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.

Cosco is to buy OOCL – ‘almost a done deal’ says insider

From The Loadstar:

China’s Cosco Shipping may be about to announce that it is to acquire Hong Kong-based carrier OOCL.

An insider source has told The Loadstar a takeover of the container arm of Tung family-led Orient Overseas International (OOIL) is “almost a done deal”.

In January, reports surfaced of a $4bn price tag put on the container line by OOIL as the Chinese state-owned line, French carrier CMA CGM and Taiwanese line Evergreen were touted as potential bidders.

However, all parties denied at the time that they were in talks.

Subsequently OOCL joined with Cosco, CMA CGM and Evergreen in the Ocean Alliance and saw volumes and revenues improve in the first quarter, year on year.

More at The Loadstar


Owners and unions at loggerheads in Spain

From Port Strategy:

The general assembly of the Spanish owners’ association Anesco has voted against accepting a pre-agreement reached with stevedoring unions, claiming it is anti-competitive and in breach of proposed new government legislation, which the unions oppose.

A new proposal will be sent to the trade unions today.

Despite its rejection of the trade union proposal, Anesco said that it wants to sign an agreement as quickly as possible, calling upon the port unions to call off their scheduled stoppages.

For their part, the unions have advised the owners that they will now call four additional 48-hour strikes for the last week of June and the first week of July.

More at Port Strategy


Panama Canal Authority: Climate change threatening future Canal expansion

From the Latin American Herald Tribune:

The projections prepared by the Panama Canal regarding international trade demonstrate the need, within 15 years or less, for a second expansion of the waterway, but climate change appears to present an obstacle to those plans due to its effect on water sources.

“A fourth set of locks without more water is just a dream,” said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) administrator Jorge Quijano in discussing the plans for a future second expansion of the waterway just a few days before the one-year anniversary on June 26 of the entry into service of the first expansion.

A sign that climate change “is occurring” is that already in Panama there has not been “as before, continuous precipitation in … May, June and July,” when – in the past – there “always” used to be rain “almost every day.”

“Now we’re seeing … three days of a lot of rain and then three days without rain. And that is part of climate change. For the Canal, water is life, just as it is for us humans,” he said.

More at the Latin American Herald Tribune


China puts Nicaraguan Canal plan on hold

From The Times:

It was billed as the biggest earth-moving operation in history: the creation of a 170-mile canal across Nicaragua, linking the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

The Grand Interoceanic Canal (commonly known as the Nicaraguan Canal) would have been more than twice the length of the Panama Canal, and wide enough for the new generation of 400,000 tonne container ships.

Now, it appears that the £40 billion project is on hold amid rumours that it has been shelved because of China’s improved relations with Panama.

More at The Times


Longshoremen donate generously to BC Children's Hospital

ILWU Longshoremen donate generously to BC Children's Hospital

ILWU Longshoremen donate generously to BC Children’s Hospital

From Surrey, BC newspaper The Link:

The generosity of the local longshore union hit a record high. ILWU 502, based in Surrey, raised $52,502 for the BC Children’s Hospital this year. The union serves the ports of Fraser Surrey Docks, Deltaport and Wes-shore coal Terminals. The fundraising that began just a few years ago has netted over $242,000 for the Hospital. In addition to the hospital, the Union is also busy making donations to other charities in the community such as the local food bank to which they have donated thousands of pounds in food and cash.

“Our membership really takes this initiative to heart and works very hard to make it a big success. It’s an honor for us to be involved with such a great cause that helps out the community in such a big way”, said a spokesperson.

More at The Link


China Shipping diverting cargo from LA port to Long Beach because of environmental restrictions, LA port chief says

From The Daily Breeze:

China Cosco Shipping Corp., the world’s fourth largest shipping line, is diverting its cargo away from the Port of Los Angeles to its competitor in Long Beach because of more lax environmental rules at its terminal there, the chief of the L.A. port said Thursday.

The Chinese company, one of the most important players in the twin port complex, “made a strategic decision to move cargo away from our Berth 100 Port of Los Angeles to their terminal in Long Beach because they have less stringent mitigation measures at that facility,” Gene Seroka told the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Read the rest at The Daily Breeze


POLA, POLB post best-ever May volumes

From Logistics Management:

May volumes for both the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were better than just pretty good. The reason for that is that each port, which collectively account for roughly 40% of United States-bound imports, posted their busiest May’s ever.

POLA May volume was up 3.4% annually at 796,216 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), with volume through the first five months of 2017 up 8.5% at 3,751,516 TEU.

Imports were up 3.1% to 413,021 TEU, and exports headed up 4.4% to 169,639 TEU. Empty containers saw a 3.1% annual gain.

More at Logistics Management


Madagascar dockworkers protest at Parliament as global union warns Africa against partnering with ICTSI

The plight of the Malagasy 43 – dockworkers sacked in Madagascar for standing up for their rights – has reached the highest levels of the Madgascan Government with protests at Parliament and meetings scheduled with Government to try and resolve the dispute.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and local Madagascan union SYGMMA will be meeting with Minister of Public Service, Labor, & Social Law Jean de Dieu Maharante and requesting that the Madagascan Government enforce the Supreme Court ruling and resolve the worsening dispute. The meetings come after major international garment manufacturers Esprit and Levi Strauss backed the workers and called on the government to uphold basic labour rights. ITF President and Dockers’ section Chair Paddy Crumlin said the Malagasy 43 had support from around the world, with dockers in Indonesia holding events in their ports to show solidarity with them today.

“We will keep fighting for justice for these workers. The government and ICTSI need to agree to work with the unions to improve safety and working conditions at the port. The first step is to accept the court ruling and let them get back to work. “The other message we will be giving the government is ICTSI is a rogue operator. They boast about charging hugely inflated prices of US$250 to move a container through their African ports while paying their workers as little as US$40 per month. “ICTSI were a bad choice to operate the port.

“The ITF will be delivering this message today in Madagascar and in the future across Africa – wherever ICTSI are looking to expand into. There are better operators for governments to partner with. In particularly Tanzania where they are interested in buying the port operator, the government should be wary and instead choose an operator that charges their customers fairly and treat their workers with dignity and respect,” Mr Crumlin said.

The Government of Madagascar faces an International Labour Organisation (ILO) complaint over the dispute. These workers were sacked for fighting for better wages and against dangerous conditions. After joining their union, they faced intimidation and retaliation from management – who gave them two options: leave the union or lose their jobs.

The workers refused and were sacked, contravening their rights to freedom of association. None of the 43 workers have been reinstated. Most are struggling to survive.

The Supreme Court of Madagascar ruled that the workers should be re-instated but the Government has refused so far to enforce the decision.

The ICTSI operated Port of Toamasina is the main gateway for $360 million worth of textile products exported to Europe, $100 million to South Africa, and $60 million to the USA. Major international brands source clothing in Madagascar – including Esprit, Eddie Bauer, Camaieu and Levi Strauss.

From Hellenic Shipping News


Chinese firm starts work on $1bn Panamanian megaport; local workforce concerned

From Global Construction Review:

A $1bn project to build a new deepwater port and container terminal near the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal has begun. Both its developer and the firm building it are Chinese.

China Landbridge, a privately owned company based in the northern Chinese port of Rizhao, bought Panama’s largest port, at Margarita Island, in May last year and announced that it wanted to expand and modernise the facilities. The new high-speed, deepwater port will be called the Panama Colón Container Port (PCCP).

In line with China’s grand One Belt, One Road global strategy, the plan is to capitalise on the doubling in the capacity of the canal, which can now handle the New Panamax container ships that can transport up to 14,500 TEUs.

Its construction is expected to create 800 jobs. Some concern has been raised in Panamanian media that local workers may not benefit from this increase in employment.

The Panama America website quotes a stonemason called Reynaldo Bermúdez, 33, who intends to apply for a job, and who called on the project’s managers to hire Panamanians rather than “bringing in cheap labour from other parts of the world”.

More at Global Construction Review


Port of Oakland import volume reaches two-year high ahead of busy shipping season

From the Mercury News:

Import volume at the Port of Oakland has reached a two-year high, which officials say is a good sign as the port heads into the busy summer-fall shipping season.

The port handled the equivalent of 82,440 20-foot import containers, up 1.4 percent from May 2016, the highest volume since August 2015, when it handled the equivalent of 82,492 20-foot import boxes, according to information released by the port on Thursday.

Oakland’s position near California’s growing regions like the Napa Valley and Central Valley, and as a departure point for Asian-bound ships, has long helped boost its export business, but import volume has also been on the rise for a while. Imports account for 48 percent of containers shipped through Oakland.

More at the Mercury News


WA Department of Ecology approves Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility use permit

From a Port of Kalama new release:

The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) has approved the Shorelines Conditional Use Permit for the Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility (KMMEF).

The primary shoreline impact of the overall project is a marine terminal which will be built, owned and operated by the Port of Kalama. Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) will be the primary user of the facility, but it will also be available for layberth use by other ships. The Port will charge fees for the use of the terminal by NWIW and other users.

The marine terminal will include a dock, berth, loading equipment, utilities and a stormwater system. Methanol ships calling at the terminal will connect to shore power which reduces emissions to the air from ship engines.

Read the full release here


WA Supreme Court in hard slapdown to port’s closed meetings

From the Seattle PI:

The Washington State Supreme Court, in an expansive opinion, ruled Thursday that ports and public agencies cannot use an exemption in the state’s Open Public Meetings Act for closed-door deal making where the public has a major interest.

The justices ruled in favor of environmental groups, which challenged the Port of Vancouver, Washington, over five closed-door meetings held when it was negotiating a lease for Tesoro’s planned oil-by-rail terminal along the Columbia River.

In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Charlie Wiggins, the high court ruled:

“The Open Public Meetings Act is crystal clear in its response to such arguments: ‘The people do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.'”

More at the Seattle PI


Matson expands SPX service between US West Coast the Samoas

Honolulu-based ocean carrier Matson is increasing the frequency of its South Pacific Express (SPX) service to Samoa and American Samoa to 14 days, up from every 28 days, the carrier has confirmed.

The new fortnightly schedule has been made possible by the company’s acquisition of a larger, faster vessel that has been christened Samoana. The vessel has a nominal cargo capacity of 1,103 TEU, 259 TEU more than the vessel it replaces, the 844-TEU Islander.

The SPX service boasts some of the fastest transit times from Hawaii and the US West Coast to the Samoas, according to Matson: 12 days from Long Beach and five-and-a-half days from Honolulu to Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, with an extra day to Samoa’s capital city, Apia.

More at Sea News


DP World under union microscope

From Port Strategy:

The International Transport Workers’ Federation is to target standards at DP World terminals around the world.

Standards in health and safety, automation and contract labour will be targeted through a newly formed global union alliance formed of 17 unions based in DP World terminals.

The ITF has made this initiative a priority to tackle what it described as its “ongoing response to global multinationals that behave differently depending on where they are operating in the world”.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “We can’t and won’t accept that. We are striving for minimum standards across the board on health and safety, automation and contract labour. We are standing up to say that whether you’re in India, Canada, South America or the UK, union-busting activities will not be tolerated and there is a global network of unions ready to demonstrate that.

“Competition and corporate growth based upon exploiting and diminishing dockers’ rights cannot be tolerated.”

The ITF added that it was confident that DP World would engage with unions to address its concerns.

More at Port Strategy


Port of Tacoma commission candidate pulls out of race over racist, sexist Tweets

From KPUG 1170:

A former candidate says “insensitive, unacceptable and unkind” comments he post on Twitter about women, African-Americans and others is forcing him to pull out of the race.

Many of the tweets go back more than a year and show him praising President Donald Trump and blaming black people for crimes against whites and for not obeying police orders.

He also gloated about his wealth while disparaging others and made strongly prejudiced remarks against women.

More at KPUG 1170