Friday, October 29, 2010

NY/NJ Port Time Keepers paid for 25 hours a day

In case you didn't really notice from previous articles, the no show jobs at the NY/NJ Ports are sanctioned in the contract between the ILA and the Port Operators.

Now, something equally strange is sanctioned in these contracts.

Paying Timekeepers for more than 24 hours in one day.

From The Journal of Commerce

Paul Buglioli, head timekeeper at Ports America’s terminals in the port, testified he’s paid for 25 hours a day and earned $462,685 last year. Babchik identified 10 other timekeepers in the port who were paid over $200,000 last year, including hours they don’t work.

Buglioli said he and other timekeepers at Ports America terminals log in dockworkers for several shift starts per day, including weekends and holidays, and input their names and work codes for nearly 100 pay categories. “We only have four timekeepers … We should have about 10 timekeepers to do the work we’re doing,” he said.
Commission attorney Paul Babchik testified that timekeepers – International Longshoremen’s Association clerks who tally and report dockworkers’ hours for companies’ payrolls – are paid under arrangements that vary among terminals. Timekeepers typically are paid whenever workers are on the job at a terminal.

click here for link to complete article

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ripped from the headlines...the mob and the waterfront

The from the Newark (New Jersey) Star Ledger

The Waterfront Commission held a hearing into mob influence along the docks today. But some of the scenes could have ripped from newsreel footage of the commission’s 1950’s heyday, right up to that old standard: "On advice from my counsel, I hereby assert my privilege against self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution."

It was among the highlights of the first day of public hearings following a scathing Inspector General’s report last year finding that the commission’s former leadership was "a sanctuary of political favoritism, corruption and abuse."
Aulisi is the son of a former International Longshoreman’s Association Local 1235 president, Vincent Aulisi, who commission officials say installed his son in a no-show job as a checker, or dockside clerk, at the APM terminal in Elizabeth. On a projection screen in the crowded hearing room, commission officials showed photographs of the son barbecuing and riding a lawnmower while he was scheduled to work. The commission eventually barred Aulisi from working on the waterfront for associating with Coppola.

"Isn’t it true that you had a no-show job at APM?" Demeri asked Aulisi.

""On advice from my counsel, I hereby assert my privilege against self-incrimination," he replied, repeating that same response, word-for-word a half dozen times in response to a half-dozen questions.

Testimony from Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, a trade group, detailed labor practices codified in bargaining agreements between stevedoring companies and the longshoremen’s union. The commission officials say the practices allow for and even encourage excessive pay for little or no work, depending on the position.
lesniak-waterfront-commission.jpgNoah K. Murray/The Star-LedgerN.J. State Sen. Ray Lesniak seen on the floor of the Senate session before a vote is cast for his affordable housing bill in June.

For example, a relief checker, Eddie Aulisi’s typical job title, is paid whether or not he is providing relief, and is not required to be on-site even during the loading or unloading job he is assigned to.

Another industry official, Richard Carthas, senior director of terminal operations for APM, Aulisi’s former employer, acknowledged that he had fired other longshoremen for infractions like excessive sick days or attitude problems yet kept Aulisi on his payroll despite knowing he rarely, if ever, worked.

And people wonder why it's so expensive to work a ship in New York/NJ ports?

click here for link to article

Waterfront Commission gets to work..finally

A couple of weeks ago, as reported in The Journal of Commerce

(New Jersey)State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat, said he will introduce a bill Thursday to dissolve the watchdog agency and transfer its powers to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Apparently the Waterfront Commission has decided they better get to work to save their jobs.

ILA shop steward's work week: 168 hours

A nephew of the late boss of the Genovese crime family testified that he receives hourly pay for 168 hours a week, even when he's home sleeping, while collecting $400,000 a year as an International Longshoremen's Association shop steward at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Ralph Gigante Jr., a shop steward at the maintenance unit at Port Newark Container Terminal, said he's paid whenever ILA workers are on the job. He said he gets the regular $33 an hour for 40 hours, double pay for three hours a day of meal breaks, and time-and-a-half for each week's remaining hours, plus two yearly bonuses, including one for 16 paid holidays. He said he doesn't claim pay for the 10 to 12 times a year when he plays golf.

Gigante testified Thursday in the second of a series of hearings by Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to highlight what commission officials say are no-show jobs, favoritism in hiring and organized-crime influence at the East Coast's busiest port.

Oh, so the Waterfront Commission just now came across this bit of information?

This is just too depressing and ludicrous to even discuss.

click here for link to complete article

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CMA CGM may get new stockholder

CMA CGM has been looking for an investor for quite some time.

In the beginning they were looking for loans, but as time goes on, appears they may have decided it's necessary to sell some of the company to get some badly needed money.

From The Journal of Commerce

Turkish family owned company may buy 20 percent stake for $500 million

French ocean container carrier CMA CGM is close to agreeing to the sale of a 20 percent stake to Turkish family owned company Yildirim for $500 million, according to French media reports.

An agreement could be signed by the end of this week and CMA CGM would receive payment at the end of November, French financial daily Les Echos reported.

Reports of an imminent deal follow the collapse of negotiations with several potential bidders over the past six months, including Colony Capital, a U.S. investment group, Belgian billionaire Albert Frere and Qatar Holding.

The French government's strategic investment fund, FSI, is expected to invest in CMA CGM after the carrier reaches agreement with Yildirim.

CMA CGM declined to comment on the reports.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Look at your service contract

I have mentioned before shippers/importers need to take a close look at their service contracts.

Many companies complained this last year they were unable to get space, that carriers were not honoring the terms of their contracts.

I don't know specifics, I can only offer my advice from working for both a shipper and a carrier.

Read this article from the Journal of Commerce, and in the next few days I will be offering my suggestions.

Lines learned lesson in 2009; shippers must adjust to capacity cuts, says consultant

Container lines are putting profits ahead of market share, a change that is redefining shipper-carrier relations, Drewry Shipping Consultants said in its Annual Container Market Review & Forecast.

“The basic contract between shipper and carrier should no longer be seen as a straight rate deal. … A combination of slow steaming, fewer weekly strings and increasing vessel-sharing agreements between carriers means that the traditional carrier-shipper partnership has changed forever,” said Neil Dekker, editor of the annual report.

With carriers more focused on profitability, shippers now need to think beyond the “volume is king” approach and work together with their partners on meaningful forecasts and reward-based contracts,” the Drewry report said.

click here for link

Forecast Dry Bulk Shipping

Of course everyone stares into the crystal ball to try and see the future for shipping. The bulk ships have seen quite an improvement, but there are new ships coming out of the yards, with 2012 being a critical year, perhaps creating overcapacity once again.

Some say shipping will be what pulls the Greek economy out of the mess it's in.

Hellenic Shipping News has a lengthy report on Dry Bulk market.
This is just one part.

N.Cotzias Shipping Group examined the potential overcapacity of dry bulk tonnage and how it will impact the freight markets. According to Cotzias, the expected ships until the end of 2010 are alarming, with 6 VLOC’s of 1.8 million tons, 61 Capes of 11 million tons, 21 Post Panamaxes of 2.1 million tons, 74 Panamaxes of 6 million tons, 153 Supramaxes of 9 million tons, 7 Handymaxes of 300,000 tons, 201 Handies of 6 million tons and 221 bullkers (between 10,000 and 20,000 dwt) of 2 million tons, not to mention an additional smaller dry bulk carriers (including MPP, General Cargo) of 400,000 tons. In total until the end of the year, the additional carrying capacity of the global dry bulk fleet, based on the expected deliveries should be 38.6 million tons, a figure difficult to be offset by the increased cargo demand. Of course, the economies of the developed world haven’t to contribute to global shipping trades, with China still ruling the fortunes of rates.

click here for complete article

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Longshoremen pay Union Boss for better jobs

In researching the recent arrests of Longshoremen smuggling drugs off the dock (mainly in Port Elizabeth, I gather), I ran across this article which appeared in the Star Ledger in April 2010.

A top official in a longshoremen’s union and a Newark police officer were arrested today as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption at seaports in New Jersey, authorities said.

Nunzio LaGrasso, 59, of Florham Park allegedly extorted money from dock workers by demanding cash for better jobs. Every Christmas, workers would be forced to pony up hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get better shifts, more overtime or higher-paying assignments, according to authorities.

"Our investigation revealed that longshoremen were between a rock and a hard place when it came to paying tribute to these alleged criminals," Attorney General Paula Dow said. "They could either pay up or they could forget about better assignments, higher pay and overtime."

And yet, the Union pretends it helps the Longshoremen.

Drug Smuggling and stock fraud by NY/NJ Longshoremen

From The New York Times

8 Longshoremen Charged With Smuggling Cocaine

In exchange for cash, drugs and other benefits, the longshoremen would secretly unload cocaine hidden among the everyday merchandise shipped to the six berths that make up the ports of New York and New Jersey, the busiest on the East Coast, prosecutors said. The longshoremen were paid $50,000 to $100,000 for unloading a single duffle bag of cocaine, Mr. Bharara said.

To unload the narcotics, prosecutors said, the longshoremen placed the containers where authorities could not see them. After breaking customs seals to remove the drugs, the longshoremen would replace them with new ones, prosecutors said.

During the inquiry, prosecutors said, they also uncovered an illegal stock-trading scheme after learning that a longshoreman received money from others to put toward a penny stock. Investigators discovered a “pump-and-dump” scheme in which people were promoting stocks on Facebook and Twitter to create excitement and get people to purchase them.

The stocks were actually weak, prosecutors said, and after the participants in the scheme sold them off, they quickly lost value. While the participants in the plot earned more than $3 million, the subsequent investors lost $7 million, prosecutors said.

I guess what's shocking, is this is not shocking.

It's business as usual on the NY Waterfront. The only difference since the movie "On The Waterfront" is, the docks are mainly in NJ, and the cargo comes inside containers.

click here for link to NY Times article

Friday, October 1, 2010

YRC reverse stock split

The proposed 25 for 1 reverse stock split of YRCW stock took place today.

The new symbol is YRCWD, and opened at 6.00 a share.

From The Journal of Commerce

Without the reverse stock split, YRC Worldwide faced delisting by the Nasdaq stock exchange, which requires companies to maintain a $1 minimum share value.

For most of the year, YRC's stock traded between 76 and 11 cents a share, hovering in the 20-40 cent range in recent weeks. A year ago it traded at $4.45 a share.

click here for link to article