Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't believe everything you hear

I don't known what to say. The Transpacific Rate Agreement has told it's members how much they should increase their rates. All this does is give ammunition to all the carriers to say " look, I will give you less than the other guys".

Moeller Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container line, and 14 other shipping companies agreed to seek rate increases of $400 per 40-foot box on Asia-U.S. west coast routes next year as the rebounding global economy revives cargo demand.

The planned increase is part of voluntarily guidelines covering talks for contracts generally starting around May 1, the Transpacific Stabililzation Agreement said in a statement on its website yesterday. The shipping group, which has limited antitrust immunity, also recommended a peak-season surcharge of $400 per box.

from bloomberg

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waterfront Commission Hearings Continue

The hearings held by the Waterfront Commission continue.

The Journal of Commerce is reporting. I haven't yet found another source.

Here is what the JOC reports occurred today.

International Longshoremen’s Association official Harold Daggett said there’s nothing wrong with off-contract deals that the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor says provide favored dockworkers with high pay for relatively little work as ILA shop stewards and timekeepers.

“I wish all the members earned more than $400,000,” Daggett testified in a Waterfront Commission hearing. “These guys work their asses off out there.”

Ok, so I think "well, he's just blowing smoke, wanting to look like he is speaking up for the Union workers.

But then there is this.....

At the start of Thursday’s hearing, Daggett insisted on reading a 10-minute statement criticizing the agency, created in 1954 to combat waterfront crime. “The Waterfront Commission treats us all like we are criminals,” he said. “Their main focus is on harassing our membership and beefing up their numbers. … This is the closest thing to communism that you will see in the United States of America.” At another point he likened commission practices to “McCarthyism or SS all over again.”

Commissioner Ron Goldstock said previous hearings documented non-contract pay agreements that “funnel huge amounts of money to a privileged few and as a consequence adversely affect the ability of the port to be competitive.” Goldstock noted that about a dozen relatives of the late Genovese crime boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante hold lucrative jobs on the waterfront, including ILA shop steward positions at the port’s three largest terminals.

Daggett defended Ralph Gigante, a nephew of the late crime boss. Ralph Gigante, a Local 1804-1 shop steward at Port Newark Maintenance & Repair, testified at a previous hearing that he is paid for 168 hours a week, mostly at overtime rates, and expects to collect about $400,000 this year.

So, I don't know if this guy was drunk, or smokin' something, or maybe just not taking his meds. But, it certainly appears he is livin' in a fantasy world.

click here for link to article

Monday, November 15, 2010

No Stevedore Company in NY/NJ properly licensed

A year later, the Waterfront Commission is getting around to addressing problems outlined in a report by the New York State Inspector General Joseph Fisch, issued in August 2009. Click here for link to the report.

In the letter dated Sept. 29, 2010 from the Waterfront Commission (their letterhead says of New York Harbor, LOL, considering the majority of the terminals are in New Jersey), they mention the little problem with the Stevedore Companies.

all (stevedoring) companies doing business in the Port were operating on short-term temporary licenses, which were intended to be used only in special circumstances.

I'm not really clear on how they will handle this. It appears that initially they thought they would start running the necessary background checks to get the stevedores properly licensed.

Then, it appears (although this is not clear), that they found out there are too many who won't pass the test.

So now it looks like they will maybe let the stevedore companies who have problems which would keep them from passing the background check, you know, things like "exhibited criminal influence, improper accounting and/or hiring practices," they would let these companies hire IPSIG (Independent Private Sector Inspector General).

Oh my. Has no one learned a thing?

But, I can see the problem. Who are you going to get to act as a Stevedore?

I think the Port is taking applications.

Maybe someone reading this will put together a company and apply.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Waterfront Commission initiates arrests

If you have been reading this blog, you know the NY/NJ Waterfront Commission has been holding hearings this month.

Apparently, when they were preparing for the hearings, they decided they had enough evidence to arrest a couple of guys.

This from The Waterfront Commission web-site

October 13, 2010

Lasher Arrested for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

Waterfront Commission Detectives and Special Agents from the United States Department of Labor today arrested Pedro Del Valle, Jr., an employee of Island Securing and Maintenance Inc, on a charge of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. The Complaint alleges that between September 2008 and February 2010, Pedro Del Valle, Jr. was a full-time employee of both Island Securing and Verizon, Inc. and that on numerous occasions Del Valle knowingly and intentionally indicated on sign in sheets that he was working at New York Container Terminal during the same periods of time when records maintained by Verizon indicate that he was working there. The Complaint also alleges that on numerous occasions, Del Valle called in sick, took disability leave, or took family leave from his job at Verizon when in fact he was working at New York Container Terminal on those days. Defendant, together with others, caused direct deposit payments to be wired, in interstate commerce, from a Verizon account in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to defendant’s account in New York for the purpose of executing the above scheme.

The case is prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.


October 19, 2010

ILA Local 1 Trustee and Shop Steward charged with Theft
in the Second Degree and Falsifying Records.

On October 19, 2010, William A. Vitale, a shop steward at Maher Terminals and Trustee for ILA Local 1, was charged with theft of over $75,000 by deception, a crime of the 2nd degree, and falsifying records, a crime of the 4th degree.

The complaint alleges that Vitale created a false impression that he was working at Maher Terminals, and he was paid for such work when, in fact, he was not working. Vitale was also alleged to have intentionally deceived Maher Terminals, by causing false payroll records to be submitted.

The case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Containers Overboard

From The Journal of Commerce

Storm knocks 26 containers overboard en route from Asia to UK

A Maersk container ship was waiting in the French Port of Le Havre Friday to have its cargo secured after it lost 26 containers overboard on Tuesday in a powerful storm in the Bay of Biscay.

The maritime prefecture in Cherbourg said the Maersk Sembawang lost the containers overboard from the last row of boxes stacked at its stern and suffered damage to 49 more when it ran into the storm.

Be sure to click here for the article, and then click on the link to the French Language news which has a picture of the ship and the containers which tumbled.

Of course, hoping yours was not one of them.

I wonder if Maersk will declare General Average? I doubt it, no one does these days.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Air Cargo carriers fined by EU

The list of the aircargo carriers fined for price fixing has been made known.

They are; Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Quantas, LAN Chile, Martinair, and Japan Airlines.

From DW World

The European Union's competition watchdog issued fines Tuesday to 11 airlines totaling 799.4 million euros ($1.1 billion) for running a global cargo cartel.

The cargo carriers were found to have coordinated their action on surcharges for fuel and security over a six-year period, between 1999 and 2006.

Air France-KLM was hit with the largest fine of 310 million euros. British Airways came in second, having to pay a 104-million-euro penalty. Luxembourg's Cargolux will have to pay 79.9 million euros, while Scandinavian carrier SAS was ordered to pay 70.2 million euros.

Other airlines involved in the cartel and slapped with fines were Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Quantas, LAN Chile, Martinair and Japan Airlines.

The Commission said it dropped charges against eleven other airlines, including German carrier Lufthansa and its subsidiary Swiss Air, because it was the first to provide information about the cartel.

ILA makes threats to keep jobs

The ocean carriers have made moves to get rid of providing chassis in the U.S., as this is the only country in the world (that I know of), where the carrier supplies the chassis.

This has upset the ILA in NY/NJ as it will move the responsibility of the chassis maintenance (I guess) from the carrier to the truckers, or another company, which is not obligated to use the ILA.

Kinda like what happened when the ILA lost the business of loading cargo into containers. The ILA is not competitive, and if someone can find a cheaper way to do it, the business goes elsewhere.

From The Journal of Commerce.

International Longshoremen’s Association official Harold Daggett said he’s ready for “war” with container lines transferring intermodal chassis service to companies outside the union’s coastwide master contract.

“They’ve declared war with me and I’m going after all of them,” Daggett said in an interview Tuesday.

“There’s going to be a war here. I’m going to take on all of these lines that say they’re getting rid of the chassis,” he said. “If they think they’re going to create a European situation where they’re getting out of the chassis business, it’s not going to happen, not on my watch.”

He said the ILA may seek fines of $2,000 per container against carriers it claims are violating the union contract. He said the ILA also may conduct “thorough, thorough inspections” of boxes placed on chassis of companies that haven’t signed the contract.

So, he makes his threats, known and also implied (if anyone with experience working in NY/NJ, you know what an "implied" threat is from the ILA.... you might be wearing concrete shoes very soon).

And more from Daggett

“This is not a slowdown I’m talking about. We’re just going to show them we have the right to inspect these containers so that they’re safe for the highways,” Daggett told The Journal of Commerce.

“I’m not threatening anybody but this is our work and our jobs, this is our livelihood and I will fight for every member of the ILA to protect our jobs. That’s what they elected me for.”

So, if this isn't a threat, what is it?

This is who is will be coming after.

Daggett said any ILA action would be aimed only at carriers that have shifted chassis maintenance and repair to companies that haven’t signed the ILA contract. Leasing companies and chassis pool operators use ILA labor in New York-New Jersey and other ports but can hire non-ILA labor elsewhere because they aren’t part of the coastwide contract signed by carriers.

Maybe the Waterfront Commission will look into this.

Someone needs to inform the ILA that the way to keep jobs is by learning be do it better, and cheaper, than someone else.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And more from the NY/NJ Waterfront

Oh, this is just so funny. Tony Soprano would be smacking them up the side of the head.

More from the Waterfront Commission hearings, as reported in the Journal of Commerce.

"I don't like the idea that the Waterfront Commission wants to run my business. That's what you guys want to do," American Stevedoring CEO Sabato Catucci told a commission hearing. "If you want to run my business, buy me out and take me over and you try to get more productivity out of the port."

Catucci testified in the fourth in a series of hearings the agency has held to highlight what Commissioner Ron Goldstock said was "literally alarming" evidence of no-show jobs, favoritism in hiring and organized crime influence that "adversely affects the ability of the port to be competitive." ILA officials are scheduled to testify Nov. 18.

Catucci and Jim Devine, chief executive of GCT USA, which owns Global Terminal and New York Container Terminal, took issue with what they saw as suggestions that mobsters dominate the port.

and here's the clincher

"There is no goddamn organized crime influence on the day-to-day decisions we make, in any way, shape or form," Devine said.

Oh, so not the "day-to-day", but just the monthly stuff?

NY/NJ Terminal Operators and the ILA

You just can't make this stuff up!

The Waterfront Commission is now trying to do it's job (since they have been threatened with being made extinct), and have started questioning the employment practices on the waterfront.

The most recent abuse which came to light are the timekeepers, which are generally paid for more than 24 hours a day, as they are apparently doing the job of 3 people.

When questioning the terminal operator why this can't job can't be computerized to save money, here was the discussion, are report in the Journal of Commerce.

Terminal executives disputed Goldstock's (from the Waterfront Commission) suggestion that ILA timekeepers and shop stewards have undemanding jobs that allow them to collect pay of up to $464,000 for working only a few hours a day at jobs they got through inside connections. Devine said NYCT once tried to hire fill-in timekeepers and "burned through about a half-dozen people that couldn't do the job."

Couldn't the work of a timekeeper with six-figure pay be done by a skilled data entry worker making $20 or $25 an hour? Goldstock asked.

"Those people don't have an ILA contract," Curto replied.


I guess that just gives an indication of what caliber of people belong to the ILA.

click here for link to article

Monday, November 8, 2010

Airlines facing fine for price fixing

Apparently several airlines were operating an illegal cartel from 2001 until 2006.

None of the airlines mentioned are U.S. owned.

Lufthansa will escape fines, as they are the one who informed the authorities of the cartel.

From The Journal of Commerce

Air France KLM and British Airways, which were fined $350 million and $300 million respectively in the U.S., are among airlines facing substantial fines from the EU.

Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Alitalia and All Nippon Airways have confirmed they have been investigated.

Lufthansa, Europe's largest cargo carrier, is not facing a fine as it informed the Commission about the cartel's activities.