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.

ILWU Longshore Caucus delegates meet in San Francisco; Proposed contract extension goes to membership vote


SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 28, 2017) – Nearly 90 delegates from 29 West Coast ports from San Diego, CA, to Bellingham, WA, who were elected by rank and file members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Longshore Division (ILWU), convened this week in San Francisco to review a wide range of issues, including an employer-initiated proposal to extend the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

The current contract will expire on July 1, 2019. A majority of Longshore Caucus delegates voted on April 28 to refer the employer’s proposed extension to a ratification vote by the membership.

“One of the ILWU’s Guiding Principles is that the rank-and-file members will make the best decision when they have the facts and an opportunity to decide for themselves, and that’s how this will be decided,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath.

“The rank-and-file membership always have the final say on any contract – including this non-precedent-setting proposed extension,” McEllrath said.

The vote will occur on a schedule according to the union’s internal rules.

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Click to download a PDF of the release: Extension proposal goes to Membership for ratification vote


Editorial: 'Long Beach port’s new leader is up to the challenge'

From the Long Beach Press Telegram’s Editorial Board:

As a former chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission and president of the Long Beach Harbor Commission, Mario Cordero is no stranger to problems facing the shipping industry.

But in his new job as boss of the sprawling Port of Long Beach, Cordero will be tested as never before.

The world’s biggest shippers have created new alliances to cut costs. This could mean fewer ships and intensify competition. Analysts are watching to see if the Trump administration follows through on its protectionist talk over trade with China. Automation and its effect on unions is another big challenge. Cost overruns for construction of the new Gerald Desmond Bridge must be reined in.

Cordero has his work cut out for him, but his collaborative style and years of experience will allow him to hit the ground running.

More at the Press Telegram


MUA and Patrick at battle stations as 'peace deal' looks to be in tatters

Excerpts from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Tension between the Maritime Union of Australia and stevedoring giant Patrick are sharply rising again after the company accused its workers of illegal industrial activity at Sydney’s Port Botany terminal.

A stoush between the union and Patrick will reignite fears of yet another long-running dispute, the worst of which was the months-long 1998 waterfront dispute that impacted trade in Australia.

Union concerns centre on the recent sub-lease of a empty container park within Patrick Terminal to Patrick’s joint owner Qube. The Qube staff are not covered by the MUA’s workplace agreement.

Qube acquired a 50 per cent stake in Patrick following the takeover of Asciano in August 2016.

More at the Sydney Morning Herald


OOCL to evaluate potential partnerships with online retail giants

From Seatrade Maritime:

The advent of e-commerce and its increasing popularity on a global scale have prompted container carrier Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL) to evaluate and relook at potential partnerships with online retail giants, according to Andy Tung, ceo of OOCL.

“As a supplier of hard cargo goods, we are still not sure what changes we need to make or provide,” Tung said, referring to container lines collaboration with online retailers like Amazon and Alibaba.

“Amazon and Alibaba seem to be taking over the customer relationship aspect from shippers and on our end we need to think about how such changes will impact upon us,” Tung said at the Sea Asia Global Forum held in Singapore on Tuesday.

Over the course of this year, Denmark’s Maersk Line has tied up with China’s Alibaba for online booking from China and IBM on the use of Blockchain to digitise paperwork processes. France’s CMA CGM has also teamed up with Alibaba to provide online booking for shipments.

More at Seatrade Maritime


Trade expert says export growth key to U.S. economy

From the American Journal of Commerce:

A noted trade expert is calling for an export resurgence to stimulate the U.S. economy. Dr. Walter Kemmsies said in Jack London Square last week that the Port of Oakland can help make it happen.

“Oakland supports exports,” the economist told an audience of 100 supply chain leaders gathered in the Port’s Jack London Square. The Port of Oakland is considered one of the nation’s leading export gateways. Containerized export volume shipped through Oakland increased more than 10 percent in 2016. So far in 2017, exports have accounted for 52 percent of its total cargo volume. That’s rare in the U.S. where most ports are heavily skewed towards imports.

Dr. Kemmsies said the U.S. should concentrate on high-value exports including agricultural commodities – an Oakland mainstay. “A less U.S.-centric world requires more U.S. exports,” he concluded.

More at the American Journal of Commerce


Panama Canal plans for ten-day east lane outage

The Panama Canal Authority will tentatively close the east lane of the canal for ten days from 9-18 May for maintenance. The Authority told Argus that it will confirm the outage approximately four-five days prior.

The Authority has reduced the number of vessel booking slots during this period. The canal’s west lane will remain open allowing for south-bound and north-bound traffic to continue to pass. There will not be restrictions on the size of vessels operating in the west lane.

More at Hellenic Shipping News


Wind cargo picks up in Longview

From The Daily News:

Wind cargo is continuing to pick up at Port of Longview, and longshoremen last week handled the longest wind blades ever to pass through the port’s docks. Each 177-foot blade is half the length of a football field, including end zones.

A total of 25 ILWU Local 21 longshoremen worked over three and half days to unload the Illinois-bound blades for Vestas Wind Systems, according to the port and Jones Stevedoring, which coordinated the effort.

The Port of Longview expects to handle at least two more wind cargo shipments this year, including one in May.

Read the full report here


Toyota puts fuel-cell semi truck to test at Los Angeles port

From Bloomberg:

The newest heavy-duty truck set to operate at the Port of Los Angeles emits an unusual byproduct that California could certainly use more of: water.

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell truck, which will emit nothing but vapor, will begin a feasibility study at the port this summer. The Japanese automaker unveiled the concept Wednesday and will start testing it in short-distance fleets that run back and forth between the city’s docks and nearby warehouses operated by retailing giants.

Though it’s powered by hydrogen, the fuel-cell truck Toyota will test is no shrinking violet. At 670 horsepower, it delivers at least 12 percent more force than the biggest version of the ISX15 diesel family that Cummins describes on its website as North America’s most popular heavy-duty engine. During normal operation, the truck will travel more than 200 miles between each refueling, Toyota said.

More at Bloomberg


Port of Everett begins rail expansion

Authorities at the Port of Everett have commenced construction on a new rail line, strengthening multimodal links for freight forwarders transporting breakbulk via the deepwater hub.

The US$3.4 million project is the second phase of the port commission’s terminal rail enhancement strategy which will increase the on-terminal rail footprint from 9,200 lineal feet to 12,500 lineal feet, and is slated for completion in November.

Located 25 miles north of Seattle , the natural deepwater port specializes in handling over-dimensional, high value cargoes for the construction and manufacturing industries. It has strong links with the local aerospace industry transporting parts for 747, 767, 777 and soon to be 777X jetliners.

More at Breakbulk


Port of Oakland says ‘bring it on’

From Logistics Management:

A Port of Oakland executive is eager for changes in the way container shipping lines operate. Maritime Director John Driscoll said in an interview that newly formed ocean carrier alliances will benefit his port.

“We’ll see larger vessels coming to the port, which is a good thing,” he recently told employees. “We’ll get more container moves-per-vessel which increases the efficiency of operations.”

Driscoll also said the port will receive a new weekly vessel service as a result of carrier realignment. Taiwan-based Wan Hai Lines plans to launch a new route connecting Oakland and Asia, he said. That will bring the number of regularly scheduled vessel services calling Oakland to 29.

As reported in LM, the changes are a consequence the April 1st realignment in which 11 of the world’s largest shipping lines formed three new alliances.

More at Logistics Management


Levi’s drawn into growing Madagascan dockworkers dispute after ICTSI firings

International clothing company Levi Strauss and Co. is under pressure to help end the exploitation of Madagascan dockworkers as the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) calls on the company to stop the labour rights double standard.

The union is launching a major report, Levi’s: End the Double Standard in your Supply Chain highlighting Levi’s involvement in the exploitation of Madagascan dockworkers. Actions at Levi’s stores will occur across the globe to highlight the issue starting in Sydney.

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President said the union is seeking the intervention of the global clothing company in a widening dispute with the Madagascan Government and port operator ICTSI.

“Levi’s are industry leaders in developing policies to improve workers’ rights in their factories but the same rights need to be extended to their global supply chains.

“Levi’s policies have seen improvements in working conditions for the garment workers but transport workers that deliver Levi’s jeans and other apparel to stores across the globe are being exploited and working in dangerous conditions.

“Levi’s exports through the Port of Toamasina (Tamatave), where casual dock workers often work without safety equipment, and struggle to make ends meet on their wages. 43 were fired when they came together to fight for better working conditions. The Government of Madagascar faces an International Labour Organisation (ILO) complaint over the dispute,” Mr Crumlin said.

For copies of the report and more information go to www.justicefordockworkers.org/levis

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 Levi Strauss.

About ITF

ITF is the international union federation representing around 700 transport unions, and more than 4.5
million transport workers from 150 countries.

Source: International Transport Workers Federation


Port of Vancouver USA has record year for tonnage

From the Columbian:

The Port of Vancouver had a record year for tonnage last year, though imports and operating revenues are less glowing.

Port officials announced last week that nearly 7.5 million metric tons crossed its docks in 2016 — a 7.7 percent bump from the year prior. About 86 percent of that freight came from exported goods, such as grains, jet fuel and copper.

Agriculture remained the heavy hitter. Grain, soy beans and corn alone shipped 5.3 million metric tons. Exports altogether climbed 14 percent.

More at the Columbian


Latest ‘world’s largest containership’ delivered to Maersk Line

Just two weeks after the delivery of the first containership to surpass the 20,000 TEU mark, the record for the world’s largest containership has been broken yet again with the delivery of the Madrid Maersk to Danish shipping giant Maersk Line.

According to the maritime analyst Alphaliner, the Madrid Maersk has a capacity of 20,568 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), making her the world’s largest ship by TEU carrying capacity.

The vessel is the first of Maersk’s 2nd generation Triple-E’s, known officially as the EEE Mark II. Maesrk ordered 11 of the vessels in 2015 for a rumored $1.8 billion.

More at gCaptain


MOL plans four 20,000 TEU LNG mega-ships

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), the largest and oldest of Japan’s international ocean carrier companies, has got the green light for four LNG-powered 20,000 TEU container-ships that have been under construction with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).

DNVGL, a registrar and classification society headquartered in Germany, has approved plans for the series of container-ships.

Global regulations on exhaust emissions are becoming tighter for merchant vessels due to more action being taken by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), other specialized international bodies and countries all over the world.

More at Port News


Former FMC Chairman Mario Cordero named executive director at Port of Long Beach

From the Long Beach Post:

Mario Cordero, who was appointed by the Obama Administration as chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission in 2013, will return to Long Beach to head the country’s second largest seaport.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is expected to vote tomorrow to confirm Cordero’s appointment during a special public meeting. The commission had made the decision on Cordero in an executive session following their April 10 board meeting.

“I am so pleased to be coming back home to the Port of Long Beach during this time of dramatic change in the maritime industry,” Cordero said in a statement. “The broad perspective I gained at the national level, along with my many years of service as a Long Beach Harbor Commissioner and my love for the community of Long Beach, will allow me to hit the ground running. We have a stellar leadership team in place, and I’ll be working closely with the Commission and our highly experienced staff in the months ahead to carry out our ambitious capital improvements and ensure that our customers and community members are well-served.”

More at the Long Beach Post