From the Journal of Commerce:
Canada’s West Coast container ports stayed level in the first quarter of 2013 with the robust growth that they experienced last year. Year-over-year, Canadian ports saw a higher throughput volume in the first quarter of 2013, but a slight dip in West Coast traffic market share.
Overall, U.S. ports hold the biggest share of West Coast traffic, with the bulk of that handled by Southern California ports. The U.S. ports on the West Coast held an 85.6 percent share of the market during the first quarter of 2013, with the major ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles holding 62 percent of the overall market. Southern California’s share went up by roughly 1 percentage point from the previous year. The Port of Oakland held 10.5 percent of the market share in the first quarter, down three-tenths of a percentage point from the first quarter of 2012. Canada held 14.4 percent of the market, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the first quarter of 2012. However, Canadian market share on the West Coast is up from the 12.7 percent market share Canada’s ports held during the first quarter of 2011.
More at the JOC
A unit of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., has inked a binding 20-year firm transportation standard agreement with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.
Per the agreement, Mitsubishi will transport 600,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas designated for the planned Cameron LNG liquefaction facility in Hackberry, La. The facility is scheduled to commence LNG exports in the second half of 2017.
More at NASDAQ
Environmentalists and others are opposing an effort to designate more land for industrial purposes at Port Westward, even though plans for a coal terminal there have died.
About 50 people attended the hearing, the second the commission has held on a Port of St. Helens proposal to expand its Port Westward Industrial Park by 957 acres.
Following a 90-minute meeting, the planning commission put off a recommendation until at least June 17. Once the planning commission makes a recommendation, the Columbia County commissioners will vote on the rezone request, which the port says is key to creating jobs in the economically distressed western end of the county near Clatskanie.
More at The Daily News
The Sacramento-Yolo Port Commission has approved a new master lease of its West Sacramento maritime facilities with SSA Pacific, Inc. (SSA). The new lease, which takes effect July 1, 2013, replaces an existing Terminal Operations Management Agreement with SSA.
The new agreement provides guaranteed rent payments to the Port of West Sacramento and shifts all maritime-related operational expenses to SSA, enabling the Port to reduce administrative costs and focus on development of its real estate assets.
From a City of West Sacramento news release
More at Investors Business Daily
Welfare Farming: As noisy scandals whirl about the Obama administration, Congress is quietly putting finishing touches on a $1 trillion farm bill. The truth is, far from being a backstop to troubled family farmers, the U.S. federal farm budget has become a form of crony capitalism for the farm belt, welfare for the already rich.
The goal of the subsidies is to raise prices of the things you buy. So expect higher prices in your neighborhood supermarket, thanks to this bill.
What’s worse, our farm programs are designed today to enrich a handful of rich, very large agribusinesses. And despite the financial meltdown, big farms are booming.
According to the USDA, the top six years for farm income over the past three decades have all come since 2004. Farm income will hit $128 billion this year, the USDA estimates, more than double its level as recently as 2006. This year, income is forecast to rise nearly 14%, the USDA says.
On a more basic level, the average commercial farm operator netted total household income of $205,215 in 2011, the most recent year data available, and had a household net worth of just under $2 million.
Sound like someone who needs welfare to you?
More at Investors Business Daily
The Port of Melbourne Corp. (PoMC) in Australia has shortlisted four groups for the bidding that is scheduled sometime in September this year. Aside from AICL, other groups shortlisted are the group of CMA CGM, ANL Container Line and Macquarie Specialised Asset Management; Hutchison Port Holdings; and Qube Holdings. The winner that would bag the contract for the new terminal located at Melbourne’s Webb Dock East covering about 30 hectares of waterfront, a utility ‘off-dock’ area and a container facility is expected to be announced early 2014.
Publicly-held International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has tied up anew with Australia-based Anglo Ports to launch a bid for the third $1.6-billion international container terminal project in Melbourne.
The tandem of ICTSI and Anglo Ports has partnered with two other companies to form the Australian International Container Terminals (AICL).
The consortium of ICTSI and Anglo Ports was also short-listed in the new Brisbane and Port Botany third container terminal bidding processes.
More in the Philippine Star
The ILWU Coast Longshore Division mourns the loss of Manuel “Manny” Stimson, age 78, who worked on the docks for five decades. From the San Jose Mercury News:
A veteran longshoreman died after his after a truck plunged into the bay near the Port of Oakland’s TraPac terminal in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 17, 2013. Oakland police held a press conference with union members afterwards. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Michael Villeggiante, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, right, speaks to the media after a truck plunged into the bay near the Port of Oakland’s TraPac terminal in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 17, 2013. Left to right behind him are Sean Farley, president of ILWU Local 34, and other union members Fred Gilliam (91), Ed Henderson (10) and Frank Gaskin (10). To the far right is Oakland Police Spokeswoman Johnna Watson. Despite rescue attempts, a well-loved veteran longshoreman died in the accident.
From an article called ”Israeli government pledges to end ports’ monopoly” in today’s Journal of Commerce:
The port unions, which comprise 2,400 workers earning double the average public sector salary, are threatening to strike to block the government’s plans [to open a private port to compete with the two state ports].
The Israeli government is planning to issue a tender to build a privately run seaport in the coming months, pledging to end the monopolies of the two main ports of Ashdod and Haifa.
However, the government is putting together competing plans for how to keep the country’s ports operating in the event dockworkers walk off their jobs to protest.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry has begun exploring the possibility of bringing in foreign labor to stand in for striking workers and has discussed the idea with various overseas companies. Meanwhile, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economics and trade minister, has raised the idea of bringing in Israel Defense Forces troops to operate the ports.
More at the Journal of Commerce
The longest strike in Hong Kong’s history caused a “huge” drop of almost 11 per cent in container volume at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals last month.
Port operator Hongkong International Terminals – the target of the dock workers’ 40-day strike which ended after they accepted a 9.8 per cent pay rise said its operations had returned to normal.
But Dr Paul Tsui Hon-yan, chairman of the Association of Freight Forwarding & Logistics, said last month’s drop was huge and that many shippers had chosen to use the Shenzhen port instead.
He said the drop had a knock-on effect across all terminals, contributing to a 12 per cent fall overall.
The strike started on March 28 and ended on Monday last week.
Preliminary figures from the Port Development Council yesterday showed that April throughput at the Kwai Tsing terminals was 1.334 million teu (20-foot equivalent units), down 10.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“The drop is a result of the strike. It was not a seasonal drop,” Tsui said.
“We don’t usually see a double-digit drop. The last time it happened would have been in 2009 during the financial tsunami,” he added.
More in the South China Morning Post
This week, the Citizens Trade Campaign — a U.S. coalition of environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious and other civil society groups — reported that farmers and labour groups across the Pacific region are demanding that dairy be taken out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement altogether. Removing all barriers to trade in milk and milk products is a major demand of New Zealand and the United States in the TPP negotiations. But U.S., Canadian and Japanese dairy farmers and workers agree this is not in the interests of family farmers in any of the participating countries.
James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, added that, “Without a strong Labor Chapter and protections for dairy workers throughout the supply chain, the TPP should not be signed.” He said the Teamsters “join the dairy farmers of North America and Japan and throughout the region, and demand that dairy be taken ‘off the table’ in the TPP talks.”
More at the Council of Canadians’ blog
The Associated Press has reported:
A Portland longshoreman sustained minor injuries after getting hit by a truck while picketing at the Port of Portland.
Jennifer Sargent, a spokeswoman for the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, says the worker is recovering at home after injuring his knee, elbow and back. She declined to release his identity.
The union says the incident occurred Thursday when a truck driver got into an argument with workers while trying to cross a picket line and his vehicle moved forward.
The operator of a Columbia River grain terminal locked out union dock workers two weeks ago amid an escalating contract dispute.
Published at KOIN TV
Excerpted from Wolfe Research:
On Friday, the USDA released its initial grain production and grain export forecasts for the upcoming 2013-14 crop year. Total corn, wheat and soybean (the 3 major crops moved by the rails) production is expected to increase 22% y/y after dropping 8% last year and 14% in total the past 3 years. The USDA also expects total exports for these 3 crops to increase 18% y/y, a major reversal from a 30%+ decline the past 2 years.
This Would Be Positive for Grain Volumes Starting in Late 3Q
Total grain vols for the U.S. rails are tracking down 6% YTD and have been weak for the past 8 qtrs. following last year’s terrible drought. Initial crop forecasts are extremely sensitive to weather conditions (last year’s crop finished 21% below last May’s initial forecast), but assuming more normal weather this year, grain vols seem likely to inflect strongly positive y/y by late 3Q and to remain positive through 1H:14. Note that the USDA’s yield assumptions for this year’s crop already assume at least some negative impact from the delayed start to this year’s planting season.
Greater Grain Exposure in the West
Among the public U.S. Class I rails, UNP and KSU have the most total grain/agriculture exposure at 16% of total rev., well above CSX and NSC at around 9%. As shown below, UNP and KSU also have relatively more export exposure than the eastern rails. By crop, the western rails are primarily leveraged more to corn and wheat, while the eastern rails are relatively more exposed to soybeans.
Link to Source: Wolfe Research
PORTLAND, OR (May 18, 2013) – A Portland longshore worker is recovering at home after being struck by a Marubeni-Columbia Grain customer who was crossing an ILWU picket line at the Port of Portland on May 16. The worker, a member of ILWU Local 92, was knocked to the ground after the semi truck’s driver confronted picketers and then allowed his semi to lurch forward into about a dozen picketing workers.
“It was scary to watch one of our brothers knocked to the ground by a truck that towered over everyone in its path,” said Martin Nelson, who was ILWU Local 8’s picket captain at the time of the incident. “The semi driver lost his cool, made threats toward the picketers, and without warning, his truck lurched forward into the crowd and knocked one of us over.”
Bruce Holte, ILWU Local 8 president, said, “The District Attorney’s office is reviewing video of the semi truck driving into the picket line, and we believe any fair process will result in charges bring brought against the driver. There’s no excuse for driving into picketers and putting their lives at risk.”
The injured longshore worker was knocked to the ground and remained there until medical staff arrived. He was brought to the hospital and found to have minor injuries to his knee, elbow and back. The union is not identifying the worker out of respect for his privacy. The truck belonged to a dairy in Bellfountain, Oregon.
ILWU members are volunteering to staff round-the-clock picket lines to protest the employer-initiated lockout at the Port of Portland’s Columbia Grain, which is owned by Japan-based Marubeni. The lockout began on May 4 and results in about 75 local workers being left unemployed each day. Marubeni has hired Delaware-based strikebreaking firm J.R. Gettier and Associates to provide security and replacement workers during the lockout.
Marubeni is a member of the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers’ Association, which also includes United Grain in Vancouver (which is owned by Japan’s Mitsui, and which locked out ILWU Local 4 members on February 27); Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Seattle and Portland (LDC is French-owned but presently headquartered in the Netherlands to avoid French tax increases on the wealthy), and Tacoma-based TEMCO, with facilities in Kalama, Tacoma and Portland. All of the employers except TEMCO imposed a concessionary agreement in December that had been rejected by 94% in a union membership vote; TEMCO continued to negotiate with the ILWU and reached an agreement that was passed by the membership by a 74% yes vote and ratified in February. The ILWU has called on Marubeni and the other foreign grain employers to return to the negotiating table and consider the TEMCO agreement for negotiations.
– ILWU Coast Longshore Division news release
Our condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of our union brother.
A body retrieved from a truck that went into the water off of a street in West Oakland Friday afternoon was that of a local longshoreman who had worked at the Port of Oakland for more than 50 years, a co-worker said.
The truck went into the water shortly after 1:35 p.m. near the 2800 block of Seventh Street.
“He’s a very loved man, he’s like a father to all of us,” said Frank Gaskin, a business agent with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10.
Read more here