News - Shipping

Trucking Companies Upcoming Strike in Italy 

October 25, 2017

WSSA has learned that Italian trucking companies have announced they will strike Monday, October 30th and Tuesday, October 31st.  If the strikes do indeed happen, it is important to be aware that the positioning of containers might be affected on these days causing potential delays to shipments.

Strikes are somewhat of a reality in Italy and for this reason people are usually informed about them in advance so they can plan accordingly.

As always, WSSA will stay on top of this situation and keep you informed of any changes to the strike schedule as well as any disruptions and/or delays that might occur. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding specific containers/shipments.

Ports and Cargo Terminals Begin to Reopen

September 13, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, most of the Southeast ports are beginning to reopen.  Port Miami, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay and Port of Charleston reopened yesterday, September 12th.  The US Coast Guard and the Georgia Ports Authority also reopened Port Savannah as of this morning.

Although the reopening of ports is great news for the US Southeast supply chain, there were concerns as to when cargo/container terminals would follow the lead and reopen as well. Folks are anxious for schedules to resume and shipments to get back on track. Thankfully, Florida container terminals Seaboard Marine, SFTC and POMTOC announced that as of 8:00am EST, this morning, they began discharging containers. They also declared that loading of containers to multiple destinations will commence today as well.

Port of Charleston was able to reopen yesterday as they reported that they avoided significant impact from Irma.  All gates and terminals in Charleston resumed normal operational hours today. Port Savannah also stated that their Garden City and Ocean City terminals would resume normal operational hours as of 6:00am EST Wednesday.

It is still in the early stages of recovering from Hurricane Irma, but with container terminals and ports beginning to reopen, the US Coast Guard and port officials remain optimistic in their efforts in continuing to get all ports/terminals back up to running to their full capacity.

As always port and terminal updates can be found: www.gaports.comwww.miamidade.gov/portmiamiwww.scspa.com

We continue to keep our thoughts with all who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Irma and we are here to help in any way we can.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your shipments.

Florida and the US Southeast Coast Brace for Hurricane Irma

September 7, 2017

Following on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Irma will once again test the supply chain on the US Southeast Coast, as well as the Gulf Coast.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma, a classic Atlantic tropical storm, has sustained Category 5 cyclone status for nearly 2 days. It is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico and it will bring with it strong winds of more than 180 mph, storm surge and potential flooding. If Irma makes landfall as predicted, it will set a new record; the US has never experienced two storms of this magnitude within one hurricane season.

As of Wednesday, the US Coast Guard notified the Port of Miami, Port of Everglades, the Port of Palm Beach in South Florida, as well as Port Canaveral, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee, Jacksonville and Fernandina that port condition WHISKEY will go into effect. The condition was set due to the expected gale winds of 25pmh to 40mph arriving within next 72 hours.  Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons need to report to the US Coast Guard Captain at the port with their intention to depart or remain in port.  Along with this, the Coast Guard has advised any vessels bound for any South Florida ports unable to depart in the next 24 hours prior to these winds making landfall that these vessels should seek alternate destinations, as vessels are already changing routes and schedules ahead of the storm.

This morning, port officials at Port of Miami advised that the port offices remain open while it continues to monitor the storm system. However, terminal gates at POMTOC and SFTC are closed while Seaboard Marine remains open, receiving containers only. Cargo users are asked to contact Port of Miami’s container terminals directly to check on schedules and closures: www.miamidade.gov/portmiami.

The Albatrans office in Miami will be closed today to allow employees to safely evacuate in anticipation of the storm and the NY headquarters office will be receiving all calls for Miami business.

We will continue to track and monitor Hurricane Irma’s arrival and the effects to all US Southeast ports. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding specific containers/shipments.

Impact of Harvey Continues to Effect Texas Ports

August 31, 2017

Days after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Texas ports are still working on getting reopened. Task force officials, headed by the Coast Guard, are in the beginning stages of assessing the conditions of the ports to determine what needs to be done before vessels can begin returning to the ports.  As of Wednesday, the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Corpus Christi and Freeport were reopened for some vessel traffic including tugs and barges, but not without restrictions, and traffic is only allowed during daylight hours.  Deep-draft ships are still prohibited in all ports.

The Port of Houston, which oversees two thirds of U.S. Gulf container traffic, including 40-50 vessels going in and out every single day, is hoping to be up and running fully by September 4th. One of the biggest concerns causing the delays is the tremendous amount of water which is being dumped into the channel.  It is estimated that 20 trillion gallons of water has been brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

Port officials said they are taking it one day at time in hopes that the reopening of container terminals and warehouses can be fully functioning sooner rather than later, to avoid further interruption to shipments and port operations.  Steamship lines that were able to avoid the Houston ports before the storm hit, have begun rerouting vessels to other ports, but with the majority of the Texas ports still shutdown and/or not running to full capacity and no set date for resuming of regular schedules, customers have been warned that cargo shipments could see substantial delays.

The Journal of Commerce continues to update a helpful resource list that includes updates from logistics companies and transportation companies.

As always, if you any questions/concerns regarding your shipments in that area please, email us!

COSCO Takes Over OOCL Shipping Lines

July 27, 2017

After months of rumors, last week Cosco and Shanghi International Port Grp. (SIPG) put in an offer to acquire Orient Overseas International Grp (OOIL) and their container shipping line OOCL. If and when the two companies combine, Cosco plans to hold 90.1% of OOIL’s shares, while SIPG will hold the remaining 9.9% of the shares. OOIL and OOCL are known to be a well run company, and a trusted brand with substantial profits. The container line OOCL has a fleet of 66 vessels, with an estimated teu capacity of 440,000. With the combination of OOLC’s fleet and Coscos fleet of about 550 vessels, Cosco will become the third largest container shipping company in the world.
To read more about the potential merger, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Traffic Mitigation Fees Increase in California Ports!

July 11, 2017

As of July 1st, 2017, long-shore wage and assessment rates have a combined increase of 2.3% at the Ports of LA/LB. To match these adjustments, the West Coast MTO Agreement announced that the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will also increase by 2.3%, taking effect on August 1st, 2017.

Beginning August 1st, the TMF will be $72.09 per TEU or $144.18 per forty-foot container. This charge will only be on containers that are moved on weekdays, between 3:00am and 6:00pm. For containers moved during OffPeak shifts (6:00pm to 3:00am on weekdays or 8:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays), there will not be a TMF.

The use of OffPeak is intended to allow regular night and Saturday work shifts to handle the moving of containers via trucking at the 13 container terminals in the two adjacent ports. The OffPeak program was launched by PierPass in 2005, with the intent to reduce cargo-related congestion and air pollution on roads around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to address multi-terminal issues. PeirPass implemented TMF to help offset the cost of operating extended gate hours, leading to a reduction in labor costs. This fee is used as an incentive for cargo owners to use the OffPeak shifts to avoid TMF, as a result nearly half of all port truck trips presently take place during the OffPeak shifts.

According to an analysis by maritime industry consultants SC Analytics, in 2016 it cost the terminals $224.7 million to operate the OffPeak program. As a result of TMF, the terminals received $182.7 million that year, offsetting about 81% of the program’s costs.

Issues have been brought up in regards to the OffPeak program. The incurred issues include unjustified rate increases, gate operation inconsistencies, and PiersPass’s lack of correlation between the gate charge during the day versus during night operations.

We will continue to keep you informed of industry changes such as this one. If you have any questions, please contact us!  For more information about PeirPass, please visit their website.

Progress is Made with Spain Stevedores

June 30, 2017

Following the events involving the Spain stevedores union last week, 46 port companies decided to leave the ANESCO employers’ association. The companies signed a private agreement with the stevedores union, leading to the resignation of ANESCO’s president, Mr. Joaquim Coello, on Wednesday.
Yesterday, representatives of the “new” ANESCO met with representatives of the stevedores union and finally accepted their conditions. After the meeting, representatives of the union called off the remaining scheduled strike days.
Last week, the main Spanish ports/terminals were said to be operating normally. The congestion that resulted from the strike has been clearing up for both dry and refrigerated cargo. With this, Spanish ports are now accepting reefer containers again.
With the new agreements, the stevedores are expected to stop striking for at least the next three months. Negotiations for the 5th framework agreement for the Spanish stevedore sector will begin next week, but is not expected to be finalized until the end of September.
We will continue to keep you up to date on this matter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

ILA Possible Port Shutdown & March on Washington

March 1, 2017

Members of the International Longshoreman’s Association, from Maine to Texas are calling for a shutdown of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

In a press release, the union called for a “shut down of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and a march on Washington to protest job loss and the resulting negative impacts on America’s economy. The planned daylong protest in Washington will highlight hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports that purposely reduce the numbers of dockworkers, causing immeasurable damage to the nation’s economy.”

The date of the shutdown and march has not been announced, but word is expected next week.  We will keep our members informed of the situation and will pass along any updates as soon as they are available.

Additional Credit:  American Shipper, Chris Dupin; JOC, Joseph Bonney

Stevedores Strike at Spanish Ports

February 8, 2017

Our offices in Spain have recently advised us of issues occuring at the ports of Barcelona and Valencia. Specifically, the longshoremen at main terminals have slowed down their productivity, causing vessel operations delays as well as long wait times to pick up/deliver containers at the terminals. Now, there has been an official announcement of a Stevedoring Strike that will affect all the Spanish ports on February 20th, 22nd, and 24th.

The strike is to manifest the longshoremen’s non-conformity with the draft Royal Decree Law that the government of Spain is preparing, which will change the current working conditions of the stowage sector.

Fortunately, the official stoppage will be partial; on strike days the stevedores will be working one hour on and one hour off.

However, the slowing of port operations has already begun, and some vessels have already cancelled their calls to Spanish ports due to congestion. It is predictable that this situation will worsen in the coming weeks.

Chilean Customs Workers Strike

January 12, 2017

Our office in Chile has just informed us of a strike held by Chilean Customs workers beginning immediately and lasting through tomorrow. The Customs workers are waiting for an answer from the Chilean government on their request to receive a salary increase.

Please be aware that the strike could affect the normal flow of goods into and out of the ports. However, we are working with our contacts in Chile to mitigate any delays that may occur due to the strike.
We will keep you informed of any changes to this situation. If you have any questions or concerns about cargo movement, please feel free to contact us.

New Zealand Earthquake Port Operations Update

December 12, 2016

Our New Zealand office has sent us the below update on port operations following last month’s earthquake. Please see details below and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the movement of your cargo.

Wellington port still remains closed. As a result of the damage to the railway line some shipping lines are having difficulty repositioning their empty containers to Nelson and Blenheim ports. Additionally, there have been increased volumes from the region as many of the exporters want their tanks emptied. Containers are becoming scarce, primarily in the Marlborough region (Blenheim/Nelson).

We are working closely with our carrier partners to reposition equipment and getting daily updates as to availability of containers. Obviously, no freight is moving out of Wellington, thus we are moving cargo via Nelson and Tauranga accordingly. Please note that there may be delays, and send in your orders as early as possible so we can gain as much notice as possible for export bookings from Nelson and Blenheim. If there are deadlines to meet, please inform us in advance so we can do our best to accommodate!

Please contact WSSA or your local Albatrans office should you have any questions or need updates on specific shipments.

New Zealand Earthquake Impacts Cargo Flow

November 20, 2016

New Zealand’s South Island was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake just after midnight Sunday. The earthquake left some ports and rail systems damaged, forcing logistics slowdowns until structural checks are completed and damages repaired.

Our New Zealand office is reporting the following transport conditions:

  • Wellington – The port and depot are closed while damage assessments are taking place. Large parts of the city are without power, and it is anticipated that the port will remain closed for several days.
  • Lyttelton – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Timaru – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Nelson – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Large parts of the rail network from Palmerston North to Christchurch will be closed while KiwiRail undertake routine checks of tracks and bridges. For latest updates, please click here.
  • State Highway 1 between Blenheim and Waipara is closed and is not expected to open for two days.

Many warehouses, trucking companies, and exporters throughout the South Island and in Wellington will not be able to resume work until structural checks are completed and power is restored. We are working hard with our New Zealand office to make sure delays are mitigated and cargo flow is as unhindered as possible during this restoration period.

We will keep you updated on this situation. As always, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Hanjin Struggles Continue

October 13, 2016

WSSA continues to monitor the Hanjin bankruptcy situation. Fortunately, our customers have had minimal exposure as we utilized Hanjin on a very limited basis due to the weak financial reports over the last year. While it is hard to predict if other steamship lines will follow the path of Hanjin, we continue our tactics of spreading our volumes and monitoring the financial health of our carriers.  Should you have cargo caught in the Hanjin debacle, we are happy to assist in providing information or guidance if needed.

In the meantime, the ongoing Hanjin bankruptcy crisis continues to cause anxiety and frustration within the shipping industry. Currently, the steamship line is being pressured by chassis, container, and fuel providers to release information regarding the providers’ leased equipment still on the vessels. Some creditors are concerned that the Hanjin vessels will become compromised before they can exercise their lien rights on the stranded equipment.

Recently, Hanjin was able to give cargo owners a better idea of when certain stranded vessels will be released to discharge cargo, but progress is still slow in coming. Since the steamship line filed Chapter 15 bankruptcy, cargo owners have pushed to redeem their stranded cargo from terminals around the US. With loss and damage amounts mounting, the industry is eager to resolve this crisis and recoup their stranded equipment from the carrier.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the Hanjin crisis and we would be happy to advise.

Hanjin Bankruptcy Struggles Continue

September 21, 2016

Still reeling from the impact of the world’s seventh-largest shipping line collapse, shippers and cargo owners are struggling to recover. With close to half a million containers stuck on the water and ports refusing Hanjin vessel calls, progress to resolve the situation seems slow in coming. Hanjin filed for bankruptcy protection August 31st, however they did so in South Korea, which does not provide globalized protection. While they are in the process of filing for bankruptcy protection in all other locations where the container line operates, it is a race to avoid creditors from seizing their ships.

To resolve this crisis, the steamship line has turned to the South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and has issued a plan to rescue the stranded vessels and the $14 billion dollars in goods containerized on board. The plan involves Hanjin’s parent company, The Hanjin Group, doling out over $100 million dollars to retrieve cargo from the stranded vessels. However, with the South Korean government refusing to bail out the shipping line, it appears that liquidation is a likely outcome. Hanjin has issued an apology statement declaring, “We offer our deep apologies for the damages inflicted on many parties following our decision to apply for court protection,” South Korea’s largest container line said. “We will do our best to resolve the matter to remove the distress caused to the parties concerned.”

We are working closely with our offices around the world to handle this predicament with as little disruption as possible. We will keep you informed of the situation as we watch how the carrier’s actions play out.

In our upcoming newsletter, we offer more advice and information on managing your exposure when a steamship line declared bankruptcy.   Please feel free to contact us should you need any immediate information or assistance.

For more information, please see attached JOC article.

Manage Your Risk During the Hanjin Shipping Bankruptcy

September 6, 2016

Both of the Korean steamship lines have been suffering financial difficulties over the last year. The latest reports indicated positive developments for both Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping, but the last couple of days have seen Hanjin fall off the cliff. Hanjin’s announcement that it has filed for receivership has left the shipping industry in disarray. Hanjin customers are dealing with the repercussions, realizing they will not be receiving their cargo until the terminals and other operators get paid, and these amounts are not yet specified. Ports around the United States have either blocked the Hanjin vessels from entering the port, are and are refusing to accept any bookings on their vessels. 

If WSSA is insuring your cargo, you can rest assured that

our policy includes the clauses necessary to cover claims

based on the Hanjin situation.

Please contact us if you do have any questions on the insurance coverage or potential exposure and we will be happy to assist.

Below is an excerpt from American Shipper magazine, by Chris Dupn, September 1, 2016:

Shippers – both the customers of Hanjin and its alliance partners, COSCO, “K” Line, Yang Ming and Evergreen Line, are scrambling to find out what will happen to their cargo if it is on a Hanjin vessel.

Don Pisano, the president of American Coffee Corp. and chairman of the Ocean Transportation Committee of the National Industrial Transportation League, said the league is monitoring Hanjin’s financial collapse, which would be the largest container line bankruptcy to date and would have a significant impact on the league’s members and shippers worldwide. “With nearly 100 ships operating in 74 routes in the liner trade, along with marine terminals and bulk operations, even those that have never shipped with Hanjin may feel the effects as services are disrupted and capacity tightened further than the already reduced deployments, which carriers have self- imposed to support higher freight rates,” Piano said.

“While everyone will look to minimize their risks and financial exposures, the fact is that the cargo has to move and get delivered to its intended destination as safely and expeditiously as possible,” Pisano said. “It is a bit early in the process and we are calling on all parties to work together to minimize the impact of this situation, use their available resources to protect the cargo, facilitate the movements and mitigate the costs, which will be borne by all.”

Peter Friedmann, the executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), said, “So much is at stake here. Perishable products cannot withstand delay in release of containers that inevitably follows from a bankruptcy action. And even for non perishables, the foreign buyers have the right to get out of their commitments if the delivery is not timely. While ownership and obligations are being sorted out, who is monitoring the reefer gensets?  And even if the railroad or terminal will release a container, they may only do so after their receivables from Hanjin are paid, even if Hanjin has already been fully paid by the shipper,” Friedmann said. “The complexity of these matters is significant, and if Hanjin goes completely out, it will be the largest bankruptcy of a container line since the beginning of containerization, making the complexity even greater, even unprecedented. We are providing as much guidance as possible to our AgTC members, including having provided early warning ahead of the bankruptcy declaration.”

Jonathan Gold, vice president, supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said, “Retailers’ main concern is that there is millions of dollars worth of merchandise that needs to be on store shelves that could be impacted by this. Some of it is sitting in Asia waiting to be loaded on ships, some is already aboard ships out on the ocean and some is sitting on U.S. docks waiting to be picked up. It is understandable that port terminal operators, railroads, trucking companies and others don’t want to do work for Hanjin if they are concerned they won’t get paid. However, we need all parties to work together to find solutions to move this cargo so it does not have a broader impact on the economy.”

Gold added, “There are more questions than answers at this point, but retailers are working to get all issues addressed. Retailers are working with all of their service providers to find ways to get their cargo moving to ensure that there is no or limited interruption in the supply of merchandise.”

NRF noted the Hanjin bankruptcy comes as the Global Port Tracker report published by NRF and Hackett Associates forecasted that major U.S. retail container ports will handle 1.61 million TEUs this month, down 0.6 percent from the same month last year.

Hanjin ships and cargo have been turned away from ports around the world.

A Hanjin spokeswoman told American Shipper that, “It has been reported in Korean media that Hanjin vessels were declined to enter container terminals in Xiamen and Xingang, China; Prince Rupert, Canada; Valencia, Spain; Savannah, Georgia; and Busan, Korea.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Port of Virginia said it will “not be accepting any inbound Hanjin cargo (freight for export) at any of the port’s marine or intermodal terminals. The port, however, will accept empty Hanjin containers at the PPCY (Pinners Point Container Yard)”

It was not clear what would happen to Hanjin freight arriving by ship. The port added it is “developing plans for how to handle Hanjin cargo that is already on-terminal.”

The Port of Prince Rupert said Wednesday morning that the container vessel Hanjin Scarlet is not presently being handled or worked at the port’s Fairview Container Terminal, which is operated by DP World. Following the Hanjin Scarlet’s arrival Tuesday evening, the vessel proceeded directly to an assigned anchorage, the port added.

In a statement Tuesday night, Canadian National Railway said, “All Hanjin import containers will be released for pickup. This includes Hanjin containers on ground at CN inland terminals as well as containers currently moving on the CN network to CN destination terminals. There will be no storage charges for these boxes. All Hanjin export units currently at CN inland terminals will not be loaded onto trains and can be picked up from the CN origin terminal. There will be no storage charges for these boxes.”

The Hanjin spokeswoman said Hanjin Rome has been arrested in Singapore and that operation of a Hanjin vessel in Busan New Port was stopped.

One Month Into SOLAS

One month after SOLAS was officially implemented on July 1st, the entire industry is breathing a sigh of relief that the much-feared disruptions and issues associated with the regulation never came to fruition. However, the new rule has not been without its frustrations.

Our reports from overseas offices include some confusion as to who pays for scaling and whether any VGM related charge is tied to INCOterms. Some carriers are attempting to tack on unjustified VGM charges under vague words like “administration fees” or “services.” We will work with our carriers to contest and prevent additional surcharges. On the USA export side, industry groups have weighed in on the issue by requesting that the FMC step in and head off any charges relating to SOLAS, just as they did with the congestion surcharges in the West Coast last year.

While these issues sort themselves out, whether or not this rule will be successful in improving maritime safety is still up in the air. As Mark Szakonyi of the JOC reports, “only a few countries…are double-checking the accuracy of VGMs, meaning the success of the rule in cracking down on misdeclared weights rests on how honest shippers are and whether carriers will look the other way if they suspect inaccuracies.”

ContainersSmaller2

 

SOLAS Update on Eve of Implementation

As the global shipping community begins to transmit VGM information to steamship lines, questions and concerns remain as to the process and the enforcement. We are entering the 90 day transition period where there remains some flexibility available in methodology and enforcement as all countries adapt to the new rules.

The IMO issued a statement in early June, indicating that he three-month aim has two purpose. First, it permits packed containers that are loaded on a ship before the July 1 deadline and are transshipped on or after July 1 to be shipped to their final port without a declaration of their verified gross mass, or VGM. Additionally, the transition period also will aid member states by “providing flexibility to all the stakeholders in containerized transport to refine, if necessary, procedures for documenting, communicating and sharing VGM information.”

Some countries have issued strict compliance requirements, such as Canada, England, and Japan, while other countries such as France have announced that they will implement the 90 day transition period. WSSA is happy to answer any questions or provide specific information on how origin countries are handling the VGM process. Our forwarding partner, Albatrans, is fully equipped and committed to assisting all shippers with the required forms, advising on the VGM methods, and supplying scaling services when needed.

From the USA side, press releases today provide relief to exporters as most steamship lines are agreeing to utilize the weights provided by the marine terminal operators as the necessary VGM, thus exporters will not need to provide the certification.

This is all a work in progress and updates are happening moment by moment, country by country.

Below please find a link to the expanded FAQs provided on the World Shipping Council website.

http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/faqs

Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or need any specific information for your specific trade lane.

 

Port of Oakland Implements its "Extended Gate Fee"  

June 24, 2016

As anyone using the Port of Oakland knows, the terminals have been a mess with congestion and delays. The port is making an effort to improve the situation, and has been testing extended gate hours. While there have been mixed reviews on the results of the first test, with many customers of the port indicating that there is less traffic and shorter lines at the terminals at night, but that once inside the terminal, the delays are worse. However, we are supportive of the continuation of night gates to try to mitigate the congestion, and the next phase of the test is starting next week.

The Port of Oakland is implementing its Extended Gate Fee of $30 which will go into effect Monday June 27, 2016 and will apply to all import and export loads coming in and out of the terminal both shifts (day and night). This Extended Gate Fee is based on a 90-day TRIAL BASIS and will be further reviewed after that time.

This fee will finance the cost of full night operations at the port, which have helped to mitigate the congestion and delays of the daylight hours. Previously the night operations were financed by a Port subsidy which expires this month. “Thousands of cargo transactions have migrated to nighttime thanks to Oakland International Container Terminal,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s imperative that we continue with extended hours to expand the workday and improve cargo flow.”

For more information, please visit Press Releases page on the Port of Oakland website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

portofoakland

 

 

More News: SOLAS

March 3, 2016

Attached is an article that was published today in the Journal of Commerce that provides a thorough summary on the current status of the SOLAS roll-out. We realize that the lack of clear direction and the variety of implementation policies published by different countries makes it difficult to instruct your suppliers or plan for your exports. We are working with all of our global offices and carrier partners to ensure that we will be prepared and that our shippers will be prepared.

While the shipper is the responsible party to supply the VGM, the carriers will shoulder the burden of ensuring that the VGM (Verified Gross Mass) is received and the container admitted to the terminal. Verifying case weights and reporting cargo weight is currently common practice, and while the VGM process will add another step in the process, we will be prepared to fully implement the practice and assist all of our shippers.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you!

 
 
US Coast Guard: SOLAS container weight guidelines not mandatory
Greg Knowler, Senior Asia Editor | Mar 01, 2016 3:58PM EST
 
LONG BEACH, California — The SOLAS guidelines on container weight verification that will be implemented from July 1 are not mandatory, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Thomas told a packed TPM Conference here Tuesday. He clarified that the rule itself was mandatory.
 
“They are not mandatory under SOLAS, they are not mandatory under any U.S. regulation. It says that right on top — these are non-mandatory guidelines,” he said in a panel discussion on the verified gross mass rule.
 
"The guidelines in this case provide one path to compliance with the mandatory amendments, but it is not the only pathway and the guidelines themselves are not part of the mandatory SOLAS requirements," he said in an email after the panel.
 
As far as the Coast Guard was concerned, complying with the VGM rule was a business procedure issue. “SOLAS places no legal obligation on the shipper. It places a legal obligation only on the vessel subject to SOLAS. So if you need to meet that obligation by working on a better business practice with your partners, that’s where you need to focus,” Thomas said.
 
This was not well received by Christopher Koch, senior advisor and former CEO of the World Shipping Council, who said there was a distinction between commercial practice and regulatory compliance.
 
“The decision of what is required is not a matter for business discussion, it is not a business practice issue,” he said. “The Coast Guard’s position is that SOLAS regulation does not apply to shippers and require them to provide a signed VGM, and terminals are not required to enforce what the SOLAS regulation says.”
 
Koch called the Admiral’s comments a “stunning revelation,” considering the IMO guidelines were submitted by a working group shared by the U.S. Coast Guard, and in a paper co-sponsored by the U.S.
 
“It would have been far better if the U.S. Coast Guard had said this was their view at the time we were all working on this,” he said.
 
On July 1, a new international rule under the Safety of Life at Sea convention will come into effect, requiring shippers to present a signed cargo weight verification to ocean carriers prior to the containers being loaded a vessel. The rule has created huge uncertainty around the world with the governments of 162 signatories to SOLAS struggling to draw up guidelines on how their respective jurisdictions will police the rule.
 
It has become an increasingly acrimonious issue in the U.S. with shipper groups such as the Agriculture Transportation Coalition saying they are already in compliance and don’t plan to change the way they operate.
 
Donna Lemm, vice president of global sales for Mallory Alexander International Logistics and chairman of the AgTC SOLAS working group, said the SOLAS rule did not make a whole lot of sense.
 
“If the amendment goes ahead as we see it, including tare and no variance, this means total disruption to our agricultural activity,” she said. “But we are going to continue to do what we have been doing. We are going to our carriers to ask how we can work together.
 
“What we are talking about is continuing to build upon best practices on what we have been doing. As a shipping community, we are saying we are providing gross and net weights today, accurately and to our best ability. What we can’t afford is another VGM field, another EDI (electronic data interchange) program, another database, for information we are already providing,” she said.
 
One of the concerns Lemm raised was that shippers will be held responsible for the weight of the actual container, something the shipper had no control over. She said the carrier needed to provide the tare weight, not the shipper.
 
But Marc Bourdon, president of CMA CGM (Americas), said the shipper was not required to certify the weight of the container. “They are required to certify their cargo and the packing around the cargo, but will not have any liability for the tare,” he said.
 
Bourdon said any variability in the weight of the box would be insignificant, and it would be okay if a container was within a ton of the weight provided. Variations found were usually way above that. “So I don’t think the tare should be a focus to the extent that I am hearing.”
 
What was clear from the panel discussion is that complying with the SOLAS rule will be achieved through dialogue between the main players in the supply chain and through creativity, rather than trying to stick to the letter of the law.
 
For instance, Peter Friedman, executive director of AgTC, said the exporter was responsible for the cargo and the carrier for the container, so the carrier could marry those weights themselves without having the exporter weigh the container and provide the VGM.
 
Contact Greg Knowler at greg.knowler@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.
 

Have You Seen Alison Leavitt's Contribution to the 2016 JOC Annual Review & Outlook?

February 11, 2016

Check out WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, and her contribution to the Journal of Commerce 2016 Annual Review and Outlook!

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for the year 2016!

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director, Wine and Spirits Shippers Association

SOLAS: Global Container Weight Requirement

November 24, 2015

 

All exporters, importers, freight forwarders and carriers must prepare for the upcoming global regulation requiring every packed container to have a verified container weight prior to loading on a vessel. The international treaty mandated by SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and published by the World Shipping Council applies to all container shipments wherever loaded and will be effective July 1st, 2016. Overweight containers contributed to the MSC Napoli break up and subsequent beaching off the UK Coast in 2007, along with other vessel accidents. “The regulations place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative sufficiently in advance of vessel loading to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan,” the World Shipping Council explained.

 

Steamship lines and terminal operators will be prohibited from loading a packed container on a vessel if the container does not have the verified weight. Carriers are working on revising freight flow and documentation software, and all countries with active ports are working on their own requirements. While it is an international treaty, there is not global enforcement requirements and every country may come up with different regulations. Some ports and terminals have enough scales to accommodate weighing each container at ingate, but others do not. Ultimately, the shipper is the listed responsible party, and the shipper can also be the freight forwarder/NVOCC.

 

For example, in the UK, the British Shippers Council is providing information on the options for shippers, including a registration and approval process by which the shipper will be granted a code valid for 3 years confirming that the shipper’s procedures have been inspected and approved by a recognized authority. If the shipper is not registered/approved, each container will be weighed at the loading or arrival port to verify the declared weights—a process that could create huge delays and congestion. We will keep you advised as the global regulations unfold, but at this time, be aware that this regulation is coming and start preparing for weight verification if you are a US Exporter, and advise your global suppliers!

 

 

If you have any questions about this new regulation, feel free to contact us. Also, look for more trade news in our upcoming edition of The WSSA Grapevine coming out soon!

 

 

Don't Miss Out!

March 23, 2015

 

Now is your chance! Check out WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, and her contribution to the Journal of Commerce 2015 Annual Review and Outlook!   

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for the year 2015!  

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director, Wine and Spirits Shipping Association

 

 

 

Hours of Service Rule Changed!

December 10, 2014

In the midst of the negativity surrounding the West Coast congestion, some good news can be reported on the trucking industry. As the AgTC reports, the portion of the 34 hour restart rule that requires truckers to take two rest periods between 1am and 5am is being repealed. Doing this will allow truckers to travel unhindered when the roads are the least busy, and will also allow them to reset their weekly hours before 7 full days have passed.

This change could become effective as soon as this weekend, but will only remain in effect until September 30, 2015, unless Congress acts to make it permanent. For now, it is a step in the right direction.

Thank you to AgTC for providing us with this information!
 
West Coast Update
 
December 5, 2014
 

Congestion and delays remain the norm at the West Coast ports. The ILWU and PMA are in the negotiating room today, but we have no information on any progress they may have made. The ILWU leadership will convene in a caucus in San Francisco on December 15, and results will determine the next steps in the contract process. Please see the article published in the JOC for more detailed information on the process and the current pay scales of ILWU workers.

Congestion surcharges also remain in play, but the FMC is pressuring the steamship lines to avoid implementation of the surcharges. We will continue to report on this issue and will advise individual members as to the impact on upcoming arrivals

Thank you JOC for providing us with this information!

West Coast Issues & G6 Service Change

November 21, 2014

 

CONGESTION SURCHARGE COMES BACK INTO PLAY: 

After announcing a surcharge and then suspending it, carriers are again announcing a congestion surcharge for cargo going into West Coast ports with an effective date based on gate-in at origin of November 26, 2014. The surcharge is again being questioned and examined by the FMC as they review the trigger mechanism and the undefined longevity. We are working with other trade groups to pressure the carriers to suspend the surcharge and will keep you all advised as the scenario is changing on a day to day basis.

ILWU/PMA CONTRACT TALKS ON HOLD: 

In other news, the ILWU has announced that negotiations will be suspended through the end of Thanksgiving weekend despite resistance from the PMA and general retailers, manufacturers, farmers and consumers. The break in negotiations comes at a critical time in the U.S. economy, with the holidays coming just around the corner. Members of Congress have been made aware of the damaging effects of the work slow down, but at this point, Congress is staying away from any direct involvement in the process.

G6 ANNOUNCES SERVICE CHANGE: 

The G6 Alliance (APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui, NYK and OOCL) has announced that it will drop the European calls on the Pacific Atlantic 2 (PA2) service between the U.S. East Coast and Europe. The official announcement indicates that this is due to “seasonal changes in market demand”, but unofficial reports indicate that the cancellation is to mitigate deep losses and act as a cost savings measure. As the transatlantic to U.S. East Coast vessels continue to sail at full capacity, we will monitor the effects of this change and resulting constriction in space. Fortunately, we have a few weeks before the final sailing from Europe, planned for December 28 from Rotterdam.

We will continue to monitor these developments and will keep you updated accordingly.

 

Thank you to American Shipper for providing us with this information!

Congestion Surcharge Update

November 18, 2014

Currently, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the congestion surcharge announcements made by ocean carriers for cargo coming into the West Coast. Unfortunately, answers are still elusive. The FMC posted a notice on Monday stating that any published tariff rule that increases costs to a shipper may not be effective until 30 days after publication. Consequently, most of the tariff rules implementing these congestion surcharges were published in May of this year. However, as the FMC stated, these tariff rules must be “clear and definite as to the implementation and termination of the surcharge.”

That very phrase is what FMC Chairman Mario Cordero is calling into question. The Journal of Commerce reports that, according to Cordero, the carriers citing “labor unrest” is not specific enough to justify the hefty congestion surcharges they are implementing. Currently, the FMC is reviewing whether there is a solid basis for the surcharges. Chairman Cordero is also convinced that these surcharges should not apply to cargo that is already in transit.

As far as when exactly these surcharges will be implemented, it differs by carrier. Already, some carriers have sent out notices revoking the surcharges.

We will do our best to work with carriers to mitigate these surcharges as much as possible for our members. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us by phone or email.

Thank you to FMC and JOC for this information!

Congestion Surcharge Announcement

November 14, 2014

 

Carriers are now announcing the implementation of congestion surcharges. The carriers filed the potential surcharges with the FMC in anticipation of labor disruption on the West Coast. As “disruption” was loosely defined, they have the legal right to implement the surcharges. The bad news is that most carriers are announcing the surcharges take effect on cargo discharging on or after November 17, 2014.

What can importers do about this? Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to fight this, and it is unlikely that the FMC will take any steps to prevent implementation.

What can exporters do about this? Our only advice would be to hold bookings if possible, and wait it out.

The implementation of this charge will be messy as there are vessels waiting for a berth originally scheduled to discharge prior to November 17th. We will be monitoring closely and will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

 

Thank you to AgTC for this information!

Work Stoppage Concerns at Ports of LA/LB

November 6, 2014 

Work stoppage concerns are escalating at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as terminals continue to experience skilled labor shortages, specifically in the way of Rubber Tire Gantry (RTG) operators. These operators man the transtainers that pick containers and place them on truck chassis.

Terminals are reporting getting half to less-than-half of what they are ordering. Thus, more delays and congestion issues are created.

The following truck turn times show just how long it takes to get in and out of the ports:

Terminal                                                  Minutes

LONG BEACH CONTAINER TERMINAL            82

APL EAGLE MARINE TERMINAL                      91

CUT WEST                                                  103

TRAPAC TERMINAL                                      106

WEST BASIN TERMINAL                              120

PACIFIC CONTAINER TERMINAL                  144

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and do our best to avoid the delays and congestion for our members.

Tension Mounts Over ILWU Negotiations
November 4, 2014
Tension is building on the West Coast as the ILWU negotiations continue to drag on while the congestion issue worsens. Yesterday, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) issued a press release claiming that the ILWU is engaging in work slowdowns at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Today the ILWU firmly denied the allegations calling them a "bold faced lie."

While this controversial exchange brought a setback to contract negotiations, the ILWU has announced that discussions will resume once again on Wednesday.

In good news, both parties have indicated they want to continue with the negotiations in good faith.

Special thanks to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition for this information!

Congress Expresses Concern Over West Coast Congestion
October 29, 2014

Members of Congress representing the Los Angeles and Long Beach area are putting pressure on the ILWU and marine terminals to speed up negotiations in order to finally allow the West Coast ports to return to normal operations.

While labor is one component of the problem, West Coast congestion can also be attributed to the chassis shortage and confusion, new mega-ships overloading terminals with containers, and PierPass, which contributes to trucker congestion. Nevertheless, it is still comforting to know that Congress is concerned about the issue as well.

Please click here to see the letter written by the Members of Congress.

Special thanks to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition for this information!
 
2M Alliance Approved
October 9,2014
Yesterday the Federal Maritime Commission approved the 2M alliance involving Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company. The vote outcome was four in favor and only one dissenting.
The one remaining obstacle the 2M alliance faces is the approval of Chinese regulators, as the alliance is already in compliance with the European Union and now has received the approval of U.S. regulators. The 2M alliance, if approved by all parties, is scheduled to take effect January 2015 and is projected to involve a total of 185 vessels and handle over 2.1 million TEUs.
 
 
Special thanks to the Journal of Commerce for providing us with this information!
 

Low Sulfur Fuel Mandates

October 3, 2014

Many of you have heard about the new requirements for low sulfur fuel, and we have seen some small surcharges implemented in the last year.  In 2015, however, all sources are indicating more significant increases are coming.   Beginning January 1, 2015, a new low-sulfur fuel mandate implemented by the International Maritime Organization will go into effect. This mandate is in an effort to reduce sulfur emissions in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. As of the beginning of next year, vessels operating within the North American ECAs and parts of North Europe (including the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and the English Channel) will have to reduce their sulfur emissions from 1 percent to .1 percent.   

These new restrictions will come with a significant cost increase for shippers. Because fuel with a sulfur content of .1 percent is much more expensive than fuel comprised of 1 percent sulfur, shipping lines are planning to raise their charges to cover the extra costs.  Steamship lines have announced charges that could run as high as $185 per TEU for cargo moving to the USA from Europe.   At WSSA, we will work closely with our carriers to mitigate these increases and will keep you closely advised as to the forthcoming changes.

 

FMC Public Forum Recap 2014

September 19, 2014

The FMC Public Forum took place recently at the Port of Los Angeles. The following points provide a recap and outline the issues that were presented and discussed at the forum.

Issues:

  • Large ships are here and even larger ones will be here soon.
  • Not enough chassis and a lack of control of the existing chassis – Pool managers are constantly moving chassis at the expense of leasing companies.
  • Lack of qualified mechanics to repair bad order chassis.
  • Long turn times – 22% of turn times now are over 2 hours.
  • Driver shortage – no new drivers are entering the trucking industry, and those not making money are exiting.
  • Repositioning equipment is taking up much needed truck power.
  • New distribution centers and delivery points continue to move further from ports requiring more time for a driver to deliver.
  • Continually increasing fees will chase more cargo away from ports.

Proposed Solutions:

  • A grey chassis pool will reduce the repositioning of chassis and better provide a location for storage/access when and where needed.
  • Establish a common metric of an acceptable terminal turn time for all to agree upon and use as a standard or requirement.
    • Vancouver Port has a one and a half hour established metric, and terminals pay a penalty for detaining drivers past this time.
  • Appoint systems at all terminals to assist them in hiring adequate labor.
  • Free flow or peel-off piles for shippers with large container volumes on one ship (only applicable for shippers with 80 to 100 containers per vessel).
  • 24/7 operation at the port – this will allow drivers to gravitate to the less congested times and still be able to work their full hours of service.

Overall, the grey chassis pool was the solution that seemed the most viable and steps are being taken to turn the proposed solution into a reality.

Port Congestion and Driver Shortages

September 10, 2014

Congestion continues to be a persistent problem in ports all over the world. From Asia to Europe to the United States, larger ships are bringing in more containers and having to stay in port longer, creating congestion and delays. Although more containers are arriving, there are less and less truckers available to transport cargo to its final destination. North American ports like Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, and Norfolk are especially feeling the effects of congestion and truck power shortages as evidenced by increasing dwell times and chassis shortages. Import container dwell times are averaging between 5 and 8 days depending on the port and whether the container is moving via truck or rail. 

We are working with our members to find solutions and mitigate the effects of the congestion and driver shortages. Whether it is juggling arrival ports to avoid the worst congestion, expanding our pool of trucking companies, arranging weekend deliveries, or working with our carriers to prioritize container movement, we will do our best to assist. Please be aware that certain carriers are charging demurrage and per diem charges even when they are responsible for doing the delivery, a sign that carriers are less willing to perform inland deliveries under the current conditions. To promote the dialogue and discussion of the causes and implications of port congestion, the Federal Maritime Commission is holding a public forum September 15, 2014, at the Port of Los Angeles. All members of the shipping industry are encouraged to attend. For more information on the forum, please see the attached link: www.fmc.gov/public_forum_u.s._port_congestion/
 
For more information on how shippers can deal with increasing congestion and driver shortages, refer to the following article: http://logisticsviewpoints.com/2014/09/01/how-can-shippers-deal-with-the-capacity-crunch/
 
For specific congestion issues per port, please see the attached announcement from Hapag-Lloyd: www.hapag-lloyd.com/en/news/news_page_36112.html

Maher Terminals Open Saturday, March 1st

February 28, 2014

We have been notified that Maher Terminal and Chassis Depot will be open this Saturday, March 1st from 8am -4pm for truck line activity.  These extended hours are a result of efforts to help ease the continued congestion the terminal has been experiencing.  Please note that The Auxiliary Depot will NOT be open!

So far, this is the only terminal that has announced hours this weekend.  We will notify you if the situation changes.

Please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.
 

WSSA's 2014 Annual Outlook: What a Year for the Shipping Industry

February 25, 2014

"What a winter!"

In my 25 plus years in the shipping business, I have never witnessed the shipping snarls we have experienced this year. Snowstorms and frigid temperatures throughout the east and midwest have created massive delays due to port closures, equipment malfunctions, and driver and truck shortages. The succession of storms has created a domino effect and the backlogs just keep getting bigger. The west coast has fared better, but congestion in Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach has also been a big problem.     Everyone is scrambling to find trucks, and often paying more for alternative solutions.     We will continue to work with all of our members and assist in finding solutions and working closely with our carriers to mitigate delays and additional costs.  Spring will eventually be here and we can then start worrying about the west coast ILWU contract, set to expire at the end of June 2014. With the disruptions that have occurred in the last year at all west coast ports, we would expect further disruptions and a rough round of negotiations, so plan accordingly for this time period. As usual, we will keep you posted as to any new developments.
 
I am heading to Miami this week with colleagues from WSWA and NABI to meet with the Director of the U.S. Customs CEE (Center for Excellence and Expertise) covering Agricultural & Prepared Products.  The CEE's have been established by U.S. Customs for a wide variety of products from pharmaceuticals to automotive parts, with the mission to better facilitate trade, leveraging technology and industry expertise to improve facilitation with the various government agencies.  The Agricultural CEE is one of the final three centers being opened by CBP, bringing the total number to 10.  I look forward to learning more about what this CEE will be able to do for the wine and spirits community and will report back.  Should any of you have immediate concerns or issues with CBP or related agencies, please let me know.   

Following Miami, I will be traveling to South America in March and then to Europe in April to continue the practice of meeting with all of our carriers at origin and working toward best practices and competitive rates with all of our carrier partners.  With the new alliances being formed, it will be our challenge to monitor the effects of the alliances and achieve the right mix of carriers for our members.
 
As always, thank you for your support of WSSA!"
 
Alison Leavitt
Managing Director
 

More from WSSA's Managing Director in The Journal of Commerce's January 2014 Annual Outlook here!
 

 

More Terminal Updates

February 21, 2014

Please be advised, the New York Container Terminal (NYCT) will be open this Saturday, February 22, from 0800 to 1600 for import delivery and empty receiving. 

Also, due to the ongoing congestion, Maher Terminal is temporarily closed to all inbound traffic.  We will notify you if the situation changes.

Terminals Open This Saturday, 02/22

February 21, 2014

Please be advised, the Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) will be open this Saturday, February 22, for import delivery and empty receiving.  *NOTE* PNCT will ONLY receive export cargo for the MSC Maya and MSC Federica.
 
In addition, Global Terminal will also be open to truckers from 0800 to 1600 for delivery of imports.
 
Please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

France Strike/Weather Conditions Disrupting Ports

February 12, 2014

Please note that French shipments maybe be experiencing delays due to both a one day strike and severe weather conditions.  The strike, the second this month, is in response to dockworkers protesting against port reform.  The severe weather conditions are due to strong winds from the Atlantic, which have delayed some vessels in Le Havre and also NE ports.
 
Please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

Extended Gate Hours & Port Closings

February 10, 2014

Please note that Maersk Line will be holding extended gate hours tomorrow, February 11th, at the APMT Port Elizabeth facility due to the continuous operational challenges that the Port of NY/NJ has been recently facing.  Furthermore, APMT Port Elizabeth, along with Maher Terminals and the Global Terminal will be open on Wednesday the 12th for normal operations.
 
Upcoming closings to note are APM Terminals, New York Container Terminal, Port Newark Containter Terminal and Red Hook Container Terminal, which all plan to be closed this Wednesday, the 12th in honor of Lincoln's birthday. Also, Monday, February 17th is President's Day and all terminals are scheduled to be closed.
 
As always, please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.
 

Nationwide Port Congestion

February 7, 2014

Many ports throughout the nation are experiencing huge volumes and extreme amounts of congestion, causing some of the worst delays the industry has seen in a long time! The Port of Oakland has truck lines that amount to one week delays, and Maher Terminals main gates have once again been closed due to heavy congestion.  In many instances, no traffic is allowed in until the volumes die down.  As always, please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

Congestion Continues - East & West Ports

January 30, 2014

Ports on both US coasts are still experiencing high volumes of congestion.  Many trucks are still reporting long delays in recovering containers at the terminals out west, and there are still reports of congestion due to the continuous severe weather in the east.   As always, we will update you as we receive new information.
 
Please contact Albatrans Operations Team at 718-917-6795 if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected.

San Antonio, Chile Strike Back On

January 28, 2014

Unfortunately, the Chilean labor union strike resumed last night due to a breach of the agreement that had been met last Saturday, January 25th.  Currently, only the San Antonio Port is affected.  Please contact your Albatrans' Operation Team if you have any questions or concerns.  We will keep you informed of any updates.

Port Congestion at LA/Long Beach

January 24, 2014

Many truckers are reporting long delays in recovering containers at the terminals
in LA/Long Beach due to congestion.  The congestion seems to be the result of
holiday back logs, vessel bunching, and the larger volumes being discharged
from the mega ships.

Port of NY/NJ also remains congested due to backlogs from the closures due to continued severe weather in the east.

We will keep you advised should there be any further developments.

San Antonio, Chile Strike Update

January 21, 2014

Please see the below list of Chilean ports and their current operating status:
 
ARICA: Operating
IQUIQUE: ITI dockworkers on strike
PUERTO ANGAMOS: Operating
ANTOFAGASTA: ATI dockworkers on strike
VALPARAÍSO: Operating
SAN ANTONIO: dockworkers on strike. STI & PCentral are now delivering import containers, but they aren't receiving export containers
SAN VICENTE: Dockworkers on strike
CORONEL: Dockworkers on strike
 
We will keep you informed on any further developments as they unfold.  If your container(s) had to be rolled to the next vessel due to this situation, Albatrans' Operation Team will notify you individually.
 

Update on San Antonio, Chile Port Strike

January 15, 2014

Please note the below ports that are still affected by the San Antonio, Chile port strike:

  • IQUIQUE: ITI dockworkers on strike
  • ANTOFAGASTA: ATI dockworkers on strike
  • SAN ANTONIO: dockworkers on strike (there are 8 vessels in San Antonio Bay waiting for berth)
  • SAN VICENTE: dockworkers on strike
  • CORONEL: dockworkers on strike

Any ports not mentioned are operating at normal conditions.  We will keep you informed on any further developments as they unfold.  If your container(s) had to be rolled to the next vessel due to this situation, Albatrans' Operation Team will notify you individually.
 

Severe Weather Notice

January 7, 2014

Please be advised the frigid cold temps in the Midwest and Northeast are affecting deliveries. There are many road closures and driver/truck shortages due to trucks not starting from the extraordinarily cold temperatures. 
 
Rail traffic has also been affected due to weather related issues and reports indicate the St. Lawrence Seaway is iced up, causing delays into the Port of Montreal.
 
Please contact Albatrans Operations Team at 718-917-6795 if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected.  

San Antonio, Chile Port Strike

January 3, 2014

We have just been informed that the workers at the Port of San Antonio in Chile are on strike today as of 3:30PM.
 
We are unsure how long the strike will last, but we expect it to have an effect on the port's operational procedures and would not be surprised if it delayed shipments. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans operations team.
 
We will keep you informed of any news regarding this issue.

Port Closures

January 3, 2014

Please note that both Conley Terminal at the Port of Boston and the Port of NY/NJ are closed today, January 3, due to winter storm 'Hercules'.
 
The ports are anticipated to reopen Monday, January 6th.  We will continue to keep you informed of any changes.

Weather Alert

January 2, 2014

The Port Authority of NY & NJ closed today due to winter storm conditions.  They will continue to be closed Friday, and hope to reopen for regular business on Monday morning, January 6.

Please contact Albatrans operations team if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected by this closing at 718-917-6795.

Update on Italian Trucking Strike

December 10, 2013

The current trucking strike in Italy is not officially over.  However, since this morning, Leghorn, La Spezia, and Naples ports are all fully operating. 
 
Also, conditions at Genoa are improving from yesterday, with all terminals open and operating.
 
We will continue to keep you updated as we get more information.
 

Today's Italian Trucking Strike

December 9, 2013

The Italian trucking strike scheduled for today, December 9th, is still taking place.  However, we are unaware of how long the strike will last and which unions are involved. 
 
Please make note that Genoa port is entirely blocked this morning. Also, La Spezia and Leghorn are not fully operating.
 
We will continue to keep you updated as we get more information.

Update on Italian Trucking Strike

December 5, 2013

The Italian trucking strike we had previously mentioned is still pending for the week of December 9-13.
 
The strike has only been confirmed by one union, so there is a possibility that the strike will be cancelled.  We will keep you updated as we get more information.
 

Chilean Customs Strike

December 2, 2013

Last week in Chile there was a national strike by the National Fiscal Employees Union (ANEF) from November 25th through the 29th regarding worker's job security.  Since then, agreements have been met between the ANEF and government and the strike has been resolved.  Please note that none of our shipments were affected during this conflict.

Italian Trucking Strike Announced

November 22, 2013

Please be advised that certain Italian unions have announced a trucking strike for December 9th through the 13th.  There are issues with the government's decision to limit the gasoline excise reimbursement as well as reductions to drivers' premiums.

If an agreement can be reached before the aforementioned dates, the strike will most likely be called off.  We will keep you posted if anything changes in the meantime.
 

Update on French Eco-Tax

October 29, 2013

We have received notice from Albatrans that the French government has decided to suspend implementation of the Eco-Tax.  There have been violent protests relating to the new tax, and the Prime Minister has agreed to postpone it in order to give time needed for nationwide discussion and negotiations relating to the issue.

Please note that the tax itself is NOT abrogated, and we will keep you informed of any future developments concerning the tax as they unfold.  However, one can expect that the tax will not be applicable as of January 1, 2014.
 

Potential French Strike

October 14, 2013

Albatrans International has reported that a strike is pending in France. Unions are striking in protest of new rail policies imposed by SNCF (the French railway company).
 
The strike schedule is as follows:
Oct 15th : Dock workers will go on strike
Oct 16th : Railway workers will go on strike
 
We will take steps to avoid any issues, pulling needed empty containers out of the terminal prior to any strike action, and scheduling loading and deliveries back to the ports appropriately. We will post further updates as soon as we have more information.

Information on upcoming French Eco-Tax

September 25, 2013

Most of you are aware of the French Eco-Tax, which was originally supposed to come into effect October 1, 2013, but has been postponed to January 1, 2014. This tax will negatively impact French transportation costs.

Please see some facts below to have a better understanding of the Eco-Tax:
 
• The tax will be implemented on the whole French territory, and all vehicles over 3.5 tons are concerned.
• The tax will cover 15,000 km network, 10,000 km of selected highway portions and national roads, and 5,000 km of a secondary (local) network.
• The average tax amount (the amount is assessed on the vehicle type) will be of 0.12 €/km (0.16 USD/km).
• Some regions will be discounted – Aquitaine (Bordeaux and the south west) region will be discounted 25%, and Brittany will be discounted 40%.
• The extra charges are inclusive of financial cost, since the tax has to be paid in advance. There will be about a 1.5 month gap to collect the tax from customers.

Attached is a map of the networks affected by the tax (orange accounts for highways and national roadways, and blue accounts for local networks).

We will continue to update you on this topic as more information unfolds.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

Massport Notice of Tariff Change

September 23, 2013

For those of our members who are shipping to the Port of Boston, please note the following:
 
On June 30, 2013, the Board of Massachusetts Port Authority voted to increase rates by approximately 3% in its Container Tariff No. 1, which applies to the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal.
 
The rate changes are effective October 1, 2013 and will be increased to $39/TEU and $52/FEU.
 
The above mentioned tariff can be found at the Board of Massachusetts Port Authority website at:
http://www.massport.com/port-of-boston/About%20Port%20of%20Boston/Tariffs.aspx.

For any questions regarding this change, you may address Brad Wellock directly at 617-946-4435 or by email to bwellock@massport.com.
 

Chilean Customs Strike Canceled

September 12, 2013

The Chilean Customs strike for today, September 12, 2013, has been canceled. We have been informed that the Customs workers and Government representatives were able to reach an agreement.

We will continue to update you on any future information pertaining to this issue if needed.

Upcoming Chilean Customs Strike

September 10, 2013

The Chilean Customs has announced a strike for this Thursday, September 12, 2013 due to some unfulfilled demands by the Chilean government. Please note that the strike has an indefinite character and might delay your shipments if they are coming from this region.

We will provide you with more information as this conflict unfolds.

Andean Pass Update

August 27, 2013

Please be advised that the Andean pass was reopened today. Note that congestion is expected due to many trucks trying to cross.

Andean Pass Closed

August 23, 2013

The Andean Pass that connects Argentinian wine origins with Chile ports is closed today due to weather conditions. These poor winter conditions may continue through Sunday. We will keep you informed of any new developments.

Our partner, Albatrans, will notify all customers that are affected by this delay.

 

Disruption at the Port of Oakland

August 21, 2013

A key terminal at the Port of Oakland essentially stopped working on Monday/Tuesday this week, due to truckers complaints of work conditions. This morning, however, it seemed to be business as usual. The SSA Terminal opened with surprisingly little congestion and no disruption. You can see the Port of Oakland’s webcam of SSA’s inbound gate at http://www.portofoakland.com/WebCam/trucker_view.aspx.

This is the third labor dispute causing work stoppage at Oakland since early July, and some service providers (not involved in the truck blockades) have reported that not all their drivers would go the port until it’s clear that labor issues have calmed down. The AgTC reported the following to its members late yesterday:

“The Port of Oakland is currently reporting that protesters have cleared away from all facilities, the ILWU has returned to work at SSA, and all terminals are fully operational."

“Another day of disruption in Oakland. First, we want to see the situation there calm down so that Oakland can be a dependable port for agriculture, once again. Longer term, we are concerned that the West Coast ILWU locals seem to be acting independently of their international HQ. We wonder how this will impact the ability to negotiate the new coast wide ILWU contract which expires in 10 months.”

Shipments arriving Oakland within the last few days may likely have been delayed. Please contact Alper Ozgulumser at Albatrans or your Customs Broker to determine the status of your shipment.

Low Water Surcharge

July 24, 2013

Hapag Lloyd will implement a “Low Water Surcharge” for all imports from Europe which discharge at Montreal, effective August 5, 2013.  The surcharge is US$ 100/20’ and $ 150/40’ containers.  We expect that all other shipping lines which transit the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal will impose a similar surcharge. (attached customer letter)

Montreal Low Water Surcharge

July 11, 2013

Hapag Lloyd advises us that Shipments via Montreal may incur a Low Water Surcharge in the foreseeable future. If conditions warrant, a Low Water Surcharge will be applied by all carriers sailing to Montreal, so we expect to see similar announcements by Maersk, MSC, OOCL, and others within the near future.
 
Hapag’s announcement is attached.
 

CBP ISF Enforcement

July 9, 2013

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun enforcement of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) rule, effective July 9, 2013.  This rule was first announced in 2009, so most importers and their Customs Brokers are already familiar with and following the required procedures. 

For new importers, or for those who would like to increase their familiarity with ISF, Avalon Risk Management has prepared an extensive listing of FAQ’s for your reference.  (Click here for FAQ's)

For specific questions, please contact Lisa Santiago at 718-989-6447 or l.santiago@albatransusa.com.  

If your Customs Broker is having difficulty with timely filings, “Web Merlin” is said to be provide the best automation package available for managing ISF compliance.  This program is used by the most sophisticated Customs Brokers, including Albatrans, Inc. 
 

ISF Enforcement

June 10, 2013

CBP will begin the next stage of enforcement of Importer Security Filing requirements, beginning July 9. The below article from American Shipper explains the background. For more specifics with regard to your imports, please check with your Customs Broker.
 
Damage collections for ISF non-compliance to begin

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin full enforcement of the Importer Security Filing requirement on July 9, the agency announced Friday.
On that date, the agency will begin to issue liquidated damages for ISF violations, such as filing incomplete, inaccurate or late documentation.
 
The ISF rule went into effect on Jan. 26, 2009, but for the first year the program had no sanctions so that shippers and carriers could learn how to collect and file the necessary data, develop software systems that could communicate with CBP, or farm out filing to customs brokers and other third parties.
 
CBP began enforcing the rule in January 2010. It has used its authority to place holds on containers with shipments that don't have documentation in order, typically upon arrival in the United States, and can order non-intrusive or full inspections of cargo if the ISF data indicates something might be amiss about a shipment, but to date has not issued any damage claims against filers.
 
For ocean carriers, CBP may refuse to grant a permit to unload the merchandise if they violate the vessel stow plan requirement.
 
CBP requires importers to submit 10 pieces of data, such as the name and location of the manufacturer, associated with international shipments moving by ocean container. The data must be electronically transmitted 24 hours prior to cargo loading on the vessel and carriers must subsequently provide their vessel stow plans and container status messages. The ISF rule is commonly referred to as "10+2" because of the two data sets required.
 
CBP originally said it would start issuing liquidated damages associated with ISF filing mistakes in the fourth quarter of 2010. Liquidated damages is a Customs term that means an importer or its agent failed to meet the conditions of a bond. They are technically different from penalties, which are issued in response to smuggling and other direct violations of law. The ISF rule allows for liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation, which could reach $10,000 on a shipment if amendments to the ISF are filed with errors.
 
The phased approach to enforcement was designed to minimize disruption to the trade community as it adapted to a new, complex security regime aimed at using advance data for targeting shipments with smuggled contraband or terrorist weapons.
 
CBP has stressed that every liquidated damage enforcement action instituted by a port will be reviewed by CBP headquarters personnel before being issued, according to a customer note from trade insurance broker Avalon Risk Management. - Eric Kulisch
 

Chile Ports Back to Work on Sunday, April 7

 April 8, 2013

Albatrans Chile has advised us that all Chilean ports resumed work just after noon on Sunday, April 7.  Issues which prompted the port strikes have been resolved.  However, last week’s strike took on a political aspect, so we can’t be sure that there won’t be any future strike actions as the Chileans get closer to their November presidential elections.

As you would expect, it will take a little while for San Antonio to resume full operating levels—but carriers are optimistic that this will be a very short period.  The private terminals at Valparaiso kept operating throughout the strikes, but were stretched beyond capacity by the end of last week.  Thus, Valparaiso will likewise take a short while to restore itself to normal operating efficiency.

For any questions relating to the status of pending or delayed orders, please contact Alper Ozgulumser at Albatrans (a.ozgulumser@albatransusa.com or 718-917-6795). 
 

Strikes Shut Down Chilean Ports

April 4, 2013

Chilean ports began to go on strike last week, beginning with Puerto Angamos and quickly spreading to San Antonio. Early this week, dockworkers at the public section of the port of Valparaiso went on strike, and demonstrations planned for today are likely to choke activity in the private terminals at Valparaiso.
 
Key wine warehouses (including Albatrans’) are located at the port of San Antonio, which is used by carriers serving US ports such as CCNI, CSAV, Evergreen, Hamburg Süd, Maersk, and MSC. Until now, urgent warehouse shipments have been transferred to Valparaiso (only about 200 km north of San Antonio).
 
Although, the public terminals at Valparaiso have already gone on strike, the private terminals are still working. Carriers sailing from Valparaiso to the US are APL, Hapag Lloyd, MSC, MOL, and all carriers sailing to the US West Coast. While the private terminal of Valparaiso (operated by Ultramar) is technically open and working, today’s massive demonstration may limit or close that operation.
 
In short, expect that shipments will be delayed from Chile until further notice. Some knowledgeable Chilean sources anticipate that the strike will not continue much longer, as the original issues at Puerto Angamos seem to have been resolved. However, other equally knowledgeable sources are not optimistic—indicating that the nature of the strikes has become political, and that actions will be greatly influenced by the fact that both the political left and the right are posturing themselves for national elections in November.
 
We would like to offer a more optimistic prognosis, but when politics gets involved, anything can happen. Vessel operators are skipping San Antonio and cautious about calling at Valparaiso. Chilean sources have characterized this as “a mess” and a “near total collapse of Chilean ports."
 
At this point, WSSA and Albatrans are reviewing various contingency plans should the strike extend beyond early next week. Alper’s group at Albatrans will provide you with a status of pending orders and shipment statuses. 
 

ILA, NYSA Reach Tentative Agreement

March 7, 2013

A tentative agreement has been reached over local issues at the Port of NY/NJ.  This means that ILA's Wage Scale Delegates can make a vote recommendation on the master contract when they meet next week in Florida.

This is very encouraging news that the master contract will be ratified, and we can expect labor peace this year.

Journal of Commerce 2013 Annual Review & Outlook

March 5, 2013

We’re proud to say that WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoff Giovanetti, has been asked once again to comment in the Journal of Commerce’s Annual Review and Outlook edition.  Please click here to view the article.

Tentative Agreement on New ILA Contract!

February 4, 2013

The ILA and USMX have agreed on terms for their Master Contract covering Atlantic and Gulf ports.  This was announced late Friday in the attached press release from the federal mediators, and is subject to resolution of local issues and ratification by the ILA’s membership and by the USMX employers.

Left to resolve are local port issues, the most contentious of which seem to be at the Port of NY/NJ.  However, in the spirit of good faith negotiations, both parties have pledged to avoid work stoppages while they’re discussing these local issues.

Although all has not been resolved, this is truly comforting news.  Longshore work in the ports will continue after February 6, hopefully for a number of years.
 

Important ILA Contract Update

February 1, 2013

It’s February already, and we’re fast approaching another deadline for the ILA/USMX contract negotiations.  The contract has been extended twice, and now terminates at midnight,  February  6.  Not much news has been forthcoming, but updates on both the ILA and the USMX websites are optimistic.  Both sides, with the able help of federal mediators, seem to be diligently working on resolving their differences. 

The biggest remaining issues have to do with NY/NJ work practices, which have not been easy to resolve.  While it appears that talks on these local issues are continuing, and may result in a further extension of the contract deadline, the Port Authority of NY/NJ has announced that it will not accept any refrigerated exports for ships loading after February 6.

Peter Friedman summarized the significance of the NY/NJ local issues—to both labor and management—as follows: 

”The most difficult remaining issue in the negotiations relates to ILA work rules in New York-New Jersey, where the ILA is headquartered and employers say costs are by far the highest of any port along the coast.  Employers have said they are determined to use the current negotiations to address work rules and practices, some dating back decades, which hinder productivity and raise costs. Work rules which employers seek to change include extensive relief staffing that requires 15 or 16 longshoremen to be hired when only nine or 10 longshoremen are working at a time.
 
“According to the 2011-2012 annual report of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which licenses dockworkers in the port of New York and New Jersey, 45 longshoremen make over $300,000 a year, with an additional 79 longshoremen making over $250,000 per year.”

It’s not known whether ILA labor at other Atlantic/Gulf ports, who earn less than their colleagues in NY/NJ, will strike to protect their NY/NJ brethren.  Historically, all US ILA ports have acted in solidarity.

I feel the two sides will continue talking even if all is not agreed by February 6.  However, there is a slight chance that there will be a work stoppage (does this sound like recent weather reports?), so it is prudent to make sure that all of your shipments are removed from the port area by February 6—at any US Atlantic/Gulf port.

If it is any comfort, the office workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach--the OCU—which struck for eight days in November, will vote on a new contract on February 6.  Approval should keep all West Coast ports open, even if the Atlantic/Gulf ports are closed.

Now, mark your calendars:  the ILWU (West Coast dockworkers’ union) contract expires in 17 months!  Are we up for more uncertainty?

--Geoff
 

ILA Contract Status

January 23, 2013

The ILA and the USMX (management) met last week and made progress on some tough issues, under the guidance of the federal mediators. George H Cohen, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, made a formal but brief statement, saying,
 
“The United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association conducted negotiations during the three day period January 15-17, 2013. In these negotiations the parties made progress and have agreed that the negotiations will continue under our auspices. Due to the sensitivity of these negotiations, we will have no further comment at this time.”
 
This week, the discussions focus on local issues, and those at the Port of NY/NJ may not go as smoothly. These local talks at NY/NJ broke off on January 10 when the ILA walked out after several hours of negotiations with the New York Shipping Association. The most contentious issues are some work rules in NY/NJ, relating to dockworkers’ income; thus they will be difficult to gain agreement from both sides.
 
Contrary to previous positions I’ve taken, I’m now optimistic that both sides will reach an agreement—maybe not by Feb 6, but without a work stoppage. That’s much different from my feelings in prior messages as we came up to Sept 30 and Dec 28 deadlines. However, you should thus know my batting average is zero so far (I had guessed there’d be a strike on Oct 1 and on Dec 29, and each were wrong). Now my guess that there’ll be no work stoppage may be equally flawed.
 
Either way, there is a chance that there will be a work stoppage on February 7, an extremely cold time of the year. Be sure you remove any wine or beer containers from the pier that arrive prior to February 6, and try to delay arrivals until after that date.

--Geoff

ILA Contract Extension

December 28, 2012

We received an important update from the AgTC:

EAST/GULF COAST PORT LABOR CONTRACT HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL MIDNIGHT JANUARY 28. PORTS WILL OPERATE WITHOUT DISRUPTION.
 

Settlement Reached, Strike Ends!

December 5, 2012

After a weeklong strike, clerical workers and employers at the LA/LB ports reached an agreement last night. Longshoremen are expected to return to work today.

 


Crippling strike at LA ports ends; deal reached
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
By JOHN ROGERS
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Clerical workers and longshoremen at the nation's largest port complex will return to work Wednesday, eight days after they walked out in a crippling strike that prevented shippers from delivering billions of dollars in cargo across the country.
 
"I'm really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of LA and Long Beach are going to start moving cargo on these ships," said Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. "We're going to get cargo moved throughout the supply chain and the country and get everybody those that they're looking for in those stores."
 
Negotiators reached a tentative agreement to end the strike late Tuesday, less than two hours after federal mediators arrived from Washington, D.C. No details about the terms of the deal were released, though a statement from the workers' union said it had won new protections preventing jobs from being outsourced.
 
Days of negotiations that included all-night bargaining sessions suddenly went from a stalemate to big leaps of progress by Tuesday. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the sides were already prepared to take a vote when the mediators arrived.
 
At issue during the lengthy negotiations was the union's contention that terminal operators wanted to outsource future clerical jobs out of state and overseas _ an allegation the shippers denied.
Shippers said they wanted the flexibility not to fill jobs that were no longer needed as clerks quit or retired. They said they promised the current clerks lifetime employment.
 
The strike began Nov. 27, when 450 members of the union's local clerical workers unit walked off their jobs. The clerks had been working without a contract for more than two years.
 
The walkout quickly closed 10 of the ports' 14 terminals when some 10,000 dockworkers, members of the clerks' sister union, refused to cross picket lines.
 
Even though the deal was reached soon after their arrival, the federal mediators said they had little to do with the solution.
 
"In the final analysis, it worked. The parties reached their own agreement, said George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. "There is no question in my mind that collective bargaining is the best example of industrial democracy in action."
 
During the strike, both sides said salaries, vacation, pensions and other benefits were not a major issue.
 
The clerks, who make an average base salary of $87,000 a year, have some of the best-paying blue-collar jobs in the nation. When vacation, pension and other benefits are factored in, the employers said, their annual compensation package reached $165,000 a year.
 
"We know we're blessed," one of the strikers, Trinnie Thompson, said during the walkout. "We're very thankful for our jobs. We just want to keep them."
 
Union leaders said if future jobs were not kept at the ports, the result would be another section of the U.S. economy taking a serious economic hit so that huge corporations could increase their profit margins by exploiting people in other states and countries who would be forced to work for less.
 
Combined, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle about 44 percent of all cargo that arrives in the U.S. by sea. About $1 billion a day in merchandise, including cars from Japan and computers from China, flow past its docks.
 
Shuttering 10 of the ports' 14 terminals kept about $760 million a day in cargo from being delivered, according to port officials. The cargo stacked up on the docks and in adjacent rail yards or, in many cases, remained on arriving ships. Some of those ships were diverted to other ports along the West Coast.
 
After the deal was reached, the ports' management said they were "delighted that the terminals will be operating again, that the cargo will be flowing."
 
The clerks handle such tasks as filing invoices and billing notices, arranging dock visits by customs inspectors, and ensuring that cargo moves off the dock quickly and gets where it's supposed to go. The $1 billion a day in cargo that moves through the busy port terminals is loaded on trucks and trains that take it to warehouses and distribution centers across the country.
 
Villaraigosa, who had been calling for the two sides to reach a deal for days, said he was pleased by the resolution.
 
"I think it's appropriate to say `mission accomplished,'" he said.
 

 

 

LA/LB PORT STRIKE UPDATE:  A FEDERAL MEDIATOR WILL STEP-IN WHILE TRADE GROUPS PETITION THE PRESIDENT

December 4, 2012

     National and local media, including the LA Times, is reporting that “Both sides in the strike that has crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have agreed to federal mediation, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday at a news conference. Villaraigosa said the agreement was an encouraging sign and could help bring an end to the strike, now in its eighth day. He said the parties negotiated throughout the night and there had been some recent movement. ‘I’m hopeful that the mediator will be here today,’ Villaraigosa told reporters. ‘We’ve got to get a deal and get a deal as soon as possible.’    
     Workers belonging to the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit have been on strike since Nov. 27 against a 14-employer group of shipping lines and terminal owners. The picket lines are being honored by the 10,000 regional members of the ILWU. Add in local truckers, and some 20,000 workers are affected, Villaraigosa estimated.  The strike has shut down 10 of the 14 cargo container terminals at the nation's busiest seaport complex. The clerical workers had been without a contract since June 30, 2010.
     The strike is considered potentially disastrous for the Southern California economy because the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the leading contributors to the region's goods-movement industry, which employs nearly 600,000 people. The dispute centers on the charge by the union that employers — large shipping lines and terminal operators — have steadily outsourced jobs through attrition. The union says the employers have transferred work from higher paid union members to lower-paid employees in other states and countries. The employers dispute that claim, saying they've offered the workers full job security and generous wage and pension increases.”

     According to American Shipper over 100 trade associations from around the country have petitioned President Obama to take action to end the strike in LA/LB.  Click here for more information.
 

LA/LB Longshore Strike Continues, Impact Growing as Negotiations Continue

December 3, 2012

American Shipper has released the below article regarding the LA/LB Longshore strikes:

LA/LB longshore strike enters day 7

      A strike by clerical workers in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach at 10 of the ports' 14 container terminals entered its seventh on Monday.
      Expressions of frustration by government and business leaders continue and ship congestion in the harbor could increase dramatically in the days ahead.
      Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa called for round-the-clock negotiations with a mediator between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU) and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (LA/LBHEA), according to a letter quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
      The strike is "costing our local economy billions of dollars. The cost is too great to continue down this failed path," the mayor said. "Mediation is essential and every available hour must be used."
      Bruce Carlton, the president and CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League, the nation's largest shippers group, sent a letter last week to President Obama urging him "to employ all measures at your disposal to encourage the two sides to resume talks and end the work stoppage."
      A 2002 lockout of ILWU longshoremen at West Coast ports was ended only after President Bush used the Taft-Hartley Act.
      According to the Marine Exchange of California, as of early Monday morning there were a total of 23 containerships, and 51 vessels of all sorts, in the harbor. Congestion could get worse in coming days. According to information posted on the exchange's website, eight additional containerships were due to berth at the harbor today, 12 on Tuesday, eight on Wednesday, and six on Thursday.
      No work was being done at 10 of 14 container terminals in the ports as longshoremen continued to refuse to cross picket lines thrown up by 600 striking office workers represented by the OCU, an affiliate that represents clerical workers at terminals and shipping agencies. The OCU and harbor employers have been holding on-off talks since April 2010 in order to come up with a new contract to replace one that expired on June 30, 2010.
      When OCU workers set up picket lines last week, members of the wide ILWU, the longshoremen and checkers involved in moving cargo at the terminals, refused to cross the picket lines, effectively shutting down most of the two nation's two largest ports.
      The LA/LBHEA said that on Saturday it "offered the OCU new proposals containing further concessions in connection with the OCU’s 'featherbedding' demands -- the requirements that employers call in temporary workers and hire new employees even if there is no work for those individuals to perform. The OCU immediately rejected the proposals."
      The harbor employers also said they "continue to offer wage and pension increases, an absolute job guarantee against layoffs, and a promise to maintain all other OCU benefits that the employers have previously offered – all of which would bring the average annual OCU wage-and-benefits package to more than $190,000 over the next three and one-half years."
      "The weeklong strike by the clerks is now expected to extend into a second week, leaving hundreds of thousands of people who support port operations without work and severely impacting the local and national economies. The strike’s impact is widening and is already costing the national economy billions of dollars by many estimates. Sadly, the OCU continues to put the self-interests of 600 members ahead of the local community, the ports’ future viability, and the economic welfare of an entire country," said a statement from the LA/LB HEA.
      The OCU has said jobs of its members are being outsourced, which the harbor employer association denies, saying "not one OCU job has been sent overseas, or anywhere else, nor have there been any layoffs. The 51 jobs the OCU identifies no longer exist due to retirements, deaths and normal attrition. They were not filled because the jobs were no longer needed -- and this was by agreement between the employers and union as a way of avoiding layoffs during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression."
      Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issued a statement Friday afternoon in which he repeated the oursourcing allegation, saying the OCU was "drawing a line against the steady and irresponsible outsourcing of their jobs to the lowest bidder."
 


Long Beach Business Journal
NEWS FLASH

UPDATE 10:00 A.M.: STRIKE CONTINUES, GROWING AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

December 3rd, 2012 - With the economic impact of the strike broadening, seven of eight container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and three of six at the Port of Long Beach remain shut down Monday morning as negotiations between employer groups and union workers continue.

Nine ships have been diverted from the seaport since picket lines first went up on November 27.  Eleven container vessels are at anchor at this hour, unable to dock and unload.

"The cargo continues to back up," said Port of Los Angeles spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Port officials have called for a speedy resolution to the labor impasse as breaks in the supply chain are beginning to show, impacting potentially hundreds of thousands of workers across the country.  Together, the ports account for more than 40 percent of the nation's import trade volume.
 

 

Cargo Diversion Roundtable

December 3, 2012

We have been informed by Scott Davies of the Maritime Administration that the venue for the Cargo Diversion Roundtable (December 11th) has changed.  Please note that the new venue is at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority located at One Newark Center, Newark, NJ.  The venue is across the street from Newark Penn Station.  For those seeking lodging accommodations, the Hilton Newark Penn Station is also across the street from the venue and the train station.

Los Angeles/Long Beach Port Strike

November 29, 2012

The ILWU Dockworkers have refused today to cross OCU picket lines, which have been set up at both the ports of Los Angeles and at Long Beach.  In short, no cargo is getting into or out of those ports, and some vessels have already decided to discharge their cargo at Oakland or Mexico ports. 

The National Retail Federation, which represents major big retailers, has asked the President to intervene.

We anticipate that the strike will continue into Friday, November 30, but will continue to post daily updates on our website. 
 


American Shipper
November 29, 2012

NEWSFLASH: Retailers ask White House to help restart LA/LB port talks

   The National Retail Federation has urged President Obama “to use all means necessary” to restart stalled contract negotiations between management and striking union workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
   The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit has placed pickets outside a majority of terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and other longshoremen are refusing to cross the picket lines. As a result, ships are not being loaded or unloaded and trucks and trains cannot move containers on or off 10 terminals.
   The Los Angeles Times reported that two ships have been diverted to other ports, one to Oakland and another to an unnamed port in Mexico.
   “A prolonged strike at the nation’s largest ports would have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy,” read a letter from NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay to the president. “We call upon you to use all means necessary to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.”
   The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
   NRF noted that in 2002 a 10-day lockout at West Coast ports led to significant supply chain disruptions, which took six months to remedy, and cost the economy an estimated $1 billion a day.
   “An extended strike (in Los Angeles and Long Beach) this time could have a greater impact considering the fragile state of the U.S. economy,” the letter stated. “The two sides must remain at the negotiating table until a deal is reached.”
   The ILWU said in a statement issued today that a joint committee of management and labor concluded that longshoremen had a contractual right to refuse to cross the OCU picket lines.
   “The ILWU-PMA Coast Labor Relations Committee that establishes policy and administers the contract between the employer and union on the West Coast waterfront on Wednesday agreed that ILWU Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU) picket lines at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were bona fide,” said the statement from the ILWU Coast Longshore Division. “The agreement confirms that longshoremen in ILWU Locals 13, 63 and 94 have the right to refuse to cross OCU pickets under the collective bargaining agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association."
   The ILWU statement further said “the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor though impacted, remains open for commerce at greater than 25 percent capacity.” In Los Angeles, seven of eight container terminals are open and in Long Beach three of six container terminals are open.
   Craig Merrilees, communications director for the ILWU, said “hopefully, yesterday’s resolution on the legality of the strike will pave the way to tackle the central issue of outsourcing. Clerical workers are determined to stop good jobs from disappearing in the harbor area – and reappearing in Texas and Taiwan.”
   Ray Ortiz Jr., an ILWU Coast Committeeman who represents all 30 longshore local unions on the West Coast, said “Longshoremen stand up when other workers need our help. Sure it's sacrifice to give up a paycheck when you refuse to cross the picket, but we believe it’s in the long-term interest of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor area to retain these good local jobs. By standing with OCU, we stand with the community.”
   John Fageaux, president of ILWU Local 63 OCU, said earlier this week that phone calls by union representatives were listened to by APMT employees.
   Alan McCorkle, senior vice president of APM Terminals’ Los Angeles, said his company was “concerned about these allegations. It is not our policy to listen to union calls. As is our normal policy, we have commenced an investigation and we have no further comment at this time.” - Chris Dupin
 


American Shipper
November 29, 2012

Longshore strike spreads in LA/Long Beach

   A strike by longshoremen crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday, spreading from one to 10 terminals in the two ports.
   Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, said the Maritime Exchange of Southern California reported there were 23 vessels in the port, including 17 at berth and six at anchor.
   According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the two ports handled just over 14 million TEU of cargo in 2011.
   Daniel Hackett of the consulting firm Hackett Associates said that between September 2011 and August 2012 they handled about 42 percent of containerized imports and 28 percent of exports.
   The strike began Tuesday at noon when clerical workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit set up pickets at a single facility, the APM Terminals (APMT) Pier 400 facility in the Port of Los Angeles.
   Those workers do office work for the terminal, but other ILWU longshoremen and clerks working for other ILWU unit honored the picket line bringing terminal operations to a halt. A local arbitrator ruled that the picket line was not bona fide, but ILWU longshoremen did not return to work.
   Alan McCorkle, senior vice president at APMT's Los Angeles terminal, said two Maersk Line ships were idled and containers were unable to enter or leave the terminal by truck or train. He said this time of year probably 6,000 containers enter or leave the terminal by ship, train, or truck.
   On Wednesday, the strike spread to other terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach where the OCU represents workers. A committee consisting of the ILWU and employers were meeting at the headquarters of the Pacific Maritime Association to discuss the strike. The PMA did not return phone calls seeking an update on those talks.
   By Wednesday afternoon, John Fageaux Jr., president of ILWU Local 63, told American Shipper that the 800 members of his local had gone on strike against all 14 of the steamship agencies and terminals at which it represents workers, and the decision by other longshoremen to honor those picket lines had effectively closed down terminals in both Los Angeles and Long Beach.
   Fageaux said the union was striking to prevent the outsourcing of jobs.
   Fageaux, whose local has been negotiating with employers to renew a contract that expired June 30, 2010, said “we’ve been meeting with the companies for more than two years, but they’re still concealing their outsourcing – even when they’ve been caught red-handed. These employers seem to have an insatiable appetite for outsourcing.”
   He claimed the “harbor community” has lost at least 51 permanent positions during the past five years, and that the companies have announced plans to take away another 76 in the future.
   The Port of Long Beach said these terminals had closed as of 2 p.m., Wednesday: Long Beach Container Terminal at Pier F which handles OOCL ships, International Transportation Service which handles "K" Line at Pier G, and Total Terminals International at Pier T. Three other terminals that do not have OCU employees - SSAT at Pier A, SSAT/Matson at Pier C and Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J - were open.
   Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said seven of the eight terminals in his city’s port were shut “with numerous ships sitting idle at berth.”
   In a letter to Fageaux, and Stephen L. Berry, chief negotiator for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association which is representing employers, the mayor said the “City of Los Angeles needs both of you to get back to the bargaining table this week, to work with a mediator, and to hammer out a settlement before further harm is done to our local economy. There is no time to waste.”
   The Port of Los Angeles said in addition to APMT's Pier 400 these terminals have been shut down: APL, California United Terminals, China Shipping, Evergreen, Yang Ming and Yusen Terminals. It said only the TraPac Terminal, which does not have OCU employees was open.
   Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), said “a work stoppage at America’s two busiest ports just as the holiday shopping season begins is a recipe for disaster. If the strike isn’t resolved quickly, the effects on retailers, their customers and the economy will be enormous. We urge the parties to quickly resolve the dispute and get back to work in order to avoid the substantial economic damage a prolonged work stoppage would surely cause.”
   The Long Beach Business Journal said U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, also a California Democrat, issued a joint statement calling for a resolution to the labor dispute between ILWU Local 63 OCU and the employers represented by the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (LA/LBHEA).
   “We urge both sides to come together and resolve this dispute so we can protect the economy of the Los Angeles region, the West Coast and our nation, which will be adversely affected by the closures at these ports,” the statement read.
   The ILWU posted comments from three Democratic congresswomen from California - Grace F. Napolitano, Judy Chu, and Janice Hahn - expressing support for the union.
   “Having been a secretary myself, I know very well the concerns of clerical workers including safety, fair wages, and benefits for their families,” said a statement from Napolitano. “We must continue to protect these jobs from being shipped overseas while ensuring fair treatment of those who have helped the nation’s economy through their hard work.”
   Napolitano is a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
   Fageaux also claimed that APMT employees had violated the law by listening to union representative phone calls.
   The president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Paddy Crumlin, said “these are extremely serious charges," and Harold J. Daggett, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association which represents workers on the East Coast, said “We are outraged to hear of this possible breach of union members privacy.”
   The LA/LBHEA said “the OCU’s conduct shows an irresponsible willingness to jeopardize port operations and thousands of jobs in the Los Angeles area in an effort to pressure the employers into accepting its unreasonable demands."
   It said it had offered to increase OCU annual compensation packages to over $190,000 in wages and benefits by 2016 and employers had proposed giving OCU employees "average annual wages up to approximately $90,000 per year and pensions of up to $75,000 per year. The OCU have demanded more."
   The employer group said "the OCU’s actions mark a dangerous escalation in the ongoing labor dispute. If the OCU continues its strike, the negative effects on jobs and the economy will be felt nationwide."
   It further added the "OCU has attempted to justify its actions in the media by perpetuating myths that they are not fighting over money and that employers are taking away jobs" but said those claims "do not hold water." - Chris Dupin

 

 

Update on Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

November 29, 2012

New York. We have received several complaints of truck shortages and opportunistic pricing for transporting diverted containers during the aftermath of Sandy.  The US Department of Transportation is convening a “Cargo Diversion Roundtable” on December 11 at the Customs House at Bowling Green in lower Manhattan.  This is a timely program to discuss post-Sandy events with other importers and with the expert panel which DoT is preparing.  Details are attached.
 

November 7, 2012

Most terminals at NY area ports are open without operating restrictions!  We will continue to update our website with the most current news regarding port conditions as soon as we are informed.

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath Keeps NY/NJ Ports Closed

November 1, 2012

All Atlantic ports have reported that they have re-opened after Hurricane Sandy, with the notable exception of the Ports of NY/NJ.  WSSA has received daily updates of NY’s status, and Wednesday’s report—issued after hours—indicates that the port will not be reopened until surveys and remediation are completed.  Surveys are expected to be finished this weekend, so it’s unlikely that the port will be open until sometime next week.

Once electrical power is restored to terminals in the NY/NJ complex, it will be up to the terminal operators to determine when to begin operations to clear containers already received.  Rails around the port area are not operating, and roadways need to be cleared of flooding and debris before anything is accessible.  Do not expect shipments to move from NY terminals until Monday at the absolute earliest. 

It will be up to the ocean vessel operator whether to await port reopening or to skip New York and discharge cargo at the next port in the rotation (many times it will be Norfolk).  Importers need to be aware that this is a “force majeure” situation (that is, neither the fault of the carrier nor the cargo), so the cargo-owner will need to pay to transport the cargo from whatever port it’s discharged at to the final destination.  

Please contact Albatrans for status updates on cargo which has arrived in NY prior to Sandy, or for anticipated NY arrivals which have been postponed because of Sandy.  Albatrans’ e-mails are working, but their telephones are still having some problems.  Feel free to contact anyone at WSSA—800-368-3167—if you are unable to contact Albatrans.

Carriers will each have their own policy regarding demurrage, but we’re relieved to see that CMA-CGM has announced waiving demurrage rules for cargo already at the port of NY/NJ, as described in the attached message.  We believe most carriers will follow this action, but please check with Albatrans or WSSA for specifics.

 

CMA-CGM

October 18, 2012

CMA-CGM, the world’s third largest containership company, has sold convertible bonds representing up to 10% of the company’s ownership.  The French government bought $150 million (60%) of these bonds.  The Turkish Yildirim Group bought the other 40%, potentially enlarging their position in the French carrier to 24%.  The Saadé family retains 70% ownership of CMA.   CMA, like most other ocean carriers, lost money in 2011--$30 million.   The company lost another $294 million in the first quarter of 2012, but was reported to have turned to profitability in the second quarter .  CMA earned a profit of $1.6 billion in 2010. 

San Antonio Port Working Again/French Ports Stop Work

October 8, 2012

We’re pleased to report that dockworkers at the port of San Antonio have reached a formal agreement with the Chilean government, which was signed on Friday, October 5. Our colleagues at Albatrans Chile confirm that the port of San Antonio was working again on Saturday, October 6.
  
There will no doubt be some delays at Valparaiso, as some vessels had diverted their cargo operations to that nearby port during the San Antonio work stoppage. However, we do not foresee any major congestion problems beyond the next several days.
  
In Europe, a general strike has just been announced for French ports, for Tuesday, October 9. The French strike is scheduled to last 24 hours, during which no vessels will be loaded or unloaded. The issue seems to be in response to EEC guidelines set for Iberian ports and anticipation of French salary adjustments planned for mid-2013.
  
Albatrans France expects ports to be closed until Wednesday at 6:00 pm, and resume normal operation on Thursday. Albatrans will provide status updates on any affected shipments.
 

Strike in Chile

September 25, 2012

Stevedores at the Chilean port of San Antonio began a strike yesterday, over pension demands to the Chilean government. This strike may be short in duration, but we are uncertain how long it will last. Chilean containers have been diverted to carriers calling directly at the port of Valparaiso, as this nearby Chilean port is so far not affected by the strike at San Antonio.
 
Most affected will be shipments which originate from Albatrans’ warehouse at San Antonio, although they can likewise be diverted to Valparaiso. Carriers advise us that once San Antonio resumes normal port operations, first priority will be given to strike-bound cargo.
 

ILA Contract Deadline Postponed

September 20, 2012

We have just received word that the ILA and USMX have agreed to extend the current contract for 90 days, while they continue renewal negotiations.
 
This means that there will be no work stoppages at US ports this year, there is a much greater likelihood the two sides will be able to agree on contract renewal, and none of the published congestion surcharges will apply for shipments this year.
 
Click here to view a News Release from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service regarding this extension.
 
We’ll keep you updated as more specifics are known.
 

U.S. Mediator gets ILA, Employers Back to the Bargaining Table

September 6, 2012

We have just learned from American Shipper’s “AS Daily” that a federal mediator was successful in getting the ILA and the USMX to resume negotiations on September 17. The fact that the federal government is taking an increased profile in this dispute recognizes the significance of a work stoppage on the country’s economy, and is encouraging news that a reasonable solution may be reached. The and full story follows.
 
In the meantime, WSSA and Albatrans are executing contingency routings for products which might otherwise be caught in a work stoppage when the current labor contract expires September 30. Many carriers have instituted “Congestion Surcharges” of up to $1,000 per 40’ container, to be effective at open ports if there is an Atlantic/Gulf port shutdown. By announcing these surcharges now—within the 30 day notice period--carriers retain flexibility to reduce or eliminate the surcharges depending on what the situation looks like on October 1.


NEWSFLASH: U.S. mediator gets ILA, employers back to the bargaining table
    The International Longshoremen's Association and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) have agreed to resume negotiations during the week of Sept. 17 at the request of a federal mediator.
    In a statement this morning, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said "the parties have agreed to resume negotiations under our auspices during the week of September 17, 2012. Due to the sensitivity of this high profile dispute and consistent with the agency's longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place."
    Talks between the ILA and USMX broke down on Aug. 22. - Chris Dupin


    The head of the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) said he is still hopeful bargaining talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) so that an agreement on a new contract can be reached without a work disruption at East Coast and Gulf ports.
    The ILA and USMX have agreed to resume negotiations during the week of Sept. 17 at the request of a federal mediator.
    In a statement Thursday, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said "the parties have agreed to resume negotiations under our auspices during the week of September 17, 2012. Due to the sensitivity of this high profile dispute and consistent with the agency’s longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place."
    In an interview with American Shipper earlier this week, Joseph C. Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, said “we are still optimistic that we can get back to the bargaining table and strike some kind of deal by the end of September.”
USMX, led by its chairman and chief executive officer James Capo, leads negotiations for steamship lines, terminals, stevedoring companies, and port associations throughout the country such as the NYSA.
    NYSA is one of 11 port associations that are members of USMX and holds separate talks with the ILA on local issues particular to the Port of New York and New Jersey.
    Curto said if the two sides resume talks and “are talking and bargaining and run up against a deadline and are making some progress, I don’t think management would necessarily be opposed to an extension of some sort if we are making some progress. I’m not talking an extension that goes a year, but a couple of weeks. If we are making some headway, it makes sense to continuing bargaining. Of course, both sides have to agree.”
    Curto and John J. Nardi, NYSA’s executive vice president, noted that NYSA-ILA talks scheduled for last week were postponed after negotiations with the USMX on a master contract for ports from Maine to Texas broke down on Aug. 22.
    While NYSA was hoping to negotiate in parallel with USMX on local issues, Curto said it now appeared “USMX will have to be substantially completed before we get into some of our stuff.”
  The master contract between the ILA and USMX sets wages and covers containerized and roll-on/roll-off cargoes, but not breakbulk or bulk cargoes, which are negotiated separately. It covers areas such as jurisdiction, the use of technology for handling cargo, and defines the basic work day. It also encompasses a national health plan for ILA workers on the East and Gulf coasts and oversight of benefits such as container royalties.
    NYSA and similar port associations negotiate agreements that cover the pay of skill differentials for specialized workers such as crane operators and drivers, local pension plans, holiday and vacations, starting times for employees, work rules and grievance handling procedures.
    There are about 3,300 employees covered by the master contract in New York, more than in any of the 13 other East and Gulf coast ports. There are about 14,500 workers in all the master contract ports.
    In a statement issued Aug. 22, Capo highlighted the importance of New York in the negotiations. He said “management’s primary goal in these negotiations is to maintain the competitive position and market share of the ports by improving productivity and removing the inefficiencies that threaten the economic viability of the ports” and said antiquated work rules have made the Port of New York and New Jersey “the most expensive port in the world.”
    At that time he said the ILA leadership had been "unwilling to have a meaningful discussion about these archaic practices, among them ‘low-show’ jobs that pay some ILA members for 24 hours of work even if they are only on the job for a few hours a day.”
    Curto said about 3,000 of the ILA members in New York are direct labor, handling cargo, driving the machines, or doing clerk and checker work.
    He said there are a couple of hundred other ILA members who are supervisors and some of them are paid even when they are not at the terminal, as long as the people they are supervising are at the pier working.
    “A ship may be working 24 hours a day…. The supervisor may have come for 6 or 8 hours to do whatever it takes, and is still being paid for 24 hours. A lot of costs in New York come from paying workers who are not necessarily on the pier directly handling cargo or performing specific work for the employer,” Curto said. These workers may include head timekeepers, head driver foremen, head maintenance foreman, head tractor foremen, and chief clerks.
    “For the most part they perform some activity and work of value for the employer, so let’s not say they are not useful or reflect a benefit. The problem is the way we pay them,” Curto added.
    Curto, a former Maher Terminals executive, bargained with Harold Daggett, president of the ILA, for many years. Before becoming a national officer, Daggett was president of a key ILA unit representing maintenance and repair workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
    Curto said he is disappointed with how the negotiations have gone so far, noting the NYSA has been doing things to improve the competitiveness and attract more cargo to New York and New Jersey. These include lowering the container assessment and working to adjust rail handling rates to attract more rail cargo and focusing the attention of the port authority and government on the need to raise the Bayonne Bridge so that larger containerships can sail beneath it so they can call the major marine terminals on Staten Island and in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J.
    “Part of our strategy to improve our competitiveness of the port is to get into bargaining with the union and change some of these work practices and manning that make us uncompetitive," Curto said. "My frustration is that we have been doing all these other things and I want to be at the table to discuss these other things with the union and we have not been able to do so.”
    Capo, who last week asked for U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for assistance in getting the talks restarted, had also been in contact with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
    Curto said “at least from the management side, we don’t see any negative aspect to having them (mediators) participate in the process," noting that "federal mediators don’t bargain or make a deal, they just encourage the parties to keep talking."
    If a contract is not reached by the end of September, and the ILA went on strike, Curto said he does not know if President Obama would use the Taft-Hartley Act to try and end it. Former President Bush in 2002 used the same law to put an end to the lockout of longshoremen on the West Coast who are represented by a different union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
    “Of course a strike would have a very detrimental impact on the economy - just-in-time shipments, manufacturing, the consumer side. I’m sure the powers that be would not like to see a long strike because of the effect on the economy," he said.
    For that reason, he thinks it is likely that USMX and the ILA would be ordered back to the bargaining table to try and reach a deal.
    "At that point shippers would have to decide whether to continue to come or seek alternative routings for their cargo, depending on what they felt about the chances of the parties working out an agreement," he added.
    In a separate interview with American Shipper Wednesday, ILA spokesman James McNamara said USMX has refused to provide the union with a copy of management's "final and best offer" that the union wanted to present to about 200 wage scale delegates.
    McNamara also complained USMX has tried to pit ILA workers in New York against those in other parts of the country.
    "Nobody is buying that, everybody knows what they are doing, we've been predicting that since March. We are aware of that strategy and everybody is behind Harold," he said. - Chris Dupin  
 

ILA Strike Action is Authorized

August 29, 2012

 

We have just learned that a key local of the ILA has voted to authorize a strike if there is no change to the contract renewal discussions.  This does not mean there will be a strike, but it does mean that a strike becomes a more credible option.

Management (USMX) has options to respond to avert a strike, but none will be helpful to keeping port costs low.   Or they can ramp up the rhetoric, assuring that there will be problems after the contract expires September 30.

These negotiations are like a chess game, and I am not encouraged by the direction these moves are taking.  Most believe that a work stoppage—if it happens--will be relatively brief, but it will cause delays and congestion for several weeks even after the ports re-open.  

WSSA and Albatrans have some contingencies available in case of a work stoppage.  Please contact us (Geoff Giovanetti) or Albatrans (Vicki Geraci or Alper Ozgulumser) to learn what options might be available for your shipments.

Below is today’s news from American Shipper’s daily briefing for today.


Newsflash: Key ILA Local votes to authorize a strike
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    The International Longshoremen's Association said that 700 members of Local 1804-1, the largest local in the union, unanimously gave its president on Tuesday night authority to recommend a strike.   

   Meeting at a Ramada Inn in Newark, N.J., the members gave Dennis A. Daggett, "the authority to recommend and call for a strike if that action becomes necessary when the current Master Contract expires on September 30, 2012." ILA Local 1804-1 was holding its August monthly meeting where its president mainly spoke of current contract negotiations.

       Local 1804-1, whose members do maintenance and repair work, is a key local for the union. Daggett is the son of Harold J. Daggett, the ILA's international president, who also attended the meeting. The older Daggett was president of the local before becoming president of the union.   

   The two men provided recaps of master contract negotiations with the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents steamship lines and terminals that employ ILA members.

       According to an account of the meeting posted on the union's Facebook page, Harold Daggett said negotiations were progressing up until last week with negotiated landmark agreements on automation and chassis work, but then "fell apart when members of USMX suddenly took a hardline position and demanded givebacks in overtime pay, eight hour guarantees and elimination of jobs."   

   ILA spokesman James A. McNamara, who attended the meeting, said the account of USMX's demands were greeted with laughter and expressions of disbelief by ILA members.

      He said USMX is asking for changes in container royalty payments, and wants to be able to ask dockworkers to begin work at any time of day to reduce overtime and shift differential costs.   

   In an article posted on its Website, USMX said "in the current negotiations over a new master contract, management is not asking to eliminate container royalties, only to cap the payments and use the excess, not as savings for employers but to help pay for other benefits for ILA workers."

       USMX said "the first container royalties were established in 1960 as a way to protect members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) in New York from job losses created by containerization and its introduction of automated cargo. In the more than half a century since, container royalty payments to ILA workers, not only in New York but at all the East and Gulf Coast ports, have increased dramatically, reaching over $211 million in 2011 alone. Not all of that money ends up in the pockets of ILA members; their union gets 10 percent – $21 million last year – through a checkoff from each member’s royalty payment.  

   "The initial reason for implementing container royalties – to protect ILA members from the loss of work – has long been forgotten. Today, thousands of workers who were not even born in 1960 – or in 1968 when container royalties were first distributed – continue to receive payments that in 2011 averaged $15,500 for ILA workers at the 14 East and Gulf Coast ports."

       "Container royalties have morphed from an assessment imposed through arbitration in 1960 to what they are today – another form of compensation for ILA workers, who are among the nation’s most highly compensated," USMX said. "The vast majority of ILA workers were not alive when containerization was introduced in New York in the late 1950s. In fact, only 136 of the 3,281 ILA workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey today were working at the port in 1968, the year container royalties were first distributed."   

   "Unlike the Port of New York and New Jersey, then and now the predominant port on the East Coast, ILA workers at ports like Savannah and Charleston saw their job opportunities grow because of containerization," USMX said. "The container royalties they receive have been a bonus that has nothing to do with any adverse job impact caused by containerization.   

   "The dramatic increase in royalty payments resulted from a combination of two factors – the reduction in the number of ILA workers and an increase in the tons of container cargo – from about 50 million tons in 1996 to 110 million in 2011.

       "With fewer workers and more tons, royalty payments, which are based on the weight of containerized cargo, have increased over the years. In the 14 years ending Sept. 30, 2011, the payments totaled $1.8 billion. In Savannah alone, they increased from $6,028 in 1996 to nearly $36,000 per worker in 2011," USMX added.   

   McNamara said the union has requested, but has not yet received, a "final and best offer" from USMX to present to the 200 leaders of the union who are wage scale delegates and must decide to vote any contract up or down.

    Dennis Daggett told union members the ILA's decision last month to join the International Dockers Council (IDC) has turned out to be a "strategic grand slam homerun."   

   “Portuguese Dockworkers have already written us indicating that they not only were supporting our fight against USMX, but would strike with us if we go out in October,” Daggett told his local members.  

-Chris Dupin
 

Holiday Port Closing

July 3, 2012

All terminals at the Port of NY/NJ, including the SeaLink Office and Truck Replacement
Center will be closed on Wednesday, July 4.  The terminals will reopen on Thursday, July 5,
with normal operating hours.   We do anticipate heavy volumes on Thursday, so please
plan accordingly.

Please anticipate most ports being similarly affected.

Thank you for your attention, and have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Customer Advisory

April 2, 2012

Maersk advises us that the following USWC terminals will be closed for "Cesar Chavez Day", April 2, 2012:

Journal of Commerce's Annual Review & Outlook

January 30, 2012

We’re proud to say that WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoff Giovanetti, has been asked once again to comment in the Journal of Commerce’s Annual Review and Outlook edition.  Comments were received from over 150 key people from ocean carriers, forwarders port authorities, railroads, customs brokers, and importer/exporter groups like WSSA, and were published on January 9.

Generally, commenters were cautiously optimistic about growth for 2012.  But many, including Geoff, feared that carriers will face major financial problems if volumes and revenues don’t appreciably increase.

Please click here to view the article.

 

Italy Closed this week, due to Trucking Strike

January 26, 2012

Shipments from Italy have been paralyzed since Monday of this week because of a national truckers’ union strike.  Most roads and all ports have been severely affected.  The announced end to the strike is Saturday, January 28, although there has been no further confirmation of this.  Even with an end to the strike on Saturday, there will be substantial delays in the following weeks due to current congestion and backlogs. 

The ports of Naples, Leghorn, La Spezia, and Genoa are not operating at all.  Albatrans reports that all shipments booked for sailing this week have been rolled to vessels sailing either next week or the following week.  Albatrans has and will provide status information for specific shipments which have been affected.  
 

Third Strike Notice for the New Zealand Port of Auckland

December 7, 2011

Click here for a Media Release regarding strikes at the Port of Auckland.

The New Zealand Port of Auckland has received a third strike notice, for two 24 hour periods:  from 10:30 pm on Thursday, December 22, until 10:30 pm Friday, December 23; and from 10:30 pm Saturday, December 24, until 10:30 pm Sunday, December 25. 

This follows prior strikes on Dec 1-5 and Dec 8-12.  Shipments scheduled for those dates have been re-routed to sail via Tauranga, which is not affected by the Auckland strikes.  We have no reports of congestion at Metroport or Tauranga, but you should expect some delays.  Albatrans will keep you advised of the status of specific shipments which might be affected.

 

Upcoming Port Closings

November 18, 2011

Although the following report is from the Port of NY/NJ, it will likely be the same for all other US ports:

Thursday, November 24, is Thanksgiving. All terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed and will reopen on Friday, November 25, with regular operating hours. Please consult with the terminals or check their websites for additional information. We do anticipate high cargo volumes on Friday, so please plan accordingly.

Kindly note the SeaLink office will be closed on Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25. The TRC will be open Monday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 23, 9 am - 2 pm.

Strike at Barcelona Port Canceled

November 10, 2011

We have just been notified that the strike at Barcelona port has been canceled.  All operations will resume as normal.  We will keep you posted with any updates.

Port of NY & NJ Terminal Updates

November 4, 2011

Please note the following information regarding terminal closings for the upcoming Election Day & Veterans Day, courtesy of the Port of NY & NJ:

"Tuesday, November 8, is Election Day, an ILA holiday. Please be advised that Global Terminal and Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) will be open as well as the SeaLink office. All other terminals in the port are closed. For Global and PNCT's hours of operation, please check the terminals websites.

November 11, Veteran's Day, is also an ILA holiday. At present, the terminals are scheduled to be closed including the SeaLink office. If there are any changes to their schedule, we will inform you."

Labor Disruptions at Australian Ports --

November 1, 2011

Our partners at OOCL Australia report the following “industrial actions,” which means work stoppages, at Australian ports.  Expect possible delays due to backlogs created by these stoppages, and Albatrans will advise you whether any of your pending shipments will be delayed:

Customer Advisory

DP World Terminal Industrial Action
Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney

OOCL wishes to update customers of industrial actions being notified by the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) to take place at DPW Terminals as per below listed:

Fremantle –  from 06:00 am Friday October 28 to 06:00 am Saturday October 29
                     and from 06:00 am Monday October 31 to 06:00 am Tuesday November 01

Brisbane --   from 07:00 am Wednesday November 02 to 07:00 am Thursday November 03

Sydney –     from 22:30 pm Friday November 04 until 22:30 pm Saturday November 05 - New!

Melbourne – from 06:30 am Sunday November 06 until 06:30am Monday November 07 - New!

We expect that this latest advice of Industrial Action will have a significant impact on vessel scheduling.

Italian Trucker Strike Subsides

October 26, 2011

The striking truckers and the Italian government sat down together yesterday, which resulted in the removal of pickets at the ports of Genoa and La Spezia.  Although there will still be congestion—La Spezia came under heavy rainfall and flooding yesterday—it looks like there will be labor calm for the time being.  No other ports were affected by the strike action.

Italian Port Strike

October 24, 2011

The Italian ports of Genoa and La Spezia are shut down, beginning Monday, October 24. There was an indication last week that a rumored national truckers' strike for next week had been called off, so it is not clear who is behind today's actions.
 
Albatrans Italy advises us that this unexpected truckers' strike began today by blocking access to the terminals at La Spezia and Genoa. This strike is expected to last at least all of this week. As of today, Leghorn, Naples and the other Italian ports were not affected, but things like this have a way of spreading.
 
There will be a number of shipments delayed because of this situation, and Albatrans NY will advise the status of delayed shipments to members who are affected. If Leghorn remains open, some La Spezia shipments may be re-routed via that port.
 
We will publish status reports just as soon as we receive them.

Upcoming Port Closings

August 30, 2011

Please note that Monday, September 5, is Labor Day.  All terminals at the Port of NY & NJ, including the SeaLink Office and Truck Replacement Program Center, will be closed.  Have a nice holiday!

Hurricane Irene Update

August 29, 2011

It looks like most Atlantic ports have resumed operations today, per the latest update today from Maersk Line:

Hurricane Irene Update – 4

Dear Valued Customer,

Please find below the latest vessel and terminal updates post-Hurricane Irene.

Current terminal conditions:
Miami, Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston - All clear. Business as usual.
Wilmington – Terminal is scheduled to open for business at 0800 Monday, August 29.
Norfolk - Terminal is scheduled to open at 0600 Monday, August 29.
Baltimore - Remains in condition “Yankee”. Expectation is that river transit will be cleared by 0800 on Monday, August 29 after channel inspection.
Philadelphia - Remains in condition “Zulu”. Previous announcements stated gates would be closed on Monday, August 29. Expectation is that river transit will be cleared by 0800 on Monday, August 29 after channel inspection.
Newark - Remains in condition “Whiskey”. First vessel operations are scheduled for 1900 on Monday, August 29. APM Terminals website states that gates will be open at 0800.

 

PierPass Fees Increase on Monday, August 1

July 29, 2011

"PierPass reminds exporters and importers through the Ports of LA and Long Beach that the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) charged for transiting the terminal gates during the daytime hours, will increase to $60 per twenty foot container (from the current $50) -- this coming Monday, August 1.  The price of a forty foot (or larger) container will increase to $120 from the current $100."

Special thanks to AgTC for providing this news update!

Football Kicks Wine Transportation Offsides

July 6, 2011

Please note: due to the Copa America 2011 soccer championship (July 1-24), there is congestion in the transportation of South American wine.  Orders can still be processed, but there will probably be delays with some of the cargoes from Argentina. We will continue to inform you of any changes.

Lacey Act Comments Appreciated

June 30, 2011

“Shippers’ NewsWire” advises WSSA that the US Department of Agriculture is seeking public comments regarding proposed changes to its administration of the Lacey Act.  This Act deals with plants/plant products, but has been interpreted as applicable to materials used for packaging, pallets, and other plant-based material ancillary to beverage imports. 

If you or your Customs House Broker would like to submit comments, they should be submitted by August 29, 2011

Terminal Update - Port of NY and NJ

June 28, 2011

Monday, July 4, is Independence Day. Please be advised that all marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed. The SeaLink office and the Truck Replacement center will also be closed in observance of the U. S. federal holiday.

Port Newark Container Terminal has announced that it will extend gate hours to 1900, July 5 - 8.
 

Canadian Mail Service Halted

June 20, 2011

Please note the following message we received from BidStart.com:

We would like to take a brief moment of your time, to address a situation which is affecting many of our members. If you are not already aware, currently general mail service in Canada has been halted. The reason for this is due to a labor dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

All Canadian mail processing plants and letter carrier depots are closed. The majority of post offices have also been closed, and no new mail can be accepted in Canada. At this time, the United States, as well as many other countries around the world, have also stopped accepting new mail destined for Canada.

However, we are hopeful that this matter will be resolved during the upcoming week. The Canadian government has indicated that they aim to pass legislation to end the strike and lockout, and compel the two parties to resolve the matter through an arbitrated settlement.

We also received a note from American Shipper regarding this issue:

USPS stops accepting mail bound for Canada
   A labor dispute between Canada Post and its workers has compelled the U.S. Postal Service to stop accepting mail bound for Canada until at least sometime this week.
   Canada Post workers began rotating strikes in early June to protest stalled contract negotiations before the state-owned postal service locked out all employees June 15. The USPS said it will resume accepting mail destined for Canada, and process any such mail it already holds, as soon as Canada Post resumes operations.
   The USPS will still deliver packages to Canada sent through its Global Express Guaranteed Service, which is delivered by FedEx in Canada, the USPS said.
   Package delivery company UPS said it could pick up some of the slack in its Canada network, but is limiting existing customers to a 10 percent increase in their normal daily volumes to Canada so as not to degrade its regular service levels.
   The carrier also said deliveries to remote areas of Canada, which Canada Post handles for courier companies, will be suspended for the duration of the strike.

 

 

Update on Strike in Iquique, Chile

June 17, 2011

Please note that the strike in Iquique, Chile has come to an end.  We will continue to update the site if any changes do occur.

Strike in Iquique, Chile

June 16, 2011

The Union workers at the port of Iquique, Chile have declared a strike that will continue indefinitely.  Due to this issue, the terminal is not operating.  Iquique is not a critical port for Chilean wine shipments, but we are closely watching developments which might likewise affect San Antonio and/or Valparaiso.  We will continue to post any updates as we are informed.

Christchurch Earthquake Update

June 14, 2011

Christchurch has suffered more earthquakes and as a result, Lyttleton port is closed for all cargo operations.  We will continue to inform you with updates once they are announced.

US Gulf – South America East Coast Loop 1 (GS1) Service Advisory

June 7, 2011

Please review this Hapag-Lloyd service advisory regarding the elevated levels of the Mississippi River and its effect on transit. 

Port Closings

May 24, 2011

Please note that the Port of NY & NJ will be closed on Monday, May 30th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  We suspect most other US ports will be closed as well and will keep you updated with any news.

Strikes at Algeciras Called Off

April 11, 2011

Please note the strikes at Algeciras port mentioned below have been called off and the port is resuming to work normally.  Thanks.

Strike at Algeciras Port

April 8, 2011

Please note the announced strike at Algeciras port starting today and continuing for the following dates of April 2011: 8, 13, 15, 25, 27 - 29.  Carriers that are serving out of Algeciras are Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, and UASC.  Please expect difficulty in accommodating all loadings for those days.  Also, please note that this strike could cause some disruption for shipments from Fos.  We will keep you posted on any updates of this strike once we are informed.

Labor Disruption Closes Oakland Terminal

April 4, 2011

Thank you, Devine Intermodal, for providing the below list of terminals that are open or closed as of right now:

SSA Closed - Not serving China Shipping, CMA-CGM COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, NYK, OOCL, US Line, Yang Ming, and Zim.

APL Scheduled Closure - Not serving APL, Evergreen, Hyundai and Mitsui.

Total Open After a Slow Start - Serving Hanjin, K-Line Maersk, MSC, Safmarine, Wan Hai and Yang Ming.

7th Street Open - Serving China Shipping and Evergreen.

Ports of America Open - Serving APL, CCNI, COSCO.  CSAV, Evergreen, Hamburg-Sud, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Horizon, Hyundai, K-Line, Maersk, Mitsui MSC, Polynesia, and Yang Ming.

TraPac Open - Serving APL, CMA-CGM, Hyundai and Mitsui.

Christchurch Earthquake Update

February 24, 2011

Please note the following information we have received from Maersk Line regarding the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake:

Port of Lyttelton
The port and city depot are closed.

South Island Roads
The access road to the Lyttelton port is still closed. More updates to follow.

South Island Rail
   - Rail North of Christchurch: Lines expected to open today from Picton down to Middelton in Christchurch.
   - Rail South of Christchurch: Lines are open from Middelton to all locations south of Christchurch.
   - Delays to rail transit times and equipment supply shortages can be expected over the next few days.
   - Services will be restricted to operating in daylight hours to allow the rail staff to be with their families at night. Operating hours for the container terminal is 0700-1900 hrs.
   - Please note that the Kiwirail South Island Customer Service Center continues to be shut until further notice. Emails sent to southbookings@kiwirail.co.nz will be responded to by staff from the North Island Customer Service Center.

We will continue to update once we are informed.

Lyttelton Port Operational Status

February 23, 2011

Please review this notice which is the latest communication from Lyttelton Port's CEO regarding the port's operational status following the earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22, 2011.  

2011 Review & Outlook

February 9, 2011

The Journal of Commerce recently released their 2011 “Review and Outlook” edition.  This edition had 195 pages of opinions by ocean carrier executives, port officials, labor groups, rail spokespeople, other transportation groups, and a few selected shippers’ groups.
WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoffrey Giovanetti, was featured in this edition’s “Executive Commentary”.  You can read this article here.
 

France Strike Update

February 10, 2011

The work stoppages at Le Havre and Fos scheduled from Friday, February 11, 2011 until the beginning of next week have been cancelled.  We will continue to inform you of any updates and expectations for next week as soon as we are notified.

February 9, 2011

Fos:
  For GPMM:
     -Strike on Saturday, February 12, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
     -Strike on Monday, February 14, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
  For Dockers:
     -Strike on Friday, February 11, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
     -Strike on Sunday, February 13, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).  
 
Received today from Le Havre port:

Quote
In continuation of the national action launched about collective agreement and “hard jobs” issue within the framework of the port reform, the FNPD CGT Union has informed us of a work stoppage as from Friday, February 11th, until Tuesday, February 15th, (alternating between dock workers and port CGT personnel), and the night from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning, according to the following :

Considering the overall period,

       * Maneuvering of mobile structures will be provided:
              -from Saturday morning to Sunday morning,
              -from Monday morning to Tuesday evening, 7.00 p.m.,
              -as from Wednesday morning, 7.00 a.m.

       * Cargo-handling in terminals (except alongside the quay) will be provided:
              -from Friday morning to Saturday morning,
              -from Sunday morning to Monday morning,
              -Tuesday until 9.00 p.m.,
              -and from Wednesday morning, 6.00 a.m.

Despite this announcement, negotiations are not interrupted.
We will keep you informed of any change in the situation.
Unquote

February 2, 2011

Please reference below for detailed information regarding strike situations at the French ports:

Le Havre:

Maersk: They have suspended direct service from Le Havre and are using the feeder system for evacuating containers.  Now charges fees on Maersk terminal.
Hapag-Lloyd: Not accepting bookings from Le Havre.
YML: No departures from Le Havre.  They are using the feeder system to remove containers at the terminal and are no longer accepting bookings.
OOCL: Yes, they are accepting all bookings at all destinations.
CMA: Co-loads on Maersk ships; no shipping before March 5, 2011.
MSC: Yes, accepting bookings.
MOL: Will co-load with Maersk.

Fos:
*Situation unchanged since last week.
Zim Lines: OK, but 19 days delay.
Maersk: Using the feeder system; however, significant congestion is causing delays of 12 days or more.
Hapag-Lloyd: Not calling Fos until further notice.
UASC: Yes, accepting bookings, but are 7-10 days late.
MSC: Yes, accepting bookings.

Strike reports for Le Havre:

For GPMM (staff port tml, except dockers):
   -Work stoppage 10H / 20H; Removed night shift on Thursday, February 3, 2011
   -24-hour strike Saturday, February 5, 2011 (Saturday-Sunday 6 H 00 6 H 00)  
   -24-hour strike Monday, February 7, 2011 (Monday to Tuesday, 6 H 00 6 H 00)  
   -One hour work stoppage from 00 to 6 5 H: 00 Everyday

For Dockers:
   -Work stoppage 10H / 20H; Removed night shift on Thursday, February 3, 2011  
   -24-hour strike Friday, February 4, 2011 (Friday-Saturday 6 H 00 6 H 00)
   -24-hour strike Sunday, February 6, 2011 (Sunday to Monday, 6 H 00 6 H 00)
   -One hour work stoppage 21 H 00-22 H 00 All day

Strike reports for Fos:

For GPMM (staff port tml, except dockers):
   -Strike on Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
   -Strike on Monday, February 7, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
   
For Dockers:
   -Strike on Tuesday night, February 1, 2011 from 20H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
   -Strike on Friday, February 4, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
   -Fos TML Seayard will be closed Friday, February 4, 2011.
   -Strike on Sunday, February 6, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).

Eurofos informed “work” will resume on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by 06H00.

We will continue to update with the status of the strikes once we have been notified. Thanks!

Hapag-Lloyd Chassis Announcement

February 1, 2011

Hapag-Lloyd has announced a change in their USA chassis program.  This revision, effective April 1, 2011, will gradually stop providing chassis for Merchant Haulage (MH) shipments.  Please reference the below customer letter and FAQs for more details.

Customer Letter – Chassis Announcement
Customer Letter – Chassis FAQs
 

French Ports - Strike Status

January 28, 2011

FYI: The strikes on the French Ports will continue from January 28th to January 31st. 
We have not received official strike information yet, but most vessels are delayed or cancelled due to the strikes coming up this weekend. 
We will continue to inform you of the status once we are notified.

NY/NJ Port Authority takes a look back at 2010

January 24, 2011

Looking back, business in 2010 turned out to be unexpectedly robust. Here at the Port Authority, we remain cautiously optimistic for 2011. However, as competition for business all along the supply chain has increased, cost savings and efficiency improvements are at the forefront of everyone's mind. Fortunately, over the past decade we have invested more than $2 billion in the port to help us meet these challenges by reducing the cost of doing business at the Port of NY & NJ.

You have asked us what we are doing to keep the engines of Port Commerce tuned-up, oiled, and fully fueled. One of the answers is intermodal rail — a network of cutting-edge rail facilities that provide cost savings and reduced congestion to all the port's customers. Our recent investments in the ExpressRail System not only add value by reducing costs and congestion but also by reducing the environmental footprint of the port.

Our recent investment in the ExpressRail Corbin Street rail yard created an unprecedented 78,000 linear feet of track. This will allow us to put more trains into service simultaneously, reducing shipping costs as well as the region's carbon footprint. And the sheer size of our Corbin Street operation leaves room to satisfy capacity demands well into the future.

Consider, too, our new roadway projects. We are committed to invest over $90 million to modernize and improve the network of roads that service Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal. The North Cargo Area and Port Street Improvement Program will both widen and realign Port Street and Brewster Road, including each thoroughfare's connecting ramps and intersections, to a point where safety, ease of use, and efficiency levels stay productive well into the future. We are improving the McLester Street curve at the south end of the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, and will start on a project to widen further sections of McLester Street this year. In addition, working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, improvements will be made to the network of roads servicing New York Container Terminal to improve the flow of traffic on Forest Avenue.

The agency's recent purchase of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) places 130 acres of vital, dwindling waterfront space under public stewardship. Combine this with our acquisition of the 98-acre Global Terminal on the Port Jersey peninsula, which will be expanded by an additional 70 acres from the former North East Auto Terminal, and you see the agency's clear commitment to the commerce, jobs, people, and future of our port.

And of course, our recent pledge of $1 billion to raise the iconic Bayonne Bridge will allow for unhindered passage of larger container vessels to our container terminal facilities west of the Bridge. The alternative that was selected to raise the roadway in the present bridge structure as compared with others reviewed to replace the bridge, is the most cost effective, and has the fewest environmental and neighborhood impacts -- a victory for the port and its neighboring communities.

Finally, our new Marine Terminal Tariff creates a much-needed fund for critical future capital improvements. Money generated by the modest Cargo Facility Charge will be used to continue to improve and modernize port infrastructure, creating an investment in our port's future, and therefore an investment in each of us.

Despite unforeseen challenges, our commitment to increase capacity and provide for modern and efficient port infrastructure has never wavered: plan wisely, spend thoughtfully, and excel today while planning for an even brighter tomorrow.

                           Special Thanks to the NY/NJ Port Authority for providing us with this information!

NY/NJ Terminal Closings

January 11, 2011

Due to the inclement weather, the following terminals will be closed on January 12, 2011:

          - APM Terminals
          - Maher Terminal
          - PNCT Terminal

We will continue to keep you posted on any other delays or closings once we are informed.

Strike Status - French Ports

January 11, 2011

Le Havre:
   - Wed. Jan. 12th & Thurs. Jan. 13th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.
   - Fri. Jan. 14th: Crane-drivers will be on strike but the dock-workers won't be; containers can be
     trucked to the terminals but will not be loaded onto the vessels.
   - Sat. Jan. 15th & Sun. Jan. 16th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.

Fos:
   - Wed. Jan. 12th & Thurs. Jan 13th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.
   - Fri. Jan. 14th: Crane-drivers will be on strike but the dock-workers won't be; containers can be
     trucked to the terminals but will not be loaded onto the vessels.
   - Sat. Jan. 15th & Sun. Jan. 16th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.

January 7, 2011
Shipping lines prepare for more disruption at French ports

Le Havre:
   - Monday, January 10th at 10PM to Tuesday, January 11th at 6AM
   - Friday, January 14th at 10PM to Monday, January 17th at 6AM
   - every day: One hour work stoppage from 5AM to 6AM and 9PM to 10PM

Fos:
   - January 8th and 9th - No work
   - January 10th - Trade unions, port management and government representatives will meet to negotiate
 *After the meeting on the 10th, we will know more information about the strike and if it will be continuing.

January 6, 2011 - Please note that Hapag Lloyd is not accepting any booking in Fos.

January 4, 2011
          Hapag Lloyd's French Ports Situation - Update
Port workers at French ports have decided to resume their strike actions as follows:

FOS:
   - January 04 / 20:00 until January 05 / 06:00
   - January 07 / 20:00 until January 08 / 06:00
   - One hour stoppage at the end of each shift starting January 03 / Noon
          Hapag Lloyd's Port of Fos - Strike Update 1

LE HAVRE:
   - January 07 / 22:00 until January 10 / 06:00
   - One hour stoppage between 5:00 to 6:00 and 13:00 to 14:00 each day
          Hapag Lloyd's Port of Le Havre -Strike Update 1

We will continue to update our news page as soon as we are informed.

Port of New York and New Jersey will raise Bayonne Bridge

January 5, 2011

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has made a landmark decision to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow larger vessels to transit the river.

Weather Updates in Europe

December 17, 2010

Italy: Leghorn terminal has suspended all activities; there are many difficulties related to truck transportation in the Northern/Central part of Italy. We will keep you posted if any shipments are affected by this situation.

France:  Snow in Northeast France has caused some shipments to be delayed.  We will keep you informed on each PO that is concerned.

National Strike in Italy

December 16, 2010

Please note that there is a National Strike scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 20th and 21st in Italy.

Any updates on the status of this strike will be available next Monday only. 

We will keep you informed on any updates regarding this issue once we have been notified.

Confirmed Cancellations Due to Weather Conditions:

December 10, 2010

MAERSK/APL:
APL EGYPT eta 13.12.10 has been canceled at Le Havre after bad weather conditions in Felixstowe, Rotterdam ports.  The bkgs exports are deferred on the next ship MOL ENDOWMENT eta 18.12.10

HAPAG:
LEVERKUSSEN EXPRESS v. 99W50 canceled its call in Rotterdam
Containers will be deferred on the M/S ROTTERDAM EXPRESS v. 70W51 eta Rotterdam 29.12; eta Oakland 23.01 

We will continue to keep you updated on current weather conditions once we are informed.

France Weather Update

December 1, 2010

Please review the following information regarding weather conditions in France and it's affect at terminals:

Lyon: Snow level (20cm); main rail operator is not able to receive any train or handle containers.

There is no snow in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Le Havre and Fos as of now.

*Please take into consideration that temperatures are below zero and therefore, when shipping wine, the use of a thermal blanket or reefer container is recommended.

French Strike Updates

October 29, 2010

Please review this Hapag-Lloyd update regarding strikes at Le Havre, as well as this update regarding Fos.

Strike update - Port of Fos

October 26, 2010

Please review this update received from Hapag-Lloyd regarding the strike situation at Fos.

Current strike status:

Le Havre: Doors blocked Oct. 21- reopening in afternoon; Oct. 22 - strikes again blocking main terminal entries
Fos: Permanent strike by dock workers two hours per day
Barcelona: Independent truckers called off strike Oct. 21; port activity will resume to normal

*Please note this Hapag-Lloyd update we received Oct. 21 regarding the current vessel status at Port of LeHavre.

*Please note this Hapag-Lloyd update we received Oct. 21 regarding the current strike status at Port of Fos.

Strike at Barcelona port

October 18, 2010

Independent truckers have started to strike at Barcelona port.  They have blocked all port entries, forcing the trucking companies to stop all loading and unloading at terminals.

*Please note - Tarragona Port is working normally.

Vessel situation at the port of Fos

October 15, 2010

Please review this alert from Hapag-Lloyd regarding the current strike situation at the port of Fos.

France Strike Update:

October 15, 2010

Le Havre Port: No possibility in/out.  Consequences on current shipments cannot be evaluated.
Fos Port: Will be closed Sat., Oct. 16; next strike is announced for Tues., Oct. 19.

French Unions Set Oct. 19 Strike, Extend Impasse Over Pensions

October 14, 2010

French workers and students have joined forces to protest against President Sarkozy's bill to raise the retirement age.  These strikes have grown to become a nationwide issue disrupting various transport operations.  Click the link above to learn more about this critical situation.

NY Port Operations UPDATE on ILA Work Stoppage:

September 29, 2010

"All NY terminals are ordering ILA labor to work vessels starting tonight at 1900 hrs. Terminals expect to be fully staffed and open for normal operations tomorrow, 9/30."

Shaken port continues to operate despite Christchurch earthquake damage

September 7, 2010

The earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand early on the morning of Saturday, August 4, caused millions of dollars in damage. Lyttelton Port continues to operate, despite the significant disruption.

Terminals must expand to avoid congestion

September 3, 2010

Many terminal enlargement projects were put on hold during the recession.  Insufficient funds were used for more important operations rather than the expansions.  The hold on increasing the sizes was acceptable at the time, because the number of shipments had decreased. 

However, recessions do not last forever!  Shipping has picked back up and according to Drewy Shipping Consultant, if the expansion projects are not picked up again, terminal congestion will return.

Plans to increase terminal and trucker efficiencies

September 1, 2010

CMA CGM has released the following Chassis Update effective November 2010.

Congestion returns to Rotterdam

July 21, 2010

Three day delays, having been caused by profusion, have caused some lines to consider congestion surcharges.  Lines are looking into cost recovery from their customers to help pay for losses such as extra fuel consumption and additional operational costs.

Charlotte Maersk blaze is extinguished after 11 days

July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18 was a day of relief, for the Maersk Charlotte’s flames were finally stifled.  The deplorable event started on July 7, which counts eleven days that the vessel was in flames.  It is now being unloaded and all undamaged cargo is being delivered to its customers.

Pirate attacks on the decrease

July 16, 2010

The International Maritime Bureau has reported a decrease in the number of pirate attacks from the first half of 2010 as opposed to 2009.  Improved vessel management operations, as well as world navies, have been a beneficial factor in helping lower these numbers.  However, sea piracy is an on-going threat to our waters.

Containers still burning a week after fire on Maersk ship began

July 14, 2010

The Charlotte Maersk still holds over 100 burning containers near Malaysian Port Klang after a week of flames.  With temperatures reaching 1,000 degrees Celsius, the line cannot estimate when the fire will be extinguished.  Luckily, none of the crew on the vessel was harmed.

An alternative route to achieving energy efficiency and greener shipping

July 12, 2010

Moving towards a greener shipping method could cause lower costs and less damage to the environment.  How do we go about becoming more green?  Newer technology, as well as improved operational procedures and ship design could all contribute to helping sea trade become greener.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has addressed these ideas and is focusing on ways to grow towards it.

Friday Focus: Surcharges

July 9, 2010

Ocean carriers have been raising surcharges in order to stay afloat during this period of container shortages.  Many are going to hit record peak season surcharges (PSS) in order to make up for their losses from last year.  The following article depicts some examples of what is to come in the next few months, as well as opinions on the matter.

Container shortage 'could last two years'

July 6, 2010

A severe demand for shipping containers continues to afflict the import/export industry.  Researchers have noted that at least six million new boxes are needed, which could take up to two years to generate.

U.S. Ports Expand Capacity to Meet Growing Demand

June 24, 2010

A recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle (real estate specialization) shows expansion activity in U.S. ports’ futures.  With import traffic up almost fifteen percent since mid 2009, there is more demand for ports to amplify the framework needed to support the larger volume of shipments.

Agencies Issue Grape Moth Advice

May 26, 2010

The European Grape Vine Moth is a common pest to many grape growers and vineyards alike.  How do you go about controlling its population? Napa County, California has experience in dealing with this nuisance, having had many infestations.  The following article contains information about the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s quarantine procedures and recommendations on how to restrain these pests.

CBP, CPSC Sign Agreement to Promote Consumer Safety

April 26, 2010

Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) personnel are now able to access CBP’s automated systems for import safety risk evaluations due to the signed agreement between Alan Bersin and Inez Tenenbaum.  This agreement is very important for the future protection of consumers against harmful goods.  The following article sheds some light on this understanding.

CBP's news release