses Finnish vendor

VICTL automated terminal, plus suits

”Last year, the consortium laid out over $56.6 million (€40 million) for 12 automated stacking cranes and 11 automated shuttle carriers for the new port facility. Once the cranes lift containers off a ship, they can be set down in “buffer zones” and picked up by the shuttle carriers, which transport them to other parts of the port. Now, VICTL has awarded an additional $21 million (€15 million) contract for software systems and integration services to bring the software and hardware elements of the project together.” — IT News

VICTL, a consortium of Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) and Australia’s Anglo Ports, is building a fully-automated, 35.4 hectare terminal “superstructure” at Webb Dock within the port of Melbourne.

All work is being performed by subsidiaries of Finnish cargo-handling giant Cargotec. Kalmar is the big winner, and will supply the automated equipment and associated control systems, a terminal logistic system and integration services on the port side, and an automated truck handling system on the landside.

A terminal operating system to be supplied by Navis, another Cargotec subsidiary, will also need to be integrated.

Kalmar is no stranger to Australia’s ports, which are increasingly shifting to automated systems. The vendor is already supplying equipment to DP World’s Port of Brisbane container terminal upgrade and Patrick’s Brisbane terminal. It is also in line to supply equipment for Asciano’s Port of Botany revamp in Sydney.

More at IT News


Zim finally calls it a day on Asia-North Europe to target more lucrative routes

Israeli ocean carrier Zim has finally axed its monthly ad-hoc sailings from Asia to North Europe, according to a report from Alphaliner, ending the restructured container line’s presence in the trade.

Severe losses, much attributed to the highly-competitive Asia-North Europe tradelane, obliged the ‘new’ Zim to suspend its liner service last April and terminate its slot charter arrangement with CSCL on the Chinese carrier’s AEX1 loop.

But, since June, Zim has been offering a ‘rogue’ sailing to North European ports every four to six weeks, using ships of between 4,600 and 10,000 teu that would otherwise have been idled.

Anecdotal reports suggest that Zim was pitching the most competitive rates in the market, perhaps unsurprisingly due to the ad-hoc nature of the service offered, and the carrier was obviously hitherto receiving enough support at a freight level.

More at the Loadstar


Puget Sound container volumes reach 3.4 million TEUs in 2014

The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have co-released their cargo numbers for the first time as the Seaport Alliance:

Container volumes through Puget Sound’s largest container ports remained flat in 2014, according to numbers released jointly for the first time by the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

“Reporting our combined cargo volumes demonstrates our commitment to the Seaport Alliance,” said Port of Seattle Commission co-President Stephanie Bowman. “This new partnership will make our two ports stronger, faster and a more cost-effective gateway.”

The two ports announced in October 2014 plans to form a Seaport Alliance to unify management of marine cargo terminals and related functions. Currently in the due diligence phase, this strategic response to the competitive threats will strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and create more economic opportunities.

Puget Sound container volumes fell less than 1 percent in 2014 to 3.4 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). Tacoma and Seattle’s combined volumes have hovered near 3.5 million TEUs since 2010. Last year marked the second consecutive year of decline, underscoring the competitive pressures reshaping the global shipping industry.

Larger vessels and shipping line alliances mean fewer vessels are calling at fewer ports. Together, Seattle and Tacoma comprise the third-largest container gateway in North America, but their share of the West Coast market has been falling over the past decade.

“The industry is changing and the competition from other North American ports is fierce,” said Port of Tacoma Commission President Don Johnson. “We must adapt and work together to maintain—and grow—our share of the West Coast market to benefit the economic health of Washington state.”

Containerized export volumes through the two ports dipped 1.6 percent last year to 1.2 million TEUs, while imports fell 4.1 percent to 1.4 million TEUs. Meanwhile, domestic container volumes grew 6.1 percent to 870,733 TEUs on the strength of the Alaska trade.

The combined marine cargo operations at both ports support more than 48,000 jobs across the region and provide a critical gateway for the export of Washington state products to Asia.


Union kicks back at Rotterdam

FNV Havens union

So the dispute does not escalate, Mr Crumlin is urging ‘all parties, and that includes not just all operators and port authorities, but also the shipping lines, to get together to defuse this situation and reach an agreed settlement.’

Things are off to a rocky start at the Port of Rotterdam’s new Rotterdam Gateway (RWG) terminal as dockers protest over the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.

Earlier in the week, Alsvin was loaded at RWG with a number of containers as part of a test operation and sent to ECT where dockers refused to unload the vessel because RWG does not have a collective bargaining agreement. Unlike other companies at the port, RWG refuses to negotiate a collective barganinig agreement with port workers, who are represented by the FNV Havens union.

Now, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is calling for all-party talks on the future of the Port of Rotterdam – “a giant among the world’s ports”. ITF president and chair of the ITF dockers’ action, Paddy Crumlin, says the port “should be a model of good industrial relations” and it’s “notable that all the operators there, bar one, have signed agreements with the union representing its workers,” despite “widespread concern” about the port’s future.

More at Port Strategy


Mayor Garcetti announces Port of L.A. changes

Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced that his Deputy Mayor for City Services, Doane Liu, will become Deputy Executive Director and Chief of Staff at the Port of Los Angeles.

“The economy is my top priority and the Port of L.A. is our region’s leading economic driver, so it’s critical to me that we have the right team in place to make sure it retains its number-one position and grows as a powerhouse of international trade,” Mayor Garcetti said. “Doane Liu is one of L.A.’s most seasoned and innovative executives, and combined with his personal connection to the port community, I am looking forward to big things from his work there. He will be missed in the Mayor’s Office, but I know we will lean on him just as much in his new position at the Port of Los Angeles.”

Liu was previously Chief of Staff for Councilman Joe Buscaino and served as Chief of Staff for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Deputy Mayor for Mayor James K. Hahn and District Director for Congresswoman Jane Harman.

In addition to Liu’s new Chief of Staff position, Seroka announced the following members of the Port’s leadership team: Marla Bleavins, Chief Financial Officer; Ron Boyd, Chief of Port Police and Emergency Management; Mike DiBernardo, Marketing and Customer Relations; and Tony Gioiello, Development.

Read the mayor’s news release here


Ports of Tacoma and Seattle win dismissal of suit challenging private joint commission meetings

A King County judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle holding about a dozen confidential sessions to plan a marketing and operations alliance.

Superior Court Judge Julia Garratt sided with the two ports on two issues, finding that the open meetings advocate who brought the suit lacked standing to challenge the ports’ decision and that federal law pre-empts the state’s Open Public Meetings Act.

The alliance is expected to begin operations this summer after details are worked out between the two ports on operational details.

More at The News Tribune


ILWU signs supporting longshore workers dot San Pedro, Wilmington and Long Beach businesses

Daily Breeze photo

Pronto’s Restaurant in San Pedro is one of many local businesses that have put a sign up in support of the ILWU. (Chuck Bennett / Daily Breeze photo)

Preparing for Thursday’s massive march along San Pedro’s waterfront, local merchants have been declaring their support for workers by putting ILWU signs in their windows: “We Support the ILWU Because the ILWU Supports Us.”

Among them is Fantastic Cafe, a popular burger spot on North Harbor Boulevard that declined to display a sign some years ago during port labor strife and suffered an informal boycott. This time, the sign is up.

Read more at the Daily Breeze


Port of Oakland broke cargo handling record in 2014

The Port of Oakland handled a record 2.394 million TEUs in 2014, two percent more than in 2013. That broke the record of 2.391 million boxes moved in 2006. A 20 percent surge in December import containers contributed to the record performance. The port said for the year as a whole, import volume was up 5.29 percent, and this was “important because the Port has made import growth a strategic business objective.

The port attributed the increase to stronger U.S. demand for Asian manufactured goods, its own own marketing efforts and cargo diversions from congested Southern California ports.

More at American Shipper


Blear revalida su dominio en Sintrajap por dos años más

[NOTE: Ronaldo Blear has been reelected as Secretary General of dockworkers union SINTRAJAP in Costa Rica for his sixth 2-year term. He represents more than 1,000 union dockworkers and 'will continue defending their union agreement and organization from privatization interests.' For more information on the battle for SINTRAJAP jobs in the face of a massive APM Terminals proposal, see past articles on LSN.]

Oposición a nuevo puerto y defensa de beneficios laborales son sus objetivos

Los afiliados al Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva (Sintrajap) decidieron ayer mantener en el puesto de secretario general a Ronaldo Blear, quien así completará 12 años al frente de esa organización.

Blear llegó a ese puesto en el 2005 y desde entonces ha sido reelecto en seis oportunidades.

El sindicalista, representante de la papeleta Trabajadores Unidos Sindicalizados (TUS), venció con 682 votos a favor. Su rival, José Luis Castillo, exvocero del gremio y candidato de Nueva Esperanza Organizativa Sindical (NEOS), obtuvo 293.

Sin cambios. “Los objetivos van a ser los mismos, defender la convención colectiva y defender a Japdeva de los intereses privados”, manifestó Blear.

More at La Nación