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.

NotPetya cyber attack totally destroyed Maersk’s computer network: Chairman

From SC Magazine:

Shipping giant and NotPetya victim Maersk was forced to replace tens of thousands of servers and computers in the aftermath of the June 17 ransomware attack, the company’s charman said in Davos at the World Economic Forum.

Maersk Chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe said while participating on a cybersecurity panel at the conference that his company replaced 45,000 PCs, 4,000 servers and install 2,500 applications. The computer system runs an operation where a ship carrying 20,000 containers enters a port every 15 minutes somewhere around the world. Overall, Maersk handles 20 percent of all world trade, he said.

“We found we had to reinstall our entire infrastructure. It was done in a heroic effort in just 10 days,” he said, adding such a job should take about six months to complete.

The massive IT undertaking along with business lost due to the almost total shutdown of the company’s computer network has cost Maersk between $250 million and $300 million. During the period when the computer network was being rebuilt all transactions had to be completed manually, but Snabe said this only resulted in about a 20 percent fall off in the amount of freight being handled due to the hard work by company employees and their customers being very understanding of the situation.

More in SC Magazine


Washington Gov. Inslee rejects controversial Vancouver Energy oil terminal

From the Camas Post Record:

[NOTE: ILWU Local 4 members share in this victory after working hard to protect the community from the dangers posed by the oil terminal.]

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has rejected a plan to site North America’s largest oil-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

In a letter sent to Kathleen Drew, chair of the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), Gov. Inslee said he agreed with the EFSEC’s findings that the risks of siting the proposed Vancouver Energy Tesoro Savage oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver were greater than any potential benefits.

Inslee said the project, which would have brought 360,000 barrels of highly flammable Bakken crude oil into Vancouver each day, via trains rolling straight through Columbia River Gorge communities, including Washougal and Camas, was not in the public’s best interests.

On Jan. 9, the Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to end the controversial oil terminal lease, if Vancouver Energy could not obtain the necessary licenses, permits and approvals required to operate by March 31.

Tesoro Savage now has 30 days to appeal Inslee’s decision to Thurston County Superior Court.

More in the Camas Post Record


TOTE’s new Hawaii cargo shipping service is a no-go

From Transport Topics:

A much-touted plan to start a new Hawaii ocean cargo transportation service is dead in the water.

Two companies that were working to launch what would have been a third major carrier hauling cargo between the West Coast and Hawaii two years from now announced Jan. 26 that the project is on “hold” and that a nonbinding commitment to buy four new ships will expire Wednesday.

The announcement wasn’t a surprise to some industry observers who had been closely following, and were skeptical of, the deal between New Jersey-based maritime company TOTE Inc. and Philadelphia-­based shipbuilder Philly Shipyard Inc.

Yet the loss of expected benefits for shippers and consumers from a new competitor in the market served by only two carriers represents a letdown for many who hoped the plan would be realized.

More at Transport Topics


Port of San Diego begins $24 million marine terminal upgrade

From the Times of San Diego:

The Port of San Diego on Tuesday officially began a $24 million modernization the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal on the edge of downtown.

The project will remove two obsolete warehouses and create a much-needed area for assembling large cargo like steel pieces and military equipment. It will also include improvements to utilities, lighting and pavement and new modular office space.

A long-term redevelopment plan for the terminal envisions three distinct cargo areas — refrigerated containers, commodity cargo like cement, and “break-bulk” for large cargo like vehicles and steel pieces.

The port received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and will match it with a $14 million contribution.

Times of San Diego


Trump NLRB appointee finds a way around conflict of interest rules

From ProPublica:

William Emanuel has recused himself from ruling on disputes involving his former law firm’s clients — but then used unrelated cases as vehicles to help Republican colleagues accomplish the same thing.

A Trump administration appointee to the National Labor Relations Board benefited the interests and clients of his former law firm when he cast the deciding vote to undo rules protecting workers’ rights in two cases last month.

The decisions, which were both resolved 3-to-2, are instances of what some former NLRB members describe as a side-door means of evading government ethics requirements — a way to do indirectly what conflict of interest rules prevent the appointee from doing directly.

William Emanuel, who joined the NLRB in September, has recused himself from involvement in more than four dozen cases involving the firm he left to join the labor board. That firm, Littler Mendelson, is known for representing corporations in labor disputes.

Full article at ProPublica


Court decision in Oakland coal ban case could be weeks away

From Bay Area News Group:

A ruling in the case of prominent developer Phil Tagami’s suit against Oakland over a City Council coal ban is at least weeks away.

Tagami filed suit in December 2016, six months after the Oakland City Council voted to ban transport and storage of coal within city limits. The unanimous vote applied city-wide, but was directed at Tagami and the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, a $250 million global logistics center on the Outer Harbor near the Port of Oakland.

The trial centered on whether Oakland breached its 2013 development agreement with Tagami, which did not specify the commodities he and affiliated companies could transport through the terminal.

Read the full article at the East Bay Times


Washington State posts big gains in union membership

From The Stand:

An estimated 584,000 Washington state residents belonged to labor unions in 2017, a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, an increase of 45,000 from the previous year and 84,000 since 2015. National union membership levels, which have dropped in recent years as Republican lawmakers passed more union-busting “right-to-work” laws, held steady at 10.7 percent in 2017. But unions gained members in many free-bargaining states like Washington, where the union membership level increased from to 17.4 percent in 2016 to 18.8 percent last year.

“Union growth in Washington state is good for everyone,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Union members earn more, spend more in their communities, and lift working standards for all of us. Polls and surveys show that people want to join unions. These numbers demonstrate that, unless they are hindered by outdated or hostile labor laws, people will stand together and form unions.”

Union members earn higher wages, with median weekly earnings of $1,041 compared to $829 for nonunion, according to the new BLS report. With union wages averaging 25 percent higher than nonunion wages, full-time union members make more than $54,000 per year on average, which is $11,000 more than nonunion workers.

If you don’t have a union at your job, learn more about how to organize one … And read the rest of this article at The Stand.


Here’s how Trump’s Labor Department quietly gave bosses even more power over their workers

Excerpts from In These Times:

On January 5, the Department of Labor (DOL) quietly took a step to bolster the legal power of bosses over their workers by reissuing 17 previously withdrawn opinion letters. Developed at the end of George W. Bush’s final term, the letters had been withdrawn by the Obama administration, which discontinued the practice of issuing opinion
letters altogether.

“Employers love opinion letters,” Patricia Smith, former Obama administration solicitor of labor, told In These Times. “They’re viewed by many as Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards.”

National Employment Law Project executive director Christine Owens issued a strong statement regarding the move, calling it “another example of how this administration is siding with big business to make it harder to get paid for working overtime and to make it easier for companies to reap the benefits of young workers’ labor without paying
a cent for it.”

Full article at In These Times


San Pedro ports set 2017 cargo records

From the LA Business Journal

At its annual ‘State of the Port” address on Jan. 24, the Port of Long Beach celebrated its record-breaking year set in 2017 after a not so great 2016 which saw the bankruptcy of it largest terminal tenant, South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping.

Last year the port moved 7.54 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the highest container movement record in its 105-year history. It saw an increase of more than 11 percent compared to 2016, which was marred with challenges, most notably, the Hanjin bankruptcy.

Neighboring Port of Los Angeles also set cargo movement records in 2017 and moved 9.3 million TEUs, a 5.5 increase over 2016. Container movement record for last year was a new high in the port’s 110-year history.

More at the LA Business Journal


Four Super Post-Panamax cranes on their way to Tacoma

From the Tacoma Weekly:

The first four super post-Panamax cranes destined for Tacoma’s Pier 4 began the trip to Puget Sound a few days ago aboard the Zhen Hua 28.

The new cranes, built by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) in China, will be capable of serving ultra-large container vessels with an outreach of 24 containers and a lift height of 165 feet above the pier deck. The cranes are expected to arrive at Port of Tacoma in a few weeks. Four additional cranes will arrive in 2019.


ADM-Bunge deal would create Cargill-sized agribusiness giant

From the Chicago Tribune:

The world of agricultural-commodity trading could be upended with the merger of two of its biggest names. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. has sought deal talks with Bunge Ltd., a person briefed on the matter said at the weekend. That’s less than a year after Glencore approached Bunge about a deal.

ADM and Bunge have been around for 116 years and 200 years respectively and are among the very largest buyers and sellers of grains and other crops. … On paper at least, a combined ADM-Bunge would be both a commodity-trading giant, with an international network of barges and marine terminals, and a major industrial enterprise with factories and refineries.

Where they really differ is geographic footprint. Bunge has a much larger presence in South America, while ADM is bigger in the U.S. Combining the two would create a company that, at least in terms of revenue, would be approaching the size of Cargill Inc., the largest agricultural company.

If an ADM-Bunge tieup were to happen, regulators are likely to take a close look at the combined company’s market share, especially in its domestic market.

Full article at the Tribune


Lawmakers, ports and unions ask Congress to reform Harbor Maintenance Tax

From The Lens:

Stakeholders from the retail sector, port leadership and labor leaders are voicing strong support for a measure which would request Congress to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) so that it no longer places a handicap on West Coast ports vying for business from U.S.-bound shippers.

HJM 4012 asks Congress to reform the HMT so that it does not competitively disadvantage U.S. ports. The measure also requests that Congress expand its uses of the tax’s revenue to give back to ports that impose the HMT on incoming shippers.

The Harbor Maintenance Tax is placed on U.S.-bound cargo and is used to fund the maintenance and dredging of harbors. The tax accounts for, on average, an extra $109 in shipper fees per container.

According to a Northwest Seaport Alliance summary paper on HMT, one-fifth of the money collected by the tax goes into dredging – a service that a naturally deep port like Seattle’s has no need for. The paper also found that the ports of Seattle and Tacoma receive just over a penny on every dollar charged to U.S.-bound shippers moving through those ports.

According to a 2012 Federal Maritime Commission study, the tax is responsible for diverting 50 percent of shippers from the Northwest, as they are choosing to route through Canada instead of the West Coast.

Gordon Baxter, lobbyist for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), said, “The HMT harms Washington state competitiveness, particularly when compared to Canada.”

HJM 4012 is scheduled for possible executive session during the House Technology and Economic Development Committee on January 23, 24 and 25.

More at The Lens


ADM pursues big ag merger with grain trader Bunge

From Reuters:

Top U.S. grain merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co. has proposed a takeover of Bunge Ltd., according to a person familiar with the approach, which could set up a bidding war with Swiss-based rival Glencore Plc.

Bunge, which rebuffed an acquisition offer from Glencore last year, might not follow up on ADM’s proposal, the source said, requesting anonymity because the approach is confidential. A standstill agreement prevents Glencore from making a new offer until next month, and Bunge is keeping its options open for now, the source added.

ADM is the most U.S.-focused of the major grain companies and a takeover would help it grow in South America, where Bunge is a major agricultural force.

More at Reuters


Congressional and maritime leaders stress bipartisan support of Jones Act

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing Wednesday on “The State of the U.S. Flag Maritime Industry” during which congressional and maritime leaders stressed the importance of the Jones Act.

The Committee and those testifying expressed bipartisan support for the Jones Act and enforcement of the law.

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), said “In order for us to maintain the way of life as we know it as a nation that is secure and is able to project power, be it Navy power or commercial power, the Jones Act is intrinsic to that. It is the cornerstone of all of them…the absurdity to have Korean or Chinese or name your country made ships take away the entire American workforce of making ships and driving them and getting something from point A to point B in America…its absurd and I hope that we keep educating…so that people understand how [the Jones Act] is one of the cornerstones of our entire country’s national security apparatus.”

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), stated “First and foremost, we cannot become complacent in our defense of the Jones Act and our efforts… to raise public awareness of the need for, and the many benefits that flow, from this long-standing maritime policy that has stood for nearly a century.”

“[American] mariners are a de facto layer of our national security. If they see something, they will say something. They know what is normal on the waterways,” explained Admiral Mark H. Buzby, Administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD).

More at the American Journal of Transportation


Oakland fights developer’s lawsuit to allow coal at new shipping terminal

From CBS SF Bay Area:

The City of Oakland was in court Tuesday, engaged in a battle to uphold a ban on coal within its borders.

The legal issue at the center of the city’s fight with a local developer is over a proposed new $250 million shipping terminal at the old Oakland Army Base. The developer wants it to be a place where for coal brought by rail from Utah can be loaded onto ships headed overseas.

But the city banned coal at the Port of Oakland in 2016, citing health and environmental concerns. The developer is suing, calling the city’s regulation unconstitutional.

[NOTE: ILWU Local 10 supports the building of building of the terminal for other cargoes, but opposes the export of coal at the facility.]

More at CBS