Thursday, Decembe 27, 2007
Vancouver ports to amalgamate Jan 1
FRASER River, North Fraser, and Vancouver, B.C., port authorities become one on Jan 1, 2008, the ports announced Dec 21, after receiving confirmation that the Canadian federal government has issued a “Certificate of Amalgamation” to combine the three ports.
The VFPA’s 11-member Board of Directors also will be announced Jan 1.
The amalgamated port, named the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, is a key policy measure under the government’s “Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.”
The provincial government also has voiced its support for the amalgamation.
As part of the amalgamation process, the three port authorities have developed blended functional teams, which include representatives from each authority who have been working cooperatively since early 2007 toward the same amalgamation goals.
The amalgamated port will be “well positioned to better coordinate port planning and develop new investment opportunities that will facilitate the circulation of goods to and from foreign markets,” said the announcement.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will operate from the three existing port offices located in New Westminster, in Richmond, and at Canada Place in Vancouver.
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
IRS fines FedEx $319mn
THE INTERNAL Revenue Service has slammed FedEx Corp. with a $319mn fine and penalties after determining that FedEx Ground workers were indeed employees, the company said in a public filing Dec 21.
This follows a decision last month by the California Supreme Court, which refused to review an appeals court ruling that single route drivers in the state were misclassified.
FedEx drivers are currently classified as independent contractors. As such, the drivers do not receive benefits and are prevented from organizing under federal labor laws.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa commented, “It’s a fundamental fact that FedEx has been skirting the law, and the Teamsters welcome the IRS decision. It’s game over for FedEx’s independent contractor scam.”
Since the $319mn fine covers only 2002, FedEx could face additional penalties totaling more than $1bn after the IRS completes its investigation into the company’s employment practices.
“The IRS has tentatively concluded, subject to further discussion with us, that FedEx Ground’s pick-up-and-delivery owner-operators should be reclassified as employees for federal employment tax purposes,” FedEx said in its filing.
YRC to buy Shanghai Jiayu Logistics
YRC Worldwide Inc. Dec 20 announced that YRC Logistics has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Shanghai Jiayu Logistics Co. Ltd.
One of the largest providers of less-than-truckload ground transportation services in China, the company has more than 30,000 customers, 1,800 employees, and a network of more than 3,000 vehicles, according to the press release.
“The acquisition of Jiayu allows us to provide reliable ground transportation and is the next step in building a comprehensive portfolio of logistics services for our customers in China,” said Bill Zollars, chairman, president, and CEO of YRC Worldwide.
“Jiayu has outstanding technology, comprehensive network coverage throughout China, and a solid management team who will stay with the company,” said Jim Ritchie, president of YRC Logistics.
YRC Logistics will acquire 65% of the stock of Jiayu “for between $29.5mn$43mn, based on Jiayu’s final 2007 financial performance.”
YRC Logistics expects to purchase the remaining 35% interest in 2010 for an amount not to exceed $32mn.
All payments will be made in Chinese yuan, and the dollar equivalents are estimated, said the press release.
Friday,Decembe 28, 2007
Maersk increases rates from US, Canada
MAERSK LINE Dec 27 announced that the company will implement a general rate increase on shipments from the US and Canada to the Far East, effective Jan 1, 2008.
The level of increase will be $160 per TEU (dry), $200 per FEU (dry and high cube), and $220 per 45-ft-high cube container, according to the announcement.
Affected shipments are those from the US and Canada to Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, said the company.
“The GRI is a direct result of the high fuel costs as well as the strong export market growth to the Far East, resulting in a continuous pressure on equipment and space in key export origin locations,” said the announcement.
“The increase will apply to all cargo under Maersk Line independent tariffs and service contracts as agreed with our customers individually,” said the announcement.
OSHA seeks public comments on shipyards
PUBLIC comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment are being sought by the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency announced Dec 20.
OSHA will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule until Mar 19, 2008.
“Working in shipyards is one of the most hazardous occupations in the nation,” said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
“Shipyard employees perform industrial operations such as abrasive blasting and welding, operate heavy equipment, and often work in confined spaces onboard vessels. This proposed rule would help reduce the hazards these employees face.”
Proposed updates include establishing minimum lighting for certain worksites, accounting for employees at the end of work-shifts if they work in confined spaces or alone in isolated spaces, and adding uniform criteria to ensure shipyards have an adequate number of appropriately trained first aid providers.
Interested parties may submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/.
The proposed rule aims to help reduce hazards and provide greater protection for shipyard employees, said the agency.
Ko to lead new office at Port of Seattle
AFTER establishing a new Office of Social Responsibility at the Port of Seattle, CEO Tay Yoshitani Dec 26 announced the appointment of Elaine Ko as its director, to start on Jan 22, 2008.
The port’s Office of Social Responsibility will “manage the port’s small business initiative and other existing programs, expand outreach efforts, and develop new projects,” said the announcement.
Since 2006, Ko has served as executive director of the InterIm Community Development Association, Seattle, which facilitates community development in Seattle’s International District.
Ko also has extensive experience as a small business owner and as an advocate for women and minorities.
“There was substantial interest in this position from local and international communities, and our decision was very difficult because of the high quality of candidates we saw,” said Yoshitani.
“Elaine brings the right mix of skills to the position, and will be able to represent and engage all the ethnic groups and community organizations that work with the Port of Seattle, and will reach out effectively to groups we have not yet been able to touch,” added Yoshitani.
Port of Seattle
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