received word today that there is progress being
made in the labor contract negotiations between
the Pacific Maritime Agency and the International
Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Friedmann who practices government relations in
Washington, D.C. wrote, "A long week of bargaining
just concluded a little while ago and with some
success. This weekend a tentative agreement
was reached on the difficult chassis issue.
The pace of the dialogue and information exchange
picked up speed after the chassis issue [relating
to ILWU jurisdiction over chassis repair and
maintenance when conducted at locations off the
terminals] was concluded. The parties
continued to work on the remaining issues with
positions exchanged between both parties.
PMA and the ILWU will work internally tomorrow
morning to prepare for tomorrow afternoon's
pace of the negotiations has visibly picked up and
the dialogue is more constructive. It seems
that both parties are now eager to wrap up these
negotiations. Once negotiations are
concluded, the parties will have to negotiate the
foreman's supplement as the final part of the
negotiation. But it was a productive weekend
and there is some light at the end of the
this month, the PMA eliminated night time
ship-to-shore container crane operations at the
ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in order to
concentrate manpower on clearing congestion at
terminals. This led to mass rallies of more than
5,000 people in Los Angeles and over 700 members
in Tacoma as union locals called on carriers to
resume night time operations.
traffic totals for the USWC ports showed a slight
decline while volumes to the East Coast terminals
climbed by 14.6 percent, which underlines the
extent to which goods were still being switched to
an eastern seaboard routing. According to the
American Shipper, on Friday, Harold Daggett
president of the International Longshoremen's
Association, the East Coast longshore union, said
"We will closely monitor any attempts by shippers
to try and divert cargo to ILA ports. This tactic
by employers will not be successful - we are one
and will support our ILWU sisters and
While the pace
of negotiations picking up is a good sign, the
reality remains that congestion at the ports is
likely to take a significant while before it
returns to any sense of normalcy. The number of
ships waiting for berths at the port of Los
Angeles and Long Beach harbor climbed to 21 on
Saturday. Including ships not at anchor because of
congestion, there were 32 ships.
factors besides the PMA/ILWU contract stalemate
have contributed to the congestion, including the
deployment of huge containerships by the ocean
carriers, leading to increased times at berth per
vessel handled at the terminals while putting
pressure on equipment and storage space. And the
huge ships keep getting larger: Japan's MOL is in
the market to buy 20,000-TEU new-builds through a
third party charter deal, according to news
reports. If that occurs the vessels would be the
largest in the world, overtaking the 19,224-TEU
MSC Oscar. The largest containership currently in
service is the 19,000-TEU CSCL Globe.
addition, the formation of alliances such as the
2M, G6 and the CKYHE has meant more lines loading
on the same vessel, complicating yard operations
and leading to more moves within and between
terminals, especially when it comes to loading and
discharging trains, along with increased truck
congestion and driver shortages.
at U.S. West Coast ports is expected to continue
"well into 2015," according to Drewry Shipping
Consultants. Drewry says U.S. shippers should
prepare for further disruption and ship arrival
maintenance and repair is an issue that rattles
the nerves of longshore unions on both coasts.
After owning, providing and maintaining chassis
for more than 50 years, shipping lines in the U.S.
trades have sold those assets to chassis-leasing
companies and pools in order to escape the huge
costs associated with chassis. Since shipping
lines and terminal operators are members of the
PMA, many, but not all of them, have a contractual
relationship with the ILWU for M&R work.
chassis-leasing companies are not PMA members and
they are under no obligation to hire ILWU
mechanics for M&R work. The union therefore
fears the loss of hundreds of jobs, and has
reportedly made three demands in the negotiations
regarding chassis. The ILWU wants to inspect every
chassis before it leaves the terminal. The ILWU
wants jurisdiction over those terminals that have
a contractual relationship with the International
Association of Machinists, which does chassis
M&R work at some terminals. The ILWU also
wants jurisdiction over any off-dock sites
operated by the chassis-leasing companies.
PMA believes that requiring an inspection of every
chassis by ILWU mechanics would make the
congestion much worse.
that the PMA and ILWU have reached a tentative
agreement concerning the chassis problem, this
indeed is a good sign, but details of the
agreement are not yet available.
the present moment, containers take an average of
more than two weeks to move through Los Angeles
and Long Beach terminals, a process that should
take no longer than three days. It is the worst
congestion faced by the two ports in more than a
decade and could continue for some time. Our
customers are advised to keep this in mind as
delays at the West Coast Ports are expected to
continue for quite some time despite the progress
being made between the PMA and ILWU and customers
should plan accordingly.
addition, we have received news from American
Shipper reporting that "As of Jan. 26, schedules
for 15 out of 25 services in BlueWater
calling the Port of Oakland show some sort of
schedule disruption regarding Oakland either by
showing temporary skips for voyages or omitting
the port altogether for the foreseeable future,"
said BlueWater Reporting analyst Bessie
Howard. "It appears most of these services are
skipping Oakland between the last week of January
through mid-February and will pick up calling
Oakland again towards the end of
February/beginning of March."
to BlueWater Reporting, transpacific G6
Alliance services SE2, SE3, PA2, CC4 and SC1 all
show skips for voyages that would be coming to
Oakland within the next month. "Some service
schedules show temporary long-term omissions to
Oakland, like Evergreen's MD1/PM1, which has
stopped calling Oakland and will return calling
the port in early April, the CKYHE Alliance PSX,
which shows a return to Oakland in early March,
and the JPX operated by NYK, OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd and
Hanjin, which shows drops to Oakland through the
end of February," Howard said.
services, like K-Line's CALCO-B, CKYH Alliance's
PSW/CALCO-Y and Hamburg Sud's WCNA/Central America
Service, do not show a return to Oakland after
being dropped from the schedule
Thank you for your time
and if you have any questions, please contact your
nearest James J. Boyle & Co. representative.
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