Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ports at New Jersey/New York return to work

From The Journal of Commerce

The two-day work stoppage at the six container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey ended early Wednesday afternoon when the Philadelphia ILA local whose picket lines had caused the shutdown of the terminals called off the picketing.

click here for complete article

Teamsters Union in talks with YRC

Least anyone think I bash all Unions (after the previous 3 posting), I have something good to say about the latest actions of the Teamsters.

They appear to be living in the "real world", and over the last year have been trying to keep YRC out of bankruptcy.

From The Journal of Commerce

Proposed agreement on pensions, wages would give union broad veto power over management decisions

The Teamsters union is offering to extend its current contract with YRC Worldwide for two years and accept dramatically reduced pension contributions in return for an unprecedented say in the management of the nation's largest trucking operator.

The union would extend the current suspension of pension contributions, set to expire Dec. 31, until May 31, and then require the company to resume contributing to its multiemployer pensions at 25 percent of the rate in effect in July 2009.

The union proposal also would make significant changes to YRC's work rules and make them uniform across all of its regional and supplemental agreements — a major issue for the company, which deals with several bargaining units.

The agreement would extend the National Master Freight Agreement until 2015. Wage increases already scheduled for 2013 and 2014 would take place, but wage levels would be cut by 15 percent, matching the levels agreed to last year.

The company's board agreed to the plan, which now must be approved by YRC Worldwide's Teamsters employees. A vote by the Teamsters rank-and-file is expected later this month. The concessions are aimed at helping the struggling company avoid potentially crippling pension costs and survive 2011.

In return, the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee would receive effective veto power over the company's plans to recapitalize and over any transactions that may occur in the restructuring of YRC Worldwide.

And, from Bloomberg News

YRC Worldwide Board of Directors Approves Tentative Labor Agreement and
Reverse Stock Split

Correction- ILA shuts down all terminal work at NY/NJ

Yesterday I wrote that the truckers were the ones hurt by the ILA strike, that the ships were still being loaded/unloaded. This was incorrect.

Apparently all work stopped on the terminals.

And, despite a court injunction yesterday afternoon, there is yet again no work today.

Yes, the ILA is thumbing their nose at the court, and, I guess they can't read, because there is a "no strike clause" in their contract.

What thugs. Yes, thugs.

Next thing you know they will be bashing out car windows with tire irons.

From The Journal of Commerce

The New York Shipping Association went to court Tuesday afternoon to seek an injunction against the work stoppages, which was granted by Judge Debevoise.

“We feel strongly that these actions by the ILA, in refusing to cross a non-bona-fide line, are a violation of the no-strike clause of our current collective bargaining agreement,” said Joseph C. Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, in a statement issued Tuesday. “We further believe these actions are completely irresponsible and accordingly we will explore all possible remedies to end this illegal action.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ILA action hurts truck drivers

The ILA stopped trucks from going in and out of the gates in NY/NJ, but didn't stop ships from working.

So, they didn't really hurt the carriers, but instead, the independent truck drivers


"We came up to inform people what is going on in Camden," said Joe, one of 14 longshoremen from the Port of Philadelphia.

Beverly Fedorko, a spokeswoman for the NYSA said she expected the terminal to reopen tomorrow.

Bradley Homman, 45, of Clearfield, Pa., parked his truck on Port Jersey Boulevard near the entrance to the terminal and said he plans to "beat the traffic" when the gates open tomorrow.

He said expects to lose $200 in earnings because of the one-day stoppage. "There is a lot of people who are going to be mad because they are closed, Homman said. said. "Everyone is going to lose a day's work."

ILA Thugs stop gates at NY/NJ terminals

From The Journal of Commerce

Longshoremen protest pending Del Monte move to non-union facility

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET 9/28/10

Picket lines by longshoremen from Philadelphia caused work stoppages at all six container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday, when terminal workers who are members of the International Longshoremen's Association refused to cross the Philadelphia ILA picket lines despite a court injunction issued on Monday.

The Philadelphia longshoreman were picketing the terminals to protest the pending move by Del Monte Fresh Produce of 75 ship calls a year from an ILA terminal in Camden, N.J. to a non-ILA facility in Gloucester, N.J. that is owned by the Holt family. The Philadelphia ILA claims the Del Monte move will cost the union 200 jobs.

The Philadelphia ILA members shut down work at the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island, APM Terminals and Maher Terminal in Port Elizabeth, N.J., the Port Newark Container Terminal, Global Marine Terminal in Bayonne, N.J., and the Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn. The only terminal that remained open was the passenger cruise terminal.

I just don't know what to say.

First off, despite what the U.S. Government says it has done to "clean up" the unions from Mob influence, it just hasn't happened.

The ILA and the Mob go hand-in-hand, and so, the ILA doesn't know how to do anything to benefit it's members except for heavy-handed tactics.

Too bad they don't learn how to improve productivity, get rid of the incredibly antiquated way of billing carriers and/or terminals. It's sad that the U.S. terminals are so far behind others around the world in terms of productivity. The cost to load or unload a container in NY is more than twice what it is in Rotterdam.

Once the railroads get their trackage increased across the U.S., the ocean carriers will really have some more options to move their containers, and will be able to avoid the Northeast U.S. ports.

The ILA might just be shooting themselves in the foot.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

U.S. Anti-Trust for Ocean Carriers under review

Once again, there is talk of changing the U.S. law which allows ocean carriers to get together and talk about rates.

From The Journal of Commerce

Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., formally launched a battle between shippers and ocean carriers over carrier antitrust immunity, introducing this week legislation that would abolish ocean carriers’ ability to meet and discuss rate guidelines.

The Shipping Act of 2010 would ban ocean carrier discussion agreements while preserving carriers’ ability to form agreements aimed at improving service, such as vessel sharing agreements. The bill also would give the Federal Maritime Commission more authority to mediate and resolve service contract disputes

Well, I say, just deregulate the whole thing, and get rid of the FMC.

First off, giving the FMC more authority, is really a waste of taxpayer money.
We already have lots of courts which deal every day in contract disputes. There is nothing so special about an ocean service contract, from any other type of contract which requires delivery of a good or service.

And, from the ocean carrier side, they would probably be better off not relying so much on what their competitors tell them. They need to learn to look at their business individually, and not rely on what was always industry practice. Or, worse yet, believing "well, if XYZ charges this rate, then if we charge that rate we will make money".

Too many carriers have no idea of their true cost doing business. This last downturn has forced them to look at each piece of business, and finally start making those tough changes.

For example, the policy of ocean carriers supplying chassis in the U.S. is going away. And why not? From what I understand, this practice was only in the U.S., that no where else in the world did the ocean carrier supply the chassis.

Maersk took the hard decision to quit providing chassis, and everyone else will follow. If this decision had been left to "collective agreement", it never would have happened.

So, I say, totally deregulate, and let the market forces play out. For those exporters complaining they can't get containers, or can't get space. Well, what does your service contract spell out?

Oh, you don't have a service contract?

Well, maybe that's the problem.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

UPS cargo plane crash- are batteries to blame?

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash in Dubai last week of the UPS freighter. The theory is a there was a fire in the cargo hold.

From the Journal of Commerce

Crash investigators are trying to identify which type of cargo was located near the starboard wing of the three-year-old 747-400 freighter and are trying to determine if lithium batteries were present on the flight, according to report by The Associated Press.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 113 incidents on both cargo and passenger planes between 1991 and early 2010 involving “smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosion” due to lithium batteries or equipment that uses them.

The Transportation Department in January called for stricter rules for shipping lithium batteries on cargo flights.

I know we are all tempted to discount the possibility of a lithium battery causing a fire, but apparently this is a real possibility.

Packaging and shipping goods for air transport is a very serious business. Too many people sign documents, certifying goods are acceptable for air transport, without really knowing what they are doing, or, worse yet, not caring.

I worked with a guy over 30 years ago, who brazenly put cans of paint in domestic airfreight containers, unmarked, not correctly packaged, and with falsified paperwork.

He seemed quite pleased with himself to save so much money.

I was too young and green to really know the danger, yet, I knew the shipping regulations existed for a reason.

So if you are shipping, or even using something with lithium batteries, take heed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kuehne and Nagel, Panalpina, accused of price fixing

Although it's been years (actually decades) since price fixing was legal in airfrieght, some companies can't seem to stop the practice.

From Bloomberg News

New Zealand Indicts Kuehne in Antitrust Suit Against, BaZ Says

New Zealand authorities indicted Switzerland’s Kuehne & Nagel International AG and Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG as well as other logistics companies in an antitrust case, Basler Zeitung reported.

The companies allegedly “artificially” increased air- freight prices from and to New Zealand since 2001, the newspaper said, citing New Zealand’s authorities.

Kuehne & Nagel rejects the charges and will defend itself in court while Panalpina is in settlement talks with New Zealand’s authorities, Basler Zeitung cited the companies as saying.