The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

Port of Coos Bay has big plans in store

From The World:

The Port of Coos Bay has the task of maintaining the largest deep water channel between San Francisco and Seattle and all the additional transportation infrastructure that goes along with it.

In the coming years, the Port will focus its efforts on rehabilitatiing the Coos Bay rail line tunnel, replacing the Vaughn Viaduct Bridge and installing a stormwater system at the Charleston shipyard.

Earlier this spring, the Port announced plans for a $400 million channel modification project.

More at The World


ITF: Crew abandonment cannot be tolerated

ITF inspector Darren Proctor recounted the case of ”five Turkish crew, two Indians and two Georgians. None of them had been paid for three months, but the Indian crew had not been paid since joining in September and October 2016, and had had to pay to even get the jobs.” Photo courtesy of ITF.

Excerpts from Maritime Executive:

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has reported three ship abandonment cases in UK waters that allegedly showed a disregard for crew welfare regulations.

“The regulation exists to prevent this abuse from happening, but some people seem to think it doesn’t apply to them,” commented ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel. “Action by the flag state has yet to be seen. It’s also disappointing to see the reluctance of the P&I club to step up and pay out under the requirements that came into force in January this year under the amended Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.”

Heindel says that ITF will be reporting on these provisions to the ILO (International Labour Organization) and IMO. He alleges a “tendency to take the word of the owners at face value and ignore both the evidence onboard and the fact that this insurance was specifically designed to allow direct access to seafarers and their representatives.”

ITF inspector Darren Proctor recounted the case of the Panama-flagged Tahsin. “The vessel entered Sharpness, Gloucestershire on 31 May and was detained by the MCA after a complaint was received regarding outstanding wages and drinking water,” he said. “The crew consisted of five Turkish crew, two Indians and two Georgians. None of them had been paid for three months, but the Indian crew had not been paid since joining in September and October 2016, and had had to pay to even get the jobs. One of the contracts for an AB was for $250 total per month.

Proctor said that after ITF intervention, seven of the nine crew were repatriated and paid in full, including payment at the ILO minimum wage for the one illegally contracted for just 250 dollars a month. Inspectors found poor conditions on board, including out of date food, broken galley equipment and shortages of fresh water.

Read the rest at Maritime Executive


Millennium Bulk Terminals receives first permit for coal export terminal

From World Coal:

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview (MBTL) has obtained its first permit needed for the coal export terminal from the Cowlitz County Department of Building and Planning. The Critical Areas Permit was issued this week, signalling the coal export terminal project has entered a new phase after more than five-years of evaluation by regulatory agencies.

The Critical Areas Permit program has been designed to protect critical areas. These critical areas include wetlands and fish habitat areas. The issuance of this Critical Areas Permit indicates that Cowlitz County has approved Millennium’s plans to protect these critical areas.

More at World Coal


Study examines economic impact of US waterways

From Marine Link:

A study unveiled this week documents the contribution of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry to the U.S. economy.

The study, developed through a cooperative agreement between the American Waterways Operators (AWO) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, explores the industry’s economic contributions to employment, gross domestic product and taxes at the national and state levels; details the types and quantities of vital commodities transported on American waterways; and compares waterborne transport to other modes of freight transport in terms of efficiency, environmental impact and public safety.

The study found that the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry supports more than 300,000 jobs nationwide, including 50,000 in the industry itself, 38,000 of which are on board vessels, and has a total annual impact on GDP of $33.8 billion.

More at Marine Link


Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation goals aimed more at helping corporations than uplifting workers

More at Truth-Out

Do not be fooled by Donald Trump’s refusal to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That “position” appears to be a one-off, as his administration appears headed toward a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will make it worse — and will mirror many of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s problems.

In These Times notes some of the specific goals of the Trump administration in NAFTA talks:

A Trump-led renegotiation will mean a strengthening of heinous Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, which allow corporations to sue governments that “infringe” on profit-making opportunities, for example, by daring to introduce anti-tobacco legislation.

Indeed, labor — along with the environment and human rights — would take a back seat to profitability of corporations.

More at Truth-Out


FMC evaluating Transpacific carrier agreements; Carriers known as “Flags of Convenience” investigated

From Logistic Management:

The ongoing trend of consolidation in the ocean cargocarrier arena is being confronted with more scrutiny by regulatory agencies.

Two agreements related to the west coast and trade flows between the United States and Asia were addressed this week by the Federal Maritime Commission, as were recent developments regarding government linked ocean carriers.

The Commission went to closed session to receive confidential reports on the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) and the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement (WCMTOA).

The FMC reviews agreements under the Shipping Act to assure that participating parties do not engage in anticompetitive behavior that results in unreasonable increases in rates or decreases in service, or other prohibited acts.

More at Logistic Management


Mexican state of Oaxaca to build its own ‘Panama Canal’

From the Panam Post:

Mexico is planning to build its own Panama Canal in the state of Oaxaca.

Governor Alejandro Murat recently announced plans for the construction, which will connect the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic by way of the port of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

Murat took over as Governor of Oaxaca eight months ago, and though he inherited “complicated finances,” he said it won’t stop them from
completing the project, in addition to several others lined up for the coming years. His administration plans to connect the tourist port of Puerto Escondido with Mexico City with a new highway, which he said will only take six hours to travel.

More at the Panam Post


Cargo imports surged at U.S. seaports in June

From Dow Jones Newswires:

U.S. importers are on pace to bring more goods through the country’s seaports this summer than last, building up inventories from shoes to steel in a sign of growing hopes that the economy will pick up steam this fall.

Cargo imports surged at U.S. seaports in June, with gateways on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts reporting record monthly volumes at the
start of the shipping industry’s peak season for demand, and a retail group predicts that the inbound volume will accelerate in the coming months, a contrast with depressed shipping demand last year.

More at Dow Jones Newswires


Los Angeles port sets hemispheric record for container throughput in fiscal year

From DC Velocity:

The Port of Los Angeles said this week that it handled 9.2 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) in its fiscal year that ended June 30, a record container throughput for any Western Hemisphere port.

The port also reported that June volumes increased 8.1 percent over the same period in 2016, marking the second-busiest June in its 110-year history.

Port officials said that Los Angeles is on track to end the 2017 calendar year exceeding last year’s record volumes of 8.8 million TEUs. Through June, total 2017 cargo volumes are 4.48 million TEUs, an 8.4-percent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

More at DC Velocity


Old Longview grain terminal could be demolished, clearing space for future port tenant

From The Daily News:

After nearly 30 years of sitting vacant, the old grain silos at the Port of Longview could soon be torn down, opening up more space for the port to attract a new industrial tenant.

Contractors will evaluate whether there are any hazards or toxins in the silos that could affect demolition. … The grain terminal has sat empty in front of Berth 4 since Continental Grain abandoned the port in the late 1980s.

Rehabilitating Berth 4 and the space in front of it is now one of commissioners’ top priorities for building business. Once the space
is cleared, the port will have more land to market to a new bulk commodity facility or other businesses to create jobs, Averett noted.

More at The Daily News


Sen. Murray says Trump’s NLRB nominees take ‘anti-union, anti-worker’ stands

Excerpts from an article titled ‘NLRB nominees avoid answering tough question’ in Work Day Minnesota:

In a multi-hour exhibition of evasion, President Trump’s two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board spent several hours before the Senate Labor Committee ducking, bobbing and weaving and generally avoiding answering tough labor law questions from the committee’s Democrats.

“I haven’t found one instance where you supported the NLRB” or workers in arguing cases, in academic writing or in bargaining, top committee Democrat Patty Murray, D-Wash., told Emanuel.

A skeptical Murray said both men flunked. “As I look at your records, I see anti-union, anti-worker and even anti-NLRB stands,” she told them. “Do you believe the National Labor Relations Act is meant to encourage collective bargaining?” she later asked Emanuel.

He replied that encouraging collective bargaining is the goal of “the first section” of the original 1935 law, “but the 1947 statute” – the pro-business GOP-passed Taft-Hartley Act – “protects the rights of employers, protects the rights of individual employees against unions and also protects the rights of the public in disputes” between workers and bosses. “I haven’t worked to discourage the practice of collective bargaining,” Emanuel contended.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass called Emanuel’s big firm, Littler Mendelson of Los Angeles, “a noted union-buster.” She added that “Your entire career has been to discourage union membership. How can people trust you?” Emanuel replied he “practices traditional labor law” there.

Read the rest at Work Day Minnesota


McCain wants to get rid of ‘Buy American’ law

From the Phoenix Business Journal:

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has introduced legislation to undo a ‘Buy American’ law that dates back to 1920.

McCain wants Congress to repeal the decades-old Jones Act. The law institutes some rules and regulations on shipping.

That includes regulations on waterborne shipping between two U.S. locations that dictate the ships used for that cabotage must be done on ships built in the U.S. Those ships must also be owned by American companies.

It prohibits foreign-owned or foreign-flagged ships from engaging in inter-coastal trade within the U.S, according to the Maritime Law Center.

McCain wants those rules to go away and has pushed for the repeal of the Jones Act — which also is known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

McCain is a big backer of free trade deals including the North American Free Trade Agreement which Trump is reworking.

More at the Phoenix Business Journal


Container ship towed to Dutch Harbor

From the Cordova Times:

A Maersk container ship that lost power on the evening of July 14 about seven miles north of Akutan on the Aleutian chain was towed to Dutch Harbor on July 15, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

No injuries were reported among the 24 crew aboard the Laura Maersk and there was no spill of some 51,000 gallons of fuel oil and other oil products, Coast Guard officers said.

While initial reports indicated that a fire in the engine room caused the ship to lose power there was no fire and cause of the power loss is unknown at this time.

More at the Cordova Times


Fuel tanker runs aground on Columbia River, is refloated, heads to Port of Longview

From The Oregonian:

A 557-foot tanker loaded with 1.63 million gallons of ethanol and 6.65 million gallons of monoethylene glycol ran aground Thursday morning near Skamokawa, Washington, on the lower Columbia River, the U.S. Coast Guard says.

There are no reports of pollution in the river, flooding aboard the vessel or injuries to crew members, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Skamokawa is about 33 miles downriver from the Port of Longview and perhaps 45 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River.

The tanker, called Argent Cosmos, ran aground at about 6:28 a.m. after the vessel lost the use of a fuel pump.

The Argent Cosmos had refloated with the incoming tide and was en route to the Port of Longview at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

More at The Oregonian


Mega ships won’t hit Alaska for a few more years

From KRBD:

Southeast Alaska cruise towns have been getting ready to spend a lot of money making sure their ports can handle “post-Panamax” cruise ships. Those are mega ships with special designs that make them not work well in ports with big tides and fixed docks.

Those ships were to start arriving in the Alaska market as early as next year.

Turns out, the market has a little more time to plan. Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon told the City Council Thursday that he met recently with state cruise industry representatives. They told him that the ships are still having trouble getting through the Panama canal.

More at KRBD