Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for April 27 through May 1, 2015:
Monday, April 27, 2015
LA/Long Beach port truckers to vote on whether to strike starting Monday
Truck drivers who work the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will vote Saturday on whether to strike beginning as early as Monday morning, according to union officials.
Truckers have been fighting for several years over their classification as contractors. They want the companies they work for to hire them as employees, and pay them benefits as other workers enjoy, and many would like to unionize.
The conflict started in 2012 when truckers sued their bosses for wage theft and job misclassification as independent contractors. In 2013, the truckers started strikes at trucking companies, including Pacific 9 Transportation, American Logistics International, Green Fleet and Total Transportation Services, Inc.
The union didn’t reveal which company or companies would be targeted if the union votes to strike on Saturday. The results of the vote will be released early Monday, according to Barb Maynard, spokeswoman for Justice for Port Truck Drivers and the Teamsters, which is hoping to unionize the truckers if they become employees.
Utah spends $53M to export coal through Port of Oakland
Since U.S. demand for coal is dwindling, Utah has approved a $53 million investment in an Oakland shipping terminal about to be built in order to export the commodity to less environmentally conscious markets overseas.
Terminal Logistics will start building the 35-acre, $250 million Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal at the Oakland Global Trade & Logistics Center later this year and is expected to finish the project in 2017. The move has angered environmental groups.
"We know Oakland doesn't want coal coming through the city," said Jess Dervin-Ackerman, conservation manager for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. "We're ramping down the use of coal in the U.S. because we recognize it's a horrible source of pollution, and it contributes to climate change. This is city-owned land, and to us, it's the responsibility of the city to not let coal be exported."
But Phil Tagami, the city designated developer of the project, said his seven years of approvals and environmental entitlements secured to develop the former Oakland Army Base allows him to lease the space to a private company who can export just about anything except "nuclear waste, illegal immigrants, weapons and drugs."
Union Pacific Corp. posted profits below analysts’ estimates for the first time in four years on West Coast port backups and a weak demand for coal.
Both Union Pacific and BNSF Railway suffered from the gridlock at U.S. West Coast ports, due in part to labor negotiations. Concerned that a strike might erupt, many Asian shipping companies diverted to Canadian ports at Vancouver and Prince Rupert or sent vessels through the Panama Canal to the U.S. East Coast.
Union Pacific’s earnings of $1.30 a share missed the $1.37 average of 26 analysts polled by Bloomberg. The average had fallen from as high as $1.45 last month after weekly carload data showed more weakness than expected. Sales of $5.61 billion also missed the average projection of $5.72 billion.
UASC joins weekly service from London Gateway to S. American ports
United Arab Shipping Company has started services to London Gateway on the South America 2 service, an existing fixed-day weekly service from DP World London Gateway to ports in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
The first UASC cargo arrived at DP World London Gateway on Friday, April 17.
"We are delighted UASC is now calling at DP World London Gateway on the South America service and we will be working with them to ensure the highest levels of customer service is delivered," said Cameron Thorpe, port general manager of DP World London Gateway.
The service provides more options for food and beverage exports to the UK, and key ports on the service include Paranagua (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Rio Grande (Brazil), Itapoa (Brazil) and Santos (Brazil). The sailing time from Santos to London Gateway is 18 days.
Canadian Coast Guard tugboats rescue Polish bulker
Canadian Coast Guard tugs rescued a Polish bulker on Tuesday after it ran aground in the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The Polish ship Juno was hauling 19,000 metric tons of sugar from the Bahamas when it got into difficulties in the seaway, reportedly having a steering problem. The bulker ran aground Monday but Canadian vessels didn’t reach the site until Tuesday.
Port truckers strike against 4 trucking companies at L.A./Long Beach
After voting on Saturday, short haul truck drivers at the busiest port complex in the U.S. started a strike against four major trucking firms to demand employee status and better wages.
Picket lines went up outside the trucking yards of Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport, said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters union, which is supporting the truckers.
It is too soon to say what, if any, effect the work stoppage will have on business, said port officials. The strike is not expected to shut down all port terminals.
Maynard said the drivers have been victims of "persistent wage theft" from employers because they are treated as independent contractors instead of employees.
About 200 of approximately 500 drivers associated with the four companies were on the picket lines Monday, and the job action will expand to cargo terminals later, according to a Teamsters union representative. Some secondary picketing will target specific trucks as they arrive at other locations.
The drivers say they are unfairly classified as independent contractors and not employees, which makes them exempt from some common workplace protections, including disability insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment.
In all, about 16,000 drivers work at the ports, mostly independent contractors who work for trucking companies. The truckers say they face shrinking wages and want to have employee status at the trucking companies, which would mean better wages and workplace protections.
The ports are still recovering from months of slow downs after a dispute between shipping companies and dockworkers earlier this year.
"I believe now is a horrible time to introduce any slow-downs to the supply chain," Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association, said in a statement late last week. "If they want to be a part of the real solution perhaps they should suspend these efforts until we get closer to a normal flow of cargo in the San Pedro Bay. We don't want to put any more jobs in our region in jeopardy."
Drivers have racked up a series of wins lately, as courts and government agencies have ruled that they had been misclassified.
Last fall a federal court ruled that drivers from Shippers Transport Express were actually employees, a distinction that would allow them to unionize.
In January, the drivers voted to join the Teamsters.
APM Terminals hosted a celebration in honor of the opening of the new APM Terminals Maasvlakte II Rotterdam facility, which APM calls the world’s most technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable container terminal.
The Netherlands’ monarch King Willem-Alexander and 500 officials from the global shipping industry and world governments were on hand at the official opening.
"We are honored to officially dedicate our new terminal with you today," said CEO Kim Fejfer. "APM Terminals Maasvlakte II is clearly a game-changer port in the shipping industry designed to exceed our customers’ expectations. It is significantly safer for our people and all users of the port. It runs on a zero emissions, sustainable business model using renewable energy, benefitting the people of Rotterdam and Europe. And, equally important, our shipping line customers will experience 40 per cent higher productivity – thanks to automation."
The Maasvlakte II Rotterdam facility is the world’s first container terminal to utilize remotely-controlled STS gantry cranes to move containers between vessels and the landside fleet of 62 battery-powered Lift-Automated Guided Vehicles that transport containers between the quay and the container yard, according to the APM statement.
The company says the Lift-AGV’s represent the world’s first series of AGV’s that can actually lift and stack a container. A fleet of 54 Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes then positions containers in the yard in a high-density stacking system. The terminal’s power requirements are provided by wind-generated electricity, enabling terminal operations, which produce no CO2, emissions or pollutants, and which are also considerably quieter than conventional diesel-powered facilities.
The facility, constructed on land entirely reclaimed from the North Sea, has been designed as a multi-modal hub to reduce truck traffic in favor of barge and rail connections to inland locations. Construction began in May 2012, with the first commercial vessel call in December 2014.
The deep-water terminal features 3,280 feet of quay, on-dock rail, and eight fully automated electric-powered Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes, with an annual throughput capacity of 2.7 million TEUs, representing an APM Terminals investment of $543 million. At planned full build-out, the terminal will offer 9,186 meters of deep-sea quay (64.4 feet deep), with an annual throughput capacity of 4.5 million TEUs.
"The future of terminal operations is safer, high-volume, high-productivity performance," said Fejfer. "We are pleased to welcome that future here today."
Boston Consulting Group: Industry to fight overcapacity through 2019
Overcapacity in the container shipping industry will continue for several years, according to an analysis from Boston Consulting Group.
There are currently around 300 new buildings that will prevent the sector from reaching a balance between supply and demand by 2019, if current freight rates remain the same, says Boston Consulting Group. These include 70 of the largest container ships in the world — including ships in the 13,000- to 18,000-TEU range.
"If we are to fix the industry, 50 percent of the current orderbook needs to disappear. And that's a massive amount," said Ulrik Sanders, global head of Boston Consulting Group's transport and logistics business.
The shipping industry faces a Catch-22 situation, however, because it pays off for the individual carrier to build the ultra-large vessels to achieve the economies of scale they bring to the fleet.
"We project a decline in freight rates of 1.6 to 2.6 percent, where others are pointing to growth," says Ulrik Sanders about the forecast ahead of 2019.
Port of Long Beach to give construction jobs to local union labor
The head of the Long Beach Harbor Commission proposed a move on Monday that would clear the way for local union workers to get public construction jobs at the seaport.
Harbor Commission Board President Doug Drummond advised his fellow board members to recommend that the Port of Long Beach negotiate with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council on a port-wide project labor agreement.
Drummond said that project labor agreements, which allow a public agency to give public construction projects to firms that hire union workers, would create pre-apprenticeship training for Long Beach residents and strengthen the goal of hiring local.
He added that the city and port have had a strong history of enacting project labor agreements in various projects, including work on the port’s biggest projects, including the $1.3 billion replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the $1.2 billion redevelopment of Middle Harbor.
The board will also consider implementing a project labor agreement with the Trades Council on Phases 2 and 3 of Middle Harbor, a series of construction projects valued at about $300 million.
"PLAs are sound policy that we can use to leverage the funds we use for construction projects and reinvest into our local community and help employ local residents," Drummond said. "I believe a port-wide PLA with the LA/OC Building Trades will be for the betterment of our port and our local economy."
Man dies after being found unconscious on bulk carrier
A man who was discovered unconscious on a bulk carrier off Point Cook in Port Phillip Bay in Southern Australia has died.
Williamstown water police ferried a Newport firefighting crew out to the ship, where they tried to revive the 21-year-old man, but were unsuccessful.
Newport station officer Jason Russell said firefighters responded to a call at 10.15am on Saturday for a patient aboard a tanker moored at outer anchorage. "Our crew proceeded with the police on the police launch out to the tanker," he said, where they tried to revive the 21-year-old man with CPR and oxygen therapy, but were unsuccessful. A coroner’s report is being prepared.
The bulk carrier was due to moor at the Port of Geelong later on Saturday.
Drewry: Shippers should push for reliability over speed
Some shippers want faster services but they would probably be better served demanding better reliability first, according to the latest issue of Container Insight by Drewry Maritime Research.
At last week’s global shipping conference in Hamburg, Robert Gora of Siemens said ocean carriers should offer faster services between Asia and Europe, saying that many companies are willing to pay a premium for expedited options.
Gora said it currently takes around 40 days door-to-door to ship from Shanghai to Germany, compared to 10 days for the much more expensive airfreight option and 20 to 25 days for rail. Assuming no interim ports and ships sailing at 24 knots, Drewry calculates that the fastest possible transit time between Shanghai and Hamburg is 19 days, a potential saving of 10 days against the current best.
Slow steaming has become entrenched within the container industry and shippers have long since adapted to its demands, Drewry says, meaning the market for faster services would be relatively small, limited to shippers experiencing extraordinary demand peaks and/or having to plug occasional gaps caused by poor service reliability.
The onus is therefore on the shippers to prove the economic case to carriers for faster services. The big ship economies dominating the Asia-to-Europe trade mean that the smaller the ships deployed on any new fast loop the bigger the premium would have to be. Diverting cargo from the existing slower and big ships would also make it harder to fill them, adding huge downward pressure on already non-compensatory freight rates.
In Drewry’s opinion, shipping lines would need a long list of cast-iron guarantees in terms of minimum volumes, rates and floating BAF that would probably be unworkable for most shippers.
Better reliability is a win-win for shippers and carriers. Carriers shouldn’t need extra incentives to meet their schedule promises as delays hurt them too, from missing berthing windows, feeder connections, customer resolutions, and generally from ships being less productive than they could be. Convincing them there is a market for fast services will be much harder.
Drewry concludes that container lines are too far down the slow streaming road to change course now, and would need intense persuasion to even consider introducing faster options. Shippers would have more success pressing for more reliable services.
Canada transportation minister announces 50-port transfer
Canadian Minister for Transport Lisa Raitt has announced a government-funded program to transfer 50 of the country's ports to local interests.
The Ports Asset Transfer Program (PATP) is a structured program that includes engagement, sale and divestiture phases, according to the statement. Sales and divestitures are designed to open up new commercial possibilities to allow port facilities to reach their full potential and maximize their contribution to economic growth, jobs, and investments in local communities.
Building on the success of Transport Canada's former Port Divestiture Program (1996-2014), the new Ports Asset Transfer Program (PATP) is a proactive and structured program for the sale or divestiture of 50 Transport Canada-owned port facilities to local interests.
During the engagement phase, Transport Canada will communicate with other federal departments, provincial/territorial governments, municipalities, Aboriginal groups and other interested parties to provide information about the Program. This phase will be followed by the sales phase, where Transport Canada-owned port facilities are first offered to other federal departments, the provinces and territories and municipalities. If there is no interest from these organizations, Transport Canada will then seek expressions of interest from other interested parties including Aboriginal communities, non-government organizations, the private sector and individuals. The sales phase will be launched in summer 2015.
If a port facility does not sell, the program will offer the port facility for divestiture.
The aim of the program, according to the government, is to provide broader criteria that will allow new port operators to expand or improve ports, as well as give Canadian Port Authorities the ability to acquire ports.
"Our government understands the importance of these port facilities to the transportation needs and economic sustainability of their local communities," said Raitt. "The PATP offers an excellent opportunity for interested parties to acquire a port facility and to develop it to take advantage of local business, community development and tourism opportunities."
Since 1996, through its previous Port Divestiture Program, the Canadian government says it has divested 499 ports, which has resulted in savings to Canadian taxpayers of over $470 million.
China Shipping Container Lines quadruples Q1 profit
China Shipping Container Lines, China’s second-largest shipping operator, announced Monday that its net profit for the first quarter surged by 306 percent year-over-year, due to an increase in operating profit.
Listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, CSCL said its net profit for the three months ending in March, jumped to $40 million from $9.8 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped 9.4 percent to $1.2 billion.
Port of Oakland to shutdown May 1 to protest police violence
Port of Oakland workers won’t be performing shipping and loading operations on May 1. Instead, they will march to protest nationwide police shootings, shutting down the port with the rare support of shipping and terminal owners.
There will be no vessel, yard or gate operations during the port's first shift from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., according to Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland. The port has notified business owners in advance and the shutdown is limited to one day.
"The temporary suspension isn’t expected to have lasting effect on port operations," said Zampa.
The Port of Oakland will reopen for its second shift on Friday, from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Liquid oxygen leaks from container at Port Everglades
Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue responded to a Hazmat situation regarding a liquid oxygen leak at Port Everglades on Monday.
Officials said liquid oxygen was leaking from a container located in the 4600 block of McIntosh Road.
The immediate area was evacuated and traffic was re-routed.
Officials said the Hazmat team was cooling the leaking 5,000-gallon tank. No injuries were reported.
Several hundred short-haul truckers, who walked off the job Monday at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach to protest wage theft and employment status, are continuing their strike against four drayage companies.
L.A. and Long Beach port officials said Tuesday morning there was no noticeable impact to cargo flow.
The drivers picketed the trucking yards of Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport. Reuters reports that the four firms at odds with striking drivers represent fewer than 500 of the 13,600 trucks registered to serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.
If trucks from the targeted companies enter port terminals, picket lines would go up there as well, according to the Teamsters union, which is supporting the drivers. Most of the port terminals refused to accept trucks from the firms, according to organizers.
If dockworkers chose to honor those picket lines, it could halt the flow of goods. However, when this occurred in previous trucker strikes, arbitrators have ordered longshore workers back to the job.
The drivers say that they are incorrectly classified as independent contractors, which leaves them with less workplace benefits and protections than if they were classified as employees. They say they often make less than the minimum wage after the trucking companies they work for deduct money for gas, truck maintenance and other costs.
XPO Logistics to acquire French logistics firm Norbert
XPO Logistics will acquire French logistics firm Norbert Dentressangle in a deal valued at $3.53 billion including debt, as it seeks to become one of the largest providers of supply-chain services in the world.
Founder Norbert Dentressangle will sell his family’s 67 percent ownership in the Lyon, France-based company for approximately $240 per share, according to XPO. XPO, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, will then start a tender offer for the remaining stake at the same price.
This is the largest deal ever for XPO Chief Executive Officer Brad Jacobs, who’s made a career building companies through hundreds of acquisitions.
"This was a transformative acquisition for us," said Jacobs in an interview. "It really puts us on the map in terms of critical mass, but it’s just the beginning."
BNSF Logistics acquires wind energy assets of 3PL Vectora
BNSF Logistics announced the acquisition of the wind energy related assets and contracts of Vectora Transportation, a third-party logistics provider specializing in bulk commodities and dimensional cargo transport solutions.
"Vectora’s tower fixture technology and market position in the wind energy arena are the perfect complement to BNSF Logistics’ existing service portfolio supporting wind energy logistics activity," said Ray Greer, BNSF Logistic’s president, in the statement. "Combining these capabilities with our new Blade Runner ocean and rail transport solutions will enable BNSF Logistics to provide turnkey solutions virtually anywhere in the world, with the goal of driving down the onerous logistics expenses that challenge the wind energy industry."
BNSF reports that Vectora Transportation has been performing seminal work in the wind logistics industry with their exclusive adjustable saddles that accommodate multiple tower sizes. As blade lengths and tower sizes continue to grow, Vectora’s solutions for tower movement paired with BNSF Logistics’ new Blade Runner service. Fixtureless blade transportation will offer a comprehensive logistics solution to accommodate larger components for the Wind Energy sector, according to the statement.
L.A. labor arbitrator files lawsuit accusing union boss of retaliation
David Miller, a 64-year-old arbitrator of labor disputes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, filed a lawsuit last month in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing ILWU President Robert McEllrath of retaliating against him because he wouldn’t sign off on an illegal work action in 2011.
Miller's refusal, the suit alleges, led McEllrath to take revenge by insisting that Miller be fired as a condition of the new West Coast port labor contract that union and shipping officials negotiated.
In February, sources close to the negotiations told The L.A. Times that Miller's fate was the main sticking point in the talks.
According to the new tentative contract, current local arbitrators (including Miller) will be replaced within two weeks of the tentative contract's approval by union members and shipping companies.
Maersk: Crew of container ship seized by Iran is safe
Shipping giant Maersk Line said on Wednesday the crewmembers of the Maersk Tigris container ship are safe and "in good spirits" after Iranian authorities seized the vessel in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday.
Iranian patrol boats fired warning shots as they intercepted the vessel, elevating tensions in one of the world's busiest oil shipping lanes and spurring the U.S. to send military vessels to monitor the situation.
The 65,000-ton, Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris is managed and crewed by Rickmers Ship Management but on hire to Maersk Line.
Maersk said it was in dialogue with the Danish Foreign Ministry and seeking more information, as it still did not know the reason for the diversion of the Maersk Tigris.
Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization said a court had ordered the ship seized after ruling against Maersk Line in a case about debts brought by Pars Talaie, an Iranian company.