Monday, 29 December 2008

Big boxships join anchored fleet;jsessionid=E38DBF38DD4D884C9830BFEF5461B2D9

CONTAINERSHIP owners are now prepared to leave even their very large vessels idle as market conditions continue to worsen.

Latest figures from AXS-Alphaliner show that the number of boxships at anchor has increased significantly over the past couple of weeks, with total unemployed capacity now put at 165 vessels of 430,000 teu.

The figure only passed the 300,000 teu mark just two weeks earlier, but since then several more services have been suspended, with others due to be axed in the coming weeks.

AXS-Alphaliner reports that six very large containerships have joined the pool of out-of-work tonnage, while others of that size will soon be in a similar position as lines prepare to withdraw more services. Another 19 ships in the 5,000 teu-7,500 teu range are also at anchor, along with 22 in the 3,000 teu-5,000 teu bracket.

But the biggest casualties of the slump are ships of 1,000-2,000 teu capacity, with almost five dozen now unemployed.

AXS-Alphaliner calculates the amount of idle tonnage at equivalent to 3.5% of the total cellular fleet, the same in percentage terms as that reached during the last downturn of 2002, when the fleet was much smaller.

Around 105 of the 165 ships at anchor are usually employed in the charter market.

German shipowners recently re-activated the Containership Association, whose members will be entitled to temporary loss-of-hire compensation for ships that are unable to find employment.

A number of owners are also planning to put their surplus boxships into full lay-up because of the absence of any positive signs on the horizon.

The downturn comes at a time when the fleet is growing at record speed, with total capacity passing the 13m teu level just before Christmas.

That represents growth of more than 100% since mid-2001 when the fleet stood at 6m teu.

It then took 21 months to climb by another 1m teu, whereas this year, the fleet gained 1m teu in the space of just nine months, and is on course to grow to 14m teu by August 2009.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Felixstowe South Piles Ahead

The first shipment of piles for the new quay wall at the Port of Felixstowe’s Felixstowe South development have arrived at the UK’s largest container port.

Nineteen of the large tubular steel piles were discharged from the vessel Arklow Rainbow directly onto the Felixstowe South construction site. Each of the huge piles is up to 38 metres in length, 2.56 metres in diameter, and weighs in excess of 45 tonnes.

The piles are being supplied by Corus, fabricated by Arcelor Mittal in Holland and shipped to Felixstowe from Dintelmond. In total over 350 piles will be transported to complete the 730-metre quay wall for the first phase of Felixstowe South.

Commenting on the latest phase of the development, Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the Port of Felixstowe, said:
“We are pleased with the progress being made on Felixstowe South. The construction programme remains on schedule and we expect to handle the first ship on what will be the UK’s most modern container terminal in 2010.”

Referring specifically to the piling operations, he added:
“A special acoustic fence has already been constructed between the Port and our nearest neighbours, and the contractors will be using special vibrating hammers to the greatest extent possible. Although the use of the noisier percussive hammers will be needed for the final stage of each pile, we hope the noise will be kept to a minimum.”

The first of the piles is expected to be driven in week commencing 19 January 2009 by main contractor Costain.

The timing of piling operations will be restricted. Percussive piling will not commence before 08.00 in the morning Monday to Friday, and will be completed by 18.00 each evening. Between these times, there will be no more than five hours piling each day. Percussive piling on Saturdays will not commence before 09.00 and will finish by 13.00, and will not take place on more than 13 weeks in a six-month period. There will be no piling on Sundays or public holidays.

Hutchison takes control of Amsterdam's Ceres terminal;jsessionid=F03F0FAEFB5F30E23ECE025C91BF8D62

HONG Kong terminal operator Hutchison Port Holdings has tightened its grip on the Dutch waterfront by acquiring a majority stake in Amsterdam’s Ceres Container Terminals Europe.

Hutchison has signed a share swap agreement with Japanese shipping group NYK, which gained full control the Ceres facility since 2006 after holding a 50% interest since 2002.

NYK will retain a small stake in Ceres, and will also get a minority shareholding in Hutchison’s giant Europe Container Terminals in Rotterdam.

The deal was revealed a few days after Hutchison acquired an interest in Evergreen’s Taranto terminal in southern Italy, with the Taiwanese group securing minority stakes in ECT and the UK’s Thamesport in exchange.

Maersk Line pulls out of Charleston

MAERSK Line has decided to leave the Port of Charleston, opting to transfer its services to other regional ports over the next two years rather than take on a powerful US dockers' trade union.
The South Carolina port, which has been seeking to establish a niche in the face of stiff competition from regional rivals such as Savannah, would lose about one-fourth of its container volume as a result of the defection, including the immediate loss of some 100 ships a year as Maersk begins its drawdown in early 2009.

South Carolina State Ports Authority chief executive Bernard Groseclose Jr said in a statement emailed to Lloyd's List that the authority "hopes to welcome Maersk back to Charleston at some point in the future", and expressing his confidence that the two dozen-odd other carriers in the port would "continue to be very successful".

Maersk's decision would end a presence that dates back half a century. It comes a week after International Longshoremen's Association locals in Charleston expressed opposition to the carrier's preference to transfer its terminal operations to another site where it could use non-union workers.

Maersk, which is a concessionaire at a dedicated space in Charleston's Wando Welch terminal with a lease that runs through to the end of 2010, has been forced to pay "shortfall fees" to the landlord port this year, as cargo volumes shrivelled and operating costs began to bite.
In October the carrier threatened to pull out of Charleston unless "a path which enables profitability" could be found.

Despite having an enforceable contract the harried ports authority came up with two alternative solutions at Maersk's request, as the line sought the authority's help in containing costs. One would have reduced Maersk's space at Wando Welch, with the landlord repossessing some of the more than $8bn infrastructure that would then become surplus.

The other option was to shift Maersk to a "common-use area" in the yard, where non-union employees would handle its cargo. Maersk said it preferred the second option.

Mr Groseclose said this common user gate model is preferred by "more than half the business currently moving through the port".

However, members at three ILA locals last Thursday overwhelmingly voted against the carrier's choice, saying their wage costs were competitive and comparable with non-union workers, and protesting the impending loss of "dozens of union jobs" because of the carrier's decision.

Maersk said in a statement on Thursday: "The ports authority offered us a workable solution, but we needed the consent of local ILA to accomplish the move. [Since the union refused], we are forced to move.

"By moving to other regional ports, we will once again be able to compete on a level playing field with other ocean carriers while continuing to provide excellent service to our customers."

Maersk is moving one service, the South Atlantic Express, representing about 25% of its Charleston business, to "other nearby ports" in early 2009. The remainder of the business would be moved out "strategically" over two years, and the carrier does not intend to renew when the lease runs out at the end of 2010.

At Charleston, state employees handle cranes and container-lifting operations, while ILA workers hired by stevedores perform shipboard work and gate activities in dedicated spaces used exclusively by Maersk, Evergreen, the CKYH carriers and Atlanticargo.

Maersk said this model placed it at a competitive disadvantage compared with rivals that use common user gate areas.

Mr Groseclose said: "This port, our region and our state will suffer greatly from Maersk's departure. This will mean great losses for our economy at a time when we can least afford it.
"However, we will work tirelessly to backfill this area with new business and keep as much of that cargo moving through Charleston as we can."

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Evergreen takes stake in Thamesport and ECT Delta

TAIWAN’s Evergreen Group has secured a minority stake in Hutchison Port Holdings’ Thamesport and ECT Delta box terminals as part of a deal which sees HPH become an unconfirmed 50% shareholder in Evergreen’s Taranto Container Terminal on the heel of Italy

Friday, 19 December 2008

Box line chiefs back IMO efforts to cut emissions;jsessionid=A20985756D75A09A1F28A47FF026DD35

CONTAINER shipping bosses are giving their full backing to efforts by the International Maritime Organization to find a way of cutting ships’ carbon emissions rather than put forward proposals of their own at this stage.

World Shipping Council board members met IMO officials in London yesterday to discuss pollution issues and expressed confidence that the UN agency would be able to produce a solution that would avoid the risk of regional regulation.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Dockers in protest over liberalisation of port services

Thousands of dock workers have gathered in Strasbourg at the weekend to march on 16 January against a draft EU directive to liberalise port services. MEPs are divided over whether to reject or modify the proposal.

A divided European Parliament is gearing up for a vote in Strasbourg on 18 January over a proposal to liberalise port services in the EU. The proposal has attracted additional controversy as fears of excessive economic liberalism were cited as one of the main reasons that led French people to reject the draft EU Constitution in May last year.

Unions say they have mobilised 6,000 dock workers in the French city at the weekend for a mass demonstration on 16 January aimed at pressuring MEPs to reject the text. The European Transport Workers' Federation says the proposal "could dramatically affect European port operators and investments in the sector" and eventually lead to job cuts. "No one can ignore the impact that deregulatory proposals will have on jobs, working conditions, health and safety and the quality of port services in Europe," the Union says.

British opt-out from 48-hour working week defeated in Strasbourg

Britain’s opt-out from the EU’s 48-hour working week was soundly defeated in a vote by the European Parliament today, with many Labour MEPs voting against the Government’s attempts to keep the measure first won by John Major in 1993.

The defeat marks a humiliation for Gordon Brown who signed up to a parallel agreement to give temporary and agency workers full employment rights after just 12 weeks in the hope of a deal to save the British opt-out from the EU working time directive.

It will trigger last-ditch talks between the European Parliament and the 27 EU member states on the directive although the two sides are a long way apart. They have until May to reach a compromise or the entire revised directive will fall, leaving the status quo — and the British opt-out — in place.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

CTASF Gain share payments.

I get lots of people asking about the gain share payments and are we (Tug drivers) getting it? To try answer the question I'll quote from the agreement.

Page 158. General rules. 3.3

Gain share is a retrospective payment based on actual savings delivered over the previous 12 months. It is not paid upfront based on projected saving which have not yet materialised.

So if we haven't made the savings we will not get it.

Page 159. Gain share types. 4.1

Additional change payments.
Lump sum payments to nominated sections who are making the greatest change and so contributing disproportionately to the overall savings.

The berth operators lost a big part of their division and will be entitled to the additional change payment.

Page 162. Detailed qualification rules. 6.1 b

They were employed in a qualifying area as defined in 2 above on the day prior to the start date of this agreement (i.e 9th March 2008).

If your job title is tug driver you will not get the additional change payment even if you work as a berth operative regularly.

Page 163. Payment. 7.1

Notwithstanding 3.3 above, the company will pay an up front sum of £1000 to all qualifying employees on acceptance of this agreement. This will be deducted from the gain share payment at the end of year 1. If the year 1 gain share is less than £1000, the overpayment will be deducted from the gain share in subsequent years.


The additional change payment for all qualifying employees will be £1000 per person per year of the gain share period. This payment will be made at the end of the year and will not be subject to any annual increase.

If we don't make the savings the shortfall will come off next years payment.

The CTASF document is available on the company intranet if you feel the need to read it or are suffering from insomnia. I have tried to give you the points that are raised most.


I get quite a few searches directed to this page from people trying to get onto the Port of Felixstowe intranet. The link you need to use is

While you're here why not have a little read. Add this to your favourites and check back once a week.

Global box carriers axe more of their Asia-Europe capacity.

THREE of the world’s largest container carriers that had tried to stay aloof from service rationalisation efforts have finally bowed to the inevitable by scaling back their Asia-Europe services as trade growth heads towards zero.

Mediterranean Shipping Co has withdrawn capacity from the route while CMA CGM and China Shipping are axing a recently launched joint service.

The two partners have decided to suspend the FAL4 loop, which they inaugurated in July with eight 9,700 teu vessels.

This is the biggest service cut carried out by CMA CGM since growth in cargo volumes between the Far East and Europe began to slow down. Until now, the group has only admitted to dropping two smaller services, one between Asia and North Africa, and another serving the eastern Mediterranean.

With other services being adjusted to allow for the withdrawal, MSC said it would be reducing weekly space availability on its Asia-Europe services by 2,000 teu. That is thought to be around 5%, and reflects the fact that larger ships are now being phased in on other loops, so leaving the net reduction at less than 6,500 teu a week.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Ballot of tug drivers.

I've been informed that there will be a ballot of tug drivers about the driving times. This is going to take place in January. I'll let you know the dates on here and there will be notices in the messrooms.

The options on offer are staying on 3 hours 20 minutes driving with 40 minute breaks or 2 hours 30 minutes driving with 30 minute breaks. They are the only deals on the table, that is what we will be voting on.

The new breaks:

Break 1 7.00-7.30 10.00-10.30 1.00-1.30 4.00-4.30

Break 2 7.30-8.00 10.30-11.00 1.30-2.00 4.30-5.00

Break 3 8.00-8.30 11.00-11.30 2.00-2.30 5.00-5.30

Break 4 8.30-9.00 11.30-12.00 2.30-3.00 5.30-6.00

Break 5 9.00-9.30 12.00-12.30 3.00-3.30 6.00-6.30

Break 6 9.30-10.00 12.30-1.00 3.30-4.00 6.30-7.00

As you can see the early would be 6.30

Friday, 12 December 2008

Teesport box volumes could fall 15%.;jsessionid=7B5F7E234A620ACB0E5DAD7D3FA02629

PD Ports, whose £330m Northern Gateway container terminal is delayed by the credit squeeze, expects a 15% fall in UK box volumes for 2008 at its Teesport facility as the High Street bloodbath dampens dock throughput.

Group development director Martyn Pellew said: “Christmas is not going so well for the retail trade and this has been reflected in container volumes. Last year we handled 120,000 boxes and I would expect that this year we will be some 15% down on that figure.”

Although PD Ports volume mix has a far greater component of short sea and ro-ro traffic than southern deep sea container ports Southampton and Felixstowe, the figures chime with industry reports of at least a 10% dive in UK box throughput in recent months.

However, PD Ports is keen to emphasise that its existing giant distribution centre for supermarket chain Asda, and the under construction mega-warehouse for Tesco will attract more and more container traffic to the north east port next year.

The ports group says that crude oil volumes, lo-lo and new car traffic are also suffering, but that ro-ro is doing well, possibly benefitting from trade surges caused by the dramatic fall in sterling against the Euro.

The company also reports that its offshore business has seen an upturn, as has its volumes linked to renewable energy.

Advice and guidance on the application of road traffic legislation to roads in docks

There have been a number of serious and fatal accidents recently involving vehicles on roads in and around ports. It is not always clear what legislation applies to such roads, and the relative roles of the HSE and the police in any investigation. This SIM draws attention to the various forms of legislation and guidance on road traffic in docks, and should be read in conjunction with other existing guidance on HSE's policy on investigation of road traffic incidents.

Docks Regulations 1988
21 Pertinent sections of the Dock Regulations 1988 that deal with vehicles and traffic management include:
regulation 2 interpreting certain words and phrases used within the regulations including definitions of “dock operations”, “dock premises” and “vehicle”;
regulation 11 requiring employer to authorise who can drive and operate powered vehicles and lifting appliances;
and regulation 12 requiring vehicles to be properly maintained, a safe means for vehicle movement to be provided with adequate arrangements to control traffic including proper signs and markings.
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
22 Pertinent sections of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 include:
regulation 2 interpreting certain words and phrases used within the regulations including definitions of “workplace”, “traffic route” and “public road”;
regulation 12 requiring floors of workplaces and traffic route surfaces to be suitable for use;
and regulation 17 requiring workplaces to be organised so that vehicles and pedestrians can circulate safely and traffic routes are suitable for use.
23 It should be noted that these regulations do not apply to ships - Regulation 3(1a).

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Container capacity shrinks

Ocean container carriers have cut capacity on the three main east-west liner trade routes by 6.7 percent, or 61,000 TEUs a week, over the past four months amid stalling cargo volumes and falling freight rates.

The Far East- Europe-Mediterranean trade saw the biggest drop, with weekly capacity down 9 per cent from 418,000 TEUs to 380,000 TEUs.

Northern Gateway construction work could face delay.

WORK on PD Ports £330m ($488m) Northern Gateway container terminal in Teesport may not start until 2010 as a result of the global financial crisis which has seen commercial borrowing dry-up.

Graham Wall, PD Ports group commercial director, said that while the intention is still to go-ahead with the terminal’s ground breaking ceremony next September the actual start is “subject to finance” and could slip to 2010.

PD Ports chief executive David Robinson confirmed that work was expected to start in 2010.

The first of three mainline and two feeder berths would become operational about two years after construction started.

Mr Wall also indicated the company had been approached by an international container terminal operator to partner in the development of the terminal which would have an initial capacity of 1.5m teu, rising to 1.8m teu. But he would only confirm that the firm was not Hong Kong’s Hutchison Port Holdings.

Weigh boxes at dock gate, urge industry leaders.;jsessionid=DE69DB6EAFD4B634046590EE4C5917A4

DRAMATIC improvements in container shipping safety would be achieved by weighing every box at the dock gate, industry leaders said today as they unveiled best practice guidelines.

Ensuring that container weights are accurately declared would eliminate many of the accidents that have dogged the industry in recent years and go some way towards satisfying regulators who are starting to take a closer look at industry standards.

The International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council produced the document, that sets out recommended procedures for each stage of a container move, following failings that were highlighted during the investigation into a container stack collapse on the shortsea ship Annabella in 2007.

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch was particularly critical about the lack of a code of practice for container shipping and urged the ICS to remedy this situation.

Container shipping came under further scrutiny when MSC Napoli was grounded early last year, but that accident also provided a unique opportunity to conduct a forensic examination of a containership and its cargo. Investigators discovered that around a fifth of all containers MSC Napoli had been carrying were either badly packed, inaccurately labelled, or the wrong weight.

The biggest problem, though, is shipper ignorance of the risks they are taking with the lives of others by not stuffing and labelling containers properly, or weighing them accurately.

Mr Hinchliffe is urging ports to weigh all containers entering their gates to verify that the declared weight was correct.

“We recognise that this is not achievable at all terminals at present, but we want this to become the international expectation,” he said.

Over-heavy or underweight containers should not be loaded onto the ship, a sanction that would soon persuade shippers “to take the subject more seriously”.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Air fumes fear at port.

FUMES from ships, traffic and quayside operations at the Port of Felixstowe are becoming so bad special measures may have to be taken to improve air quality.

Emissions from ships' funnels, dredgers, cranes, tug vehicles, and the thousands of lorries visiting every day are causing concern.

Suffolk Coastal says measuring equipment shows the area around the port is just below acceptable limits, but at the Dooley pub, Ferry Lane, nitrogen dioxide is above the permitted level.

There is a similar situation at the Adastral Close housing estate, where it is feared increased activity from port expansion could lead to levels being exceeded by 2010.

I'm glad I don't live next door to the port!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Land in spotlight for Port expansion.

MORE than 800 acres of potential land for port operations has been identified in a major new study to assess the impact of the growth of the Port of Felixstowe.

Community leaders are fully behind the £250 million expansion of the port - the first phase of which is under way - and say it could bring thousands of new jobs if handled right.

But one major headache will be providing storage sites for cargo, places for modern distribution centres, and offices and yards for port-related business.

The logistics study - carried out by GHK for Suffolk Coastal and its neighbouring authorities, the East of England Development Agency and the port owners - says 286 acres of land will be needed by 2023 if the port grows as expected.

Thanks to the input of businesses, the study has identified 820 acres that could be used, although 320 of the acres has not yet been officially set aside for such use, and not all of the land may be suitable or available.

Sites under consideration include:Trinity 2000 on Clickett Hill alongside the A14 at Felixstowe.
Innocence Farm at Kirton, also next to the A14.
Land at Fagbury Cliffs, Trimley St Mary.
British Sugar site, Ipswich.
Shepherd's Grove, Stanton.

Colin Hart, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member said: “The primary goal of the study has been to identify the key land use requirements and issues that will occur as a result of the expansion of the port.
“It will help this council and others to maximise the opportunities for increased employment and stronger local companies that a bigger port will offer.
“This study that has been drawn up with input from local businesses is an important step forward in creating the support that can keep Felixstowe as the number one container location in Britain.
“This study highlights the importance of ensuring that there is sufficient land available to meet the future demands caused by the growth of the port.
“If we do not plan ahead, then it could have significant economic repercussions for the port, but it would also be a missed opportunity to maximise the local job and income benefits of the expansion.”

What are we worth. 31/12/2006


Last registered accounts: 12/31/2006*
Annual turnover: £204,583,000.00
Annual profit: £38,541,000.00
Turnover per employee: £72,779.44
Profit per employee: £13,710.78

* Data from this site is updated annually from official company reports, and any company reports issued since our last update will not be reflected until the next annual update. Take advice on the latest results before using this information.

Number of staff: 2,811
Total spent on wages: £92,081,000.00
Average staff pay: £32,757.38
*Average pay increase over last 4 years: 17.42%*

Number of directors: 39
Directors' remuneration: £365,000.00
Increase over last 7 years: -2.41%

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Maersk Line lays up eight vessels

Maersk Line announces the lay up of eight 6,500 TEU (twenty- foot equivalent unit) vessels. Our decision follows the recently announced changes in our Asia – Europe, Asia – Central America, and Transpacific service networks. This resulted in surplus vessel tonnage, which we will not redeploy in our service network.

“In view of the market conditions, we have reached the point where laying up the eight vessels makes better economical sense than redeploying them. Freight rates remain under severe pressure, and in several corridors the rates do not fully cover our variable costs. Rate improvements are imperative for the industry to create a sustainable environment,” says Michel Deleuran, Head of Network and Product in Maersk Line.

Maersk Line will continue to adjust capacity in light of market developments by optimising our schedules, consolidating services, vessel sharing agreements (VSA), enhancing port productivity, economical sailing (reducing speed), and – unless current market conditions improve – additional laying up of vessels.

“We make these changes to reduce capacity and save costs, while we at the same time seek to maintain or expand our service level and coverage. For example, our recently announced Asia – Europe and Transpacific service changes includes more direct services,” Michel Deleuran says.

“We belong to a financially strong group and we will continue offering our customers reliable services in line with their requirements, also in these challenging times”.

The eight vessels that Maersk Line will lay up are of the CV 65 class. We will lay them up from December 2008 to May/June 2009, predominantly in Asia.

CIMC suspends dry container production;jsessionid=26F215EE6323188BF18B0EFC7B0DFA0A

CHINA International Marine Containers. the world’s largest marine container maker, has brought forward its year-end holiday and suspended the production of dry marine containers due to exceptionally slow demand.

Shenzhen-listed CIMC, which has a 56% share of the world’s dry marine container market, halted all production lines of dry containers in October this year and 22,000 employees from the production department have been on leave since then, according to local reports.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Lack of safety at ports puts lives at risk, says Unite

Government ministers got a broadside from a working tugman over their failure to give sufficient priority to health and safety in UK ports and harbours.
Speaking at the 1st Annual UK Ports and Shipping Conference, Richard Crease from Unite, Britain's largest union which represents over 11,000 members on the docks, working in pilotage and towage and the inland waterways, said the union had serious concerns about safety.
"I have worked for 26 years as a tugman at the Port of Southampton. We have been very concerned that the Government intends to continue, for the foreseeable future, broadly its present policies in regard to safety within the ports," he told the conference. "We believe that the Department of Transport's recent Port Policy document does not give sufficient priority to the subjects of the safety, welfare and security of employment of the workforce employed in the ports industry."

Full report here:

Further three day strike planned at Dover Port

Hundreds of Unite members working at the Dover Harbour Board will begin a further three day strike starting 7.00am on Thursday (27th November). They will be demanding that their jobs not be outsourced.
Unite members voted overwhelmingly in favour (83.8 per cent) of strike action. Unite does not take strike action lightly and is still prepared to negotiate over the best way of protecting its members' jobs.

Bad bosses may damage your heart.

Inconsiderate bosses not only make work stressful, they may also increase the risk of heart disease for their employees, experts believe.
A Swedish team found a strong link between poor leadership and the risk of serious heart disease and heart attacks among more than 3,000 employed men.
And the effect may be cumulative - the risk went up the longer an employee worked for the same company.
The study is published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Experts said that feeling undervalued and unsupported at work can cause stress, which often fosters unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, that can lead to heart disease.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Felixstowe Radio's Port Report

This is our first newsletter covering the Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich and the River Orwell.
Felixstowe Radio is a community radio station providing a platform for anyone interested in this area. Now we broadcast on the Internet at with 24/7 live radio (listen live) and a podcast facility (listen again).Soon we move into a shop at Great Eastern Square, and in 2009 will start FM broadcasting in the Felixstowe area and surrounding villages and parts of Harwich.Community radio is what we all make it. We will support ourselves through advertising, sponsored programmes, and making our skills and production facilities available to everyone. Our crew are amongst the most talented in the country - when you need video or audio you need us. Advertising terms are competitive. Early supporters have live advertising slots for as little as one pound.There will be a regular programmes about activities at the ports, always available as podcasts. This is your chance to tell your story. Send company press releases, snippets of fun and information to To give you a taste of what can happen go to for three programmes: Mick Lungley talks about his life as the skipper of a working Thames sailing barge, Rob Anning, Methodist Minister mentions his work at the port and there's a report about the start of work on the new South Felixstowe dock.Talk to us, talk to Felixstowe, and we can all have some fun, and perhaps gain a little information on the way.Email or call 01394 273028 for more information.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Don't expect any overtime!

CKYH Alliance to cut Asia-North Europe tonnage.;jsessionid=CE279BAE3B64FF01F6C84C5A32E6AAC1

THE CKYH Alliance, consisting of Coscon, K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping, has revealed its winter slack-season service rationalization programme will see an incremental 30% tonnage reduction on the Asia-North Europe services beginning end-November.The alliance will combine the AES and AEN loops, each being operated by eight 8,200 teu to 10,000 teu vessels from Coscon, into one service called CNEU from the end of November.Coscon will deploy ten 9,469 teu to 10,000 teu ships on the new CNEU, which means the line will drop six post-panamax vessels from the route.The CNEU will cover most of the port calls of the existing AES and AEN, except Xiamen and Lianyungang.The new loop will rotate: Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, Nansha, Singapore, Rotterdam, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dalian. Moreover, the alliance said it will suspend a number of sailings in both the AES2 and AES3 services from mid December.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Job losses confirmed at city port

The owners of Southampton docks are set to shed 45 staff due to the downturn in the economy.
Associated British Ports (ABP) confirmed that 10% of its workforce would go at the Hampshire port.
In a statement the company said: "It is with regret that we can confirm it is necessary for a number of redundancies to be made at the Port of Southampton.
"The process will be conducted in full consultation with the relevant trade unions and staff representatives."
No timescale has been placed on the period of redundancy consultation.
Matthew Tipper, of Unite, said redundancy negotiations are due to start with ABP next Monday.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

EWS launches new Felixstowe-BIFT intermodal train

EWS has introduced a new intermodal rail freight service from the Port of Felixstowe (via Ipswich) to Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal (BIFT).
The train service, which is a direct response to customer demand, operates daily from Tuesday to Saturday.
The train is able to convey containers ranging in size from 20ft, 40ft through to 40' high cubes.
According to Clive Branford, marketing manager for BIFT owner-operator Roadways Containers Logistics, the new service enables customers to benefit from reduced costs as well as offering environmental advantages by transferring containers from road to rail.Corinne Lamoureux, field sales manager for EWS's intermodal rail freight business, said: "Despite the economic downturn, we are working hard at EWS to continue growing the volume of freight transported on the rail network in Britain."

Monday, 17 November 2008

Maersk Line and Hutchison Ports sign agreement for priority terminal in Felixstowe

16 June 2008
London. Maersk Line today announces the signing of a 10-year agreement for terminal usage for Maersk Line at Trinity Terminal, the Port of Felixstowe, UK. This agreement between Maersk Line and Hutchison Ports recognises the importance of joint co-operation in the shipping industry and reflects both companies’ commitment to long-term planning in the UK. Doug Bannister – Managing Director Maersk Line UK and Ireland – comments: “Maersk Line has an unrivalled global network and we strive for unmatched reliability. This new agreement with the Port of Felixstowe means we have capacity guaranteed, giving us greater control over the operation of our vessels. Greater operational control for us means greater reliability for our customers.” The agreement – signed in May - will provide Maersk Line with reliable capacity to service its regular vessel calls into Felixstowe for the next 10 years, and will commence in August this year when the Port of Felixstowe take delivery of their latest cranes.

I've posted this even though part of the work force have been informed of this... Nobody bothered to come and talk to C shift tugs!

Friday, 14 November 2008


A ballot vote (concerninig the above) will be held at the Trinity union office next to Centenary house on Trinity terminal on the following days/times.

Mon 17th Nov.

Weds 19th Nov.

Fri 21st Nov.

Thurs 27th Nov.

Mon 1st Dec.

Please make every effort to vote.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Lives at risk as shippers flout safe container stowage;jsessionid=EE0E728B9A2A2022F1CB7342DCAB6AF6

SPOT checks on containers to be shipped from the UK are uncovering a huge number of deficiencies and documentary errors that could threaten the lives of those handling the cargo. Maritime and Coastguard Agency officials who are required to conduct random inspections are reporting a very high failure rate. On average, half of all containerised cargoes examined are found to be substandard in one way or another. That is an improvement on the 100% failure rate that the MCA was regularly reporting a few years ago, but even now there are occasions when every single container pulled over for a check is non-compliant and unable to proceed with its voyage until the contents have been stowed correctly, accurately weighed, and properly declared.

“They are gambling with someone else’s life,” accused Clive Savigar, director of Coleshill Freight Services, as he listed example after example of cargo that had not been properly packed and secured, or correctly documented. Every error could have resulted in injury, or even death, to a truck driver, dockworker, seafarer or receiver who came in close proximity to the container and its contents. Maersk Line suffers an average of 10 to 15 container units a week that are leaking, of which about five involve hazardous cargoes, revealed John Leach, the company’s general manager for global dangerous cargo and special cargo management.

Dover Port workers march & demonstrate to prevent their jobs being outsourced

Monday, 10th November 2008
LOCATION: Penchester Gardens, Dover CT16.
ROUTE: from Penchester Gardens to Harbour House
DATE: Saturday 15th November
TIME: 9.00am
Hundreds of Unite members working at the Dover Harbour Board will take part in a rally and demonstrate on Saturday 15th November and will also go out on a 48 hour strike next week to demand that their jobs not be outsourced.
Unite members voted overwhelmingly in favour (83.8%) to take strike action and will go out on a 48 hour walk out next week starting at 7am on Tuesday, 18th November. Unite does not take strike action lightly and is still prepared to negotiate over the best way of protecting its members’ jobs.
Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, is angry that the port’s Chief Executive has stated they are not prepared to negotiate on their plans to outsource work, but only inform the union of their proposals.
Jane Jeffery, Unite Regional Industrial Organiser, said:
“Our members have voted overwhelmingly in a ballot for industrial action to protect their employment with the Port of Dover. Our members are determined to protect their terms and conditions of employment, and most importantly pensions, which will undoubtedly be threatened by these outsourcing plans.
“Our members are angry that the company has done nothing to help resolve the situation and feel they have no choice but to take strike action to defend their livelihoods.”
Unite National Secretary for Docks and Waterways, Brendan Gold, who will be addressing the demonstration on Saturday said:
“Dover Port management have forgotten the huge contribution our members make to run the port efficiently. To outsource port security at a time when security is of vital importance is negligent in the extreme.
“Dover is a trust port which has a responsibility to its workforce and the local community. Clearly the port management have ignored this important fact in their relentless drive for profit.”
Join the rally and voice your support on Saturday 15th November from 9.00am and fight the ports plans to outsource these jobs.


We finally had our chance to speak with the people from yesterday. The phrase divide and conquer was banded about before we had the meeting but afterwards we (the tug drivers) agreed that it was better for the Awake team to see us individually so they only had one job to think about and get their heads round.

There were three tug drivers present, Steve Lacey, Adrian Murkin and myself. We felt that we got our point across and didn't miss anything out in the meeting.
Points covered:

We were asked what our thoughts were on the present working times. We told them that they are far too long. Awake said that their software program shows very little difference between the 2 hours driving and 30 min breaks and the 3 hours 20 mins driving and 40 mins break. We pointed out that it is totally different working on the quay to driving down a motorway(Most of Awake's case studies are on road haulage companies). We mentioned the state of the roadways and the battering that our bodies get, the constant turning in the seat to see boxes down, the ammount of times you are straining to look up and check for boxes coming off/on to the ships. We pointed out that we have different cabs to lorry drivers and even when we do get the chance to stretch it isn't easy.

We thought that we would be more productive going back to the old system and told them about the monotony of our jobs. Most of us have a radio on in the cabs but that does little to keep us alert, it's only coming in for breaks and having a stretch and a chat that gets us awake and ready for another stint. We suggested going to 2 hours 30 mins driving with a 30 min break.

We talked about the catering facilities and the fact that if you are on break 1 or 6 it is difficult to get a decent meal. These breaks fall around the times that the canteen change over menus. I brought up the vending machines that we have at the North quay office and quoted from the Awake website that If you are getting sleepy to take a high caffeine drink and have a nap for no more than 15 minutes. We don't have anywhere on the quay to even get a cup of coffee.

I also quoted from their website "Most sleep related crashes occur between 2am- 6 am, and 4pm-6pm. You are 13 times more likely to have an accident due to tiredness at this time. The health and safety man from POF told us that most accidents on the port occur between 7am-11am.

Awake informed us that working an 8 hour shift is better than working 12. We all agreed that the majrity of the workforce would not want to go back to the 8 hour shifts. We are happy with our pattern as it is but are very unhappy and concerned about safety driving for 3 hours 20 minutes. We told them that we have all seen people falling asleep while driving, luckily not causing any accidents. I again quoted from their website saying that if you have anything less than 2 minutes sleep you do not even know you've had it. When your head starts nodding it's usually too late!

We told them that by the end of our four shifts we are mentally and physically tired. All the tug drivers agreed that our first day off is wasted through fatigue.

We look forward to reading their report.

Maersk Asia - Europe service changes

Thursday, 23 October 2008

I hope to be able to keep you up to date with union/port matters again soon.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you would like to see on this page.

Looks like we won't be getting much overtime!

NEPTUNE Orient Lines’ boss Ron Widdows is warning of grim times ahead for the container trades, with ships laid up and orders cancelled as the industry heads into an unprecedented slump. While the situation is not so bad now, the worst is yet to come, Mr Widdows told Lloyd’s List in an interview after yesterday announcing swingeing cuts in capacity. “We are in for a relatively unpleasant 18 months to two years,” he said. NOL’s container shipping arm APL has already started to re-let some ships back into the market over the last two months, and it will be laying up vessels, he said. “Others will have to do the same. From the industry standpoint, vessels will be idle.” Mr Widdows, who was attending the graduation ceremony of the Maritime Economics and Logistics students of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said he was pleased that NOL only has eight newbuildings on order, and that “they are not really big”. These are due to enter service in 2011. The orderbook is “relatively small compared to the three largest carriers in the world”. “Every ship we employ can be employed anywhere on the planet,” Mr Widdows said. He added that the industry is about to see an “object lesson in the dynamics of the larger ship”. The costings only work when these gigantic ships are full and desperation could creep in when trying to fill these behemoths, he said.;jsessionid=4FA95A083478E0A45080216FDABDEDF7

Friday, 10 October 2008

Monthly meeting – October

Today (10th October) was the work force reps monthly meeting.

Matters that I brought up for the tug section were:

The messroom facilities, tables, microwaves, fridges, toilets etc.
Alun Yates has said that on Monday night he will bring our Health & safety Rep and the terminal manager to see the problems we have raised.
I also asked for more hard backed chairs to be supplied.

I asked, when are the VC’s going to be monitored on their performance?
Phil Pemberton said that they are monitored already.

I brought up the fact that people aren’t getting a call from the labour office telling them when they are getting redeployed, even when the decision had been made the day before.
Alun Yates was going to get onto the labour office again on this matter.

Employee services. LMS Self service. Sorry but when we log onto LMS we will have to use new passwords. Old passwords may be used after around three months.

If anybody is landed with a box and later finds out that the weight on your screen is different to the actual weight of the container please put in a near miss/unsafe practice report, after notifying the office. This way we might go a little way towards reducing the 160 accidents involving overturned cargo trucks on the British roads each year, or even stopping one of our workmates overturning. These boxes are supposed to be stowed in “H” block and the shipping company notified but this doesn’t seem to be happening.

Other matters discussed were:

Awake will be returning to the port to talk to all divisions about fatigue. Please don’t waste this opportunity if you see them in the mess rooms. Don’t forget they are here to talk about our fatigue not the state of messrooms etc!

Part shift overtime is coming…

Pay talks with the company start at 2pm on Weds 15th October.
I will report back as soon as possible.

Our working pattern will not be discussed until Awake have visited and reported back.

Hopefully John the C shift Berth opps rep will be reporting soon on the stevedores situation.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Port of Felixstowe Reaches Rail Volume Milestone

The Port of Felixstowe has broken through the 9,000 rail-moves-per-week barrier for the first time ever, with a total of 9,111 containers being handled through the Rail Division during the week ending 28th September 2008. The previous record of 8,984 units was achieved in the week ending 14th September 2007. The record-breaking rail volumes follow on from a number of key initiatives that have taken place at the Port in recent months. The South Rail Terminal has been extended by 39 metres on all three lines, so that it can now accommodate 22-wagon trains, as opposed to the 20-wagon trains it could handle previously.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd unaudited results for the six months ended 30th June 2008

Full report here:

Results of polls

60% were not happy with the rates of pay for overtime.
74% think that the current rates of pay are not fair or reasonable.
60% thought the representation they are getting from the union is poor. 40% thought it is average. 18 People said they do not trust the union!

This is our union, the work force. What would you like us to do for you? I'm trying to keep my collegues informed with all the latest happenings in health and safety and union matters such as the pay deal pension etc. It will only change if you use your voice and let people know whats bothering you.
I'd like people from other shifts/departments to join me in running this site so we have more than a "C" shift tug drivers opinion. If you're interested email me.

"C" shift reps are meeting on Friday. Have you anything that you'd like me to raise? Email me.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


I was told today that the company has spent £341,000 on repairs to block paving, and £180,000 on re-painting the quay (Give way markings, hatched areas etc.)
Lets hope the company can increase the spending and we can get the rest of the quay done. It certainly would make our jobs a lot more comfortable.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Port workers’ deaths prompt unions’ call for safety.

Container Cargo Safety

In May 2007, dockers and truckers joined forces at an ITF meeting on container cargo safety held in Oakland (US) to establish an agenda for action following numerous reports of accidents involving unsafe container cargo.
Discussion at the meeting led to a decision to:
share information on the issue;
lobby international organisations for a cross-sectoral safety regulation;
carry out awareness raising programmes during the ITF International Road Transport Action Week in October 2007.
The ITF Road Transport Workers' Section and ITF Dockers' Section are coordinating their activites on this issue.

Article taken from International Transport Workers' Federation.

Workplace reps...

If any of you would like to join me in the production of this blog please email me or have a chat on the quay.
It would be good if any of you reading this could drop me a line so I have your email addresses so I can pass on anything relevant.


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

What are you worth?

All info taken from Worksmart .

Last registered accounts: 12/31/2005*
Annual turnover: £193,006,000.00
Annual profit: £30,132,000.00
Turnover per employee: £68,031.72
Profit per employee: £10,621.08

Number of staff: 2,837
Total spent on wages: £88,097,000.00
Average staff pay: £31,052.87 *
Average pay increase over last 3 years: 11.31%*

Number of directors: 36
Directors' remuneration: £302,000.00
Increase over last 7 years: -41.02%
Highest paid director's salary: £200,000.00 **
Increase over last 7 years: 29.03%

* This is intended as a very rough guide only, and different factors can affect this considerably. For example, if the company has a lot of part time workers, the average pay per employee as listed here will be lower, even though average full time rates may actually be much higher.
** Including accrued pension and lump sum, if applicable.