Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for November 10 through November 14, 2014:

Monday, November 10, 2014

ILWU and PMA tussle about slowdowns at Seattle and Tacoma ports as congestion continues to plague West Coast ports

Port workers are being sent home, agriculture shipments are threatened, and truck drivers are at a standstill due to congestion caused by alleged work slowdowns by labor at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, which the union vehemently denies.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal employers, have been in contract talks since May to replace a six-year agreement that expired on July 1.

According to Wade Gates, a spokesman for the PMA, Seattle and Tacoma ILWU locals have slowed container movement at the ports from 25 to 30 containers per hour to 10 to 18 per hour.

Gates accused the ILWU of "reneging on an agreement" to keep normal operations going while contract negotiations continue.  

"This is a bold-face lie," the ILWU responded in its own statement, noting that the two sides have disagreed for decades on what "normal operations" look like, so agreeing to maintain them would be difficult.

"Congestion at key ports is the result of three factors – some of which is from employer mismanagement, according to industry experts," said ILWU spokesperson Craig Merrilees, who pointed out challenges that include a shortage of truck drivers, truck chassis, and rail car capacity to haul cargo away from the docks.

In response to the alleged labor action, terminal operators have started sending union workers home early, further adding to the slowdown at the terminals.

"We are experiencing congestion at the terminal gates, terminals are filling up with containers and ships are being delayed from leaving," said Port of Tacoma spokeswoman Tara Mattina. "We know these delays affect every part of the supply chain — especially truck drivers, cargo owners and Eastern Washington farmers trying to get their products to market."

The slowdown also threatens to worsen congestion at the Southern California ports.

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are also struggling with cargo backlogs and delays for at least the first two reasons, but no port official would say the labor force is slowing down. The supply of chassis, which used to be managed by shipping lines, has recently been taken over by private leasing companies. The transition has been "bumpy," according to a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.

Ryan Nesbitt, who runs the international logistics of an apple-shipping company in Yakima, said he has 100 containers of apples sitting at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma that should have been shipped by now.

He is most worried about the truckers who haul his produce to the ports. Each container is refrigerated and once the container is loaded on a truck, the driver is responsible for those apples — meaning when they are sitting at the ports for days waiting to be loaded, they have to pay to keep the generators running and apples refrigerated.

"The truckers are footing the bill for that," Nesbitt said. "Those are not the guys who should be the ones suffering from this."

The congestion comes at the tail end of peak shipping season, when retailers are moving goods into place for holiday shopping.

Nick Vyas, director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at USC said most holiday goods have already moved through the ports, but if a store finds it needs to order more of a product to meet demand, it could face problems.

For more of the Seattle Times story:

For more of the KPCC story:

More than 100 trade groups appeal to President Obama to intervene in West Coast port labor talks

On Thursday a large group of associations representing U.S. manufacturers, farmers, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, and transportation and logistics providers wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, expressing worry that current disruptions at West Coast ports could escalate into a complete shutdown and asking for federal intervention.

The letter to the president was signed by more than 100 organizations, including the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations, the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assoc. of Northern California, the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders of Washington State, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The group said they were concerned about a breakdown in current contract negotiations for dockworkers at West Coast ports, whose contract expired July 1.

While the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association stated earlier this year that they would continue operations throughout the negotiations, the letter cited crisis levels of congestion at the ports that have disrupted the flow of goods since September. They voiced worries about the sudden change in tone from the ILWU and the PMA, who have observed mutual silence throughout the talks, but just recently issued press releases accusing each other of reneging on this commitment.

The organizations said they want to see an agreement reached without any shutdowns or further disruptions, and think that "immediate action is necessary and the federal government should intervene" to head off a shut-down and keep the parties at the table.

The letter asks that federal measures be implemented, including asking parties to work with a federal mediator or having the FMCS monitor the negotiations. The associations said that if a strike or lockout occurs, the consequences would warrant the president invoking the Taft-Hartley Act.

The group said the mere worry that a full shutdown of every West Coast port may occur is creating high levels of uncertainty in a fragile economic climate, forcing businesses to undertake contingency plans that come at a significant cost to jobs and the U.S. economy.

Indonesian president announces $6B in port expansions

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is targeting nearly $6 billion in projects to expand ports across the his country, where investors are deterred by logistics costs.

Improving maritime and transport infrastructure is one of the leader’s main strategies to reinvigorate Southeast Asia’s No. 1 economy, which is growing at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis.

Widodo plans to expand five ports on the nation’s main islands to reduce shipping delays and boost trade, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo said in an interview this week. The government will also cut red tape that keeps yachts and cruise liners away, he said.

The government needs $5.8 billion to expand five major ports in north Sumatra, Jakarta, east Java, south Sulawesi and Papua in order to serve large vessels and build feeder lines for smaller ports, said Soesilo, without providing a timeframe for project completion.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Sunoco Logistics moves forward with $2.5B Marcellus Pipeline

Sunoco Logistics Partners has green-lighted plans to build a pipeline that will carry natural gas liquid from the Marcellus and Utica shale areas in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, according to a company statement.

The company, a master limited partnership formed by Sunoco parent Energy Transfer Partners, announced it will invest $2.5 billion in Mariner East 2. The Philadelphia company announced they have sufficient commitment from shippers for the new pipeline.

Mariner East 2 is expected to carry up to 275,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids such as propane, butane and ethane, quadrupling the amount moving through the Philly area, the statement said.

For Mariner East 2, the logistics firm said it plans to construct a pipeline from processing and fractionation complexes in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio for transport to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex.

Sunoco said it plans to build new facilities at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex to store, chill, process and distribute propane, butane and ethane for distribution to local, domestic and international markets. It also plans to plans to offer intrastate and interstate movements to meet the demands of various markets.

Mariner East 2 is expected to be compete by the end of 2016, subject to regulatory and permit approvals, according to the statement.

Worker injured at New York Container Terminal

A worker was injured while operating a front-end loader at the New York Container Terminal at Howland Hook in Mariners Harbor Wednesday, according to a NY/NJ Port Authority spokesman.

The worker was operating the loader at 8:50 p.m. when the container slipped and struck the cab, the spokesman said. He was able to get out and walk to an ambulance when emergency responders arrived.

An FDNY spokesman said the man, who is about 50-years-old, suffered multiple lacerations of his head and arms, but no life threatening injuries.

For more of the Staten Island Live story:


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Port management says L.A.-Long Beach dockworkers staging slowdown

The Pacific Maritime Association said that dockworkers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are staging a slowdown to gain the upper hand in West Coast port contract negotiations.

In recent weeks, ships have been forced to wait off the Los Angeles coastline for days, as they wait for cargo on the docks to clear. Employers at the country’s largest port complex, which is plagued with the worst congestion in a decade, says labor slowdowns began Monday, Nov. 10.

PMA said the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is refusing to deploy hundreds of workers that transport cargo containers at terminals.

A union spokesman did not respond to the accusations, saying only that contract negotiations are ongoing.

"The ILWU’s orchestrated job actions are threatening the West Coast’s busiest ports and potentially billions of dollars in commerce," Pacific Maritime Assn. spokesman Wade Gates said in a statement.

The congestion is caused by many factors, including a surge of final holiday shipments, an increase of massive container ships that are inundating the docks with cargo, and a shortage of truck chassis.

Now, management says dockworkers are contributing to the problem.

"Workers are frustrated because employers have delayed action for years on the underlying issues that created the port congestion – including many of their own making – and have also been delaying resolution of the contract talks for many months," said union spokesman Craig Merrilees in an email.

On Monday the PMA accused the union of slowing down operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.

The union, in response, called the statement that such an agreement was reached a "bold-faced lie." It said the two sides have never agreed on what "normal" operations are.

"PMA’s media offensive is designed to smear the union and to deflect responsibility from a growing congestion problem that is plaguing major West Coast ports," the union said Monday in a statement.

The National Retail Federation and more than 100 other business groups sent a letter last week to President Obama, urging that a federal mediator help the two parties reach an agreement.

For more of the Los Angeles Times story:

Drewry: Container carriers shifting to Suez Canal for Asia-U.S. East Coast trade

The trend towards shipping lines moving more Asia-U.S. East Coast container services through the Suez Canal route and fewer through the traditional Panama Canal route is escalating, according to the latest issue of Container Insight by Drewry Maritime Research.

Based on Drewry’s tracking of container services, another 2 Panama weekly services between Asia and the U.S. East Coast have been eliminated in the past year and were replaced by an additional Suez loop.

Only 62 percent of services in this trade lane (counted by the number of loops) now use the Panama Canal route, analysts say. During the forthcoming winter season, when the G6 alliance merges its NCE and SCE Panama Canal services into just one loop, the proportion is expected to fall to 60 percent.

Drewry says that Evergreen, the newest member of the CKYHE alliance, replaced its former independent Asia-Panama Canal-USEC "AUE" service (using 4,200-TEU vessels) with a joint Asia-Suez Canal-USEC "AWE8/AUE" service with Hanjin (using 8,200-TEU ships).

The Panama Canal route is now the less popular route – a huge turnaround from late 2009 when there were only three Suez routed services. Between October 2013 and October 2014, researchers note the Suez Canal route increased its share of total Asia-U.S. East Coast ship capacity from 44 percent to 52 percent.

Container Insight notes another development of concern for the Panama Canal is that the Asia-Suez Canal-U.S. East Coast route is now also making inroads into the Taiwan, Shanghai and Ningbo markets.

Another reason for the switch of carrier strategy, according to Drewry, is that bigger ships can be deployed on the Suez route, ships up to 7500-TEU. The Panama Canal’s maximum size limit right now is 5,000 TEUs. An extra Suez loop adds nearly twice as much capacity as an existing Panama loop.

In conclusion, Drewry says the primary reason carriers are switching to the Suez Canal is that they currently have a surplus of 8,000-TEU ships. Once the widened Panama Canal is open in 2016, Asia-U.S. East Coast services (other than those from South East Asia) will probably go back to the Panama Canal route, provided its new canal tolls (yet to be announced) are reasonable.

Charleston added to Hapag-Lloyd’s Atlantic Express service

Hapag-Lloyd is adding the Port of Charleston to a trans-Atlantic service that links the U.S. East Coast and northern Europe.

The changes are part of an expansion of the shipping line’s Atlantic Express 1 trade route "to further improve our service quality and schedule reliability," according to a company statement.

In the U.S., Atlantic Express 1 will make stops at three ports: New York, Norfolk, Va., and Charleston. The revised schedule notes four ship calls in Europe: Le Havre, France; Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Hamburg, Germany; and Southampton, England.

The expanded service deploys in Europe on Wednesday, November 12, when the MV Houston Express is expected to arrive in Le Havre.

The shipping company is deploying a fifth container vessel, MV Osaka Express, to the expanded itinerary. The 8,700-TEU Osaka Express is expected to make its first U.S. call as part of the Atlantic Express 1 rotation on Nov. 22 in New York, and is scheduled to arrive in Charleston Nov. 30.

For more of The Post and Courier story:

Maersk Line to pay $8.7M settlement to U.S. government

Maersk Line has agreed to pay the U.S. government $8.7 million as the result of a civil settlement regarding the firm’s failure to comply fully with its contract with the U.S. Transportation Command, or Transcom, which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.

The global shipping giant agreed to pay the civil settlement after a Transcom investigation that showed some claims for the shipment of cargo to U.S. military outposts in Afghanistan contained suspicious signatures, including some that were proven later to be forged, according to a news release.

"One can clearly see that in contracts of this magnitude, even a small percentage of fraud amounts to significant loss of funds," Wigginton said in the statement. "By this and other ongoing investigations, I am putting these world-wide contractors on notice that my office will not tolerate any fraudulent, false or unwarranted billings to the United States and its client agencies."

Wigginton said Maersk cooperated in the investigation.

For more of the BND story:

Brooklyn Bridge survives after being hit by cargo ship

The Brooklyn Bridge is in stable condition after a cargo shipped crashed into it Nov. 7. The Rainbow Quest was sailing south on the East River around 11 p.m. when its light tower collided with the bottom of the bridge.

Traffic on the bridge was halted for at least two hours as the Coast Guard and the NYPD Harbor Patrol surveyed the damage.

A spokesperson told CBS that the Department of Transportation had already scheduled a routine closure on the bridge later that evening.

No injuries were reported.

For more of the Gothamist story:


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

U.S. retail imports set volume record despite West Coast port issues

The nation’s major retail container ports experienced record imports in September and October, with an expectation that November cargo flow will slow down at the traditional tail end of peak season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

This year retailers brought merchandise into the U.S. early to get ahead of any possible shutdown of West Coast ports during contract negotiations to replace the 6-year dockworker contract that expired in July. The contract talks are ongoing, but trouble is brewing between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which is accusing the union of staging labor slowdowns at the ports of L.A., Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma.

The union says bigger container ships, a dearth of chassis, port mismanagement and long wait times for truckers is to blame for chronic congestion at West Coast ports.

"Retailers have done all they can to stock their shelves and build up inventories in case the worst should happen," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "We believe it’s time for President Obama to send in a federal mediator and do what it takes to reach an agreement that will work to the benefit of not just labor and management but all the businesses and consumers who depend on these ports."

The 1.59 million TEUs handled in September, the latest month for which concrete data is available, was up 10.9 percent year-over-year. Global Port Tracker forecasts that volume in October will be up 11 percent at 1.59 million TEUs, November up 3.9 percent at 1.4 million TEUs, and December up 3.3 percent at 1.36 million TEUs.

The lack of a contract and other operational problems have led to crisis-level congestion at the ports in recent weeks, according to NRF, prompting concern of a shutdown. NRF and more than 100 other business groups last week asked President Obama to send a federal mediator to help with negotiations.

NRF is forecasting 4.1 percent holiday season sales growth and 3.6 percent growth for 2014 overall.

Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.

A.P. Moller-Maersk profits up 33 percent on Maersk Line performance

A.P. Moller-Maersk posted a 33 percent surge in its third-quarter net profit, propelled by the strong performance of container carrier giant Maersk Line.

The parent company posted a net profit of $1.47 billion, compared with $1.13 billion in the same period of 2013, besting expectations of a $1.36 billion profit, according to the average forecast of five analysts.

Revenue increased to $12.17 billion in the quarter, compared with $12.08 in the prior-year period. The group kept its outlook for an underlying profit for the full year of around $4.5 billion.

Maersk Line posted a net profit boost to $685 million from $554 million a year ago. It expects its full-year net profit will be more than $2 billion, compared with its previous prediction of "significantly" above $1.5 billion.

"The improvement was achieved through lower costs and supported by an increase in the average freight rate," Maersk Line said.

With Asia-to-Europe freight rates still low, Maersk is depending on the 10-year 2M alliance it formed with Mediterranean Shipping Co. to further cut costs, especially fuel.

The 2M shipping lines expect to cut operational costs by a combined $1 billion annually. Industry experts say the alliance will carry around 35 percent of all goods moved between Asia and Europe, using a combined 185 ships, including 20 Triple-E vessels, the world’s largest container vessels.

"Maersk (Line) is looking at a very good full year boosted by its cost-efficiency strategy and lower fuel costs," said Jonathan Roach, a container-shipping analyst with London-based Braemar ACM Shipbroking.

The parent company, which also operates an oil unit and container terminals, is looking buy new assets with the advent of falling oil prices.

"It could be an oil field. We think it is cheaper to buy oil fields than oil exploration. On top of that, investing in container terminals could be an option," Chief Executive Nils Andersen said on a conference call.

For more of The Wall Street Journal story:

L.A./Long Beach port truckers seek mandate exemption to allow extended work hours

The Harbor Trucking Association said it would petition the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from a federal mandate that regulates when work hours for truck drivers, in order to allow drivers to work more hours to help fight current chronic traffic and delays at Southern California ports.

The current rules dictate a 34-hour reset period for truckers. Drivers are allowed to work 70 hours in an eight-day period or 60 hours in seven days.

"The ports are facing unprecedented congestion that the current hour of service rules did not take into account," said Alex Cherin, HTA executive director.

HTA Chairman Fred Johring said the rules are meant for long-haul drivers who are susceptible to road fatigue, which doesn’t affect port drivers, who travel shorter distances and spend long wait times in queue at the ports.

"The local drivers get to go home every night, so the necessity of stopping and resetting the clock isn’t as big of a safety concern for them," he said.

Currently terminals are closed on Sundays since there are no truckers to pick up cargo. Johring said many terminals would like to open seven days a week. The Long Beach Container Terminal has agreed to open its terminal on Sundays, and Johring expects others to follow suit.

"Depending on how successful we are on making this operationally feasible, we would like to see it be a permanent exemption to facilitate the flow of cargo from our ports, and we think there is application at other ports that are having congestion issues as well," Johring said.

For more of the Orange Country Register story:

Port of Virginia handles record cargo volume in October

The Port of Virginia announced it handled more than 220,000 TEUs in October, making it the busiest month in the port’s history.

"October was the fourth consecutive month of volume exceeding 200,000 units (TEUs), so the volume growth is strong," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "These volumes present a challenge to our delivery of efficient service to the motor carriers and we are fully engaged in port-wide efforts to improve throughput for trucks."

In October, the port handled 221,105 TEUs, an increase of 7 percent year-over-year, according to the statement. In a year-to-date comparison (Jan. – Oct. 2014 vs. Jan. – Oct. 2013) the port is handling 7.1 percent more than the same period last year—1,980,999 TEUs compared to 1,849,524 TEUs.

"We continue to push our capacity limits at VIG and NIT and it is clear that this is having a negative effect on our gates," Reinhart said. "We have Portsmouth Marine Terminal on-line and productive, and we co-hosted the Port Productivity Summit with the Virginia Maritime Association, which yielded some valuable insight from industry partners."

"The wait-times for drivers are simply too long and we are working to address that. The congestion is not a problem unique to The Port of Virginia and we are working with stakeholders to deliver improved service."

In October, the VPA said truck volume increased by 8.7 percent. The port moved 81,375 containers by truck in October—6,518 more than those handled in October 2013.

Year-over-year, the statement said rail volume is up 3.9 percent, barge containers up 12.3 percent, truck containers up 8.6 percent, ship calls up 4.1 percent, and vehicle units have increased by 5 percent.

Arrest results from sting operation at Port of Baltimore

This week, Maryland State Troopers led a three-day sting along with Homeland Security and several other police agencies to discover what’s coming in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

Troopers set up a checkpoint on I-95 in Cecil County, inspecting drivers, vehicles and the cargo carried. The officers inspected at least 100 cargo vehicles, finding 30 with violations and arresting one fugitive from Virginia.

Troopers said the operation could become a model for other agencies to target illegal cargo at ports across the country.

For more of the CBS Baltimore story:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Horizon Lines sells Hawaii operations to Pasha, Alaska ops to Matson

Horizon Lines intends to sell its Hawaii operations to The Pasha Group for $141.5 million, and its Alaska operations to Matson shipping company for $69.2 million, according to company statements.

The Pasha Group, a family-owned global logistics and transportation company, said the transaction would greatly expand its current offerings for shipping between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii.

Pasha announced it would acquire certain subsidiaries of Horizon, constituting mainly Horizon’s Hawaii trade-lane business, to include four Jones Act container ships. Following Pasha’s acquisition of Horizon’s Hawaii operations, Matson will acquire Horizon, pursuant to a merger.

"Since Pasha entered the Hawaii transportation circuit nearly 10 years ago, we have elevated the quality of customer service," said George Pasha, IV, president and CEO. "With this acquisition, we will supplement that service and provide an improved, more competitive offering on the Hawaii trade lane."

Horizon's Alaska service consists of two weekly sailings from Tacoma to Anchorage and Kodiak, and a weekly sailing to Dutch Harbor.  In addition to the three container ships, Horizon has a reserve steam powered Jones Act containership for dry-dock relief.

Horizon intends to shut down its Puerto Rico liner operations by the end of 2014, the statement said. 

"The acquisition of Horizon's Alaska operations is a rare opportunity to substantially grow our Jones Act business," said Matt Cox, president and CEO of Matson. "Horizon's Alaska business represents a natural geographic extension of our platform as a leader serving our customers in the Pacific."

"We are encouraged by the long-term prospects of the Alaska market, which mirrors Hawaii in many operational ways, despite different underlying economic drivers. Both markets depend on reliable, superior and timely container cargo service as part of vital supply lifelines - hallmarks of the Matson brand."

The companies said the transactions are expected to close in 2015 after Horizon's shareholder approval and other closing conditions are met.

PMA and ILWU continue to blame each other for West Coast port delays

West Coast port labor talks are being threatened by tensions triggered by chronic delays in cargo flow at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma.

In the midst of contract negotiations to replace a 6-year dockworker contract at West Coast ports that expired in July, the Pacific Maritime Association has accused the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of deliberate slowdowns at the four named ports.

As of Nov. 11, 14 container ships were anchored waiting to enter the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where cargo delays have been escalating for the past month, worrying retailers about receiving last minute holiday merchandise.

The number of ships kept waiting daily outside the two ports ranged from about eight to 15 since the backups began, according to Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.

As management accuses the union of staging work slowdowns at ports in the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles and Long Beach, union officials deny organizing protest delays, while acknowledging that individual dockworkers may be acting out their frustration over the slow pace of contract talks.

The ILWU says the main reasons for the chronic gridlock include a shortage of chassis to haul containers out of the ports, which occurred after shipping lines decided to sell off their chassis to equipment leasing companies.

Other issues contributing to the port backups include a trucker shortage, rail delays and the advent of super-sized container ships delivering super-sized cargo volumes that take longer to unload.

"It's been kind of a perfect storm," said Sanfield.

For more of the Reuters story:

L.A.-Long Beach port truck drivers think about strike action

Four months after Mayor Eric Garcetti brokered a truce between L.A.-Long Beach port truckers and the companies they work for, drivers are once again thinking about going on strike.

The truckers addressed the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners last week, asking them to take action against trucking firms who they claim misclassify them as independent contractors instead of employees to avoid following labor laws and paying fair wages.

Drivers also said the companies have been retaliating against them by firing dozens of drivers.

"Something has to change," said truck driver Julio Cervantes to the commissioners. "What’s taking you so long to help us?"

The companies involved—Pacific 9 Transportation, Total Transportations Services, Inc. and Green Fleet Systems—have denied any wrongdoing and said the protests are an attempt by Teamsters to unionize drivers. They have denied claims of retaliation firing.

"Your continued inaction … will no longer be tolerated," said Robert Brandon, president of the San Pedro Democratic Club, at the meeting. "These port truck drivers are a vital part of the supply chain but they are treated like indentured servants."

The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, said at the meeting he understands the drivers’ plight and that "we will find ways to help." He said the port benefits if workers are paid fair wages.

As a part of the truce, the harbor commission was to investigate allegations regarding trucker safety, poor working conditions and unfair labor practices.

Seroka said there have been talks with drivers about alternative solutions and pledged that there would be "some momentum in the weeks ahead."

For more of the Press Telegram story:

CMA CGM bids on second container terminal at Africa’s Abidjan port

CMA CGM has joined the bidding to build and manage a second container terminal at Abidjan in Ivory Coast, according to China Shipping Container Lines.

The French shipping line said it would invest up to $312 million in the project. Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM’s director-general, said he broached the subject with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, reported Reuters.

"I met with the president to make the known the interest of CMA CGM to participate in the tender for the second container terminal of the Abidjan port," he said.

The competition for the contract to build and manage the new terminal is fierce. Port director Sie Hein told Reuters that approximately 20 container carriers, including Maersk and MSC, have already submitted bids.

The port, which already has one terminal with 800,000-TEU capacity run by Bolloré, intends to boost annual capacity by 1.5 million TEUs with the new terminal, which is scheduled for completion in 2016.

For more of the CSCL story:

8 missing after cargo ships collide

Eight crewmembers are missing after the Phuc Xuan 68 cargo ship collided with another ship, the Nam Vy 69, off the southern coast of Vietnam.

The Nam Vy 69 rammed the cargo hold of the Phuc Xuan 68, causing the ship to flood and sink at around 1.30 a.m., said Nguyen Ahn Vu, general director of the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center.

The crew of the Nam Vy rescued three sailors from the sunken Phuc Xuan, but eight other sailors from the Phuc Xuan remain missing.

For more of the Malay Mail story:


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