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.

Old Longview grain terminal could be demolished, clearing space for future port tenant

From The Daily News:

After nearly 30 years of sitting vacant, the old grain silos at the Port of Longview could soon be torn down, opening up more space for the port to attract a new industrial tenant.

Contractors will evaluate whether there are any hazards or toxins in the silos that could affect demolition. … The grain terminal has sat empty in front of Berth 4 since Continental Grain abandoned the port in the late 1980s.

Rehabilitating Berth 4 and the space in front of it is now one of commissioners’ top priorities for building business. Once the space
is cleared, the port will have more land to market to a new bulk commodity facility or other businesses to create jobs, Averett noted.

More at The Daily News


Sen. Murray says Trump’s NLRB nominees take ‘anti-union, anti-worker’ stands

Excerpts from an article titled ‘NLRB nominees avoid answering tough question’ in Work Day Minnesota:

In a multi-hour exhibition of evasion, President Trump’s two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board spent several hours before the Senate Labor Committee ducking, bobbing and weaving and generally avoiding answering tough labor law questions from the committee’s Democrats.

“I haven’t found one instance where you supported the NLRB” or workers in arguing cases, in academic writing or in bargaining, top committee Democrat Patty Murray, D-Wash., told Emanuel.

A skeptical Murray said both men flunked. “As I look at your records, I see anti-union, anti-worker and even anti-NLRB stands,” she told them. “Do you believe the National Labor Relations Act is meant to encourage collective bargaining?” she later asked Emanuel.

He replied that encouraging collective bargaining is the goal of “the first section” of the original 1935 law, “but the 1947 statute” – the pro-business GOP-passed Taft-Hartley Act – “protects the rights of employers, protects the rights of individual employees against unions and also protects the rights of the public in disputes” between workers and bosses. “I haven’t worked to discourage the practice of collective bargaining,” Emanuel contended.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass called Emanuel’s big firm, Littler Mendelson of Los Angeles, “a noted union-buster.” She added that “Your entire career has been to discourage union membership. How can people trust you?” Emanuel replied he “practices traditional labor law” there.

Read the rest at Work Day Minnesota


McCain wants to get rid of ‘Buy American’ law

From the Phoenix Business Journal:

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has introduced legislation to undo a ‘Buy American’ law that dates back to 1920.

McCain wants Congress to repeal the decades-old Jones Act. The law institutes some rules and regulations on shipping.

That includes regulations on waterborne shipping between two U.S. locations that dictate the ships used for that cabotage must be done on ships built in the U.S. Those ships must also be owned by American companies.

It prohibits foreign-owned or foreign-flagged ships from engaging in inter-coastal trade within the U.S, according to the Maritime Law Center.

McCain wants those rules to go away and has pushed for the repeal of the Jones Act — which also is known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

McCain is a big backer of free trade deals including the North American Free Trade Agreement which Trump is reworking.

More at the Phoenix Business Journal


Container ship towed to Dutch Harbor

From the Cordova Times:

A Maersk container ship that lost power on the evening of July 14 about seven miles north of Akutan on the Aleutian chain was towed to Dutch Harbor on July 15, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

No injuries were reported among the 24 crew aboard the Laura Maersk and there was no spill of some 51,000 gallons of fuel oil and other oil products, Coast Guard officers said.

While initial reports indicated that a fire in the engine room caused the ship to lose power there was no fire and cause of the power loss is unknown at this time.

More at the Cordova Times


Fuel tanker runs aground on Columbia River, is refloated, heads to Port of Longview

From The Oregonian:

A 557-foot tanker loaded with 1.63 million gallons of ethanol and 6.65 million gallons of monoethylene glycol ran aground Thursday morning near Skamokawa, Washington, on the lower Columbia River, the U.S. Coast Guard says.

There are no reports of pollution in the river, flooding aboard the vessel or injuries to crew members, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Skamokawa is about 33 miles downriver from the Port of Longview and perhaps 45 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River.

The tanker, called Argent Cosmos, ran aground at about 6:28 a.m. after the vessel lost the use of a fuel pump.

The Argent Cosmos had refloated with the incoming tide and was en route to the Port of Longview at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

More at The Oregonian


Mega ships won’t hit Alaska for a few more years

From KRBD:

Southeast Alaska cruise towns have been getting ready to spend a lot of money making sure their ports can handle “post-Panamax” cruise ships. Those are mega ships with special designs that make them not work well in ports with big tides and fixed docks.

Those ships were to start arriving in the Alaska market as early as next year.

Turns out, the market has a little more time to plan. Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon told the City Council Thursday that he met recently with state cruise industry representatives. They told him that the ships are still having trouble getting through the Panama canal.

More at KRBD


COSCO offers $6.3 billion for smaller rival Orient Overseas

From US News:

China’s biggest shipping company, state-owned COSCO Shipping Holdings Co., is creating the world’s No. 3 container shipping giant by acquiring rival Orient Overseas (International) Ltd.

Shares in both companies surged Monday following the announcement of the $6.3 billion deal.

A wave of consolidation has created huge competitors in a global shipping industry that is struggling with sluggish trade and depressed prices.

More at US News


Unions offer balance to conservatives, progressives

Excerpts from an opinion piece from columnist Bill Knight:

Conservatives occasionally concede that organized labor has been a reason for rising standards of living and making the middle class, and The Atlantic magazine shows that unions provide common ground for progressives and conservatives alike.

Historically, conservative pundits and politicians have praised unions. Columnist George Will in 1977 said, “I think American labor unions get a large share of the credit for making us a middle-class country.”

In 1991, Republican economist George Schultz (Secretary of Labor under Richard Nixon and Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan) said a “healthy workplace [needs] some system of checks and balances” and unions provided an effective “system of industrial jurisprudence,” a check on corporations’ focus on profits.

In The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch writes, “Conservative Eli Lehrer believes the time has come for the American Right to
reconsider its decades-long war on unions,” Rauch says. “Their collapse, he says, has fueled the growth of government and of the welfare state, which has stepped in to regulate workplaces and provide job security as unions have died out.

“Unfortunately, in America in 2017, we don’t know how a truly modern union would look,” writes Rauch, “because it is mostly illegal to find out.”

Read the rest at the PJ Star


Falling cargo container kills man at Packer Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia

Heartbreaking news from Philadelphia. Our condolences to the checker’s family, friends and brothers and sisters on the docks. An Injury to One is an Injury to All.

More at 6 ABC


Four years later, Nicaragua’s $40 billion interoceanic canal remains a pipe dream

There are fears that Wang could now use his 50-year concession to sell the rights to ports

From the Miami Herald:

Four years ago last month, Daniel Ortega made headlines across the world by announcing that a Chinese firm would build a $40 billion interoceanic canal in Nicaragua, which would compete with the Panama Canal and turn Nicaragua from a poverty-stricken nation into a global shipping power overnight.

In a move that looked like it was taken out of one of Gabriel García Márquez’s “magic realism” novels, Ortega ordered his loyalist congress to approve a “special law” on June 13, 2013, basically turning over the country’s national sovereignty for 50 years — with an option to extend it for another 50 years — to a then mysterious Chinese businessman named Wang Jing.

The law gave Wang’s company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., HKND, an exclusive concession to build an interoceanic canal and seven related projects, including ports, airports and tourism resorts.

Wang, the Chinese business magnate, went to Nicaragua in 2013 and launched the project next to Ortega at a ceremony that made big headlines worldwide.

Earlier this week, I called Carlos Fernando Chamorro, the publisher of Nicaragua’s prestigious Confidencial news magazine, to ask him about the current status of Nicaragua’s interoceanic canal.

“There’s nothing, absolutely nothing,” Chamorro told me. “They widened that 3.7-mile dirt road by about 40 inches, and that was it. It remains a dirt road.”

There are fears that Wang could now use his 50-year concession to sell the rights to ports, airports and tourism complexes, with zero benefit for the Nicaraguan people. It would be a textbook case of how authoritarian regimes often become the most incompetent, and the most corrupt.

More at the Miami Herald


Source: Trump drops plans for food aid shipping that would support American jobs

Excerpts from Reuters:

President Donald Trump’s administration has dropped plans for an executive order that will require all U.S. food aid to be transported on American ships after members of Congress protested, congressional and aid sources said on Friday.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump was considering issuing an order that would have increased to 100 percent the current requirement that 50 percent of such aid be transported on U.S.-flagged vessels.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he had discussed the issue with Trump and that he understands that the shift would have increased the cost of food aid and caused more people to starve.

Supporters say Trump’s initiative would not only create new U.S. jobs in the shipping industry but that U.S.-controlled food shipments are important for national security because the U.S. fleet could be transferred to the military in case of a conflict.

More at Reuters


Maritime Museum video ‘honors Dickie Parker, John Knudsen, all longshoremen who have lost their lives’

‘Maritime Minute: History of the ILWU’ was created by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and posted by the Port of Los Angeles on July 5, 2017:

Decades after the 1934 West Coast Waterfront strike, longshore workers are still an integral part of the Port of Los Angeles today as they were then. Marifrances Trivelli, Director of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, discusses how “Bloody Thursday” and the events that followed led to the formation of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). In this special edition of Maritime Minute, we honor Dickie Parker, John Knudsen, and all of the longshoremen who have lost their lives working on the docks.


After port closures, Lowenthal, Poe call on DHS to give information on cybersecurity

From Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s office:

Following the closure of several US container terminals due to a recent cyberattack, Congressmen Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Ted Poe (TX-02) have called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide a classified briefing to Congressional Members representing ports throughout the nation.

In the letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly, the Congressmen – both co-chairs of the PORTS Caucus – point out that the nation’s ports are critical components within the national freight network, accounting for over $4.5 trillion a year in economic activity. The Congressmen requested the briefing to help Congress better understand the scope of existing cybersecurity information sharing programs between DHS and critical infrastructure operators, such as port terminal operators.

“Our nation’s ports are the gateways to our national economy. We cannot leave them vulnerable to these cyberattacks

“We have to make sure that we use every tool at our disposal to prevent attacks at the heart of our economic infrastructure,” Lowenthal said. “Our federal security agencies have some of the best cybersecurity experts in the world, and these agencies should leverage that expertise to help prevent attacks on critical infrastructure like our ports.”

Read the full release at the Signal Tribune


Appeals court clears Viterra in 2011 death of grain-terminal worker

From CBC/Radio-Canada:

Saskatchewan’s highest court has dismissed an appeal against a Regina-based agribusiness accused of negligence in the death of a worker in 2011.

Federal Crown prosecutors had charged Viterra — which has since been purchased by Glencore — with six violations of the Canada Labour Code.

On Sept. 8, 2011, a man working at a Viterra-owned grain terminal in Rosetown, Sask., was fatally smothered by grain inside a receiving pit beneath the terminal floor.

“Grain had accumulated in the pit and when the deceased stepped onto the grain he was immediately engulfed and suffocated,” Whitmore wrote.

Read the rest at CBC/Radio-Canada


Longview’s Millennium Bulk Terminals permitting update

Dry Bulk Magazine

Back in February 2012, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) submitted its Shorelines permit application for the coal export terminal. The Shorelines permits are needed for the building of the docks and dredging of the berth pocket. After 10 public meetings across the state, MBT is moving into the final stretch of the permitting.

Over twenty local, state and federal permits will be needed. The Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are the documents that inform regulatory agencies of the details of the company’s project and they will use those studies when issuing permits. Following the publication of the Final EIS from the county and the state, Millennium filed the Critical Areas Permit application to Cowlitz County on 22 May 2017. The County is reviewing and processing the application.

The Department of Ecology (ECY) is issuing a public notice regarding MBT-Longview’s request for a Clean Water Act section 401 water quality certification for the proposed Coal Export Terminal. At the agency’s request, MBT has withdrawn and resubmitted our permit application simultaneously using the agency’s form for this purpose.

Read more at Dry Bulk Magazine