Saturday, 28 February 2009

Are we going to get this at Felixstowe?

Maersk reports 1,000th vessel call for US West Coast fuel switch

Maersk Line's environmental initiative to switch to cleaner fuel at North American West Coast ports has reached the milestone of the 1000th vessel call.
111 vessels have participated in the program since its inception in 2006. The initiative has reduced Maersk Line's vessel-related air emissions by more than 2,400 tons when calling the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland in California, Tacoma in Washington and Vancouver in Canada.
Maersk Line's pilot program is part of the company's on-going commitment to environmentally responsible operations. The program has been aligned with and supports the significant air quality improvement efforts by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California's Goods Movement Action Plan, the California Air Resources Board initiatives and the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to improve air quality in these ports.
This continuing initiative provides substantial reductions in key pollutants that have potential health effects. Maersk Line has achieved an 86% annual reduction in particulate matter, a 95% reduction in sulphur oxides (SOx), and a 12% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx).
The first vessel that performed the fuel switch was Sine Maersk in Los Angeles on March 31st, 2006. There were 212 switches in 2006, 351 in 2007, 425 in 2008 and twelve through January 20th, 2009.
Maersk Line voluntarily switches from bunker fuel (with relatively high sulphur content) to low-sulphur distillate fuel on the main and auxiliary engines of its vessels while underway in port areas and in the auxiliaries while in California ports, and in the auxiliary engines while at dock in Tacoma and Vancouver.

Containership lay-ups set to triple in 2010

ONE quarter of the world’s containership fleet will be in lay-up by 2011 and freight rate will not pick up significantly until 2014, Claus-Peter Offen, one of Germany’s largest shipowners, has forecast.
“About 1m teu is already idle. This number will double in 2009 and triple in 2010,” the shipowner told a ship finance forum in Hamburg.
Mr Offen plans to lay up 10 containerships, each with a capacity of 1,200 teu-2,500 teu.
“Lay-ups are necessary to cope with the current crisis,” Mr Offen told the eighth annual German ship finance forum, arguing that the market for containerships is suffering from massive overcapacity.
“Since we do not know when demand is coming back we had to concentrate on the supply side,” he said. “But we won’t see as many cancellations of [containership] newbuildings and scrappings as in the bulker sector.”

Friday, 27 February 2009

Felixstowe Radio broadcasting

We are happy to announce that we have been granted an FM broadcast licence that will allow us to broadcast in Felixstowe, Walton, the Trimleys and surrounding areas. We should soon be heard as far away as Levington, in most of Harwich, in Bawdsey and out at sea!
And we shall be moving into our new premises at Great Eastern Square very soon.
We are a community interest company, working for the local area, with any profits retained and used to develop our services.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Official union website now online.

Latest news story...

The Company’s proposed changes to The Port of Felixstowe Pension Plan.

The Company is proposing changes to the Final Salary Pension Plan. The Plan had a deficit of £71.5m as at 1st January 2007. The Company have held meeting with the Plan’s Trustees and will be holding meetings with the Union. The consultation period ends on 9th March 2009.The proposed changes are:
Change to Member Contribution Rates
Change to Early Retirement Terms.
Introduction of Limit on Pensionable Salary.
Introduction of Contributions to the Hutchison Ports (UK) Group Personal Pension Plan. The Company is now holding presentations with Pension Plan Members. Members will be advised of the outcome and changes to be made to the Plan will be confirmed prior to 1st April 2009

I hope one day they will add a link to my page!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hutchison eyes more cost cuts at Felixstowe.


REDUCED hours, fewer shifts and career breaks of up to 12 months are some of the options being offered to workers at the Port of Felixstowe as Hutchison Ports (UK) looks to cut costs in response to falling volumes.
After making 20 management and administration jobs compulsorily redundant in Felixstowe’s container division a few weeks ago, HPUK is now in talks with unions about making further savings.
“We are looking to reduce costs in response to the economic downturn,” said HPUK head of corporate communications Paul Davey. “We are in discussions with unions to identify cost savings and what we are offering at the moment is a range of measures which include reduced hours per week, fewer shifts, or career breaks where workers will be paid a portion of their basic wage — they will be paid 25% of basic and can then take a break for one to 12 months.”
Voluntary severance was also on the table, he added. “What we want to stress is that these measures are all voluntary and one option on offer is redundancy.”
Mr Davey said the number of voluntary redundancies would depend on the take-up of the alternative options. But he emphasised that the various options were not open to everybody. “We are keen to retain as many people and skills as we can. There are some skills and positions where we don’t have a surplus and in these cases we are not offering these measures,” he said.
Throughput at Felixstowe was down 16% year on year in January and overall volumes for 2009 are expected to be significantly down on 2008, HPUK chief operating officer David Gledhill told employees in a letter.
“A reduction of this size means that the port will have substantial spare capacity and labour. We are very keen to keep as many people and skills as possible so that we are in a good position to capitalise on any recovery in 2010.”
There have also been job losses at DP World Southampton, the UK’s second largest container terminal after Felixstowe, where volumes have also fallen dramatically.
“There have been some redundancies this year within our contractor workforce combined with a reduction of the guaranteed hours worked by certain categories of that labour force,” said DP World Southampton managing director Campbell Mason.
“The situation is under review in the current economic climate and we cannot rule out that there may be further adjustments to manning levels.”
Other UK ports cutting back include Hull, where Associated British Ports saw a 30% decrease in timber volumes in 2008 and a 10% fall in containers, and steel imports have ground to a halt.
“Unfortunately we have had 16 redundancies in Hull,” said Matt Jukes, ABP port director for Hull and Goole.
“A lot of companies are having to streamline and we are no exception. We are looking at working arrangements to make sure we maximise the efficiency of what we are doing. And we have to keep that under review.
“These are tough times and we have to react. But we are keeping an eye on the horizon and the opportunities of some big investment schemes beyond all of this.”
At Immingham, DFDS Tor Line last month announced plans to cut about 70 jobs at its Nordic Terminal, as a result of falling volumes in the automotive, building and steel sectors, and also because of a backdated rates bill of £9.9m ($14.1m).
“We are in consultation with the unions at the moment and exploring a number of different options or alternatives to redundancies, so it is possible we may bring the number down,” said DFDS UK managing director Jens Nielsen.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Idle boxships approach 10% of fleet;jsessionid=11B207D3DD4A1E8FB9B4CC3A060A4132

CLOSE to 10% of the world’s container vessels are currently unemployed as owners and operators take drastic steps to bring supply into line with shrinking cargo demand.

New Lloyd’s MIU figures updated today show that 427 boxships are idle, representing 9.1% of the number of vessels in the world fleet.

The data indicates that considerably more containerships are at anchor than previously thought, particularly among smaller units.

In capacity terms, the inactive fleet stands at 828,009 teu, equivalent to 6.8% of the total.

Of the 427 ships that are idle, 41 units with combined slots of almost 270,000 teu have a nominal intake in excess of 5,000 teu.

Another 71 in the 2,501 teu-4,999 teu bracket are at anchor, while 138 ships in the 1,001 teu-2,500 teu category are without work.

In the smallest sector of ships with less than 1,000 teu capacity, there are 177 inactive vessels.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Don't forget

Thursday 12th February 2009


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Seattle puts staff on unpaid leave

The Port of Seattle has directed about 850 non-union employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave as part of a plan to offset a projected budget shortfall of $9 million this year.

Similar cost-saving measures could be extended to the port’s unionized workers, as well as a 50-percent cut in staff travel budgets.
About half of the 1,700 workers at the port are in various unions.

Charla Skaggs, a port spokesperson, said the furloughs will save $2.9 million and that all executives, including Executive Director Tay Yoshitani, will take the unpaid time off.

“There’s no question — we’re feeling the economic downturn,” said Yoshitani.

In an e-mail message sent this week to port staff, Yoshitani said the actions will “help us achieve the savings required to avoid layoffs.”

The port is coming off one its weakest years in 2008 as container volume fell 13.6 percent to 1.7 million TEUs, including big drops in both import and export international box traffic.

In the e-mail Yoshitani said the solution “must be able to be implemented quickly so we can achieve savings early; it must provide as much flexibility for employees as possible; and it must be fair across the board.”

In addition to the two-week furlough for non-represented employees, he said he has met “with our organized labor colleagues to ask that they come up with a plan for represented employees that will achieve the same level of savings.”

He said the furlough can be taken one day at a time, or in multiple days; the first week must be taken by July 31, and the second week by Dec. 19.

“Of course there will be more changes ahead, and we will keep you notified as decisions are made,” Yoshitani stated in the message.

A recent study on the port’s regional economic impact revealed a slight decrease in the numbers of direct jobs attached to port facilities: in 2007, those facilities created more than 111,000 direct jobs, down from 115,000 in 2003. Indirect jobs — those created by the purchases of goods and services by firms doing business with the port — shrank by about 6,000 to just over 20,000.

Friday, 6 February 2009

200 jobs under threat at Port of Felixstowe. PRESS RELEASE TAKEN FROM EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES.

THROUGHPUT at Britain's biggest port has dropped dramatically because of the recession and around 200 jobs are now likely to be axed because of the reduced workload.

Bosses at Felixstowe are keen not to lose critical skills - but say they cannot afford to pay men for sitting around doing nothing.

Portworkers have been shocked at the job cuts, but managers say the container terminal is not immune from the effects of the economic downturn, especially as many UK firms will be importing less products until the situation improves.

Voluntary redundancies are being sought, but workers are also being asked if they would be prepared to accept career breaks or reduced hours until business picks up. For £10,000 they could hand in their notice.

In a letter to employees, chief operating officer David Gledhill said: “Throughput for Felixstowe in January was 16 per cent down on January 2008 and given that our customers continue to reduce their capacity it is expected that our annual volume for 2009 will be significantly down on 2008.

“A volume reduction of this size clearly means that the port will have substantial spare capacity and labour.”

Current projections are that the container division will have 130 more people than needed and there will be another 50 too many at Dooley Terminal and in the logistics sector because of Norfolk Line's proposed reduction in services.

In addition, the company is making 20 managers redundant to cut costs and “avoid duplication” of roles - a total of 200 people to leave the 2,800-strong workforce.

Mr Gledhill said talks were taking place with the transport and general workers union Unite.

The focus would be on voluntary redundancies and changes to contracts.

“We are also very keen to retain as many people and skills as possible so we are in a good position to capitalise on any recovery in volumes in 2010,” said Mr Gledhill.

One portworker who spoke to the EADT said: “People are very worried - no-one wants to give up their job because you don't know when you will get another one.

“We didn't think the port would be affected this badly as everyone still needs goods. The country hasn't closed down.”

Meanwhile, expansion work at the port is still pressing ahead.

While quaysides alongside the area may be quieter than normal, the company is convinced business will pick up and the £240 million project to turn Landguard into a deepwater terminal will be vital to its future.

I've just spoken to the Union convenor and he's told me there will be a mass meeting on Thursday 12th Feburary 2009 @ 7pm. There will be a statement from the union after the meeting has been held.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

What are you worth 2007.

Last registered accounts: 12/31/2007*
Annual turnover: £232,709,000.00
Annual profit: £52,154,000.00
Turnover per employee: £84,040.81
Profit per employee: £18,834.96

* 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: 2,769
Total spent on wages: £95,568,000.00
Average staff pay: £34,513.54
*Average pay increase over last 5 years: 23.71%*

* 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.

Number of directors: 40
Directors' remuneration: £355,000.00
Increase over last 7 years: 62.1%

Figures for 2006

Pollution near dock exceeds limits

SPECIAL measures will have to be taken near Felixstowe port to tackle air pollution levels which have exceeded legal limits.

The area around Dock Gate Two suffers from heavy traffic - thousands of articulated lorries every day - plus it is just yards from the quaysides and the fumes pumped out by ships' funnels and container-handling equipment.

Trinity Avenue, which leads to Dock Gate Two roundabout, will also see a further increase in traffic in the years ahead as the port expands, sending an extra million trucks onto the roads, some of which will pass through the area.

Measuring devices have found nitrogen levels in the area are too high and now it will have to be declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and a plan drawn up to show how pollution levels will be reduced.

A report to Suffolk Coastal's cabinet meeting said tests near the Dooley Inn, Ferry Lane, found nitrogen dioxide concentrations exceeded the air quality standard of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

The council now has to produce an action plan within 18 months setting out what measures it will introduce to reduce the pollution.

“This action plan is likely to involve relevant district council and county council departments, Felixstowe Town Council, local businesses and local residents,” said cabinet member Andrew Nunn.

“All suggestions to improve air quality at the location will be welcome and will be investigated.”

Consultants will be employed to help.

Ongoing measuring and forecasts for the Adastral Close estate near the port expansion area show once the redeveloped Landguard Terminal is up and running the levels around the homes will be exceeded, too.

The council is already in talks with the Port of Felixstowe.

Port officials say they are investigating the possibility of installing electricity supply points for cranes to use when idling and if this is done the air quality targets should be met in Adastral Close.

'Veto the European Commission unless they protect workers' say MEPs

4 February 2009

Today MEPs from UK, Germany and Italy, representing Socialists, Greens and European Left Groups threatened to veto this year's incoming European Commission.

Glyn Ford (Labour, SW England) said: "The situation is clear, if we are to end 'social dumping' within Europe we must change the law. British and other European workers should not have to compete within factories and companies with those forced to work for lower wages and in poorer conditions".

He added: "Talking is not enough. Here MEPs say we will veto the incoming Commission unless they commit to the necessary changes".

Caroline Lucas (Green, SE England) said: "It's vital that we resist the attempts of those on the far right who are using these disputes to stir up racism and xenophobia. Instead of blaming "foreign workers", we should be challenging the rights of multinationals to undercut local pay rates and exploit workers. It's clear that the Posted Workers Directive needs to be revised, so that its original intention, to provide equal treatment for all workers, is upheld."
Stephen Hughes (Labour, NE England) added: "We believe it's important that British, Italian, Portuguese or any other EU workers should have the freedom to move, live and work in any EU country. But we do not accept that any worker should be open to exploitation as a consequence of exercising the right to free movement. Such workers should be guaranteed the same pay, terms and conditions as indigenous workers."

The MEPs have produced a Written Declaration to express their position, co-signed also by Italian Socialist MEP Luisa Morgantini and Green Germany MEP Elizabeth Schroedter.

Senator calls it a day in the face of impossible conditions;jsessionid=31D6EEC6E12ACCC7B7E17EA0366CF498

HANJIN Shipping’s German subsidiary, Senator Lines said today that its shareholders had decided to call a halt to its liner services with immediate effect.

Germany-based Senator Lines GmbH, has been majority-owned by South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping since 1997.

Hanjin currently owns 80% of Senator Lines. The remainder is equally divided by B.I.G, a company invested by Bremen City, and Bremen-based ship financier F. Laeisz.

Senator Lines liner services comprised a group of chartered 3,650 teu and 2,700 teu vessels that were hired from parent company Hanjin.

Commenting on the decision to cease operations a Senator Lines spokesperson said: “After careful consideration for the need of rationalizing its business, especially under the deteriorating shipping market and the global economic recession, the shareholders and board of Senator Lines decided to process the service discontinuation. Moreover, Hanjin Shipping will be utilizing the slot previously provided to Senator Lines.”

A Hanjin spokesperson said it was too early to say if Senator Lines routes would be discontinued or how many layoffs may be involved.

After a number of difficult years from its establishment in 1987, Senator Lines managed to achieve a profit of $14m in 2007, and was hopeful of improving on that as liner shipping entered a new upward cycle.

In June 2008 the company said: “After a restructuring programme in September 2006, which cut services and management functions, the line is now weighing up the establishment of new services and expansion of the existing ones.

“The focus will be laid on the expansion of competitive new niche lanes and businesses to achieve a better-balanced business portfolio,” said commercial management director Jens Philippi.

But future growth was clearly not an option when the winter of zero freight rates hit the liner business at the end of last year, which was clearly the final nail in the coffin of Senator.