Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Port workers edge closer to strike

Fresh talks will take place in the New Year over a proposed pay increase for port workers after a ballot indicated they would be willing to take industrial action.
Quayside workers said 1,577 voted in favour of action with 30 no votes and two spoiled ballot papers - rejecting the one per cent pay offer and sending a clear message to management.
It is now expected union officials from Unite, formerly the Transport and General Workers' Union, will meet bosses in early January to get management reaction and see if an improved pay offer will be made.
If no acceptable new offer is received, the next stage will be a postal ballot on industrial action.
One port worker said: “Quite often we have seen a ballot like this being much closer - people sometimes have second thoughts when industrial action is mentioned and chicken out - but this will send a strong message to management about how people are feeling.”
Another worker said: “The strength of feeling is huge - it's been a very busy year and we took a big pay cut to help the company.”
Union officials apparently asked the company for 5pc plus a £500 lump sum for each worker to make up for the two days' compulsory unpaid leave workers had to take this year as part of the earlier cuts.
Changes this year included scrapping of all bonus schemes, compulsory unpaid leave, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.

http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/news/story.aspx?brand=ESTOnline&category=News&tBrand=ESTOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=IPED26%20Dec%202009%2012%3A15%3A18%3A263

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Port vote result expected this week

UNION officials at Britain's biggest container port will this week announce the result of a vote which could take the workforce to the brink of industrial action.
It is understood the 2,700-strong workforce at Felixstowe was offered a one per cent pay rise - after earlier this year accepting changes to contracts which meant a “temporary pay cut” of between six and 11 per cent, depending on their contract package.
An initial ballot organised by the union Unite overwhelmingly rejected the offer with nearly 1,600 workers against the one pc and less than 20 in favour.(16 in favour)
Union officials had apparently asked the company for a five pc pay increase plus a £500 lump sum for each worker to make up for the two days compulsory unpaid leave workers had to take this year as part of the earlier cuts.
Over the past few days, the four shifts at the port have been voting on whether they would be prepared to take part in a strike ballot.( It's industrial action that we are balloting on not strike!)
If they vote yes, a postal ballot on industrial action will be organised. If they vote no, the one pc pay rise will be accepted.
One port worker said: “People are very frustrated.“
The port made us take huge pay cuts because of the recession but the situation hasn't been as bad as they predicted.
“They said there would be no work and we had to make sacrifices to keep our jobs, but the quays have not been empty and we have had a busy year.”
Changes this year included the scrapping of all bonus schemes, compulsory unpaid leave, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.
Phil Pemberton, convenor for Unite, formerly the Transport and General Workers' Union, was not available for comment.
Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs for the Port of Felixstowe, said the company did not comment on union ballots.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/news/story.aspx?brand=EADOnline&category=News&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=IPED21%20Dec%202009%2000%3A14%3A07%3A160

Friday, 18 December 2009

UPDATE YOUR DETAILS ON LMS SO THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN TO US!

High Court denies BA cabin crew right to strike - but Unite determined to reballot.

On the ruling of the High Court today (Thursday), which has not upheld Unite the union's ballot of more than 12,000 cabin crew members, Unite joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said: "While we have never wanted this dispute it is a disgraceful day for democracy when a court can overrule such an overwhelming decision by employees taken in a secret ballot.
"We will of course be studying the judgement, but the fact remains that this dispute is not settled. Passing the buck to the courts to do management’s job for them was never going to be the answer.
“BA must accept that there can be no resolution except through negotiation, failing which there will inevitably be a further ballot for industrial action.
"Given the clear mood of cabin crew about management’s imposition of changes on their working lives, this means that the spectre of further disruption to the company’s operations cannot be removed. Only a negotiated agreement can do that.”

http://www.unitetheunion.com/news__events/latest_news/high_court_denies_ba_cabin_cre.aspx

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Marshalls to supply 330,000m2 of its Machine Lay Keyblok paving to the Port of Felixstowe

The construction of the new 730m quay for clients Hutchinson Port Holdings forms part of the UK’s Port Expansion programme and will allow berthing of deep water container ships with an increased capacity of 1.5m containers per annum.
Marshalls has just secured its largest single commercial order to supply 330,000m2 of its specialist Machine Lay Keyblok paving to the Port of Felixstowe – that’s the equivalent to the size of 47 Wembley football pitches.
Marshalls entered final negotiations with Costain Ltd recently to secure the £3 million order and the project will commence in January 2010, providing Marshalls Sandy works with a full order book.
Steve Attfield, Marshalls Commercial Manager commented “Some of the numbers we are talking about here are huge. Just to put the contract into perspective, an area the size of 47 Wembley football pitches will be installed in under 12 months. That’s over 2,300 full wagon loads of material. We are absolutely delighted to have secured this order.”
Pioneering machine lay techniques have been a crucial factor in securing this major contract. The speed and efficiency of the machine laying will enable vast areas of block paving to be laid by a minimal number of skilled operatives in a safe and controlled manner.
Marshalls has already supplied the Port of Felixstowe with more than 230,000m2 of its Keyblok paving, giving an additional 23 hectar container storage area able to withstand the constant movement and load impacts of various goods that are stored at such a major cargo port.

http://www.constructionnewsportal.com/construction_article6925.html

I'm wondering if with the port signing up to 10:10, will the materials be coming by road? Also will the job be better than the surfaces we have to bounce across now?

Postal ballots.

I've been thinking about this today.
http://grayee.blogspot.com/2009/12/british-airway-strike-ban.html
As a union we need to make sure that if the company are going to take this dispute all the way that we are ready to take them on in a legal way.
What you need to do is make sure that all your details are upto date so if we have to go to a postal ballot we get the papers to the right place.
Don't go moaning afterwards if you haven't bothered to keep your details updated.

HUTCHISON'S SMALLER FOOTPRINT 10:10

Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (‘HPUK’) says it has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint. The Port of Felixstowe, Harwich International Port and London Thamesport have signed up to the 10:10 initiative; a national drive to cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 10% during 2010. The ports, all owned and operated by HPUK, have made the commitment to cut their carbon emissions by 10% as part of a wider national effort to significantly reduce the output of greenhouse gasses. David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of HPUK, said: "Signing up to 10:10 is evidence of our commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses and lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. Low carbon supply chains are increasingly important and we have a major role to play in helping our customers achieve them. In addition to reducing our own footprint, we are investing in rail to provide low carbon options beyond the port, and working with our customers and tenants to supply port-centric logistic solutions. There are already more frequent rail departures from Felixstowe, to more destinations, moving more containers, than any other UK port. This latest commitment reinforces our position as the low-carbon option for shippers and shipping lines." HPUK says it pursuing a “whole range of initiatives to improve its environmental performance”. These include an ‘Eco-RTG’ project to reduce emissions from its fleet of Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) by up to 50%, smart crane lighting to improve energy efficiency of its 24-hour operations, and a car-sharing scheme for employees.

http://www.mgn.com/news/dailystorydetails.cfm?storyid=10532

Maersk agrees $498 mln sale of Norfolkline to DFDS

COPENHAGEN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk will sell its Norfolkline ferry unit to Denmark's DFDS for cash and shares worth about 346 million euros ($498 million), the companies said on Thursday.
Under the deal, Maersk will get a 31 percent stake in ferry operator DFDS and 170 million euros in cash, Maersk and DFDS said separately.
"The sale of Norfolk Holdings B.V. is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2010 and is not expected to have a significant impact on the result of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S," Maersk said.
The parties have agreed to a lock-up period of 24 months on the DFDS shares from completion of the deal, Maersk said.
Norfolkline Chief Executive Niels Smedegaard said that the deal would boost Norfolkline's position as a ferry and freight operator in northern Europe, adding operations in the English Channel and the Irish Sea to its North Sea base.
"This is a perfect match," Smedegaard said. "The integration of our companies will generate considerable synergies and we expect this transaction to improve our earnings capability once the market recovers."
The deal is subject approval by relevant competition authorities and approval of the share issue by DFDS's extraordinary general meeting, the companies said.
The company to be formed by the combination of Norfolkline and DFDS will have pro forma 2009 revenues of about 1.5 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 139 million, DFDS said.
Maersk shares traded down 1.4 percent at 36,500 crowns and DFDS shares were off 1.0 percent at 337 crowns by 1141 GMT, underperforming a 0.4 percent fall in the Copenhagen bourse bluechip index.
DFDS said in May it was discussing a possible "transaction" of Norfolkline with Maersk, and Maersk said it was talking with potential interested parties about a transaction involving Norfolkline.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8861170

Port workers set to vote for strike action

QUAYSIDE workers at Britain's biggest container port today begin voting on the possibility of industrial action after rejecting a pay offer.
It is understood the 2,700-strong workforce at Felixstowe was offered a one per cent pay rise - after earlier this year accepting changes to contracts which meant a “temporary pay cut” of between six and 11 per cent, depending what package people are on.
An initial ballot organised by the union Unite overwhelmingly rejected the offer with nearly 1,600 workers against the one pc and less than 20 in favour.
Union officials had apparently asked the company for five per cent plus a £500 lump sum for each worker to make up for the two days compulsory unpaid leave workers had to take this year as part of the earlier cuts.
Last minute negotiations yesterday failed to bring a breakthrough, with no new offer from management on the table.
Over the next few days, the four shifts at the port will all vote on whether they would be prepared to take part in a strike ballot.
If they vote yes, a postal ballot on industrial action will be organised. If they vote no, the one pc pay rise will be accepted.Phil Pemberton, convenor for Unite, formerly the Transport and General Workers' Union, was not available for comment.
Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs for the Port of Felixstowe, said the company did not comment on union ballots.

http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/news/story.aspx?brand=ESTOnline&category=News&tBrand=ESTOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=IPED17%20Dec%202009%2008%3A58%3A33%3A197

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Ballot for industrial action.

This will take place at Trinity union office, Next to Centenary House Trinity terminal.

THURSDAY 17-12-090
6.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

SATURDAY 19-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

MONDAY 21-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

WEDNESDAY 23-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CAST YOUR VOTE.

The unions recommendation is that you vote YES to industrial action.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

First ever 30-wagon train

Freghtliner’s first PowerHaul locomotive 70001 has completed operational trials hauling, the first ever 30-wagon train to and from the Port of Felixstowe.
Following a test run last week, the PowerHaul locomotive today conveyed a train of 60 imported boxes to Freightliner’s terminal in Birmingham before returning later that night with exports.
With higher haulage and acceleration capabilities, the PowerHaul locos are able to increase payloads per train and could remove more than 120 lorries from the UK’s roads for each return trip.
Adam Cunliffe, managing director of Freightliner said: “We currently operate 21 daily services from the Port of Felixstowe, and until developments within the port are completed the number of train slots are limited. By use our new PowerHaul locomotives we are able to increase the capacity available to our customers while improving our carbon footprint.”

http://www.logisticsmanager.com/Articles/12864/First+ever+30-wagon+train.html

Monday, 14 December 2009

Asia-Europe box traffic steadies

Container volume declines on the Asia to Europe trade have stabilised over the last few months, while freight rates in September crept back to last year’s levels.
Figures from the European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA), show that 962,800teu was moved from Asia to Europe, 10% down on October last year.
In September, volumes were also 10% down year-on-year, while in August they were 12% down, figures which represent improvement on the 22% decline experienced over the first six months of the year.
Meanwhile ELAA’s price index for the Asia to Europe trade hit 78 in September, assuming a 2008 average of 100, the index’s highest level this year and compares with March’s figure of 48.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=1260545071650

Teesport counting the cost

The full extent of job and volume losses at Teesport following the partial closure in the new year of its biggest customer Corus’s plant is still unknown.
A spokeswoman for Teesport owner PD Ports said it would hold talks with Corus following the steel producer’s announcement on 4 December that it planned to mothball Redcar Blast Furnace, Lackenby steelmaking and the South Bank Coke Ovens at the end of January.
However, Corus said it intended to keep open a number of operations, including the Redcar Wharf, Redcar Coke Ovens and some of the power-generating capacity.
In July, PD Ports wrote to workers to tell them it may make up to 120 redundancies because Corus had threatened to close Teesside Cast Products and because of recession-related volume reductions.
The spokeswoman said: "The news is extremely disappointing, but given previous announcements by Corus and the lack of a positive conclusion to discussions with potential offtakers and investors in TCP, it is not especially surprising.
"The 120 job losses quoted in July when Corus announced that part of the Corus TCP site would be mothballed, was prior to the restructuring activity that our business has engaged in over recent months.
"Additionally, the growth in areas such as the container handling operations at Teesport will help us mitigate some of the impact on our employees. But further work needs to be concluded.
"Until we receive more definitive information from Corus on the implications of this closure, it is too early to understand the level of impact the announcement will have on PD Ports, but this is not good news."
Last week, Teesport announced it had handled more than 100,000 containers in a single year for the first time.
It had also recently announced a new contract with shipper Taylors of Harrogate to handle more than 1,000 containers of imported tea and coffee a year, and Taiwanese container line Evergreen has started to deliver containers to Teesport following the opening of a Tesco’s distribution centre there.
In July, PD Ports welcomed UK government approval for it to build a woodfuelled power station at Teesport, which would bring in an extra 2m tonnes of traffic when it opened in 2012.
Last month, it was confirmed PD Ports had been sold by Babcock and Brown Infrastructure to Brookfield Asset Management.

Friday, 11 December 2009

MSC UK gets AEO status

I hope that this next press release doesn't mean that we will get more misdeclared units. Something needs to be done to stop boxes coming to us with wrong weights on them before somebody gets hurt. Nobody wants another MSC Napoli or an IMV turning over because the front box has too much weigh in it. I am not pointing the finger at MSC but the whole industry.


MSC’s UK business has been approved by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).
Recognition under the EU scheme enables businesses to have their consignments fast-tracked through customs’ controls and if a consignment is selected for examination it will receive priority over non-AEOs.
AEO’s get a lower “risk score”, which will be incorporated into HRMC's risk management systems and used to determine the frequency of customs physical and documentary checks.
AEOs are also allowed to omit certain data elements from pre-arrival and pre-departure summary declarations.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “The AEO scheme is the way forward for businesses involved in the international supply chain.
“It shows they are committed to raising their security and safety standards, which will be of benefit to themselves, their business partners and assists in the development of their long-term relationship with HMRC."
To achieve AEO status, businesses have to prove they are compliant, safe and secure and are subject to an audit run by customs.
AEO is recognised across the whole EU and it is hoped that mutual recognition of similar systems, across other third countries, will take place in the future.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/msc-uk-gets-aeo-status/20017728708.htm

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Dubai World's woes will not affect Rotterdam Gateway

Rotterdam Port Authority is convinced DP World’s investment in the Rotterdam World Gateway container terminal on Maasvlakte Two will go ahead, despite its parent company’s restructuring.
The port authority said that while DP World was a subsidiary of Dubai World, this did not mean that it was involved in its parent’s problems.
In addition, with a share of 30%, DP World is just one of five companies that together form Rotterdam World Gateway, MOL, Hyundai, APL and CMA CGM being the others.
“The Port of Rotterdam Authority has very regular contact with all the container companies that are active in Rotterdam, during which the consequences of the economic crisis are a recurring topic of conversation,” it said.
It added that the APM Terminals facility, which is also being built on Maasvlakte Two, and the 4m teu Rotterdam World Gateway were sticking to the current schedule.
This means that Rotterdam World Gateway will start operation of its terminal in 2013, and APM Terminals in 2014.
At the end of last month, the government of Dubai, acting through the Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC), authorised the Dubai Financial Support Fund to spearhead the restructure of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World.
Dubai World intended to ask all providers of financing to allow a freezing of repayments and extend maturities until at least 30 May 2010.
However, DP World said the government of Dubai had confirmed that DP World and its debt were not included in the restructuring process for Dubai World.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017728060

Ballot result on company pay offer of 1%

For 16
Against 1599

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Teesport container volumes break annual record

PD Ports’ Teesport facility has handled over 100,000 containers in a year for the first time in its history.
The north-east UK port reached the milestone last month and Frans Calje, PD Ports’ MD for unitised traffic, said: “We are delighted that in these difficult economic times our efforts have clearly out-performed the market.
“We are really proud of what has been achieved at Teesport this year. We expect to reach this benchmark earlier each year as we move forward.”
Over the last few months, PD Ports has unveiled new container contract wins.
It announced a contract with shipper Taylors of Harrogate, to handle more than 1,000 containers of imported tea and coffee a year, and Taiwanese box carrier Evergreen started to deliver containers to Teesport following the opening of Tesco’s distribution centre.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/newsarticle.htm?artid=20017727112

APL reports 23% volume growth

APL’s container volumes increased by 23% year-on-year from mid-October to mid-November, but this failed to materialise into an increase in revenues per 40ft container.
The NOL-owned carrier said it handled 416,000teu between 17 October and 13 November (period 11), up from 339,000 for the same period last year.
Meanwhile, its revenues per forty-foot equivalent unit (feu) for the period were 28% down year-on-year at US$2,239.
During the previous four week period, APL moved around 423,400teu, a 14% improvement on the same period last year.
Over this same period, APL generated revenues of $2,254 per feu, which was 29% down on last year. Between mid-August and mid-September its revenues per feu came to $2,247.
The carrier’s year-to-date volumes for period 11 were 12% down on 2008, while its revenues per feu 24% down on the previous year.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017727100

Monday, 7 December 2009

Long-term parking

There is clearly no current commercial need for DP World's London Gateway container terminal and, let's face it, there's unlikely to be for some years. Behind the brave faces and talk of fiexamining all the optionsfl, it's just not going to happen anytime soon.
With the Felixstowe South development under way and due to enter some sort of operation in the next couple of years, there will be plenty of capacity to handle the country's imports, even if they return to 2007 levels in an unexpectedly short time.
Which makes the request of Thurrock Council to borrow - or however the financing is structured - money to fund the development of the logistics park adjoining the port plainly ridiculous.
The whole point of the enormous London Gateway logistics park was to almost instantly create the type of fiport clusterfl that makes ports attractive to lines and their customers.
But there's no point in having that logistics park until the terminal also exists.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/searcharticle.htm?articleTeaser=true&keywords=London+gateway&artid=1259939144897&highlight=true&articleContext=search

Council bids to help fund logistics park

A UK council has applied for financial support for the development of Europe’s largest logistics park, close to the site of the proposed London Gateway container terminal.
DP World London Gateway confirmed that Thurrock Council had responded to a government request for councils to apply for funding for infrastructure projects.
IFW understands Thurrock Council applied for funding because of concerns that the 884,000sq metre logistics park project would not be viable without government intervention, after developer DP World revealed financial concerns.
DP World announced in March that it was putting development of the London Gateway logistics park and container terminal on hold because of volume declines.
A DP World London Gateway spokesman said: "London Gateway [port and logistics park] remains under review.
"We are exploring a variety of funding options, one of which was to explore the possibility of London Gateway Park taking part in the UK government’s open call for pilot Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) projects, announced in the summer.
"Thurrock Council submitted an application in July to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and we await the outcome of that process."
A spokesman for the DCLG said there was no guarantee that the government would adopt the TIF scheme, as it was still at the consultation stage.
And the DP World spokesman said that even if the government went ahead with the scheme, there had been 124 applications for funds from councils, so Thurrock’s might not be successful.
He also stressed that the application had been made in regard to the development of the logistics park, not the 3.5m teu container terminal, contrary to some reports.
The government is expected to announce this week whether it will go ahead with the funding scheme for accelerated development zones, as TIFs are also known.
DP World received some good news towards the end of last month, when the European Investment Bank announced it would provide up to £300m (US$500m) worth of funding towards the development of the £1.5bn London Gateway terminal.
It has already benefited from €14.1m ($21.2m) from the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency for dredging work.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/council-bids-to-help-fund-logistics-park/1259939144773.htm

Maersk container boss sees box upturn in Asia

Copenhagen: Maersk Line chief executive Eivind Kolding says his company expects container export trades from Asia to grow by 3-8% in 2010. The A P Moller-Maersk director sees the first signs of rising cargo volumes, with liftings up in November compared with one year ago. But 2010 will nevertheless be "extremely challenging". He does not, however, subscribe to the double-dip philosophy and expects volumes to continue to grow, though not in a linear fashion.
Kolding anticipates that the number of container ships laid-up by the company will peak during this slack season, after Christmas in the west, probably rising from today's 16-17 vessels by a few more units. However, he says, laid-up ships will not include any of the company's largest vessels - these are still working effectively, with good load factors, through close cooperation with partners in vessel-sharing arrangements.
In fact, Kolding points out that most of the container vessels laid up so far are in the medium sizes, notably Panamax units, underscoring that the company's pioneering move into operating the world's largest container vessels was the right one.
None of the company's 40-odd newbuildings are likely to be laid up either, Kolding says. "Although 40 ships seems a high number," he says, "in relative terms, it's really quite modest. They will mostly deliver through 2011/12 and, by then, we will need them."
Maersk today operates a fleet of about 460 container ships, of which a little over half are owned vessels. The company has redelivered a number of chartered vessels this year, as well as recycling some nine older leased units in China. A clear demonstration of its green initiatives, the company has netted about $18m less from this recycling process than it could have made by running the ships on to the beach. [04/12/09]

Top 25 union blogs!

I've just found out that I'm number 11 in the top 25 union blogs. I think I only got there because of the amount of posts I do to keep my workmates up to date with issues concerning the dock industry. But hey I'm nearly top 10! Never mind the quality here's the quantity!

http://www.tigmoo.co.uk/files/tigmoo2009.pdf

Hamburg to reduce transhipment charges by 50%

THE port of Hamburg is to reduce its charges in an attempt to regain lost transhipment volumes.“We will introduce a scheme which will see cost cuts of up to 50% per single transhipment container,” said Hamburg’s port senator Axel Gedaschko.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/hamburg-to-reduce-transhipment-charges-by-50/20017726113.htm;jsessionid=B4D73BE03D1FF394C50BE7A1C90E9F31.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Friday, 4 December 2009

Monday, 30 November 2009

Notice of Ballot

MASS MEETING 7PM TUESDAY @ 70 SHED.

BALLOT VOTE - ANNUAL WAGE AWARD:

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

THURSDAY 03-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

SATURDAY 05-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

MONDAY 07-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

WEDNESDAY 09-12-09
06.00-09.30
17.00-20.00
23.00-00.30

PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CAST YOUR VOTE.

London Gateway in calls for government aid

Sorry but I missed the full story from Lloyds list and nobody has offered to pay for me to have the full site so this is all I can bring you on this story for now. If anyone would either like to pay for access for me or has the full story please email me chifttugrep@googlemail.com Come on Mr Gledhill pay for the site!


A BRITISH local authority has asked government permission to borrow heavily to prop up DP World’s planned £2.3bn ($3.8bn) London Gateway container terminal development, which it openly states “will not be viable without suitable government intervention”.

Business as usual, say Dubai World affiliates

ALL three major maritime industries affiliates of Dubai World are fully confident that they will not get caught up in the flak surrounding their parent concern’s shock debt moratorium request yesterday, in a development that will reassure customers that include many of the world’s top shipowners.

Port in a storm: DP World’s London Gateway struggles for funds
Posted by Miles Johnson on Nov 30 18:25.
The flagship UK development of DP World, the port arm of the troubled Dubai World, looks to be sinking as it struggles to raise financing for the project, based on the Thames at Thurrock in Essex.
The London Gateway project, Dubai’s most significant investment in the UK, “will not be viable without suitable government funding”, according to a local UK government funding application from July seen by FT Alphaville.
While DP World placed the ₤1.5bn container port project “under review” in March amid a painful downturn in global trade, the conclusions of the application will raise further questions over the company’s ability to complete the port scheme.
London Gateway has struggled to secure bank lending to pay for ₤400m of upfront infrastructure costs, according to the application for pilot funding under the government’s “tax incremental financing structure” scheme, first reported by Regeneration & Renewal.
Initial approaches to key UK banks by DP World were “disappointing”, the application letter says, citing conversations with the Dubai company.
Though London Gateway is viewed by the UK government as a valuable development project, any government funding seen to be bailing out DP World may well prove highly controversial.
The letter, sent from Thurrock council to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government, states: “Bank interest in London Gateway is either very limited, or on terms (pricing and tenor) which will severely impact DP World’s equity returns, making the project even more unattractive. ”
When contacted DP World said:
London Gateway remains under review including the financing options. We are exploring a variety of different funding options, one of which was to explore the possibility of London Gateway Park taking part in the UK Government’s open call for pilot Tax Incremental Funding projects, announced in summer 2009. Thurrock Council submitted an application in July to the Department of Communities and Local Government and we await the outcome of that process.
A Thurrock Council spokesman said the council had looked into the possibility of creating an accelerated development zone (ADZ), which was no longer feasible.
The council also cited a DCLG spokesman as saying the ADZ proposal “was always a feasibility study”.
Further evidence of financing problems for one of DP World’s flagship developments coincides with mounting concern over the ability of Dubai-owned businesses to service their debts. Last week the developer Nakheel, owned by DP World’s parent group Dubai World, stunned global markets by asking to delay payments on its debts.
DP World, viewed as one of Dubai’s crown jewels and one of the largest listed companies on the Dubai stock exchange, inherited London Gateway from P&O when it bought the British group for £3.9 billion in 2006.
The company, which owns port assets in locations ranging from Antwerp to Djibouti, has previously told the Financial Times it has no debt maturities due until 2012. Net debt stands at just under $5bn, but DP World holds $3bn in cash.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

US box traffic looking up for 2010

The start of next year could see the first year-on-year increase in US container import volumes for 31 months, according to the Port Tracker report published by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
The report forecasts imports at the major US ports will reach 1.09m teu in November, down 11% year-on-year, 1.06m teu in December, the same as last year, and 1.03m teu in January, down 3%.
However, it said it expected February’s volumes to reach 973,800teu, which would represent a year-on-year increase of 16%.
“This could be the turnaround we’ve been waiting to see for a long time,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “There’s not enough data yet to establish a clear trend, but we’re hopeful that this is a sign of recovery.”
Volumes in the second half of this year have marginally improved.
“The second half of 2009 has continued to see declines from 2008’s levels, but not as large as we saw during the first half of this year,” IHS Global Insight economist Paul Bingham said. "These ‘less bad’ numbers are evidence that the industry is seeing early signs of recovery."
In September, the most recent month actual numbers are available, the US ports surveyed handled 1.14m teu, down 3% compared to August and 16% from September 2008.
Volumes for the traditional peak, October, are expected to have hit 1.17m teu, down 15% on last year.
The US ports covered by Port Tracker are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the west coast; New York/New Jersey, Virginia, Charleston and Savannah on the east coast; and Houston on the Gulf Coast.
http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017722622

The law on industrial action.

I have posted this before, I'm reposting because of the ammount of questions I've been getting about "What exactly is industrial action?"
Hope this makes it clear for you.

The Law on Industrial Action


Introduction

The law relating to industrial action is to be found in:

· Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
· Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993;
· Employment Relations Act 1999.

There is also an advisory code of practice on picketing.

The law covers:

· the definition of industrial action;
· strikes;
· ballots on industrial action.


Industrial Action Defined

In legal terms, 'industrial action' means:

· strikes;
· lockouts;
· overtime bans (including voluntary bans);
· go slows;
· working to rule;
· refusing to cross a picket line;
· refusing to work with non-members.


Strikes and the Law

British employment law has no tradition of a positive right to strike, and industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. The tradition, instead, is that of 'immunities'; that is, immunity from legal action so long as certain conditions are met. Since 1979, these conditions have become more rigid and complex.

The law gives trade unions immunity for actions "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". A 'trade dispute' is a dispute between workers and an employer in the UK, which is "wholly or mainly" about:

· terms and conditions of employment;
· recruitment, suspension or dismissal;
· work allocation;
· discipline;
· facilities for union officials;
· the negotiating machinery.

There is no immunity for disputes which:

· are 'political';
· have not yet started;
· are over union membership;
· are protests over dismissal following unofficial action;
· constitute 'secondary action'.

To be lawful, therefore, industrial action must be a trade dispute. It must also be 'official', and it must comply with the requirements relating to ballots (see below).


Official and Unofficial Industrial Action

To maintain immunity, industrial action must be 'official'. This means that:

· the employee(s) taking action must belong to a trade union, and;
· the union (usually the executive committee) must authorise or endorse the action.

Action which does not meet these requirements is unofficial and, therefore, unlawful. Workers can be lawfully dismissed for taking part in unofficial action.

Unions are legally responsible for all industrial action, unless they have 'repudiated' it.

If there is unofficial action and the union wishes to make it official, the action must be repudiated before a ballot is held.
Industrial Action Ballots

In any case where industrial action may be necessary, a ballot must be held. In addition, the ballot must comply with a series of requirements.

First, the employer must be given notice of:

· the intention to hold a ballot;
· the date of the ballot;
· basic details of those to be balloted (i.e. the workplace or job title – not the names);
· a sample copy of the ballot paper.

Following the ballot, the employer must be given:

· notice of the outcome of the ballot;
· seven days’ notice of any action, along with details of those involved (but not their names), and when the action will start.

All industrial action ballots must be secret, postal ballots. Only those workers who are involved in the dispute may be balloted. They must be given at least seven days to return the ballot paper, and this must be numbered and must comply with the prescribed wording, which includes a statutory warning to the effect that industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. An independent scrutineer must oversee the ballot.

To proceed to industrial action following a ballot, there must be a simple majority in favour of action. The union must inform the members and the employer of the result, and give notice of the commencement of any action (see above).

The result of an industrial action ballot only lasts for four weeks; that is, any action must start within four weeks to be lawful. However, if the employer and the union agree to this, the result may be suspended to enable negotiations to re-start.


Picketing

If workers are acting "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute", it is lawful for them to picket "at or near" their own place of work. However, this right is qualified by a number of requirements.
Picketing must only be for the purpose of:

· peacefully getting or communicating information, and/or
· peacefully persuading others not to work.

There is no immunity for pickets who trespass, or who commit criminal offences such as obstruction, or breach of the peace.

There is no legal limit on the number of pickets. However, the Department of Trade and Industry Code of Practice on Picketing, which has advisory status only, suggests a maximum of six.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ireland's volume decline slows

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has claimed the rate of decline in Irish freight volumes slowed in the third quarter of the year, but warned operators should expect a challenging winter.
IMDO statistics show third quarter lo-lo traffic slipped 20% year-on-year to 268,000teu and ro-ro volumes fell 8% 385,000 units.
However, the IMDO pointed out this was an improvement on half-year figures, when lo-lo volumes were 24% down year-on-year and ro-ro traffic was 13% down.
It said: “While all market segments have not returned to the previous 30 month volume lows that were recorded earlier this year, the severe volume deterioration that has occurred over this period is likely to result in traffic volumes returning to pre 2003 levels by the end of this year."
It added: “Depressed freight rates, lower volume demand coupled with increases in fuel and bunker costs will provide a challenging environment for shipping operators over the winter months.
“Underlying weaker domestic consumer demand is likely to continue to suppress import volumes while the strength of the euro against the dollar and sterling will continue to put pressure on export volumes to our key markets.”
The IMDO said container volumes have slumped over the past 18 months because of an “abrupt correction in consumer demand and slowdown in the domestic construction sector”.
It added Christmas demand had resulted in a slight rise in imports, by 5% in September compared to August, and exports were up 22% between September and August.
IMDO said these seasonal factors were absent in 2008 when volumes continued to fall at an accelerated rate of decline from the middle of the year.
Overall it forecast a total decline of 23% in lo-lo volumes to the year-end.
Meanwhile, volumes on direct continental ro-ro routes increased year-on-year by 64% to 8,044 units in the third quarter of 2009, because of an increase in the number of direct services on offer.
Overall in the ro-ro sector, 35,000 less freight units were carried on all routes when compared to same quarter in 2008.
The IMDO also estimated that total available capacity reduced by 13% in the third quarter, which has been implemented by a reduction of frequency on certain routes and reduction in vessel sizes, while the price of bunker fuel has doubled since the beginning of 2009.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017722173

Asia unions launch strike action

Trade unions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore have embarked on a week of action to highlight the exploitation of seafarers.
Lasting from 23-27 November, the seafarers’ and dockers’ unions will target vessels and companies without International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) approved manning agreements during port inspections in south-east Asia.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/asia-unions-launch-strike-action/20017722073.htm

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winds blow down container stacks at port

STRONG winds battering the Suffolk coast today knocked down stacks of containers at Britain's biggest port.A large number of boxes were blown over in quayside storage parks at Felixstowe.Port officials said rail and yard operations had been affected and for the safety of all port users access was being restricted to operational areas. “Vehicles are being marshalled on site and will be processed through to operational areas as soon as it is safe to do so,” said a port spokesman.The situation was being monitored, and hauliers were advised there would be delays and they may wish to consider re-scheduling their arrivals.Operation Stack was not in place at present - traffic levels are not as high at weekends as on weekdays.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/news/story.aspx?brand=EADOnline&category=News&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=IPED22%20Nov%202009%2015%3A10%3A46%3A570

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Stowaway cat Pharaoh survives two-week voyage to Britain from Egypt

Pharoah the cat has survived after stowing away in a container on a merchant ship that arrived at the British port of Felixstowe after a 3,000 mile journey from Egypt.

The hungry animal was found in a container after two weeks on board the MV Maersk Batam which travelled from the Port Said in Egypt to the Suffolk port.
John Biscoe, of GMA Freight, said: "We opened this container that had just arrived from Egypt to ensure that it was all in order and I was with the forklift operator and became aware there was something in there.
"It was a container with wire coils and I said there was a cat in there.
"The other chap wondered if it was a lion or something but then this little thing jumped out and started rubbing around my legs."
Two RSPCA officers collected Pharaoh and he is now being looked after a quarantine cattery near Colchester, Essex.
"He was very scrawny and we gave him a bowl of water and one of my colleagues gave him his sandwich ~ he ate the meat very quickly," said Mr Biscoe.
"He must have been someone's pet in Egypt – he was very happy to see us."
Pharaoh will be kept at the cattery for five and a half months because of rabies quarantine regulations.
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said it had been "touch and go" for the cat when it was found two weeks ago.
She said: "He was not in a very good state and at first it was thought he might not survive.
"He has been taken to a quarantine centre at Colchester, checked for rabies and other problems, fed and been looked after and now looks much better.
"Pharaoh will have to stay in quarantine and then it will be re-homed here."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6621708/Stowaway-cat-Pharaoh-survives-two-week-voyage-to-Britain-from-Egypt.html

Friday, 20 November 2009

Antwerp prepared to freeze port dues to secure jobs

SOUNDS LIKE AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN TO ME...


The port of Antwerp is to readjust next year’s port dues to help secure jobs, but added unions and employers must strive to be more efficient.
The port will freeze most rates at 2008 and 2009 levels and reduce dues for the transhipment of conventional/breakbulk cargo, such as steel, fruit paper and wood, by 10%.
However, the port authority linked the reduction in rates to the condition that labour unions and employers must make a serious contribution towards greater efficiency in loading and unloading “labour-intensive items”, without compromising safety.
The port authority said it hoped freezing fees would combat further losses in freight volumes and employment and help shipping companies deal with the recession.
Port alderman Marc Van Peel said: "Nobody can deny that the port of Antwerp has lost some trade in the past years due to the overly rigid work organisation in freight handling."
Port authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx added: "We expect to see clear signals from both sides of industry before 1 January, about their willingness to make significant improvements in the efficient use of dock labour."

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017721042

APM Terminals investigates driver beating

APM Terminals has vowed to investigate allegations that a subcontractor ordered the beating of port drivers at JNPT.
Last week, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) demanded that APM Terminals dump sub-contractor SC Thakur because of allegations it was behind attacks on three members of the Transport and Dock Workers’ Union on 23 October.
In response, APM Terminals said: “We’re investigating this incident, which appears to have taken place outside the port with a subcontractor, Thakur.
“We have strict standards on the safety and the security of our employees, including those who are classified as contracted workers, working for vendors.”
APM Terminals investigates driver beating
The ITF said the victims had all made court depositions regarding the company’s failure to pay their provident fund contributions.
Reports about the attacks had been filed with the police, Thakur and Maersk subsidiary Gateway Terminals India.
The ITF added the workers had been attacked in the past.
“The situation first erupted in April 2007 when four drivers employed by contractor SC Thakur were abducted and severely beaten.
“When other union members went on strike in support of the hospitalised colleagues they were sacked. Following dialogue between Maersk and the ITF the workers were reinstated.”
It added: “The ITF has made it clear that it believes there can be no excuse after two years, for a multinational of Maersk’s size and reach not to have assured its workers, including subcontracted workers, basic rights and protection from violence.”

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017721004

PAY TALKS LATEST...

Company has made their final offer of 1%. Mass meeting to be held soon as possible.

The story of Great Yarmouth redevelopment and the loss of dock workers jobs.



Outer Harbour - the inside story.




Eddie Freeman, chief executive of Eastport UK is one of the speakers in today's Shaping Norfolk's Future conference. But as the Yarmouth outer harbour finally gets ready for business, has it delivered what was promised? Public affairs correspondent Shaun Lowthorpe reports.


Eddie Freeman admits that the pressure is on at the moment as contractors put the finishing touches to the Yarmouth outer harbour.


An engineer by trade, he has spent more than 30 years in the ports industry, including a stint in South Africa. The chief executive of Eastport UK is, he says, like a salesman. And he comes across as somewhat of a fixer - brought in by International Port Holdings, the parent company of Eastport, to get the harbour up and running and make it a success.


The 61-year-pld admits that with the global economic downturn adding to the pressure, he has a job on his hands selling the outer harbour to prospective businesses. But also, you sense, he has a battle to convince the people of Great Yarmouth themselves of its merits, some of whom are less than enamoured with what has finally emerged.


Work is almost complete on the new harbour, with hopes high that the first container ships will be set to dock within a few weeks.


And that's the issue in many people's minds - what has been built is primarily at this stage a container port.


Think back a decade and talk was of a harbour bringing jobs and visitors to Norfolk with a roll-on, roll-off ferry service at its heart.


Detailed studies were produced showing that there would be 120,000 visitors coming to the town each year - a boon to the Yarmouth tourist industry. In 2000 a partnership was forged with the Dutch port town of Ijmuiden, and a provisional agreement was signed with Greek firm Superfast Ferries with a view to operating services.


But the business as it is now taking shape looks markedly different.


Critics fear that the harbour will not be able to deliver on promises to create 1000 jobs because the forecasts were largely based on securing a ferry operator to run services from the port, which has since receded from view.


Pinning down exactly how many jobs the port in its current form will create is actually quite difficult as the public bodies who pump-primed the project have not produced any updated studies.


Getting hold of the business case is also tricky, since because it comes under the auspices of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority, which is not subject to the freedom of information act, any request for a copy will be automatically refused, while officials also cite commercial confidentiality as another reason for withholding it.


There is also simmering anger in some quarters that the privately run port will not yield the spin offs for the town that backers of the original project, which was kick-started with around £18m of public cash, once promised.


Relations were also soured earlier this year when the port sacked 11 dock workers as part of a switch to casual labour - fuelling concerns that instead of creating a port for the community to rally around, there was a risk of creating a town within a town.



And while borough council land worth £1.5m has been provided to help set it up, other issues such as creating a viewing platform and doing up Gorleston Pier remain unresolved.


But Mr Freeman, insists the port would bring benefits to the town.


“To get this level of investment going on with this level of ambition at this time in the recession has got to be good news,” Mr Freeman said.“There seems to be no recognition of the fact that we are in a recession and that has its effects.


“The outer harbour isn't the great white hope. Great Yarmouth has been very active in doing all kinds of projects dealing with regeneration. We are just one of these.


“There was a lot of prejudice to overcome in the ports industry and to some extent locally about what we were doing. But it was not based on any fact. I think it's unfair given the fact that we are not open yet. How people can talk about it being a white elephant when it's not open, is an absolute contradiction in terms. There have been complaints about the investment and when people are going to see it - there has been £60m already going in.


“We can't stop people having their views, and we don't want to, we live in a democracy,” he said. “There will always be issues people don't agree with for whatever reason, but we just have to get the right message across.”


Now the focus is centring on the container port operation, where goods arriving at major destinations such as Antwerp can then be quickly transferred to ships and brought in to the UK at Yarmouth. This year saw two £7m cranes installed as part of the development, which will be operated by Port of Singapore, one of the largest operators in the world.


And Mr Freeman said that while not something for the immediate future, Eastport UK still had an open mind on whether a ferry operation could be part of the new facility.


He said there were five strands to the business - containers, offshore and renewable, agricultural, general aggregates, and Roll-on, roll- off ferries (Ro-Ro).


“There's quite a range of industries we are interested in,” he explained. “The renewables market is changing all the time, that's driven as much by technology as politics. With offshore we have got a large market off our coast that needs to be serviced. We are very well positioned to exploit that.


“The range we have been able to consider has been growing during our development period. Our ambitions are quite wide-reaching.


“All ports have got to be flexible,” he added. “We are in a recession. Nobody saw it coming particularly and I don't think anybody is very clear when it is going to end. Certainly the global container market is down. The Ro-Ro market is significantly down. That's tending to suppress other commodities as well.


“There's no doubt about it, everybody is feeling the pinch.


“We are not thinking about next week, we are thinking long-term. As far as the Ro-Ro market is concerned we are keeping a watching brief. Ro-pax is an option within Ro-Ro that we are more than happy to exploit if we are able to. We do not rule anything out. But at this moment in time while the market is still contracting, the decision to launch a Ro-Ro service may not be seen as particularly attractive.


“I don't think it's going to be now, but it's certainly within our strategic planning.


“I am not going to get into a debate about Ro-Ro, I didn't make the promises. There was never a promise. We have said ourselves quite clearly that if we can get somebody that wants to start a Roll-on, Roll-off out of Great Yarmouth and came knocking on our door, we can deliver.


“There's never been a firm promise about this issue. The company they were talking to no longer operates out of the UK but that doesn't mean to say there won't be others.”


Now he said the task in hand was to focus on what has been achieved and build on that.


“It's been a fantastic effort. We have got a new management team here and we are intent on getting this project finished and are all determined to make it really successful.


“The cranes are in,” he said. “At the moment we are just completing some of the paved works. Hopefully by the end of this month, middle of next month, we should be seeing this as a port that's available to do some business.


“We want to create a one-stop shop and make the customer feel really good about doing business here in Great Yarmouth. We want to listen to the client and be as flexible as we can.


“Obviously we are concentrating heavily on containers at the moment and renewables are very close to our heart, the agricultural market is also crucial to us. At the moment we are comfortable and happy with what we have got.


“It's about getting the processes in place and make sure what we are promising, we can deliver. It's about bringing the trade along with us with regards to what we are doing, and listening to the industries.


“I think we have got a brand new culture. It was very much about making the trust port work in the private sector model, it's still a work in progress, but we are very nearly there now. We are a 24/7 port. Traffic will come and go round the clock.


“The port facility is quite crucial to the region. It's the only one that Norfolk has outside of King's Lynn of any size. By building the outer harbour, we have stopped the decline of the port. "


The port is bigger in capacity terms than King's Lynn, Ipswich and Lowestoft. If you look down the East coast, you have got the Humber, ourselves, Felixstowe, then you are down into Tilbury.


“We are very much hoping that we will be able to promote and develop jobs as our infrastructure expands. Just being able to show people around makes a huge difference in marketing terms.


We know what we are about, we are about trying to maximise this port as best we can for the benefit of our community.


“One of the reasons we wanted to be involved in Shaping Norfolk's Future is that we think the port has a very significant role to play in the development of the country and how the county sees itself.”


Like the port of Felixstowe which has helped create jobs behind the town itself and along the A14 corridor, supporters of the outer harbour believe it will create jobs across the region working along the A47 up to the Norwich and even along the A47 corridor.


George Bennett, head of development at Eeda, and a member of the First East board, said the port would help create vital skilled blue collar jobs in the town, while also freeing up land along the river for redevelopment as industries start to cluster around the new outer harbour.


“The easiest way to think of it is like building a road,” Mr Bennett said. “We have paid for the breakwater, we haven't paid for an entire harbour. That's up to market conditions.“We have got a facility that's not quite finished yet,” he said. “The paint isn't even dry, but there is a bit of a British psyche to knock something before it has started. We are looking at a 10-15 year period before the port is anywhere near its full capacity. It needs to build up to that. The private sector investment that's gone into the outer harbour is looking at a 50 year return.


“We are absolutely delighted that the port has been finished and largely achieved on time.”


Mr Bennett said developments, such as the recently announced Saul's Wharf would help regenerate the town with developments similar in scale and ambition to Norwich's Riverside the Ipswich wharf front.


“We have got an opportunity to relocate a number of port businesses in South Denes,” Mr Bennett added. “We have got 8km or river frontage. There's quite a number of opportunities there to really reshape the town with a mixture of commercial and residential development.


“A ferry service is quite important and we would say that the door hasn't closed on that,” Mr Bennett said. “It's still an ambition held by ourselves to see a ferry service. The current climate has affected that. The outer harbour was designed with a ferry service in place, and that requires substantial investment. It's not yet right for that objective but it's still in there. But it's not going to be delivered on day one. It's a 50-year vision. What we have done is safeguard the future of the current port.”


Peter Hardy, executive director for environment and economy at Great Yarmouth borough council, said the port's owners had spotted commercial opportunities previously not thought of and people should not get too hung up on the ferry issue, though he admits it was the aspect of the business which most captured the public imagination.


“When International Port Holdings came in and said they reckoned they could get into the container business, that was a bonus,” Mr Hardy said. “That was certainly an option that nobody had thought of. There are as many jobs coming out of that as there may have been from a ferry service.“In 2003 there was a ferry company saying if we could build the outer harbour, they would like to run a ferry service, which in business terms would have been nearly all freight, but would also carry passengers.


“The ferry market in the southern North Sea continued to show growth in freight until the recession,” Mr Hardy added. “The passenger market was very different. It was slammed very hard by the mushrooming of low cost flights. Harwich had a fast ferry service and they couldn't keep it going. In 2004/05 the other that came in was oil doubling in price.


“All of these external factors prior to the recession meant we were unlucky. The world has moved on.”


But he said the crucial thing was that after more than 20 years of hopes and dreams the outer harbour had been built in the first place.


“The fact it was built has put Great Yarmouth back in the port business for the next century and has put East Anglia back on the trade route,” he said. “It may be that you won't find that many jobs on the quayside, but it's certainly creating opportunities for the agricultural industry all over Norfolk.


“I am not alone in being absolutely delighted that it did come off.”


Mr Freeman, who hails from Middlesborough, and still has traces of a North-East accent, admits that delivering the outer harbour probably represents the last great challenge of his career. And it is one he is determined to achieve before stepping back from the business and pursuing other interests including sailing and hanging out at his favourite pubs, such as the Fat Cat in Norwich, where he now lives.


“At this late stage in my career it represented a challenge to me personally,” he said. I think we have got enough positives in here to see us through what's probably the deepest recession that we could have seen in our lifetime.


“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing this project up and running and successful. And it will be, nobody has come here to fail.”






Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cost control will pull CMA CGM out of the red

Deepsea carrier CMA CGM is expecting to return to breakeven point by December, thanks to its cost-cutting efforts and a rebound in rates and volumes.
The Marseille-based shipping line said: “The savings plan applied throughout all segments of the group, combined with increasingly firm volumes and rates, is already producing its initial effects.”
The cost saving measures include; closing of secondary lines to concentrate volumes on the main lines; an increase in strategic shipping partnerships; redelivery of chartered ships; reduced logistics expenses and port expenditures; optimised capacity in line with transport demand.
It added a rebound in cargo rates had been observed on Asia–north Europe, Asia–Mediterranean and Asia–South America services.
The carrier said its Asia-north Europe services, which account for almost quarter of its volumes, returned to profitability in October and its other lines are expected to reach breakeven point by the end of this year.
CMA CGM also announced it would extend its super-eco speed program across all ships on ocean-going services to reduce fuel consumption and costs.
CMA CGM’s latest vessel, which it took delivery of last week, is capable of sailing at speeds of around 14-15 knots.
Earlier this week the CKYH alliance of shipping lines, which includes Cosco, K-Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin, announced they would also fully implement super-slow steaming.
Maersk Line has also implemented a super-slow steaming program.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/cma-cgm-forecasts-2010-profit/20017720104.htm

CMA CGM forecasts 2010 profit

FRENCH line CMA CGM expects to return to breakeven next month, sooner than it had predicted earlier, and be in the black next year.
In a statement today, CMA CGM said the savings plan applied throughout the group, combined with improvement in both cargo volumes and freight rates, was already improving the bottom line.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/cma-cgm-forecasts-2010-profit/20017720104.htm

Monday, 16 November 2009

Booking bother at Felixstowe

Hauliers are finding it increasingly difficult to access Felixstowe’s Trinity Terminal during peak hours, due to the sheer weight of demand for slots on its vehicle booking system (VBS).
One haulage firm told IFW that it had lost all confidence in the system and warned that people could be laid off as a result.
He said: "I spent half an hour begging and pleading just to get four bookings.
The port of Felixstowe handles over a million containers, and I’m trying to get four bookings.
"If we can’t get in to service the lines, how can it continue?" he asked.
"I don’t think the haulage industry has got any confidence in such a system, in whatever shape or form it comes and whether it is at Southampton, Tilbury or Felixstowe."
A spokesman for Hutchison Ports UK, said that while the booking system was "technically working fine", the port was aware of the frustration felt by hauliers who were not always able to book the slots they needed.
"At peak times there may not always be slots available," he said.
The VBS caps the number of vehicles that can enter the port in any one hour at 210.
It also allows firms to book seven days in advance, but stops anyone from block-booking.
Peak periods operate between 6-8am and 2-6pm each day.
The spokesman said: "When it [the VBS] gets fully booked, it’s between those periods generally.
"The reason that a VBS was needed in the first place was that in peak periods, more hauliers were arriving than we could physically handle, which obviously led to delays.
"If more than 210 vehicles want to book in any one hour, then they are not all going to be successful."
He argued that the system "gave more certainty" to hauliers over when they would get serviced, but said he appreciated the frustration felt by others.
"Clearly they need to do what they can to deliver the containers where and when their customers want them and I fully understand that.
"It [the VBS] has, overall, reduced the average waiting time.
"We’re trying to smooth out the peaks as best we can, to make it more of a 24-hour system.
"We’re in the peak period of the year as well, with the run up to Christmas.
"There are more hours that are maxing out at the moment - more than there were earlier in the year."

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/newsarticle.htm?artid=1257955569995

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Maersk suffers increased losses

AP Moller Maersk’s container shipping division made a loss of US$539m in the third quarter, bringing its total loss for the year to $1.5bn.
The Danish shipping group, which owns Maersk Line and Safmarine, blamed the loss on low freight rates, which were 32% less in the third quarter of this year than they were a year earlier.
However, it said rates had improved in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.
It said: “Falling demand and additions of new tonnage led to substantially lower rates in the first nine months of the year than in the same period of 2008.
“Due to the current market conditions, approximately 10% of the global fleet has been taken out of service.
“In the third quarter of 2009, volumes showed an upward trend compared to the second quarter, primarily reflecting the traditional peak season. However, volumes were lower than in the third quarter of 2008.
“Combined with temporary capacity reductions, the rising volumes led to a general increase in freight rates in the third quarter.
“Nevertheless, rates were considerably lower than in the same period of 2008, and further increases are required for the container market to become profitable again.”
In the third quarter of last year, Maersk’s container sector made a profit of $99m.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017717951

Monday, 9 November 2009

New logistics park plan for Felixstowe

The chronic shortage of land available for warehousing around the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, may be alleviated, after Cambridge University’s Trinity College delivered new development proposals to local and regional authorities.
Trinity, which owns large tracts of land both in the port and in the surrounding hinterland, has submitted outline proposals for a massive extension of Trinity Distribution Park, which would see a 132ha rail-connected logistics park developed within a few miles of the port.
Tim Collins, partner at agent Bidwells, which advises Trinity College, told IFW it was not a planning application.
"This is preparatory work, which is aimed at a strategic level to the local, regional and sub-regional authorities."
"It is not a planning application - the college is going through a stage one engineering assessment to investigate whether the project is achievable, in terms of getting services to the site and the construction of road and rail links.
"Ultimately, Trinity College hopes this will lead to an allocation within regional planning policy that says: 'this land should be developed for port-related employment’.
"There is an ongoing debate about the supply of port-related land, and we have an identifiable shortfall of land to service the port - you can’t separate port growth from the proposals we are talking about here. Trinity College needs to respond to that growth trajectory."
The proposals concern two separate sites. The first is the 18ha Christmasyard Wood area, which is immediately adjacent to the port and expected to be used for container storage.
"Because Christmasyard Wood is the closer site, and the smaller one, it’s the short-to-medium option - the one that would likely go to planning application first," Collins said.
The second, much larger development, involves a 113ha site at Innocence Farm, which Collins described as a medium- to long-term project.
He said: "If trading conditions now were what they were two years ago, you would likely see a planning application go in for Christmasyard Wood now.
"For Innocence Farm, my guess is that is is well outside the five-year time frame."
A port of Felixstowe executive declined to comment on the specific proposals but said: "It is important that there’s enough land to support the port."

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/new-logistics-park-plan-for-felixstowe/1256906289865.htm

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tilbury suffers decline despite stronger ro-ro

The port of Tilbury saw year-on-year volumes drop 3% over the first nine months of the year.
Despite the “robust” performance overall, the Forth Ports owned port’s container volumes dropped 18% year-on-year.
The overall volumes were positively impacted by “continued increases” in ro-ro volumes on the Tilbury-Zeebrugge route and grain volumes.
Container volumes at Grangemouth, another of Forth’s ports, were 11% down.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/tilbury-suffers-decline-despite-stronger-ro-ro/20017715115.htm

Friday, 30 October 2009

Hapag-Lloyd staff to take pay cut

HAPAG-LLOYD has announced internally an across the board pay cut of at least 5% for all staff worldwide including seafarers, with senior employees facing a 20% reduction in salary, the company has confirmed.
While most top shipping operators keep their remuneration policies under wraps, sources familiar with the maritime labour market are not aware of any other big name operator that has adopted a similar policy.
However, Hapag-Lloyd indicated today that its hand has effectively been forced, as taking an axe to payroll and other costs is a condition of the €1.2bn ($1.8bn) in loan guarantees it is getting from the German government.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/hapag-lloyd-staff-to-take-pay-cut/20017713159.htm;jsessionid=20DA2B21E6D164E08CD854DC554A916C.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

Friday, 23 October 2009

Maerks saves $500m in bunker costs

AP MOLLER-Maersk has saved a total of $500m in bunker costs so far this year through slow steaming and other efficiency measures.
The box giant, which is aiming for a 35% total reduction in terms of emissions per containership by 2017, says it has already achieved a 15% reduction through reduced fuel consumption.
The percentage reductions have been calculated relative to the amount of business conducted so the dollar equivalent cost savings are unlikely to be quite so dramatic once trade picks up. However, according to Maersk director of sustainability Soren Stig Nielsen, a further 20% reduction in emissions is entirely achievable.
“I think as trade picks up there are going to be more ships in operation so that is going to have a bearing on the savings, but we are very keen on pursuing these targets — particularly if bunker costs are only going to rise. We will do whatever we can to drive costs down,” he told Lloyd’s List.

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/maerks-saves-500m-in-bunker-costs/20017711190.htm;jsessionid=EACE1570E1074AFA71A204ECEA218E5D.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Dublin terminal dispute resolved

As I reported via the MTL Dockers site, Heres Lloyds report on it.

THE 15-week dockers’ dispute at Marine Terminals in Dublin has ended following the company’s decision to accept a Labour Court recommendation on jobs and redundancies.
Workers at the Peel Ports subsidiary, which is the largest container terminal in Ireland, will now get a pay-off package of six weeks wages per year of service, including statutory entitlements.
Issues surrounding the terms and conditions of those who remain with the company are still to be determined.
The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union, which represents the employees, has welcomed the move.


http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/dublin-terminal-dispute-resolved/20017711009.htm;jsessionid=B2E056392798C72EF26D327BA1E1985C.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

On my facebook page I've had a lot of questions about why we don't have an online ballot and what is the definition of industrial action?

The Law on Industrial Action


Introduction

The law relating to industrial action is to be found in:

· Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
· Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993;
· Employment Relations Act 1999.

There is also an advisory code of practice on picketing.

The law covers:

· the definition of industrial action;
· strikes;
· ballots on industrial action.


Industrial Action Defined

In legal terms, 'industrial action' means:

· strikes;
· lockouts;
· overtime bans (including voluntary bans);
· go slows;
· working to rule;
· refusing to cross a picket line;
· refusing to work with non-members.


Strikes and the Law

British employment law has no tradition of a positive right to strike, and industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. The tradition, instead, is that of 'immunities'; that is, immunity from legal action so long as certain conditions are met. Since 1979, these conditions have become more rigid and complex.

The law gives trade unions immunity for actions "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". A 'trade dispute' is a dispute between workers and an employer in the UK, which is "wholly or mainly" about:

· terms and conditions of employment;
· recruitment, suspension or dismissal;
· work allocation;
· discipline;
· facilities for union officials;
· the negotiating machinery.

There is no immunity for disputes which:

· are 'political';
· have not yet started;
· are over union membership;
· are protests over dismissal following unofficial action;
· constitute 'secondary action'.

To be lawful, therefore, industrial action must be a trade dispute. It must also be 'official', and it must comply with the requirements relating to ballots (see below).


Official and Unofficial Industrial Action

To maintain immunity, industrial action must be 'official'. This means that:

· the employee(s) taking action must belong to a trade union, and;
· the union (usually the executive committee) must authorise or endorse the action.

Action which does not meet these requirements is unofficial and, therefore, unlawful. Workers can be lawfully dismissed for taking part in unofficial action.

Unions are legally responsible for all industrial action, unless they have 'repudiated' it.

If there is unofficial action and the union wishes to make it official, the action must be repudiated before a ballot is held.
Industrial Action Ballots

In any case where industrial action may be necessary, a ballot must be held. In addition, the ballot must comply with a series of requirements.

First, the employer must be given notice of:

· the intention to hold a ballot;
· the date of the ballot;
· basic details of those to be balloted (i.e. the workplace or job title – not the names);
· a sample copy of the ballot paper.

Following the ballot, the employer must be given:

· notice of the outcome of the ballot;
· seven days’ notice of any action, along with details of those involved (but not their names), and when the action will start.

All industrial action ballots must be secret, postal ballots. Only those workers who are involved in the dispute may be balloted. They must be given at least seven days to return the ballot paper, and this must be numbered and must comply with the prescribed wording, which includes a statutory warning to the effect that industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. An independent scrutineer must oversee the ballot.

To proceed to industrial action following a ballot, there must be a simple majority in favour of action. The union must inform the members and the employer of the result, and give notice of the commencement of any action (see above).

The result of an industrial action ballot only lasts for four weeks; that is, any action must start within four weeks to be lawful. However, if the employer and the union agree to this, the result may be suspended to enable negotiations to re-start.


Picketing

If workers are acting "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute", it is lawful for them to picket "at or near" their own place of work. However, this right is qualified by a number of requirements.
Picketing must only be for the purpose of:

· peacefully getting or communicating information, and/or
· peacefully persuading others not to work.

There is no immunity for pickets who trespass, or who commit criminal offences such as obstruction, or breach of the peace.

There is no legal limit on the number of pickets. However, the Department of Trade and Industry Code of Practice on Picketing, which has advisory status only, suggests a maximum of six.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Victory for the Dublin dockers, strike over after 111 Days. Well done.

Marine Terminals management have accepted the Labour Courts Recommendation and have entered into negotiation with the Labour Relations Commission and SIPTU.
This Strike is now at an end!
Thanks from every striking Dublin Dockworker to each and every one of our supporters, your solidarity will never be forgotten.
After 111 days the strike has ended. Late Yesterday evening MTL accepted the Labour Court recommendation although as per the recommendation there are still matters to be resolved , in negotiation or through binding arbitration.This represents a major victory for the workers, who's dedication and commitment during this long and difficult dispute was inspiring, and they have set a powerful example for other workers.
Considering the attitude of MTL/Peel Ports, their anti union reputation and history ,plus the almost unlimited resources at their disposal it is all the more significant that they have backed down.
The campaign by supporters was crucial to this successful outcome. This support came from the local communities Eastwall - Irishtown & Ringsend , political groups , other workers and trade unionists.
The role played by the ITF was a major factor in bringing about this successful outcome , which includes the international solidarity, from across Europe, Australia and also the U.S.
The workers have asked that their sincere graditude be expressed to everybody for their support , and that they know they "COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!".
Further updates will be issued as they become available, keep checking the website, and messages of support.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh!

http://www.mtldockers.com/index.html

DP World Southampton announces new Managing Director

In line with its succession planning, global marine terminal operator DP World today announced the appointment of Chris Lewis as Managing Director for DP World Southampton with effect from February 2010. Mr Lewis was the former CEO of Hutchison Ports in the United Kingdom with overall responsibility for their port activities and developments in and outside the gates. He has been involved in the ports and shipping industry for over 25 years.Flemming Dalgaard, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Europe & Russia announced, “Chris will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in UK port infrastructure and development as well as an excellent network in the UK maritime industry. We are sure that Southampton will benefit from the synergies that Chris will bring to therole.”Campbell Mason, the current Managing Director for DP World Southampton will return home to Australia upon completing his assignment. He was personally thanked by Mr Dalgaard for his continued commitment and hard work during his time at DP World Southampton.

http://www.porttechnology.org/going_places/DP-World-Southampton-announces-new-Managing/5222.html

UK lags behind others on bank holidays


The UK is close behind some of the most generous countries in the world in terms of statutory holiday allowance, with employees being entitled to 28 days per year. But after public holidays are taken into account we drop down the league table.
The 2009 Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines report, by consultancy Mercer, which was based on statutory entitlements for an employee working five days a week with 10 years' service, shows that Finland, Brazil and France tops the global list by offering staff 30 days statutory holiday a year.
UK workers are, however, entitled to the lowest number of public holidays at just eight a year, along with Australia and The Netherlands, while Japan and India offer employees twice as many.
Once the statutory minimum and public holidays are taken into account, workers in Lithuania are entitled to the greatest amount of paid leave in Europe with 41 days' holiday per year, with France, Finland and Russia coming second (40), followed by Austria and Malta (38), Greece (37), and then the UK along with Sweden and Spain (36).
Mercer: www.mercer.com/summary.htm?idContent=1360620

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

DP World bags former Hutchison executive

I got an email from an employee at DP world Southampton a couple of weeks ago asking about this. All I could tell him was we believed he was retiring...

CHRIS Lewis, the former boss of Hutchison Ports in the UK, is joining rival global ports group DP World as managing director for its Southampton operation, with effect from February 2010.Campbell Mason, the current managing director for DP World Southampton, will return home to Australia upon completing his assignment, a move announced in August....

http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/dp-world-bags-former-hutchison-executive/20017710234.htm;jsessionid=2E1BFD2CB3B2C1D1086B275A5F63112F.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tonights branch meeting

Geordie told us that in the previous quarter the union assisted it's members at the port in claiming over £64,000 in damages. This quarter it was over £41,000! Another good reason to be a member!

The bit you've all been waiting for is Phil put to the branch the pay deal that he will be putting to the company. He will be asking for 5% on all rates (overtime and basic etc) plus a lump sum to cover the two days unpaid leave that we all lost and something towards our Christmas bonus. He added that the rpi is currently at -1.4% so that would mean to us a real improvement of 6.4%. He feels that the company will be pushing for a pay freeze. He is asking for this because volumes over the quay didn't drop as presumed and as we all know in the past few months we've all been busy.
Phil did comment that he knows in the past we've all had our squabbles but we now need to draw a line under this and all stand together strong and united.

I've been asked over the past few days about why we don't have a ballot on the LMS system. I brought up this point at the meeting and was told that the union has rules that we have to abide by and we are only allowed to hold two types of ballot, one being the type that we normally hold which is supervised and held in the union office. The other is a postal ballot, this is normally used if we vote for industrial action after the manned ballot goes this way. It was also mentioned that with the union office now at the Trinity car park 95% of the workforce has no real excuse for not going 1 minute out of their way to vote.

I'd just like to say that I personally though tit was more than disappointing that out of nearly 2000 members that only a handful attended the meeting especially after all the moans I hear on a daily basis about "Just get us our money back!"

New trucks escape charge at Port of Long Beach... What's FDRC doing to reduce emissions?

The Port of Long Beach will eliminate the pre-payment of its Clean Trucks Fee from 15 November for users of modern equipment.
At present all cargo owners pre-pay the fees, although those using rail or cleaner trucks that meet strict 2007 EPA emission guidelines, or run on cleaner alternative fuels like Liquid Natural Gas, are later reimbursed.
From the middle of next month only shippers using older trucks will be required to pre-pay the fee, a move taken in a bid to remove administrative costs for compliant shippers and operators, said the port authority.
From the start of next year, all 1993 and older trucks will be banned from Long Beach terminals and 1994-2003 trucks will need to be retrofitted or replaced.


http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/new-trucks-escape-charge-at-port-of-long-beach/20017709463.htm

Marseilles box throughput up 5%


CONTAINER traffic at the French port of Marseilles increased 5% during the first nine months of the year to a total 660,631 teu.
The increase was partly the result of reduced throughput last year following industrial action over the government's port reform but there were signs that the port has started to benefit from a more general recovery in container traffic.
In September, container throughput rose 9%, as traffic at the port's mainline Fos deepwater terminal shot up 40%, compensating for the sharp drop in container activity at the port's city centre eastern docks.

Friday, 16 October 2009

DPWS to upgrade quay cranes

DP World Southampton (DPWS) is close to ordering new super-post panamax cranes after it announced plans to decommission three older cranes, which were suspended following the collapse of a sister crane.
The terminal operator said it had commenced discussions with suppliers with a view to ordering additional super post-panamax cranes, which would operate alongside the other cranes of that class that were commissioned in 2008 and 2009.
Campbell Mason, DPWS MD, said: “While our presently operating crane fleet has more than adequate capacity to handle current levels of demand, we will continue to invest in super post-panamax cranes to ensure that our handling capacity stays ahead of the anticipated growth in container volumes and that our operational capability expands to meet the increasing requirements of shipping lines.
“In parallel with the industry trend toward ever-larger vessels, we must continue to invest in the equipment required to meet our customers’ growing needs.”
DPWS said as part of this upgrade, it would also decommission the three older cranes that were suspended from operation after the boom collapse accident in July this year.

http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/news/dpws-to-upgrade-quay-cranes/20017708703.htm;jsessionid=3AEC2BCBF2A0978F44477FE842B2CF4E.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a