Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for March 28 through April 1, 2016:
Monday, March 28, 2016
Featured Story: Critical for the Cold Chain: Sustainability and Technology Investment
By William DiBenedetto, CBN Feature Editor
Dealing with the global cold chain requires shippers and logistics providers to adjust to constantly changing regulations, technological advances and increasing costs.
Regulation in the food and pharmaceutical industries is increasing due to globalization, putting strains on producers and transporters alike to ensure that products are legitimate and that end-to-end quality is maintained. Preventive measures, compliance and harmonizing regulations are major issues for the food and pharma industries.
In the European Union, for instance, about 80 percent of pharmaceutical products require temperature-controlled transportation. In anticipation of similar regulations in the U.S., many pharmaceutical manufacturers are adopting this approach.
In addition, the phase-in of rules stemming from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's prevention-focused Food Safety Modernization Act, which passed in 2011, means companies must invest in real time methods to document each step in the food supply chain. Products such as produce must be traceable to their point of origin. In addition, recall systems must be reliable and efficient to comply with more stringent regulations.
Getting out ahead of regulations is a common theme across cold chain logistics — as manufacturers build more stringent practices into their requirements, 3PLs and other transport providers must respond to make sure they are properly credentialed and prepared.
"We are throwing much more rigor into how we select service providers," said Greig Jewell, director, Lean value stream, supply chain operations, Nestlé Canada, who was quoted in an Inbound Logistics report. "We operate a supplier-facing supply chain now, involving not just our packaging and ingredients, but also our service providers such as VersaCold."
Driver shortages and capacity constraints continue to impact the cold chain. The reasons: operating a refrigerated fleet requires significant capital investment, specially trained drivers, increased liability, and greater risks for frequent and strict inspections.
Cold chain operators must stay on top of technological advances to ensure efficiency, integrity, and safety. This includes their IT infrastructure and devices to gather and report shipment data in real time.
Cold chain carriers continue to invest heavily in on-board equipment that's built into refrigeration units to track temperature and location; manufactures invest in high-tech packaging that makes data available to 3PLs and shippers in real time. Some shippers also use removable sensors to track the temperature of their cold cargo, usually for high-value goods and international shipments.
Temperature tracking can also be built into the packaging. MillerCoors uses temperature-sensitive ink to show when products are at an optimal temperature. Inks are also used on milk cartons to indicate when the temperature has fallen out of safe range. Nestlé Canada uses GPS-enabled sensors for inbound ocean, rail, and truck freight. The devices include real-time alarms for zone, route, intrusion, and temperature.
Then there's the sustainability equation. Cold chain operators have to be on the look-out for ways to balance the energy-intensive requirements of perishable products with the desire to reduce resource consumption and impacts on the environment. Options include the increased use of compressed natural gas and electric for vehicles.
All of these factors add up to what UPS calls "pain in the supply chain" for healthcare and pharma organizations. UPS' most recent pain-in-the-chain survey — its eighth — says cost and cost management are among the most difficult cold chain issues facing those industries. While the UPS survey focuses on the logistics end of the supply chain for health and pharma companies, the challenges it cites are also applicable to virtually all other areas of supply chain management across many industries.
Cost management remains a substantial and stubborn supply chain issue, according to UPS. "Healthcare logistics decision makers report rapid business growth, fluctuations in fuel and raw materials costs, increasing regulations, and new market expansion as the biggest challenges to managing supply chain costs."
Contingency planning is another area in healthcare and life sciences that companies can find both difficult and risky to justify investing in, based on the limited and unpredictable impact of disruptions to the supply chain, UPS says.
The UPS survey compiled results from more than 400 healthcare logistics executives across 16 countries. According to the survey, rapid business growth is a leading stumbling block in controlling costs for pharmaceutical supply chains, with 56 percent of respondents saying they struggled with it last year. Other major cost factors cited as stumbling blocks included fluctuating fuel costs (55 percent) and fluctuating raw materials costs (49 percent). Other "pain points" included aging IT systems (38 percent) and lack of supply chain visibility (38 percent).
Areas of success revealed by the survey include good progress in addressing product security, increasing success with regulatory compliance — a paramount issue in the pharma industry because of the heavy burdens that U.S. and international regulatory regimes impose on the industry on a frequent basis.
Another area of success that could be a way forward in addressing the challenges of cost management and contingency planning is the use of logistics and distribution partnerships and collaboration as a comprehensive strategy.
The need for alignment and collaboration across complex supply chains is more vital than ever because, as UPS says in its pain-in-the-chain report: "As more innovative, sophisticated products enter the global market, the stakes will only get higher for healthcare companies to ensure growing consumer demands are met with innovative, sophisticated supply chains."
Port of Oakland volume surges in February
Container imports through the Port of Oakland surged 89.7 percent in February 2016 year-over-year, demonstrating continuing cargo recovery since the 2015 dockworker contract dispute. Export volume for loaded containers jumped up 37 percent according to a port statement.
Oakland said it handled the equivalent of 70,620 TEUs in February. That was 33,484 more than the import volume for February 2015 and 11,705 more than the import total in February 2014, when contract issues were not impacting volume.
Total container volume in February reached 188,139 TEUs, a 54.2 percent increase from 2015 figures.
The port attributed part of the huge increase in container traffic through the Oakland port to the strength of the U.S. dollar, making it easier for American consumers to purchase imports. And with a labor contract now in place, officials said they expected to see container volumes for imports and exports return to prior established levels (prior to the drawn-out contract negotiations).
"It's good to see that our cargo volume for both imports and exports has jumped up again," said John C. Driscoll, the Port of Oakland's maritime director. "This is further evidence that we have regained the cargo that temporarily left our port a year ago."
Hapag-Lloyd expects profit this year for the first time since 2010
German container group Hapag-Lloyd said it expected a clear increase in operating profit (EBIT) in 2016 thanks to a recovery in the container market, ongoing benefits from its merger with Chilean CSAV and cost-cutting efforts.
"We believe that the ongoing consolidation and the upcoming new alliance set-up should add stability to the market, and that there will be some recovery of the market," Chief Executive Rolf Habben Jansen told a news conference.
Hapag-Lloyd posted a 2015 net profit of $127 million, which was up from a 2014 loss of $674 million and the first positive result since 2010, according to a company statement
The company's earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) shifted to a $408 million profit in 2015, compared to a year-earlier loss of $427 million.
The company forecast 2016 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be up moderately compared with 2015's $927 million.
Having merged with Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) in December 2014, it reaps $400 million a year in synergy savings, and in addition launched a series of cost savings programs.
Turning to market conditions, the chief executive said some freight rate recovery was likely in 2016.
"It does not make sense to achieve freights below variable costs… it will have to go in a different direction," Jansen said, adding his company, like others, would not sacrifice earnings for market share.
Hapag Lloyd will move from its number four position in world shipping to fifth later this year when two mergers are expected to go through officially. French CMA CGM has bought Singaporean NOL, cementing its position as number three after Danish Maersk, privately-owned Swiss MSC, and state-controlled Chinese shippers Cosco.
Port of Tacoma considers terms of methanol plant lease
Port of Tacoma Commissioners are pondering the terms of a lease extension with Northwest Innovation Works after the Chinese-backed company called for a "pause" on the environmental review for its planned methanol plant set for the Tacoma tideflats.
The company entered into a lease for the former Kaiser Aluminum plant site owned by the Port of Tacoma back in 2014, with plans to build what would be the world's largest natural gas-to-methanol plant. The 30-year lease called for $24,000 a month during the first six months of the lease then, to $16,000 a month after that.
Then the lease dropped to $8,000 a month for the 125 acres so the company could conduct feasibility studies for the first two years. That "feasibility period" expires at the end of April, meaning the original lease calls for a jump in lease payments to $270,000 a month. Extensions can be as short as 30 days or as long as two years.
"There is a lot of information that we need to get to the public," NWIW President Murray "Vee" Godley said, noting that the rapidly changing technology used in the conversion process could require less water and power and lower pollution levels, but those methods have to be researched and vetted. "We think Tacoma is the right location for this facility."
NWIW then called for a pause in the environmental review of the proposal as mounting criticism and protests against the project grew faster and more vocal than NWIW had initially expected. Public hearings on the plan were routinely flooded with protestors speaking against the project for hours on end. Formal opposition to the plant includes concerns from the Puyallup Tribe, Federal Way, Des Moines, Normandy Park and other governments and environmental groups such as the Green River Coalition and Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.
A citizen's initiative to call for a vote for all developments that would use more than a million gallons of water a day is currently gaining signatures for a vote this fall in hopes of killing the methanol plant at the ballot box. The methanol plant is projected to use 10.4 million gallons a day.
Port of LA paid $5M to upgrade China Shipping vessels with little benefit
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Port of Los Angeles paid a Chinese government-owned shipping company $5 million in 2005 to equip cargo vessels to plug into electric shore power while at dock to keep their massive diesel engines from polluting neighborhoods near the harbor.
The company, China Shipping, used the money to upgrade 17 ships, but the city didn't get all the promised environmental benefits. Most of the vessels stopped calling Los Angeles in 2010, a Times review of shipping industry data showed.
The ships that took their place on the Asia-to-Los Angeles route were not all equipped for shore power. From 2010 to 2013, a period in which residents were promised that virtually every vessel docked at the terminal would plug in, half left their engines running, port records show. In 2012, 88 percent left their engines running.
As a result, people who live near the port spent those years inhaling more diesel exhaust — a known carcinogen — than they were promised.
Since 2014, nearly all ships that dock at the China Shipping terminal have plugged in because the newer, larger vessels plying the route now are generally built with shore power in mind, port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.
The port's payment to upgrade ships was part of a legal settlement to a dispute that began nearly 15 years ago when residents and environmentalists, citing health concerns, sued to block expansion of the China Shipping terminal, which sits beneath the Vincent Thomas Bridge near central San Pedro.
The port settled the suit in 2004 by promising to impose some of the strictest environmental measures in the maritime industry on China Shipping. Those included requiring that 30 percent of the vessels docked at the terminal use shore power that year and that all ships at the terminal plug in by 2011.
China Shipping objected. The company was one of the port's biggest customers and could choose to move some of its operations to other ports in the state. Port officials agreed to pay to upgrade 17 of the firm's ships.
Drewry: Increasingly complex logistics will lead to more automation
An increase in sourcing countries, mergers, acquisitions, and operational problems have increased the complexity and stress for logistics management of ocean transport, according to the latest edition of Container Insight from Drewry Maritime Research.
For professionals responsible for managing and procuring international logistics at large manufacturers and retailers, work has changed quite a bit in the past five years and will continue to become more challenging, the researchers predict.
One example is Andy Gillespie, director of global logistics at Ansell, a global healthcare company moving products around the world.
In the past four years, Ansell has acquired Korean glove manufacturer Midas, BarrierSafe Solutions International, Comasec and Hércules Equipamentos de Proteção and added many new sourcing countries.
"We have added Bangladesh and India and our biggest new country (for supplies) is Vietnam," U.S.-based Gillespie said. Ansell's number of shipping lanes has jumped from about 500 port pairs four or five years to 800 now.
It has been widely reported that many firms have shifted their sourcing or production from China to South East Asia, Eastern Europe or Central America. When ranked by growth in manufacturing over the period 2010-14, China was only the 23rd fastest-growing producer (in percentage terms), behind small competitors Vietnam (12 percent growth), Trinidad (also 12 percent), Lebanon (20 percent) and others. As China's industrial growth slows down, smaller new rivals expand.
For logistics professionals, getting to know how to move products to and from the new manufacturing hot spots such as Vietnam has become key, as container volumes both to and from Vietnam have increased in double-digits for the past three years.
Another topical complication for shippers is the instability and unpredictability of carrier alliances, not forgetting the increased focus on minimizing inventory cost when making transport decisions, which adds another new level of complexity.
But as scale and complexity have increased for logistics department, staffing levels have not.
When working for exporters and importers, Drewry has also found that logistics departments now operate with only a handful of logistics management experts at the headquarters, sometimes backed up by one or two more people working for central procurement.
For exporters or importers shipping more than 10,000 TEUs a year, it is not uncommon to manage product flows on hundreds of lanes and to use 20 or more service providers. At the time of running annual requests for tenders, the resulting volume of data to handle is huge.
To bring speed and efficiency to ocean transport sourcing events, Drewry has introduced its own eSourcing Ocean Freight Solution™ (eSOFS). The new service is designed to cope with the rapidly changing container shipping landscape, including shifting alliances, terminal performance and rate volatility.
In conclusion, Drewry says to make good decisions on routing and carrier selection and to manage logistics effectively in a context of overwhelming data and increasing global scope, companies are unlikely to hire more logistics staff. Instead, they will adopt automated optimization and outsource some supporting tasks, while retaining control of logistics procurement and management strategy.
Work getting started on new cargo terminal at Port of Charleston with quarry deal
Site preparation for the State Ports Authority's new $762 million cargo terminal at the former Navy base in North Charleston is just getting started. But the project is already under budget thanks to a local contractor's connections with a Canadian quarry.
Charleston construction firm S.J. Hamill won a contract this month to do the work based in part on its plan to bring 3 million cubic yards of crushed rock from a Newfoundland quarry to be used at the 117-acre first phase of the terminal, scheduled for completion by the start of 2020.
The site preparation is scheduled to start next month and will coincide with work already under way by S.J. Hamill to strengthen a retaining wall where a 3,500-foot marine berth will be built. The berth will be big enough for simultaneous visits from two of the larger containerships scheduled to traverse the Panama Canal once its expansion is completed in late June.
The cargo terminal — named after state Sen. Hugh Leatherman — is part of SPA chief Jim Newsome's aggressive plan to get the Port of Charleston ready for increased traffic expected to follow the canal's widening.
A $509 million project to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet will be completed at about the same time the terminal opens. A $182 million road connecting Interstate 26 with the new terminal is also planned.
"As population increases and the rise in manufacturing drives cargo volume growth at Southeastern ports well above the national average, ports must provide modern terminal facilities with adequate capacity and infrastructure," Newsome said.
"The Leatherman terminal represents a 50 percent increase in (the SPA's) current containerized cargo capacity at full build-out and is critical to our port's long-term growth and competitiveness," he said. "It's opening, which coincides with the completion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project, will enable our port to handle big ships and support commerce in our state and greater region well into the future."
Federal funding leaves Savannah dredging project short
Severe budget cuts in the federal portion of a $700 million plan to deepen the Savannah harbor challenges Georgia's ability to take in the world's largest cargo ships, the head of the Georgia Ports Authority said.
Incoming Executive Director Griffith Lynch told the audience at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce's Member Economic Luncheon that the federal 2017 budget allocates only $43 million a year instead of the $90 to $100 million officials say is needed to finish the project in five years.
"We were very happy to hear we were the most important project in the president's budget, but it was only half of what we needed," Lynch said. "We needed about $90 million to $100 million a year to complete the project by the year 2020, 2021."
Known as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the deepening project will dredge roughly 24 million cubic yards from the Savannah River and harbor area. At its current depth, the harbor can't accommodate the largest container ships unless they are only partially loaded.
Lynch said about 11 percent of the channel has been completed so far based on the $266 million in state money allocated to the project.
"The federal government needs to make up almost $450 million," he said. "And that's a big struggle right now."
A large Dutch vessel has been towed free after running aground and blocking the entrance to the German port of Rostock. The ship's captain reportedly caused the accident while under the influence of alcohol.
The captain veered off course immediately after leaving port, damaging the 85-meter (279 feet) "Abis Berger," officials in the northern German city of Rostock said on Sunday.
While investigating the incident, the harbor police noted a strong smell of alcohol on the skipper and administered a Breathalyzer test, which showed an alcohol level of 1.48 milliliters, well above the legal limit.
The boat ran aground in the port entrance area and blocked off access for other ships before it was towed away by a tug, the harbor patrol said in a statement.
The ship's commander is now facing charges for "endangering naval traffic" and piloting the ship despite being "absolutely unfit for duty."
Taiwan deals with oil spill after container ship breaks apart
Taiwan is dealing with a major oil spill from a container ship owned by T.S. Lines off Shimen, New Taipei City, Taiwan which broke apart Friday, according to officials.
The 15,487-ton ship ran aground in a storm while it was sailing from Hong Kong to Keelung Port in Taiwan on March 10. All 21 crew members were evacuated safely but a helicopter crashed during the clean-up operation, killing two and seriously hurting one.
The vessel was carrying about 407 tons of fuel, half of which has been pumped out. However, pumping had to be halted on Friday when the ship broke in two.
Some containers have also tumbled off into the sea.
Among the vessel's cargo are nine containers bearing hazardous goods.
Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration director Ye Jun-hong said that his staff are preparing for the worst.
Labor and management share blame in brief shutdown at Oakland port
A labor dispute linked to a group of dismissed dock workers disrupted cargo handling at SSA Marine Terminals at the Port of Oakland on Monday, completely halting operations at one of the terminals at the East Bay cargo hub, port officials said.
"Daytime operations were suspended" at SSA Marine's Oakland International Container Terminal, said Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland. "It's a labor-management dispute."
The terminal involved is the largest at the Port of Oakland, which has five terminals.
The cause or nature of the work disagreement wasn't immediately disclosed.
"We have heard work has temporarily stopped," Zampa said. "Operations are expected to resume on the evening shift."
The disruption caused trucks drivers to become stuck in long lines to pick-up and drop-off cargo.
Officials with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, the main representative of rank-and-file workers at the Oakland port, said the work stoppage was connected with the firing of 22 dock employees at the port.
According to SF Gate, sources with knowledge of the dispute said 22 workers were fired when they did not agree to begin work at 6:45 a.m. instead of the usual 7 a.m. start time at the Oakland International Container Terminal, one of the five terminals at the port. Another 44 workers slowed or stopped working in support of their colleagues, the sources said.
"The company refused to honor the start time in our contract," said Craig Merrilees, a spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. "The ILWU called in an arbitrator, who ruled that the company acted improperly by dismissing 22 workers. The workers were made whole" under the ruling, he added.
The 22 workers were dismissed for the day, but the arbitrator determined that they could return to the job Tuesday and be paid for Monday's hours.
"The company wanted to change the workday and the start times, in violation of the contract," Merrilees said. SSA sought to start the workers' shifts 15 minutes earlier.
SSA Marine Terminals and Oakland International Container Terminal didn't return phone inquiries about the situation on Monday.
The arbitrator also determined that 44 dock workers who stopped working to show support for the dismissed workers acted improperly.
More than two dozen giant red robots wheeled cargo containers along the docks at the Port of Los Angeles, handing the boxes off to another set of machines gliding along long rows of stacked containers before smoothly setting the boxes down in precise spots.
The Wall Street Journal says the tightly designed dance at TraPac LLC's Los Angeles terminal demonstrates how global trade will move in the near future — using highly automated systems and machinery, with minimal human intervention.
Many in the shipping industry believe automation is critical to the ability of ports to cope with the surging trade volumes and the super-sized container ships that are beginning to arrive in the U.S. Analysts estimate the technology can reduce the amount of time ships spend in port and improve productivity by as much as 30 percent.
"We have to do it for productivity purposes, to stay relevant and to be able to service these large ships," said Peter Stone, a member of TraPac's board.
Yet the TraPac site is one of only four cargo terminals in the U.S. using the technology. That is fewer automated terminals than there are at the Port of Rotterdam alone.
Supporters of robotic cargo handling will get a boost this month with the phased-in opening of an automated container terminal at the Port of Long Beach, next door to the Los Angeles port. The Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. facility, at a cost of over $1 billion to complete and the capacity to handle 3.3 million TEUs — is likely a sign of the future.
A successful operation in Long Beach could persuade other U.S. ports to follow, said Mark Sisson, a senior port planner with infrastructure-development group Aecom. "The industry at a global level is rushing hard into this technology," he said. "That trend is only going to go in one direction. It's just a question of timing."
Experts in port-terminal infrastructure and operations say the U.S. has been slow to adopt the technology because of years of resistance by longshore labor unions. Some studies have shown robotic cargo handling can reduce the need for longshore labor by as much as 50 percent.
In 2002, the issue came to a head as West Coast port employers locked out workers during bitter contract talks, shutting down the Pacific ports for 11 days.
The West Coast's International Longshore and Warehouse Union has since agreed to allow for automation technology in its contract, which the East Coast's International Longshoremen's Association contract also includes. But both labor unions still fight fiercely over the steps along the way to put the technology into use.
The president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Local 13 in Los Angeles, Bobby Olvera Jr., said the union has been working to obtain "minimum manning standards" and training on automated terminals, to "ensure there's a future for workers."
The unions' efforts to keep as many longshore jobs as possible on automated operations, can lead to lengthy negotiations over which jobs require humans at the helm. Adding jobs raises the final operating costs, making it tougher to get a return on the hundreds of millions of dollars typically required for automated machinery and technology.
Cosco and PSA increase investment at new Singapore terminal
Cosco-PSA Terminal, a joint venture of Cosco Pacific and PSA Corp., has decided to increase its space in Singapore's next high tech shipping terminal at Pasir Panjang.
It had reserved a two-berth terminal but has now upgraded to three new mega container berths in anticipation of economic prospects from new trade initiatives.
The joint venture firm is investing in three new container berths designed to handle mega container ships. The berths will begin operations starting next year.
Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Affairs and Transport), highlighted the importance of the investment.
It is "strategically important to both partners and also a clear demonstration of their confidence in Singapore as an international maritime center with a well-connected transshipment hub," she said.
Cosco Pacific, one of Asia's largest container terminal operators, is a unit of China Cosco Shipping, the world's fourth-largest container carrier.
In 2003, Cosco Pacific and PSA signed an agreement to establish a two-berth terminal at PSA's Pasir Panjang Terminal.
"PSA needs to arrest shipping volume decline at its ports. It is losing shipping volumes to Malaysia. The deal with Cosco Pacific... is slanted towards Cosco to keep its transshipment volume in Singapore," said a shipping analyst at a local brokerage.
"Cosco Pacific being affiliated to China Cosco Shipping, one of the world's top five shippers, will help arrest that decline and ensure the commercial viability of the new port," he added.
Teo said she believes the project will contribute positively to China's Maritime Silk Road initiative and "One Belt, One Road" vision.
Singapore sits on the sea route dubbed the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" linking China with the Southeast Asian region, South Asia, the Middle East and beyond.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Soo Locks early Friday morning, signaling the start of the Great Lakes navigation season. The Roger Blough cleared the Poe Lock around 1:32 a.m.
The U.S. Coast Guard says ice coverage across the Great Lakes never significantly impacted commercial navigation. Still, the seven vessels assigned to clear the Western Great Lakes logged 1,200 hours of ice breaking in support of shipping.
While the locks were closed, winter maintenance took place.
Projects included the installation of a hydraulic system for the Poe Lock; anchorage repairs and other work on the Poe Lock; and work on the MacArthur Lock's electrical modernization.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates Soo Locks on the St. Marys River, lifting and lowering vessels moving between Lakes Huron and Superior.
Drone captures footage of ship that broke up in Taiwan
The T.S. Taipei, the stranded cargo ship that literally broke in two off the coast of Taiwan on Friday, raised environmental alarms as huge amounts of oil flowed freely into the sea.
The ship stopped running on March 10th after it ran aground near the coast off New Taipei City. Attempts to salvage the ship were unsuccessful, and last Thursday cracks began to appear, until the entire ship snapped in two the next day.
The ship is continuing to break up, alarming Taiwan's EPA who say that it still holds 242 tons of heavy oil on board, along with other toxic materials including tolune and potassium perchlorate, according to Focus Taiwan.
The broken ship has since been documented via drone by Freediver HD on YouTube.
Labor and management share blame in brief shutdown at Oakland port
The Port of Oakland's largest terminal was back in business Tuesday after a labor dispute shut it down the day before.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union says SSA Marine, the operator of the Oakland International Container Terminal, told two dozen dockworkers to go home after they started work Monday at 7 a.m.
According to the ILWU, the workers' contract calls for them to arrive then, but SSA Marine wanted them to show up at 6:45 a.m.
The union initially said the workers were fired, but an ILWU spokesman clarified Tuesday that they got their jobs back.
After the company penalized workers Monday morning, dozens of other ILWU members who work at the terminal stopped working in protest. Operations at the terminal were suspended for the day but resumed at 8 p.m., port officials said.
An independent arbitrator was called to resolve the dispute. According to the union, that official says both sides are to blame.
The arbitrator decided that the company violated the contract and improperly "released" 22 workers, union spokesman Craig Merrilees said in an interview.
"That incident triggered a solidarity show of support from 44 workers who stood by in protest," Merrilees said. "Sometimes an employer will test to see whether the agreement and the contract that they signed is something they can push and manipulate, and try and gain some advantage. Naturally, workers feel that when you sign that agreement, you got to abide by it."
The dockworkers who were released were able to return to work on Tuesday, and operations at the terminal are back to normal, Mike Zampa, a Port of Oakland spokesman, said in an email.
The arbitrator also found that the 44 ILWU members who protested should have continued working, Merrilees said.
Wade Gates, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association, has yet to comment on the dispute despite several requests for information.
N. C. State Ports Authority volume up nearly 8 percent in February
The North Carolina State Ports Authority container volume in February was up 7.7 percent year-over-year. This comes off of an 8.3 percent increase year-over-year in January, according to a port authority statement.
"Last year we broke the authority record in terms of TEUs moved due to a number of new services, diversions and our lack of congestion," said CEO Paul J. Cozza. "This year we've been able to sustain that positive momentum with our best-in-class efficiencies and superior customer service."
The N.C. ports enjoyed a banner year in fiscal 2015 with an 18 percent increase in containerized cargo volumes year-over-year. By container volume growth percentage, North Carolina's Ports are among the fastest growing on the U.S. East Coast.
In addition, the port authority is moving forward with a $100 million investment in infrastructure improvements. With new cranes, an enhanced berth, a wider turning basin and further expansion on the way, North Carolina's Ports will improve upon its operational efficiencies to keep cargo moving and congestion at bay. Specifically, the Port of Wilmington will be prepared to handle post-Panamax vessels up to the 10,000-TEU class by this summer.
North Carolina includes ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro.
TRAC Intermodal explores sale or IPO after failed bond offering
The Wall Street Journal reports that TRAC Intermodal, one of the largest leasing companies for truck chassis, is exploring a sale or an initial public offering after pulling a $485 million bond offering last week, according to chief executive Keith Lovetro.
Earlier this month, TRAC hired Morgan Stanley to sell the debt, with $325 million earmarked for a dividend to private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, which bought TRAC in 2007. However, investor demand was low, forcing TRAC to cancel the sale on March 22.
New Jersey-based TRAC owns about 315,000 intermodal chassis. Truckers often pay about $20 per day to rent chassis to haul shipping containers from ports to warehouses or other destinations.
Fortress acquired TRAC in 2007 for $2.4 billion, but has received little return on its investment. The company paid its first dividend of $51 million in January, after reporting a profit last year following a string of losses stretching back to at least 2010. Fortress had sought to sell TRAC in late 2014, Reuters reported at the time.
Debt-ridden shipper Hyundai Merchant Marine said Monday that it will seek an approval of its creditors for self-rescue measures to improve its financial status.
The country's second-largest shipping company said in a regulatory filing that "it filed for co-management with its creditors" to tide over its liquidity crunch through a self-rescue plan. If approved, the company's maturing debts will be rolled over and part of them will be rescheduled.
In a separate filing about selling its stake in Hyundai Pusan New-Port Terminal in the southern coastal city of Busan, the company said it is in negotiations with potential buyers including Singapore's PSA International, one of the world's largest port operators, but hasn't finalized the details yet. The company said it will announce the detailed plan within one month.
The Hyundai Group's shipping arm has 50 percent plus one share in the Hyundai Pusan New-Part Terminal. The company plans to sell 40 percent plus one share to PSA international.
The company has $4.1 billion in total debt and $1.5 billion was borrowed from creditor banks. HMM has to repay the debt of $105 million by April 7.
Last year, HMM posted $221 million in operating losses.