LA/Long Beach Port Strike Ends In Petition

A week-long strike by truck drivers and warehouse workers at the port complex at Los Angeles/Long Beach ended last Friday with striking truckers delivering a petition with 10,000 signatures on it to Los Angeles City Hall, according to the American Journal of Transportation.

Drivers were picketing outside of trucking companies XPO Logistics, Cal Cartage, CMI, and Intermodal Bridge Transport over independent contractor status of drivers and also clean truck emissions programs, the costs of which truckers say the companies have passed on to them through onerous lease arrangements.

The drivers and warehouse ended their strike after they made unconditional offers to return to work at their place of employment.

ILWU to Vote on Contract Extension in August

West Coast longshoremen are expected to vote in August on a current contract extension offer that would guarantee shippers labor stability till 2022, the Journal of Commerce reports.

Management and labor leaders on both coasts believe a successful contract extension on the West Coast could put pressure on East Coast longshoremen to extend their contract or risk a longer-term loss of market share. The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) have been informally discussing the possibility of a contract extension since 2015.

On the West Coast, leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) this month and next are conducting informational meetings with the rank-and-file membership in the local ports to explain in detail what the Pacific Maritime Association’s (PMA’s) offer means to them.

The PMA and ILWU on May 1 released the details of the offer that would extend the current West Coast waterfront contract, which is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2019, until July 1, 2022. The base ILWU wage would increase from $42.18 an hour at present, in increments, to $46.23 on July 1, 2021. Pension increases over the same period would result in a maximum pension of $95,460 in the final year.

By limiting the contract extension to wages and benefits, employers are attempting to avoid potentially controversial issues such as chassis jurisdiction and automation that could have stretched out negotiations for months, or even risked failure.

Labor and management sources are not speculating about the outcome of the ILWU membership vote. Longshoremen will vote in their respective districts, the votes will be tabulated and certified and the results will be announced afterward.

European Ports Face Two-Hour Dock Strike on June 29th to Support Spanish Dockworkers

The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) has called for a two-hour walkout across European ports next week to support the Spanish  striking longshoremen, reports the Journal of Commerce.

The Barcelona-based IDC has called on dockers to walk off the job from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 29 . “This stoppage has been called for two main reasons: to support the struggle of Spanish dockworkers in their conflict with that nation’s government; and to fight the ultra-liberal model of the European Union that goes against the interests of workers and trade unions,” said the IDC.

It is not clear whether the IDC’s call for a two-hour strike will be heeded across Europe’s waterfront.

The unions, which represent around 6,200 dockers, have called for four 48-hour strikes on alternative hours between June 26 and July 8. The dates are  June 19, 21, 23, 26, 27, 29 and 30 and July 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Please be guided accordinlgy . RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available



LA/ Long Beach Port Truck Drivers and Warehouse Workers Plan Strike Monday

Around 100 LA and Long Beach port truck drivers and warehouse workers  plan to launch a strike starting Monday, June 19th , the Journal of Commerce reports.

The workers and Teamsters union Local 848 announced the labor action asking to be recognized as employees instead of independent contractors  to improve pay and workplace protections.

Drivers and warehouse workers will picket XPO Logistics terminals Monday, and they’ll spread their picket lines to Intermodal Bridge Transport and California Cartage Co. on Tuesday. The strike will last at least through the week.

The strike announcement follows a pact signed last Monday by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to “move toward the goal of zero emissions” at the ports and establish goals for zero-emission trucks by 2035. The union has complained that the goals don’t mention the effect on truck drivers.  Some independent contractors worry that the zero-emissions program will add costs to their operations.

RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available.

Itajai Port Reopened After Three-Week Closure

Brazil’s second-largest container port, Itajai, opened for the first time  after almost three-week closure due to heavy rains and wind that generated dangerous currents which prevented ships from calling or leaving the port, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The closure caused heavy losses for shippers, carriers, and terminal operators of the largest port for exporting poultry from Brazil.  Roughly 30 vessels had been unable to berth at the port during the past 21 days.

Ships had been prevented from entering and exiting the port because currents were in excess of 2 miles per hour, but as of Friday, the current had slowed to 1.4 mph, allowing port pilots to guide ships to the Itajai port safely.

Itajai handled 1.1 million TEU last year and a source at the IPA estimates that each missed ship call costs shipping lines $50,000 per day, so 30 missed calls amounts to $750,000 lost owing to the closure, without counting the extra costs incurred from having to reroute vessels to alternative ports.

The use of alternative ports such as Imbituba, Itapoa, or Paranagua are expensive, and Gouvêa hoped that force majeure due to flooding could help offset some of the losses.

More than 19,000 containers with various meat products were affected by the closure, according to Sindicarne, which counts BRF Foods, the biggest chicken exporter in the world, Seara, Aurora, and Fricasa among its members. Even if shippers turned to other ports, there was no guarantee of adequate reefer capacity.

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Brazil Customs Strike Still Causing delays

Due to “indefinite” Brazilian  customs  strike ,there  may be delays  with cargo flow at seaports, airports, termed secondary zones and bonded warehouses for weeks ,  the Journal of Commerce reports.

Sources say that ‘green channel’ cargo will be cleared in primary zones, but cargo which requires clearance will not be released. Brazil’s airport operator Infraero expects congestion at airports, and an impact on cargo capacity. Cargolux told The Loadstar that the situation is currently ‘stable’, with transit cargo suffering most. Port terminals will also be challenged, and may not accept cargo.

Shipping agent Inchcape Shipping Services told The Loadstar that negotiations due to take place this week would be “critical”.

Francisco Villagrán, ISS’s general manager of Brazil said that civil servants of the “auditor class”, of which Customs officers are part, sent a letter to Brazilian president Vana Rousseff requesting a hearing and informing of strike action on 18 June as part of its wage negotiations with the government.

“In the meantime national Customs started several strikes at a small scale in different ports as a pressure measure to demonstrate their position and the effects they can cause over the national economy in case their requirements are not met,” as Villagran said. The strikes of different sizes and manners had affected normal port operations in most of Brazil’s major ports, including Santos, Paranagua, Salvador, Manaus, Santarem, Santana, and Itacoatiara.

Customs have informed agents and other port industry stakeholders that they will be stopping two days a week, while the remaining days “they will work at a minimum level, therefore there are delays expected in the port operations until this matter be solved”.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available



Qatar Shutdown – No Cargo Allowed

Regarding the diplomatic situation between Qatar and its neighboring Gulf states, most  carriers have decided to discontinue accepting cargo shipments into and out Qatar until further notice,  effective immediately.

Major ports in Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain remain closed to some ships after those countries announced a transport ban regarding ships and planes bound for Qatar passing through their territory on June 5, 2017. Arab countries imposed the ban after alleging Qatar was supporting terrorism regionally and assisting Iran.

In this regard, please note the following guideline:

  • All bookings to/from Qatar will be stopped.
  • Cargo that is booked, but not yet loaded, will be cancelled.
  • Cargo that has already loaded will be denied terminal gate-in or prohibited to load vessel.
  • Qatar bound cargo located at Jebel Ali, or on-board a vessel, will be subject to a contingency

The  steamship lines are looking for alternative options through Oman. Please be guided accordingly.

RCL Agencies will provide  more updates as the information becomes available.

Spanish dockworkers to strike June 5th, 7th, 9th

The Spanish dockworkers’ union  are planning strikes this week for  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, according to the Journal of Commerce.

Five of eight days of planned strikes between May 24 and June 9 have been cancelled by union after reaching agreement with the port employers’ association, Anesco, over the government’s planned reform of the dock labor system.

Dockworkers  decided to go ahead with the remaining three days of strikes after failing to secure assurances from Anesco over safeguarding the jobs of the country’s 6,000 registered dockworkers.

The planned reform will free ports, terminal operators, and other stevedores to hire non-union workers and remove the obligation to join — and partially finance — local dock pools that have a monopoly over hiring.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available.

Russian to speed cargo customs clearance

In order to speed up the cargo customs clearance process, Russia has established  centers to process electronic customs declarations filed via Russia’s single window, the Journal of Commerce reports.

Along with the new centers, the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) is harmonizing declaration procedures and putting more inspectors behind computers to examine paperwork rather than boxes themselves, reducing opportunities for corruption.

The new centers and shift to electronic declarations should also help to cut down on tax evasion. As it stands, some unscrupulous shippers currently misclassify cargo so that they can pay lower taxes on the shipment and then resell the imported goods at higher rates, which also puts at a competitive disadvantage shippers who comply with tax rules.

As more paperwork becomes electronic, the FCS will be able to track cargo through the Eurasian Economic Union, which should make it easier to identify companies that violate tax regulations.

Along with these measures, the FCS will work to expand a three-tier system classifying shippers by the perceived risk of a customs violation. Shippers in the lowest-risk tier, which make up just 8 percent of shippers at present, will be able to have their shipments processed in a matter of minutes, rather than several hours. This will also enable the FCS to conduct targeted searches and inspections instead of blanket inspections, which regularly occur now.

For a shipper to qualify for the highest tier they must have been involved in foreign trade for at least two years with no less than 150 declarations over the same period and no violations of customs regulations.

The FCS aims to have the share of shippers in the system rise from 44 percent at present to 80 percent by 2020.

Need help with shipments to Russia?  RCL has extensive experience shipping in and out of Russia – contact us today for assistance with your shipping needs!

World Trade Bridge Reopened on Memorial Day

U.S. and Mexican customs authorities fully restored operations at the World Trade Bridge border crossing in Laredo, Texas, on Monday, May 29th,  American Shipper reports.
As we reported earlier, the agencies closed the bridge due to power outages, flooding and structural damage from heavy rains and high winds Sunday afternoon, May 21.  Customs authorities immediately redirected World Trade Bridge traffic to the nearby Colombia Solidarity International Bridge, which resulted in backups of trucked freight.  On Thursday, May 25, U.S. Customs re-established processing of Free and Secure Trade (FAST) shipments at the World Trade Bridge, with the exception of medical and perishable merchandise. The agency said it’s “working in coordination with partner government agencies to bring online the capability to process these commodities in the near future.”