Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for October 20 through October 24, 2014:
Monday, October 20, 2014
ILWU workers walk out at Port of Portland over wage dispute
Photo credit: Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian
Struggles continue between the ILWU and ICTSI Oregon, the operator of Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland. An ILWU walkout Thursday closed the terminal, according to an ILWU statement.
ILWU Local 40 clerks walked off the job at 9:30 am PST, effectively closing Terminal 6 in Portland for the remainder of the day.
A representative of Terminal 6 reportedly said, "As for a gate tomorrow we will hire a full complement of labor and hope that they will return to work."
Since the West Coast ILWU contract expired July 1, labor workers can't be ordered back to work.
According to a statement from ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent released Friday afternoon, the collective bargaining agreement between Hanjin and ICTSI expired on July 1. Because there is no contract, she said the no-strike clause is no longer in force, and the same is true for any arbitration procedure.
"On Wednesday, ILWU Local 8 took legally protected collective action against ICTSI in an attempt to resolve specific grievances involving pay issues," said Sargent in the statement. "ILWU Local 40, which represents marine clerks, followed Thursday."
"There are multiple pay disputes and associated grievances related to ICTSI’s mismanagement of Terminal 6 that are causing workers to exercise their legally protected right to collective action," the statement continued. "ILWU-represented longshore workers and marine clerks would like to resolve the disputes and return to work. ICTSI was informed both on both Wednesday and Thursday that work would resume upon resolution of the grievances. ICTSI's refusal to resolve the pay disputes is what has caused longshore workers to continue exercising their legally protected collective action."
The Port of Portland announced in late August that it would cancel an agreement with the ILWU concerning two reefer jobs, due to a fall in productivity at Terminal 6.
Port Metro Vancouver to implement new truck licensing system
Port Metro Vancouver said it would soon finalize details of a new container truck licensing system that will address some congestion issues by balancing the number of registered trucks with the amount of available work.
In spring, container truck drivers, who said they were not making a living wage due to undercutting and long terminal wait times, went on strike, eventually winning a 12 percent hike for round-trip rates and a minimum hourly rate for drivers.
"There are too many trucks registered for the work that is required, which has caused intense competition between trucking companies, not enough work for many truckers and reports of the undercutting of agreed rates," according to a statement.
Port Metro Vancouver says it reached this conclusion after a detailed analysis of GPS data from the 2000 trucks registered to serve the port.
The port noted that the new licensing system, to take effect February 2015, will set new criteria for licensing and everyone will have to re-apply. It said it would also establish a program to ease the transition by assisting owner-operators who do not meet the new system's entry requirements.
Virginia ports’ truck congestion in September undermines profits
Despite a boost in exports at the Port of Virginia in September, truck congestion may be depleting the port's operating income.
The Virginia Port Authority, which operates terminals in Portsmouth, Newport News and Norfolk, said in September the ports handled a total of 201,113 TEUs, an 8.6 percent increase year-over-year. This is the port’s third consecutive month in which volume has exceeded 200,000 TEUs.
Although container cargo amounts continue to increase, the Virginia Port Authority only generated $102,827 in operating income last month – although it is a major improvement from this time last year, when the port authority was millions of dollars in the red.
Since July 1, the port posted a $4.3 million profit during the first three months of the first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year. That’s up from a $3.4 million loss during the same period last year – which capped six consecutive years of operating losses.
"The heavy volumes and profitability continue, but our delivery service to the motor carriers is not acceptable," said John Reinhart, Virginia Port Authority CEO and executive director. "We are pushing our capacity limits at both Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). We’re already working vessels at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, and that move is designated to provide a measure of relief to VIG and NIT, but our truck gates and service time remain an immediate area of focus."
In September, truck volume increased 21 percent, with 76,782 TEUs transported by truck last month – 13,359 more TEUs than handled in September 2013.
"As a result, we’re experiencing congestion at our truck gates and increased time turn-times," Reinhart said. "This is putting a service burden on our motor carriers."
Reinhart said weekend truck gate hours have been extended to better manage peak season volume, all while incurring extra costs. He added that volume incentive priced into contracts with some cargo also caused revenues to dip in September.
Great Lakes ports experience robust shipping season
Ports up and down the Great Lakes are experiencing a strong shipping season, with many struggling to keep up with cargo volumes that have returned to pre-recession levels.
According to numbers compiled by the American Great Lakes Ports Association, the region is experiencing the highest volumes since 2006.
"People are buying and selling and there's product that's needed and wanted -- and it's being shipped," said Laura Blades, a spokeswoman for the ports association.
"Even ports like Oswego (NY) and Erie (PA) are up. It's kind of the race to make up for the bad weather at the start of the season and the final push to get the shipping done before winter."
The volume of international freight coming through the Port of Cleveland is up nearly 20 percent over last year. David Gutheil, the vice president of maritime and logistics at the Port of Cleveland, said rising steel imports are a sign of increased manufacturing.
Betty Sutton, the administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said the Seaway and the ports deserve some credit for the region's economic comeback
"September marks the beginning of what is traditionally the busiest time of the shipping season, and the cargo moving through the U.S. ports serves as a positive indicator that the regional economy is healthy due in part to the maritime industry," she said in a statement. "The numbers speak for themselves - increases in tonnage were reported by all our ports and they expect that trend to continue through December."
Hapag-Lloyd ship snaps mooring in Sydney storm, hits two other ships
Expert maneuvers by tug boat operators and ship pilots avoided major damage to Sydney's commercial port on Tuesday night, after the super storm that hit the city snapped the mooring lines of a container ship, causing it to collide with another ship and shear the mooring lines of a third.
Hapag-Lloyd’s Kiel Express broke free from its mooring in Port Botany in Sydney, as category 2 cyclonic strength struck just before 9.30 p.m. Tuesday, causing a trail of destruction.
The 67,000-ton container ship cut the mooring of the OOCL Hong Kong, setting it free. The stern of the Kiel Express then crashed into a stationary Safmarine ship, the Makutu. The Kiel Express then swung around to collide side by side.
"I've been in the maritime industry for close to 30 years and I've never seen anything like this," Jason Sellars, a chief engineer on one of six tug boats called out for the emergency, said. The operation lasted some nine hours.
The Suez Canal Authorities has awarded a $1.5 billion expansion contract to a consortium consisting of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Netherlands), Van Oord, NMDC (Abu Dhabi) and Jan de Nul (Belgium), according to a Boskalis statement.
Each partner will be paid an equal share of $375 million to revamp the Suez Canal, an essential shipping link between Europe and Asia. The work on the expanded canal will in part run parallel to the current waterway and will in part involve widening and deepening parts of the existing channel.
The contract includes the construction of the parallel section of the Suez Canal approximately 50 kilometers long to allow ships to simultaneously transit in two directions. It also includes the widening and deepening of a number of existing sections to a depth of 78 feet, according to the statement.
The majority of the dredging activities for the canal expansion will be dug with 17 cutter suction dredgers. Boskalis noted the project will begin in 2014 and is expected to be complete in 2015.
Port of Long Beach issues temporary October demurrage waiver
The Port of Long Beach announced it will add an extra three days to the time that foreign import containers can remain on the docks without charge, to give cargo owners a break as the system works to eliminate cargo delivery delays.
From Saturday, Oct. 18, through Friday, Oct. 31, the "free" time has been extended from four to seven business days, according to the port website. BCOs usually plan to pick up imported cargo containers within free time or face "demurrage" or storage fees. The port cannot waive demurrage retroactively.
Due to a boost in cargo shipments arriving for the peak holiday shopping season, the advent of larger ships that can carry 50 percent more cargo and a shortage of truck chassis to haul containers, cargo at the port has been backed up in recent weeks.
"The terminal congestion is very unfortunate, and a truly exceptional occurrence, so I am using my authority to waive demurrage fees through the end of the month," said Jon Slangerup, chief executive of the Port of Long Beach.
Port of Long Beach officials say they are doing what they can to help terminal operators ease congestion and improve the flow of cargo.
"New Tango" service to adds Charleston to rotation
This week the SC Ports Authority received the first call of a new consolidated East Coast South America service that brings more post-Panamax vessels to Charleston.
The newly formed "New Tango" weekly service, the port authority says, includes Hamburg Süd/Aliança, Hapag-Lloyd/CSAV, as well as two carriers new to this trade in the Port of Charleston, NYK and Yang Ming.
New Tango provides weekly and direct service from the East Coast of North America to the East Coast South America. The port rotation, according to CSAV, is Philadephia – Norfolk – Charleston – Jacksonville – Port Everglades – Suape – Santos – Buenos Aires – Rio Grande – Itapoa – Santos – Rio de Janeiro – Salvador – Pecem – Port Elizabeth.
"This service will increase the frequency of post-Panamax vessels calls Charleston, and with additional ship capacity we expect to boost our volumes in this important trade route," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "Consolidations like the 'New Tango' reflect the importance of deepening the Charleston harbor to 52 feet in order to provide unrestricted access to our container terminals."
The authority said top cargoes on this trade with Brazil and Argentina include tires and auto parts, agricultural commodities, food products, forest products, manufacturing inputs and beverages.
U.S. and Mexico sign deal to smooth global trade
The U.S. and Mexico inked a deal this week to facilitate more cooperation regarding global cargo, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The goal of the arrangement is to connect two industry partnership programs, so that together they create a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade.
U.S. CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and the head of Mexico's Tax Administration Service (SAT), Chief Aristóteles Núñez Sánchez, signed a mutual recognition arrangement that allows stronger collaboration between CBP's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and SAT's New Certified Companies Scheme.
The goal of the arrangement, according to the CBP, is to connect the two industry partnership programs, so that together they create a unified security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade.
The arrangement, the statement said, provides tangible and intangible benefits to program members to include: fewer exams when shipping cargo, a faster validation process, common standards, efficiency for Customs and business, transparency between Customs administrations, business resumption, front-of-the-line processing, and marketability.
The signing was held in San Diego at the executive steering committee meeting of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico.
"I am pleased to be here to join Chief Núñez in the signing of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement," said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. "This is a significant milestone for both the United States and Mexico and the facilitation of secure trade between the two countries."
Tug tows Russian container ship off B.C. coast
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel towed a disabled Russian container ship away from British Columbia’s northern coast.
The operation began Friday night when the crew of the Gordon Reid managed to secure a tether to the Simushir.
The vessel lost power Thursday night in rough water off Haida Gwaii, also called the Queen Charlotte Islands, while traveling from Washington state to Russia, hauling solvents and mining equipment.
The CKYHE Alliance — comprised of China Ocean Shipping, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ("K" Line), Yang Ming Marine Transport, Evergreen Marine Corp, Hanjin Shipping and Evergreen Marine Corp — announced this week it would extend its arrangement to U.S. trade in the first quarter of 2015.
"In US trade, CKYHE will follow the same pattern of cooperation that the alliance members have successfully used in trade between Asia and Europe, as well as the Mediterranean, during the past year," the alliance said in a statement.
The expanded cooperation will allow carriers greater operational flexibility, permitting them to offer broader port coverage, increased frequency of sailings and stable transit times.
After receiving regulatory approval, the container carriers will come up with a target implementation date in the spring of next year.
China Shipping and Alibaba create global shipping logistics platform
China Shipping Group and Alibaba have created a new logistics platform to increase the efficiency of global trade that will benefit both Chinese and Brazilian companies, according to industry experts.
According to the agreement, Alibaba will contribute its online operating team and promote the platform to its millions of customers, while China Shipping, will guarantee shipping space and related logistical services.
Alibaba, along with China Shipping Network Technology and China Shipping Container Lines, two arms of China Shipping Group, announced in the summer that the three companies would construct an integrated platform for international shipping.
The new joint company, named Yihaitong in Chinese, officially went online on Sept 18 and will oversee the operation of the e-shipping platform.
Customers can access the platform for online logistic price inquiries, ordering, settlements and goods tracking. It is the first Chinese e-shipping platform covering both land and sea transport, plus customs clearance.
Container volumes through the Port of Tacoma surged in September, posting a 20 percent year-over-year gain due to handling larger container ships and the typical surge at the end of peak season, according to a port statement.
Tacoma handled 225,890 TEUs last month, its busiest month since September 2005 when (216,430 TEUs).
The port handled 1.6 million TEUs through September, a 10 percent increase year-to-date. Its container imports grew 13 percent year-to-date to 590,418 TEUs, while exports improved 9 percent to 418,713 TEUs, the statement said. Domestic cargo volume at the Washington port posted a 4 percent gain year to date to 355,766 TEUs.
The Seaport Alliance, which is pending review by the Federal Maritime Commission, aims to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway, uniting the management of the terminals at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to attract more cargo.
Israel Corp to spin off Zim container line to Kenon Holdings
Israeli holding company Israel Corp announced it would split in two and its 32 percent share of Zim Integrated Shipping Services will be transferred to the new spin-off company, Kenon Holdings.
The holding company released more details of the massive restructuring it plans to implement by the end of 2014. Israel Corporation also announced that Avisar Paz, its current chief financial officer, will take over as CEO after the restructuring is complete.
Zim made a full-year net loss of $535 million in 2013 and a net loss of $129 million in the first six months of 2014, according to the company.
Israel Corp will invest $100 million into Kenon Holdings, which will be incorporated in Singapore and listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at $1.5 billion and also in New York. It will also provide Kenon with a $200 million credit line and assume $300 million in guarantees it had pledged to Chinese auto maker Qoros.
Since the Israeli military's attack on the Gaza region of Palestine in August, Zim ships have been the targeted by protests at U.S. ports.
Eleven crewmembers of German cargo ship Jana, which has been stranded in an Eastern Newfoundland port have not been paid for four months, a union official says.
The Jana has been tied up in Argentia since it had engine problems about a month ago, according to Gerard Bradbury, who works with the International Transport Workers Federation.
"The problem is now is they have no fresh fruit, bread, milk or so forth aboard the ship. That's a concern right now," said Bradbury, whose union is trying to assist the crew. He said they have been told that they will get their money this week.
The crew of three Russians and eight Ukrainians are together owed about $130,000 in back wages, Bradbury said.
The Jana has been berthing at different ports in recent months, since its owners went into receivership.
Long Beach port head: Delays in cargo movement up to 5 days
Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said the movement of goods at the port is delayed by three to five days due to congestion.
Slangerup, who participated in a town hall last week with Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 and other industry leaders, said the efficiency of the supply chain system is a near-term concern because congestion at the port continues to worsen.
"The supply chain from origin to destination is stressed; in some cases, it’s flawed," Slangerup said. "It doesn’t function as an integrated system. In order to remain competitive going forward, we must figure out a way to make the entire supply chain operate as a single system."
The port head also called the chassis situation a "mismanaged mess."
Las week Slangerup proposed a plan to buy and manage chassis — or trailers that attach to trucks and are used to load cargo containers — to help relieve the chronic bottlenecks.
Olvera asserted hiring more dockworkers would move cargo faster, noting that the ILWU has not been able to hire and train casuals to operate machines for seven years.
"Sometimes we have problems filling forklift jobs because we don’t have men trained," he said. "They’re still sitting in the casual hall waiting seven or eight years to be hired."
The Center for International Trade and Transportation meeting, called "Global Trends, Local Impacts, Big Decisions," explored major trends in trade.
CMA CGM recently announced the purchase of more than 7,000 40-foot high cube reefer containers, including 6,000 low consumption engines.
"These investments strengthen CMA CGM’s leader’s position in reefer transport, which will become the most important vehicle of sensitive goods transport in the following years to come," said Alexis Michel, senior vice president of Logistics and Reefer for the container line.
With its reefer fleet of 185,000 TEUs, CMA CGM is increasing its reefer volume by 13 percent a year. It said it is ranked second in reefer transport, hauling 850,000 TEUs of refrigerated cargo annually.
The French container line said it intends to transport one million 20-foot reefer containers before 2015.
Stockpiles of Alaska oil stranded at Valdez port awaiting transport
Barrels of oil from Alaska’s North Slope are piling up as tanker maintenance slows loading, forcing the U.S. crude to trade at a discount for the first time since 2010.
Stockpiles of oil at the Valdez terminal, the loading point for Alaskan oil, have averaged 4.38 million barrels this month, the most for October since 2009, according to the Alaska Revenue Department’s website show.
Tanker repairs have diminished the pool of available ships, said terminal operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.
As refiners on the U.S. West Coast turn elsewhere for supplies, prices of oil from the North Slope may be further devalued, as California brings in a record volume of oil from other states, as well as from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Alaskan oil "is cheap and there’s a lot of it because it’s sitting in Valdez," David Hackett, president of energy consulting company Stillwater Associates in Irvine.
Singapore port opens $50M extension to logistics terminal
Belgian logistics giant Katoen Natie opened a $50 million extension to its Port of Singapore Jurong Logistics Terminal on Jurong Island, increasing the terminal's capacity by 45 per cent.
The extra capacity will be taken up by new logistics contracts with three chemical producers - Borouge, Evonik and Lanxess - which should return combined revenues of about $250 million over the next five years.
The 162,000-square-meter port terminal features silos and packaging lines. Clients introducing new products in the region can also tap on Katoen Natie's pre-marketing logistics.
"Before the start-up of a new production plant on Jurong Island, Katoen Natie will work with the customers to import the product into Singapore to blend and pack for shipping from Singapore," explained Koen Cardon, chief executive of Katoen Natie Singapore.
"The petrochemical output of Jurong Island has already surpassed the total production output of countries such as Brazil, France, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium," Cardon said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.