Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Too busy to get on to the quay...

Please kindly note due to berth unavailability in Felixstowe the CSCL AMERICA V.0049W and the CSCL AFRICA V.0063W will both be diverted to call Southampton port

White hats tell us it's because of the threat of industrial action, China shipping tell us they can't even get on the quay!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

DP World to deepen Thames

DP World is to begin deepening the Thames estuary over the next few weeks to allow the world’s largest container ships to dock at its London Gateway terminal.

A Belgian dredger will spend six weeks from the beginning of March creating a navigation channel to the US$2.5bn project, which will add 3.5m teu to the UK’s port capacity

Simon Moore, CEO of London Gateway, said: “Dredging is an essential part of the project and will create a world-class shipping lane to a port that will become the primary sea trading route for British commerce.”

Dublin port dispute settled

Workers at Ireland’s busiest container terminal have voted to cancel the latest round of industrial action over redundancies and working conditions, following negotiations between unions and management.

Staff at Dublin’s Marine Terminals (MTL) had been due to strike on Monday, but yesterday a deal was brokered between MTL and unions Siptu and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Siptu told IFW today: “The dispute is over; the issues have been resolved through negotiation, and this has been voted for by the workers at a meeting in Liberty Hall last night.

The settlement between MTL and Siptu concerns the Irish Labour Court’s recommendation of 12 October, and an arbitrator’s findings issued on 5 January.

It sets out agreements on arbitration and problem solving, and commits both parties to building skills and co-operation for the future running of the port, and includes a comprehensive training programme for the workers to ensure they are multi-skilled in all the disciplines at MTL.

Siptu divisional organiser Christy McQuillan said: “Our members have been through a very difficult experience regarding their welfare and that of their families over a protracted period.

“The important thing is that hands-on jobs at Dublin Port have been protected and the company has an opportunity to grow and develop the business, which will, hopefully, lead to the creation of further jobs.

“The agreement also ensures that workers in the company will have union representation and will have access to all the industrial relations procedures of the state.”

An MTL spokesman said: “Today’s agreement marks a major step forward in ensuring our customers continue to receive the high level of service they are accustomed to.

“We are grateful to the ITF for its efforts and look forward to working in partnership with Siptu to deliver on both the spirit and letter of the agreement.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dublin dockers vote for new strike

Dockers at the Ireland’s busiest container terminal will go back on strike on 22 February after negotiations over redundancies and working conditions broke down.

The Dublin dock workers said they had served a strike notice on Marine Terminals (MTL), owned by Peel Ports, on Friday after the terminal operator indicated it "would not abide by the arbitrators’ ruling”.

Arbitrator Finbarr Flood had been tasked with resolving the differences between workers’ union Siptu and the MTL management.

It is understood that MTL rejected his recommendations and the workers were also unhappy with them.

Flood outlined three areas where the two parties disagreed and ruled that both sides should abide by court recommendations on severance packages, that the company needs 30 workers and that the “agreed” selection criteria for compulsory redundancies be implemented.

The previous strike, over the same issues, began last July, lasted 111 days and only ended after a resolution was brokered by the Irish Labour Court.

Peel Ports was unavailable for comment at the time of posting;jsessionid=1DD7E3B11A7CBA65B82EE97343D7D2DF.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

For more information on this dispute or to leave messages of support for our fellow dockers please have a look at this site.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hutchison takes knife to ACT top brass

Hutchsion Port Holdings will dismiss the 11- strong management team of its subsidiary Amsterdam Container Terminal (formerly Ceres Paragon)
ACT's CEO Pieter Bas Bredius described the management clear-out - which includes himself - "as a logical step…we proposed it ourselves. With HPH as majority shareholders, a facility like this should be run lean and mean, and should not have its own fully-fledged local management.

"Rotterdam is just down the road and HPH’s regional HQ is well-staffed. ECT's president Jan Westerhoud is responsible for all HPH's European terminals and business development north of the Mediterranean, excluding the UK."

The ACT management team will leave towards the middle of this year, with some reports suggesting March, in what Bredius calls "complete harmony and in a very decent manner. Compulsory redundancies are unlikely, as everybody backs it.

"We are very proud to have gotten this terminal off the ground in the face of Rotterdam competition, and we’ll continue to seek new deepsea liner business to the end."

Bredius joined the then Chris Kritikos-owned Ceres Paragon facility terminal in December 2003 (it was sold to NYK in December 2006), Before that he was director, terminals and procurement, with PONL in Rotterdam.

Operations manager Chris Schaffers will be the only senior staffer to stay and head the 130 strong workforce, but their fate is also unclear. Westerhoud is said to be considering the option of transferring a number of the Amsterdam dockers to one of ECT’s four Rotterdam marine terminal complexes.

HPH has failed to lure the Wan Hai Lines/PIL service to Amsterdam, but is still eying a few options to keep the terminal alive on a stand-alone basis.

As previously reported, the Port of Rotterdam's CEO Hans Smits is of the opinion that ACT should concentrate on inland shipping and barge services. So far at least, HPH is resisting that outcome.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

London Gateway still subject to market demand

DREDGING work at London Gateway, the first deepsea port to be built in the UK in more than 20 years, will begin next month. But completion of the project is still dependent on an improvement in market conditions.;jsessionid=C0B8813A7EA151F0C237B4540E4C1C96.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

Monday, 8 February 2010

New Forest councillors expect more proposals to expand docks

A new attempt to build a massive dock development at Dibden Bay is “inevitable”, say council chiefs.

They issued the warning after criticising the Government’s new policy statement on the future of UK ports, saying it failed to protect the environmentally sensitive site.

The newly-formed Infrastructure Planning Commission will be guided by the statement if Associated British Ports (ABP) submits another proposal to develop Dibden Bay.

Critics say the document demands a market-led approach to port expansion instead of calling for new docks to be built in the least damaging places.

A report to New Forest District Council’s ruling Cabinet said: “The statement does not indicate the locations at which further port capacity could be provided.

“This is to be determined through competition ‘subject to developers satisfying decision-makers that the likely impacts of any proposed development have been addressed’.

“This provides an inadequate basis for the commission to properly determine proposals.

“The statement should be clearer about the appropriate locations for major port development, having regard to international designations, impacts on local communities and other relevant considerations.”

Councillors stressed the need for proper safeguards, saying it said it was “inevitable” that ABP would submit another application.

Chris Elliott, head of the council’s planning and development control unit, warned that the new policy statement failed to reflect the importance of the recently created New Forest National Park, which adjoins Dibden Bay.

David Harrison, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, was also scathing.

He said: “Here we see not only an attempt to move the goal posts but the possibility of replaying the match with the goal posts set wider apart.”

Cabinet members agreed that the council should lobby the Department for Transport in a bid to save Dibden Bay.

The authority will call for any new docks to be built in places where they will have a minimal impact on local communities.

ABP’s application to construct a £600m container terminal at Dibden Bay was rejected by the Government in 2004 following a 13-month public inquiry.

Ministers refused to allow the scheme because of its effect on nationally and internationally important wildlife sites.

But ABP’s Port of Southampton Masterplan, published last summer, predicts that the docks will see a surge in trade over the next 20 years.

The document claims that Dibden Bay is the only suitable site for much-needed port expansion.

Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis has officially begun his role as the new MD of DP World Southampton Container Terminal.

Lewis has been involved in the freight industry for more than 25 years and was previously CEO of Hutchison Ports, owner of Southampton rival and the UK’s busiest container port, Felixstowe.

Lewis said: “The container port industry in the UK has had a difficult two years, caused by the global economic downturn, but we must look ahead positively, so we are well placed to benefit from the upturn when it comes.”

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Felixstowe South redevelopement to become theme park.

Breaking news, Felixstowe South redevelopement to become theme park.

From what I've heard ( My shift haven't been given the bullshit briefing yet. I wonder if it is because our managers don't believe it?) the company are ready to turn business away. Managers are saying that the company don't care if Maersk take the AE1 service away and that they have contingency plans for MSC and the other shipping lines if we carry on with our industrial action. Also they are very sorry but there might be job loses.
From the feedback I've had the workforce are laughing at you, they don't believe a word you are saying anymore. This will become clear to you again Mr Gledhill after the ballot next week.

Just take a few minutes and look at some of the headlines on this blog and people will see that the economy is on the up. FDRC keep on telling us about record breaking volumes on rail and about how well we are doing on shipping with customer satisfaction at an all time high. All this was achieved when we all took cuts in our pay to help the company through a difficult economic climate. What thanks have we had? An offer of **************** (removed because company says it's delicate commercial info) when we've all lost far more than that while the company carried on making money.

Listen to what the company has to say and think about prievious briefings where they've told us how hard they had to fight to get these contracts, do you really think they are ready to give them away to Southampton? If you do then save me a space in the queue for the rollercoaster on FSR!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Laid-up ships begin the return voyage

Shipping lines are starting to return laid-up ships back into service, as super-slow steaming initiatives absorb more capacity than anticipated and demand grows, according to analyst AXS Alphaliner.

According to its latest figures, the idle containership fleet has declined by 142,000teu over the last month, from 581 ships at the start of January to 532 this week.

However, it still represents 10.4% of the total cellular fleet, and expected deliveries for this year could add to the vessel surplus.

The Paris-based analyst said: “The outlook for the liner market has improved considerably over the last 12 months as both volume and rate increases appear to be resilient.

“There has been increasing optimism among operators, with a stronger-than-expected surge in demand in the period to mid-February.

“Furthermore, extra slow-steaming is absorbing excess capacity quicker than anticipated, especially for the larger vessel sizes.”

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2010 starts weak, but will improve

Freight forwarders are reporting a slow start to 2010, but expectations for the future continue to improve, according to Danske Bank.

In its January survey of more than150 freight forwarding companies, Danske Bank found that 2010 had started on a “weak note” because industrial companies had enjoyed a longer Christmas holiday than usual.

However the underlying recovery in the freight market was still in place, it added.

“We keep our view that the market is still in a recovery mode, but the recovery is slow and gradual.

“The uptick in sentiment is most significant within the sea freight sector. Industry sources tell us rates are rising extremely fast these days, as vessels are fully booked and carriers clearly have the upper hand.”

Adjusted for seasonality, 51% of companies surveyed expected higher volumes in February and 58% in March, compared with two months ago.

Meanwhile, 50% of companies saw volumes increase in January and 55% in December.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Dublin terminal set for new strike action

Workers unhappy with arbitrator's ruling

Dock workers at Ireland’s busiest container terminal are set to go back on strike, after an arbitrator failed to resolve their differences with management.

Ruling on the dispute, arbitrator Finbarr Flood said there were three areas of difference between Peel Ports-owned Marine Terminals (MTL) and workers at the Dublin terminal over planned redundancies.

Workers said: “This ruling can in no way be seen as a victory for dockers, and is in no way comprehensive in addressing the issues which led to strike action.”

The strike, which started last July, lasted 111 days, only ended after a resolution was brokered by the Irish Labour Court. This week,, a source close to the dispute said it looked likely that the strike would be back on.

Flood said the workers union Siptu had accepted a proposal by the Labour Court over the severance package, but MTL’s position was that the court recommendation made no mention of the calculation of service in respect of the ex-gratia element of the severance package.

MTL and the union also disagree over employee numbers.

The company argues it needs 27 workers, with two more positions recruited externally, meaning nine compulsory redundancies, The union claims there is no agreement to recruit externally.

It also claims the establishment figure and working hours have not been agreed.

The union is also unhappy with the company’s selection criteria for the redundancies.