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.

Panama Canal tackles accusations

From Port Technology:

The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has released statements combating both the rumors of the privatization of its tug fleet and the accusation that the expansion has made workers and seafarers unsafe.

Rumors began circulating on October 25, 2016 when many sources reported that the ITF had addressed a press conference claiming that the PCA was planning on privatizing the entirety of Panama Canal operations in the future, and the privatization of the tug boat fleet was merely the beginning.

The Panama Canal Authority released a statement claiming that the fleet had increased by large numbers since the expansion and that they had no plans to privatize its fleet, although some non-commercial tug boats are used, this is legitimate and usual practice.

The ITF has continually accused the PCA of ignoring safety concerns regarding the expansion, PTI reported back in June, 2016 that an independent study into the Panama Canal expansion, which was commissioned by the ITF and carried out by Brazil’s Fundação Homem de Mar, raised pressing concerns about the canal’s new locks, these were also denied by the PCA.

More at Port Technology


It's official: Portland's Terminal 1 won't become a homeless shelter

Excerpts from the Portland Mercury:

Portland's Terminal 1

Portland’s Terminal 1

Portland Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman ended the suspense: The bid to put a homeless shelter at Terminal 1 is off.

In a statement to media, Saltzman says: “Unfortunately, Harbor of Hope will not be ready to open its shelter soon enough to meet the City’s needs. We are therefore moving forward with other options for opening a winter shelter.”

The property, which was for sale before this misadventure began, will “absolutely” go back on the market, according to Sonia Schmanski, chief of staff to Commissioner Nick Fish. Fish runs the Bureau of Environmental Services, which had been trying to reap millions from the sale of Terminal 1 before being instructed to halt by City Council.

Portland Mercury


Beating Trump is personal, not just political, for Nevada unions

Union member Annette De Campos (right) talks with a voter as De Campos canvasses a neighborhood in Las Vegas.

Culinary Workers Union member Annette De Campos (right) talks with a voter as De Campos canvasses a neighborhood in Las Vegas. Photo by Isaac Brekken

Excerpts from the San Francisco Chronicle:

To many Nevada union waitresses, housekeepers and bartenders, this campaign is more than another political race. It’s personal. They are fighting the boss.

“We have to defeat this narcissistic, racist, sexist —hole called Donald Trump,” Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the national AFL-CIO, said in a rousing pep talk to more than 100 union organizers Saturday inside the Culinary Workers Union Hall, with a piñata in Trump’s image wearing devil’s horns hanging nearby.

Saturday was the first day of early in-person voting in Nevada, and union organizers kicked into high gear to get their members to cast ballots.

The motivation for the unionized hotel workers to cast ballots is as personal — and as succinct — as the white-lettered message on the red shirts organizers were wearing: “Defeat Trump.” Workers say they are paid $3 less an hour at Trump’s Las Vegas hotel, one of the few that don’t have union workers. Even though employees there voted in December to form a union, Trump has refused to negotiate with them.

More at the San Francisco Chronicle


Ocean Alliance gets formal FMC approval

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) said last week it has concluded its review of the proposed Ocean Alliance.

Set to take effect immediately and begin operations next April, the carrier members of the Ocean Alliance include: COSCO Shipping, CMA CGM, Evergreen Marine, and Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (OOCL).

With this agreement now intact, FMC said that its members can share vessels, charter and exchange space on each other’s ships, and enter into cooperative working agreements in international trade lanes between the United States and ports in Asia, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Representatives for the Alliance called it a “milestone agreement among four of the world’s leading container shipping lines,” adding that Alliance will have nearly 400 vessels in its container fleet.

More at Logistics Management


Hanjin announces operations in Europe will be axed – but staff are the last to know

From the Loadstar:

Hanjin Shipping said (that) its four main European centres will close this week or early November according to the regulatory filing.

In total, Hanjin operates from some 10 offices in Europe and employs 250-300 people in sales and operational roles – probably many more indirectly, in sub-agencies and service roles.

Hans-Peter Becker, a senior manager at Hanjin Shipping in Hamburg, told The Loadstar this morning: “Whatever information we get, we get from the press, not from our management.”

“In fact, today’s announcement to close the European offices is still not confirmed internally. You [the press] are our only reliable source,” he added. “I urge you to have an eye on information you receive and to publish it.”

More at the Loadstar


ILWU International President McEllrath: Why we can’t vote Trump

The following message from International President Robert McEllrath is published in this month’s Dispatcher:

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath

You may have heard that I don’t have much patience for politicians, especially ones who want our help when they’re desperate for votes or contributions – then ignore us when we need their support.

I liked Bernie Sanders because he was different in all the right ways. He says the right things and votes the right way when it comes to unions and the working class.

He doesn’t flip-flop or wait for polls before taking a stand. When his campaign ended last summer, Sanders got 13 million Americans to stand with him, which impressed the hell out of me – and made me hopeful about our future – especially because so many young people supported him.

But now we have a different choice, and it isn’t pretty. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have got problems. I was never a fan of Bill Clinton. The way he pushed NAFTA and “free trade” was enough for me. His deals with Wall Street made it clear he didn’t stand with working people. Less than a decade after Clinton loosened bank regulations, Wall Street greed almost brought down our country and caused the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression. Millions of people lost their jobs and homes – while people on Wall Street and their political friends just got richer.

Let’s face it – Hillary has some of the same problems. To name a few, she is too close to Wall Street and can’t be trusted on corporate-controlled trade deals. Normally, those things would be deal-killers for me. But this isn’t a normal election, because the alternative is Donald Trump.

Trump is appealing to many, including some of my friends.

They like that he’s confident and talks tough. But none of that matters compared to one fact: Donald Trump is anti-union. I mean real anti-union. Not just a waffler like Hillary Clinton who might say something nice to union members one day and something nice to business leaders the next.

Donald Trump isn’t the solution to America’s problems, he IS the problem! Just look at what’s happening right now to workers at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. Management there has been waging a nasty, anti-union campaign against workers for almost two years. They hired anti-union consultants who were paid more than half a million dollars to gut the working class. They suspended, threatened and interrogated union supporters.

Union-busting Trump: Las Vegas workers w banner make America great

Union-busting Trump: Las Vegas workers with banner

Despite all that and more, workers still voted to join the hotel workers union in Las Vegas where 57,000 are already members with good pay, benefits and job security.

The story gets worse, because workers at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas voted to join the union back in December of 2015 and the company is still refusing to negotiate a fair contract. After picketing that hotel for months, those workers finally decided to launch a boycott of all Trump hotels, golf courses and other businesses.

I think the workers at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas deserve our support. And I think we should take it a step further by boycotting Trump in the election. As far as I’m concerned, voting for him when workers at the Trump Hotel are walking the picket line is no different than crossing their picket line.

Over a year ago he suggested to the auto industry in Michigan to move their operation to states with lower wages. Sounds anti-union to me!

We cannot stand with Trump and everything he represents, from his tax evasion, to his sexist insults, to his threats of appointing Supreme Court Justices who would roll back protections for all workers, women, and minorities.

We, the ILWU, are better than that. And we, the ILWU, deserve better than that.

Starting in October, teams of ILWU members will fan out across the country to contact union members and other voters in six states where we’re supporting pro-union candidates. One of the places we’re going is Las Vegas – and our team will be joining that picket line with workers from the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

I’ll be voting too, and this year it will be for Hillary Clinton. Not because she’s a progressive leader -– she isn’t. I’m voting for her because we have to stop Donald Trump and the anti-union movement from getting any stronger. And because those hotel workers in Las Vegas are out on a picket line. And because I don’t cross picket lines, don’t scab, and will never vote for an anti-union candidate. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

In solidarity,
Robert McEllrath
International President


Gremio marítimo teme privatización de servicios en el Canal / Maritime union fears privatization of Canal services

From the ILWU-affiliated Panama Canal Pilots’ Association:

Note: The following article says that Panama’s maritime unions fear privatization of tug services in the Canal, and that the Union of Captains and Deck Officers (UCOC) and Masters, Mates and Pilots have ratified a strategic alliance to protect workers. Ivan De La Guardia, secretary general of UCOC, said, “It’s been more than four months since the Canal opened, and they knew that there would be a shortage of resources, both in equipment and human resources. But there’s been no purchases or recruitment … we see a strategy of going toward privatizing the fleet; these services have to come from somewhere.”

Ante las posibles intenciones de la administración del Canal de Panamá (ACP) de privatizar de forma paulatina el servicio de remolcadores, la Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta (UCOC) y la organización gremial marítima más reconocida del mundo Masters, Mates and Pilots, ratificaron una alianza estratégica para proteger a los trabajadores.

Iván De La Guardia, secretario general de UCOC, denunció que están siendo sujetos a una privatización. Explicó que la flota de remolcadores del Canal de Panamá es mínima y que actualmente solo se están utilizando 12 en las entradas del mar.

“A más de 4 meses de haberse inaugurado el Canal y sabiendo ellos que hay escasez de recursos, tanto en equipo como en recurso humano, no hay compras ni reclutamiento de personal… vemos una estrategia de ir privatizando la flota, estos servicios tienen que venir de algún lado”, reiteró.

Señaló que las asistencias de remolcadores privados pertenecientes a empresas extranjeras ponen en riesgo a más de mil empleos que sustentan a cientos de familias panameñas.

De acuerdo con De La Guardia, estas acciones también podrían afectar la seguridad de los clientes y de los trabajadores.

(Tomado de La Estrella de Panamá)


Fire erupted on car carrier Silver Sky at Port of Antwerp

Auto carrier fire at Antwerp

The fire on the Silver Sky originated in one of the car decks. It is unknown how many vehicles were on fire and the damages will be assessed after further inspection, reports the Maritime Herald.

Car Carrier Silver Sky fireFire erupted on the cargo decks of car carrier Silver Sky at the port of Antwerp, Belgium. The vessel was docked when one of the vehicles inflamed. The flames spread to the whole compartment and engulfed other vehicles in the vicinity. At the scene of the burning car carrier were dispatched several shore firefighting teams and two tugs. The shore teams poured with water the port board of the vessel, while two tugs are cooling the starboard. After several hours the fire was put under control without putting in danger the terminal and nearby vessels.

More at the Maritime Herald


FMC examines PierPass and Hanjin debacle at recent meeting

From Logistics Management:

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently discussed two matters of interest to each of the five Commissioners and the broader shipping public: ongoing developments related to the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, and a third party review of the southern California-based PierPass program.

FMC Chairman, Mario Cordero, said that, “it remains to be seen” if the current third party examination of PierPass’ operations will provide the transparency and accountability that its customers demand and the FMC is seeking.

As reported in LM, Hanjin was forced into receivership in late August. Its cessation of operations has made an impact on U.S.-based terminal operators, beneficial cargo owners (BCO’s), truckers, and many others in the supply chain.

The FMC is monitoring developments related to this matter carefully and on a continuous basis, state spokesmen.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey is overseeing how Hanjin Shipping unwinds their operations domestically.

More at Logistics Management


Maersk stops selling ships after scandal

From Port Technology:

Shipbreaking operation

”The health risks attached to ship scrapping are numerous and deadly, including, lead or asbestos poisoning, polychlorinated biphenyls and other dangers associated with heavy metals,” reports Port Technology.

In the wake of harsh criticism regarding Maersk’s decommissioning and selling of ships, aware they would be scrapped in dangerous circumstances in Bangladesh and India, the Danish carrier has decided it will cease to sell its decommissioned vessels, reported Politiken.

The company stated that if a ship is no longer viable to continue service, Maersk will take the responsibility themselves to ensure it is scrapped in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Maersk had previously admitted duplicity in its handling of the scrapping of vessels on the Indian and Bangladeshi coast in 2014, having both publicised against it whilst also participating in and encouraging another company to partake in it, but it was reported vessels that had been sold on by Maersk were being scrapped in this way as recent as summer, 2016.

Read the full article at Port Technology


Carnival cruise doubling size of Long Beach terminal

Queen Mary Dome, Port of Long Beach

Queen Mary Dome, Port of Long Beach

Carnival Cruise Line formally announced its plans this week to more than double the size of its Port of Long Beach terminal.

The cruise line operator has used a portion of the Queen Mary Dome, previously home to the Spruce Goose, since 2003. According to Carnival, a new agreement with the Queen Mary’s leaseholder will give Carnival the ability to use the entire dome and increase the size of its Port of Long Beach terminal to 142,000 square feet from 66,000 square feet.

A larger terminal will make it possible for larger ships to call upon Long Beach, Carnival announced. Carnival ships also will be able to plug in to the shoreside electrical grid while at berth.

More at the OC Register.com/articles/carnival-732502-long-plans.html


Port of Seattle concludes environmental study on Terminal 5

The Port of Seattle has completed the environmental analysis of Terminal 5 and has prepared the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the project to modernize the cargo-handling facility in order to serve larger cargo vessels. The proposed upgrades to Terminal 5 are wharf rehabilitation, berth deepening, electrical service and improvements to the upland portions of the property.

“With this Final Environmental Impact Statement for Terminal 5, we are one step closer to making this prime maritime asset ‘Big Ship Ready’ and able to handle the largest container vessels working the market today,” said Connie Bacon, Port of Tacoma Commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “This region needs this terminal to remain competitive in today’s global economy.”

More at the American Journal of Transportation


ITF applauds granting of shore leave to Hanjin crews

Hanjin seafarers thank ILWU for solidarity

Hanjin seafarers thanked ILWU for solidarity last month as they sought shore leave after weeks or months at sea.

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today applauded the granting of shore leave to the crew of the Hanjin Seattle on its arrival at the port of Seattle, USA.

The denial of shore leave to Hanjin crews was highlighted by a spontaneous action of ILWU Local 19 dockers at the same port last month, and by ITF inspectors in the USA.

ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel commented: “This decision is an immense relief to the affected crew, and we trust that it will apply to all Hanjin crews with bona fide visas who want to avail themselves of their basic right to step ashore.”

He continued: “We are all glad that this problem has been addressed and look forward to further discussions with the US authorities on welfare issues such as these; in particular on ensuring that international standards are met.”

Mr Heindel concluded: “Meanwhile the basic needs of Hanjin crews to receive pay, food and water continue to be addressed by a coalition of the Korean government, our member union the FKSU (Federation of Korean Seafarers’ Unions) and the Korean Shipowners’ Association. We are glad to be able to continue to report that Hanjin crews remain in good spirits and hopeful of the prospect of further employment.”

Follow ITF on:


Maersk in hot water for sending ships to notorious scrapping beaches

Shipbreaking operation

”It’s not the first time that Danish ships have been found on the contentious scrapping beaches, which employ impoverished workers in dangerous conditions for pay that can be as low as 2.5 kroner an hour,” reports the Copenhagen Post.

From the Copenhagen Post:

The Danish oil and shipping company Maersk finds itself in turbulent seas following the revelations that 14 of its ships were scrapped on notorious beaches in Bangladesh and India in 2013 and 2014.

Outwardly, the company blasted the use of the scrapping beaches, but meanwhile it was reportedly earning money by pushing a German shipping company to try and get the best steel price at the very same beaches for 14 of its ships, according to confidential contracts.

“In this agreement we can clearly see that our influence has gone in the wrong direction, and that form of influence is not commendable. It’s something we really shouldn’t be doing,” Trond Westlie, the CFO of Maersk, told Politiken.

Maersk negotiated with the German company MPC Capital about ending a contract regarding the 14 ships that Maersk had chartered from them.

Germans under duress

Maersk wanted to take the ships off the market to be scrapped, and as part of the contract MPC was under commitment to get the highest possible price per tonne of scrapped steel. That pushed the Germans towards the notorious scrapping beaches.

Of the 14 ships, 11 were broken up on an open beach in India, while the remaining three were scrapped in Bangladesh.

According to ship scrapping watchdog website offthebeach.org in 2014, 11 Danish shipping companies and subsidiaries sent 18 ships to be scrapped at the notorious scrapyards in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh from 2010-2014.

From the Copenhagen Post:


MOL’s subsidiary TraPac to double capacity of container terminal in Port of Oakland

From the Maritime Herald:

TraPac, which is port operator subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), will double capacity of its marine terminal at Port of Oakland. The company reached an agreement with the port authorities for acquisition of another two berths and additional 57 acres of land for 14 years, which will double the capacity of the container terminal and will increase the throughput. The land and berths involved into the agreement was occupied by bankrupted Outer Harbor Terminal, which was operated by joint-venture of Ports America and Terminal Investment. The operator TraPac can manage the infrastructure under the obligations to invest in upgrading and modernizing the new terminal land.

Currently, the port operator TraPac handles 20% of the containerized cargo at the Port of Oakland, managing two vessel berths and 66 acres. Over the new agreement the company will receive 4 berths and 127 acres of land for storage and infrastructure.

TraPac is subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), which is providing container terminal operations and stevedore activities. The company also operates the terminals in Los Angeles and Jacksonville.