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.

How a grassroots effort in Vancouver fought big oil — and won

Excerpts from Oregon Public Broadcasting:

The $210 million Vancouver Energy project, a joint venture from Tesoro and Savage, would have brought up to 360,000 gallons of crude oil a day on trains traveling along the Columbia River. The proposal would have been the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country.

ILWU Local 4 member Jared Smith works as a crane operator at the water’s edge, loading and unloading ships as they head through the port back down the West Coast.

When he first heard about Vancouver Energy’s proposal, he immediately worried about his colleagues at the port.

He knew if there was a derailment or an accident at the terminal, they would be the ones closest to harm.

“We’re always in favor of good paying jobs that are benefiting the community, but with this, the risk was so high,” Smith said.

The union became more vocal in their opposition to the project after a 2013 oil train derailment in Quebec, Canada, which killed 47 people and destroyed much of the downtown neighborhood.

“After Lac-Megantic happened, it took on a whole new level of meaning for us,” said Smith, referencing the town in Quebec.

More at Oregon Public Broadcasting


Maersk drops as company misses estimates after an ‘unusual’ year

From Transport Topics:

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S fell short of earnings expectations last year but promised its shareholders that profit at the world’s biggest shipping company will grow as much as 43% in 2018.

CEO Soren Skou described last year as “unusual and eventful,” in a statement on Feb. 9. But he assured investors that the company’s “vision of becoming the global integrator of container logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains, is taking shape.”

Skou said 2017 was characterized by “strong underlying market conditions.” But the result was hurt in part after Maersk was hit by a cyberattack in June that mainly affected its Maersk Line unit. Weaker rates and increasing bunker costs, “especially in the fourth quarter,” also dragged down last year’s result, he said.

More at Transport Topics


APM Terminals suffers defeat in Guatemala port case

From Shipping Watch:

In December 2017, a court in Guatemala decided to terminate the original concession agreement covering major port TCQ, which APM Terminals acquired three years ago. The TCQ acquisition has already cost millions of dollars due to old bribery case from 2012.

APM Terminals’ takeover of the TCQ port in Guatemala in 2015 has already resulted in expenses of USD millions, a port that was unable to launch operations in time, and widespread speculations at the Maersk group port operator.

But just a few weeks after the deal was signed, skeletons began to pour out of the closets.

In the spring of 2016, it emerged that the Spanish company, according to the local attorney general, had acquired the TCQ concession through bribing politicians and officials. APM Terminals apparently did not know anything about this, and the company did not find out about it when conducting its due diligence related to the deal with Spanish businessman Ángel Perez Maura, a central figure in the case.

More at Shipping Watch


Washington State House passes bill limiting contributions in port campaigns

From The Columbian:

A bill that would limit campaign contributions in port commission elections is moving to the state Senate after passing the House with near-unanimous approval.

“It’s about fairness, transparency and accountability,” Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, the sponsor of House Bill 2647, said in a news release. “This legislation makes sure that our port districts follow the same laws as everybody else. Like the Legislature, ports are public entities, accountable to the public, so we need to ensure that port districts are responding to constituents and not special interest groups.”

There are 75 public ports in Washington, but only ports with more than 200,000 people in their district — the ports of Seattle and Tacoma — currently are subject to campaign finance law.

The legislation comes just months after the million-dollar race for a seat on the Port of Vancouver commission between Don Orange and Kris Greene. The bill passed the House 97-0 with one absent. It now moves to the Senate.

Read the rest at The Columbian


Foreign competitors increasing spending on ag exports

https://www.hoosieragtoday.com/foreign-competitors-increasing-spending-ag-exports/”>More at Hoosier Ag Today“>From NAFB News Service:

Foreign countries that compete with the U.S. for world market share are increasing their spending on promoting ag exports. Several countries, as well as the European Union, spent close to $1 billion in public funds on ag export promotion in 2016. Studies are showing those countries outspent the U.S. 4 to 1. That’s a 70 percent increase in competitive public spending since 2011.

A study commissioned by the Wine Institute and other ag groups shows that public investment from the EU and four European countries will exceed $550 million in 2019. “That’s more than twice what the U.S. authorizes for agricultural export development under the farm bill,” says Mark Powers, Chair of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Ag Exports. Canada and Italy have doubled their spending on ag export promotion while China and Brazil have tripled their investment. Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council CEO, says increasing competition is one reason why organizations that participate in USDA cost-share export programs are calling for more funding of the U.S. program.

More at Hoosier Ag Today


Record year for intermodal containers at nation’s largest ports

Intermodal cargo is booming at the nation’s ports. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach both reported record levels of cargo. Georgia’s Port of Savannah hit its highest annual volume ever, and the Port of New York and New Jersey also shattered its previous annual cargo volume record, set in 2015.

The Port of Los Angeles moved more cargo in 2017 than in any time in its 110-year history, racking up 9.34 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), a 5.5% increase over 2016’s record-breaking year. It’s the most cargo moved annually by a Western Hemisphere port, according to officials.

In addition, the Port of Long Beach reported its busiest year ever in 2017, moving 7.54 million TEUs, an increase of more than 11%, despite having to deal with replacing a bankrupt shipping tenant.

Last summer, the Port of Los Angeles reported that it achieved record clean air gains while moving more cargo than ever in 2016, according to the Port’s 2016 Inventory of Air Emissions. Since the Port’s baseline inventory in 2005, diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions have fallen 87%, sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions have plummeted 98%, and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions have dropped 57%. During the same period, the port moved more than 8.85 million TEUs.

More at Fleet Management


Workers: ICTSI must stick to deal

Dockworkers unions support Papua New Guinea National Maritime Workers Union's fight for their rights at ICTSI's newest terminal. Photo courtesy of ITF.

Dockworkers unions support Papua New Guinea National Maritime Workers Union’s fight for their rights at ICTSI’s newest terminal. Photo courtesy of ITF.

From the Post Courier:

Lae Port workers want Philippine-based International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) to adhere to working conditions
agreements between port stakeholders.

Lae branch National Maritime Workers Union James Tony said yesterday that the signing of port transition from previous operators Riback
Stevedoring Limited and Lae Ports Services (LPS) to ICTSI was to embrace technology advancement in port operations.

Mr Tony said this is good and they want to experience challenges of international standards but the welfare of the workers and the
agreement established must be implemented by ICTSI.

“Our concern is the agreements. ICTSI agreed all workers employed by previous port operators LPS and Riback will automatically work for
ICTSI beginning with cleaners to managers,” he said.

Mr Tony has been working for ICTSI since operation started last month, but things are slowly changing behind closed doors.

He said there are concerns regarding the deals signed and port workers will need assistance from former employers and Lae MP John Rosso to
address breach of agreements by ICTSI.

“ICTSI is paying workers using the minimum wage rate of K3.50 and not rates from past port operators which varies depending on positions in the company.

“We agreed during signing that ICTSI will pay workers according to past operators rate.

“Some workers have 20 years and above experience with past port operators and with this transition, they are not given any significance in terms of positions and wage,” Mr Tony said.

He said there are other deals which ICTSI has to consider and action and these are, union award of pay increase, safety port standards,
personal protection, port meals for morning tea, lunch and dinner, and no new union to be set up and old port rates remain.

More at the Post Courier


New Zealand unions protest new TPP trade pact, now known as CPTPP

From NZ City:x

The recently revived Trans-Pacific Partnership hasn’t won over everyone as Wellington union members and activists get set to protest the trade agreement.

The Wellington branches of TPP Free, It’s Our Future and Unions Wellington will oppose the agreement at an event on Thursday at Rutherford House where Minister of Trade David Parker is meeting with Export NZ and MFAT to discuss the agreement.

“There is nothing ‘progressive’ about the revised agreement. In fact, not much has changed except the spin,” a TPP Free spokesman said.

New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Japan are among 11 nations signed up to the revised pact, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Protesters say they continue to oppose clauses that give foreign companies the power to sue the government.

More at NZ City


ADM in talks to buy Bunge as early as this week: Bloomberg


Top U.S. grains merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co. could reach an agreement to buy smaller rival Bunge Ltd. as early as this week, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The potential deal comes as large grain traders that make money by buying, selling, storing and shipping commodity crops have struggled with global oversupplies. Thin margins have squeezed such trading operations, including those of ADM, Bunge, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co, which together are known as the “ABCDs” and dominate the industry.

Reuters, citing a source, reported last month that ADM had proposed a takeover of Bunge.

More at Reuters


Seaspan charters newly bought vessels to Maersk

From Marine Link:

Seaspan Corporation said it has purchased two 2006-built 2,500 TEU containerships and entered into fixed rate time charter agreements for the vessels with Maersk Line A/S.

The time charters will be for a term of four years with options for up to an additional two years at increasing charter rates.

Upon delivery of the second vessel, Seaspan’s operating and managed fleet will consist of 112 containerships representing a total capacity of approximately 900,000 TEU, including four newbuilding containerships on order scheduled for delivery to Seaspan and third parties by mid-2018.

More at Marine Link


Port of Kalama to conduct broad environmental review of $1.8B methanol plant

From The Daily News:

The Port of Kalama announced Wednesday that it plans to conduct an additional environmental review of Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed methanol plant. This review will include virtually every stage of natural gas and methanol production — from the early stages of natural gas extraction to the export of methanol to Asia.

The enormous, high-stakes review could help determine whether the $1.8 billion project gets greenlighted by state regulators.

The cradle-to-grave analysis, which is part of a supplemental environmental impact statement, is in response to a September ruling by the state’s shoreline hearings board that reversed two key permits.

More at The Daily News


Brazil drops railway to the Pacific for China exports, citing costs

From Reuters:

Brazil has shelved a planned railway to ship commodities destined for China through Peru as it was too costly and faced “absurd” engineering challenges, a Brazilian official said.

The 5,000-km (3,300-mile) railway over the Andes to the Pacific coast, announced during a visit by President Xi Jinping in 2014, was meant to speed up soybean and iron ore exports to China at a lower cost by bypassing the Panama Canal.

But at an estimated cost of $80 billion, the railway would not be commercially viable if it transported just commodities and not more valuable goods, Jorge Arbache, vice planning minister for international affairs, told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.

Peru also opposed the planned route that cut through one of the country’s most important nature reserves, he said.

More at Reuters


ICTSI launches Papua New Guinea terminal, touts automated processes

From Port Technology:

ICTSI South Pacific International Container Terminal (SPICT) has commenced operations at the Lae Tidal Basin (LTB) in Lae, Papua New Guinea, by rolling out the Navis N4 terminal operating system.

SPICT, a subsidiary of global port operator International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), recently received the go-ahead to begin operations from the PNG Government.

As part of its concession agreement, SPICT will begin the transition using Navis N4.

Christian Gonzalez, ICTSI head of Asia Pacific, recently stated:

“With the support of the local port users and our international shipping partners, we believe that the benefits of automating processes and information flow will accrue to each and every one of the ports users very quickly.

More at Port Technology


Bunge buys U.S. corn flour mills, following ADM takeover approach

Excerpts from Reuters:

U.S. grain merchant Bunge Ltd bought two corn flour mills to expand its food and ingredients business, the company said on Tuesday.

The move comes after a bid to takeover Bunge by rival Archer Daniels Midland Co. that would consolidate the agribusiness sector.

Bunge’s North American arm, based in St. Louis County, acquired the mills in Iowa and Texas through a deal for Minsa Corporation, the U.S. unit of Mexican corn miller Grupo Minsa SAB de CV that Bunge said was valued at $75 million.

ADM has proposed a takeover of Bunge, and Glencore last year sought a tie-up with Bunge in what was viewed as a start of a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the grain industry.

Read the rest here


Cosco Shipping expects return to profit for 2017

From Seatrade Maritime:

Cosco Shipping Holdings said it is benefitting from the recovery in the container shipping market and is expected to turn in a RMB2.7bn ($426.5m) net profit for 2017, turning around from a RMB9.9bn loss the previous year.

The group also noted that after its massive consolidation and restructuring exercise, the capacity of its liner unit Cosco Shipping Lines expanded significantly and this was supplemented by the increase in delivery of new vessels.

“The layout of shipping routes were further optimized. The average income per unit and the cargo volume of the container shipping business increased as compared to the same period of last year and the operational benefits were enhanced,” Cosco said.

More at Seatrade Maritime