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.

Jakartan dockworkers call on Hutchison-owned Watsons to stand up for workers’ rights

As a result of Hutchison’s refusal to negotiate in good faith, ITF affiliate, Serikat Pekerja Jakarta International Container Terminal (SPJICT), has been forced to ramp up its campaign. Today, in Jakarta, union members and their supporters took the campaign from the waterfront to Hutchison-owned health and beauty retailer Watsons.

Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, and Chair of ITF’s Dockers Section issued a call to Hutchison: “In response to Hutchison’s ruthless attack on workers’ rights at the Port of Jakarta, Indonesian dock workers are hitting the streets to remind the public, and their management, that they deserve respect and dignity.

“These workers have built up Hutchison’s Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) to be one of the strongest performing terminals in Asia, continually lifting productivity to deliver sustained growth for the company, and the Indonesian economy.

“Yet, JICT management continue to crack down on union members. Workers’ wages have been cut by between 15-42% in the last three months, and union members have been specifically targeted – and their jobs threatened – for raising concerns.”

Workers are visiting Hutchison-owned Watsons’ stores today to deliver a message that Watsons’ commitment to create a “healthy and supportive environment for all employees” and provide “a working environment that is free from all forms of discrimination” should extend to all workers in the Hutchison network.

“Watsons strives to work smarter and create more value for its customers and shareholders – just like the workers at JICT. For the Indonesian public to have any faith in Watsons’ commitments, Watsons should act to help fix this situation and tell Hutchison to respect workers’ rights,” said Crumlin.


JICT has been run as a joint enterprise between Indonesian state-owned enterprise PELINDO II and Hutchison since 1999. JICT was just granted an extension on its operating contract until 2039. However, in June, Indonesia’s Audit Board (BPK) announced that the JICT extension was potentially contrary to local laws and is could be depriving the Indonesian state of hundreds of millions in revenue.

The Indonesian anti-corruption commission, Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) is currently considering initiating a full scale investigation into the extension. According to the union, management is using the port extension as a smoke-screen to extract more profit from the enterprise by crushing workers’ rights.

Source: International Transport Workers’ Federation


ITF helps five Kenyan seafarers still stranded two years after ship owner abandoned them

From The Standard:

ITF helps Kenyan seafarers abandoned by ship owner in Indonesia

ITF inspector Betty Makena named the sailors as Athman Mzee Hamisi, who is listed as the ship’s master, Imbuga Aggrey Diede, an electrician, Mapinga Mwalimu, Tela Hamisi Juma, who is a cook, and Yusuf Omar Ragunda, a greaser. Makena said four others Kenyans had previously joined the crew but left and returned home. The five are joined by ITF staff, wearing hat.[Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

Five Kenyan sailors have been stranded in Asia for the last two years after their vessel broke down. Reports indicate that crew members of a Zanzibari flagged vessel, MV Queen Binanga, have not been paid. The ferry has been moored off the Tanjuk Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is said have first docked at Port Labuan in Malaysia.

International Transport Federation (ITF) Mombasa Port Inspector Betty Makena said the Kenyan seafarers had initially been hired by a Burundian national, who had purchased the vessel from the Philippines.

Union chairman Daudi Haji and secretary Stephen Waki have appealed to the Government to rescue the Kenyans.

“We also want the ship owner compelled to pay their salary arrears,” said Mr Haji.

More at The Standard


DP World breaks ground on controversial $1.2bn Ecuadorian port

From GCR:

Dubai port operator and developer DP World has broken ground on a greenfield multi-purpose port project at Posorja, Ecuador, at the delta of the Guayas River in the south of the country.

The port was first agreed in June last year. The decision was controversial because SP World gained the contract without going through a competitive bidding process.

Contencon, the Filippino company that has run the neighbouring container terminal at Guayaquil since 2007, threatened to take legal action against DP World for unfair competition. Contencon is a subsidiary of Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services. In the event, this claim was rejected by Ecuador’s competition authority.

More at GCR


ITF produces toolkit to protect seafarers from scapegoating

Excerpts from Port News:

The ITF has produced a toolkit for its seafarer unions to help them lobby governments to implement international guidelines to prevent the unfair treatment of seafarers following accidents and pollution at sea, ITF said in its press release.

The toolkit highlights cases where seafarers have been scapegoated for accidents and pollution which have arisen as a result of circumstances beyond their control. Common complaints from seafarers include a lack of legal representation and interpretation services.

The toolkit also contains:
• A letter for unions to use to lobby their national governments
• A letter to shipowners seeking their support when talking to national governments
• Information and explanatory notes on the Fair Treatment Guidelines and on the Casualty Investigation Code, which sets out mandatory safeguards for seafarers required to provide evidence.

ITF maritime co-ordinator Jaqueline Smith said: “Criminalisation is a very serious problem for seafarers. They are too often detained and denied access to normal rules of fair play and justice with which to defend themselves against criminal charges.

“Seafarers have a right to undertake their work without fear of being treated unfairly, or, even worse, placed in detention without recourse to fair justice and representation.

“We urge our unions to use the new toolkit, both to put pressure on their governments to implement and enforce the guidelines, and to inform seafarers of their rights.”

More at Port News


Former ILWU home becomes new host to Commonwealth Club

From the SF Examiner:

Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisor Jane Kim, former Secretary of State George Shultz, Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz and Commonwealth Club Board Chair Richard Rubin were on hand, all touting the group’s mission to promote civil public dialogue, even though it seems to be in short supply these days.

Appropriately, the gleaming waterfront building is the former home of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Recalling the 1934 strike which workers won — after police fatally shot two longshoremen, prompting a 70,000-strong march down Market Street — union secretary-treasurer Willie Adams said, “You will see the ghosts, those who came before you, speaking to the hopes, dreams, aspirations of a nation.”

More at the SF Examiner


FMC supply chain innovation project report to be revealed this fall

Excerpts from Supply Chain Dive:

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission will complete its efforts toward an industry-based supply chain innovation project this fall, which it will then present via report, American Shipper reported.

The project was launched in May 2016, out of industry frustration to the ongoing gridlock at many U.S. container ports in 2014 and 2015. Ocean carriers had begun relying on larger ships, which in turn caused chaotic conditions in cargo flow.

Participants in the initiative include shippers, carriers, industry intermediaries and consultants to the import and export supply chain.

More at Supply Chain Dive


Cargo volumes rise at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

From the Los Angeles Business Journal:

Port of Los Angeles officials said that last month marked the second busiest month in its 110-year history with cargo movement increasing 6.1 percent for the month of August year-over-year.

“We are grateful to our terminal operators, labor force, supply chain stakeholders and our cargo owners for the record-breaking container volume trend we have been experiencing over the past 20 months,” Port of L.A. Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

For neighboring Port of Long Beach, a total of 692,375 TEUs were processed for the month of August, an 8 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Imports rose 10.6 percent to 355,715 TEUs, and exports decreased to 117,290 TEUs, a 26.3 percent decrease which port officials said were due to shifts in vessel alliances.

More at the Los Angeles Business Journal


Congress sends Trump legislation denouncing Charlottesville violence, white supremacy

From the Washington Post:

Congress sent a resolution to the White House on Tuesday condemning the violence at the white nationalist rally in Virginia last month and urging President Trump to speak out against racist hate groups.

The legislation, which passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Monday and in the House on Tuesday, will be presented to Trump for his signature in an effort by lawmakers to secure a more forceful denunciation of racist extremism from the president.

The resolution calls on Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy” and also “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

The authors of the legislation purposely introduced it as a joint resolution, which is sent for a president’s signature, rather than as a simple or concurrent resolution, which are not.

More at the Washington Post


Cyber attacks threaten shipping & dominate maritime news

By FMC Commissioner William P. Doyle in the Maritime Professional:

The maritime industry must redouble its efforts to secure IT systems and data.

In June, Maersk Line A/S’s information systems were severely disrupted by the so-called Petya virus. FMC provided Maersk with relief to help them get through the difficult situation. In Mid-July, a researcher penetrated a ship’s internet system through its very small aperture system (VSAT). The ship was operating in the South America trade.

An internet security researcher identified as “x0rz” discovered that many shipboard VSAT systems can be penetrated through the public internet, making the findings live in real time on Twitter. Thus, ships can be tracked and identified through services like Shodan. Shodan is a search engine that allows users to find electronic devices and computer systems connected to the internet, i.e., power plants, traffic signals and even ships. x0rz found that some ships’ systems are not securely configured thus allowing a remote attacker to gain access using default credentials.

Read the rest at Maritime Professional


China’s foreign minister to visit Panama under new diplomatic ties

From AFP:

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will visit Panama at the end of this week, according to officials — three months after the countries established diplomatic ties at the expense of Taiwan.

He will meet with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Saturday. Varela announced his country had opened diplomatic relations with China on June 12, upgrading ties previously focused only on trade.

China is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.

More at this link


Port of Oakland pushes ships to plug-in to shore power to reduce pollution

From CBS San Francisco:

Port of Oakland officials said Friday they are encouraging more vessels to plug into the power grid while berthed to reduce emissions.

By plugging in, ships can turn off their diesel engines while at berth. More than 70 percent of ships visiting the port use shore power, but Lytle said in a statement that “our goal is to plug in every vessel.”

He said port officials are trying to identify reasons why some ships don’t plug in, such as ill-equipped ships or a lack of electrical vaults on shore.

More at CBS San Francisco


N. Korea’s missile launch hits S. Korean shipbuilding industry

From Business Korea:

MSC expressed concerns over the contracts with Samsung Heavy and DSME after North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test on September 3.

North Korea’s sixth nuclear test hit the domestic shipbuilding industry which has been struggling with the sluggish market. Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) was about to sign deals to build 11 ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) but Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s second largest shipping line, postponed the contract citing the North Korea risk.

More at Business Korea


Officials restrict passage on Columbia River due to wildfire, but impact should be slight

From the Columbian:

Wheat shipped to United Grain Corp., wood chips headed to the paper mill in Camas and other commodities are expected to arrive to their destinations, but the wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge may lead to some delays.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday enacted restrictions between the Bonneville Dam and Reed Island, near Washougal, to help barge traffic safely pass the 30,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire.

Barges carrying everything from grain, refined petroleum, gravel and rocks now stop on either side until Coast Guard officials say it is safe for them to move to their intended destination.

Tidewater Transportation and Terminals, based in Vancouver, and Shaver Transportation, of Portland, both said they had crews halted for only briefly. The delays have not led to any substantial impacts.

More at the Columbian


Big ship coming to Bellingham; Port hopes more to follow

From the Bellingham Herald

A very big ship will soon be arriving in Bellingham Bay, another sign the shipping business is finally making a comeback in the area.

The 590-foot MV Diana Bolten is scheduled to dock at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal on Sept. 28 and unload 10,700 metric tons of organic corn and soybeans that are destined for local markets, according to the Port of Bellingham.

This is the first arrival of cargo to the Bellingham Shipping Terminal in more than 17 years, according to Port spokesman Mike Hogan. The Port has been making improvements to lure shipping companies to Bellingham, including spending $500,000 to replace the roof on Warehouse 2, allowing it to be certified for the storage of organic grains. Other recent improvements in the area include the clean-up of the Whatcom Waterway, a new bulkhead and updated stormwater and power systems.

Earlier this year the Port signed an agreement to allow a company to export logs out of the shipping terminal. A ship is expected to arrive later this year to pick up its first load.

More at the Bellingham Herald


Leaders from SF, LA, other disaster-prone cities look to Houston for real-life lessons

San Francisco's seawall is prone to collapse in an earthquake. Though the Port is working to engineer a solution, a fix is likely still years away.

San Francisco’s seawall is prone to collapse in an earthquake. Though the Port is working to engineer a solution, a fix is likely still years away.

Excerpts from SF gate:

Cities across the country that live with the threat of disaster — from earthquakes in San Francisco to hurricanes in Miami — are anxiously watching the catastrophe unfolding in Houston for lessons learned, cautionary tales, anything to soften the blow when their residents are the ones in danger.

“We know we are racing against the clock,” said Elaine Forbes, the executive director of the Port of San Francisco, her office buttressed by a century-old seawall that could collapse in an earthquake. “Seeing Houston stoked the fire.”

“We look at this and realize that while they might be underwater, we someday will be under crumbled buildings,” said Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. “And it will take years, if not decades, to rebuild.”

Some of the lessons, officials said, have been encouraging, in particular the initial willingness of Republicans in Washington, some of whom famously resisted providing assistance after Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York and New Jersey in 2012, to approve the billions of dollars that will be needed to rebuild.

More at SF gate