US Union Calls For Shutdown of Some US Ports

Members of the US International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) from the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts have called for a one day shutdown of all US ports with a march on US capital Washington planned, according to report in Break Bulk.

The purpose of the protest is to bring attention to hiring systems at US ports, as well as to call for the scrapping of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

No date has been set for the protest. “The call was made for everyone to stop for a day, rent as many buses and trains as we can, and go to Washington to draw attention to government interference in our industry,” said Kenneth Riley, ILA vice president and President of ILA Local 1422, in Charleston, South Carolina..

Riley said ILA members want to highlight their complaints about the Waterfront Commission, which the ILA has battled for years in the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the use of state employee dockworkers at Charleston and other state-operated South Atlantic ports.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide more details once available.

Spanish ports face upcoming strikes

Spanish ports face shutdowns for several days in late February, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

Spanish unions plan to implement port strikes to protest government plans to reform the country’s port labor system.

The strikes are expected to take place between Feb. 20 and Feb. 24 and will impact the country’s top container ports of Valencia and Barcelona

The Madrid government has been under pressure to reform the dock labor system since December 2014 when the European Court of Justice ruled that its restrictive practices contravene EU legislation on the freedom of establishment.

The government reportedly will soon introduce a new law that will end the restrictive practices in the dock labor scheme.

Current legislation requires dockers to be members of a pool, SAGEP, in each port, which recruits and trains workers, and puts them at the disposal of terminal operators and other cargo operators. The law also mandates all firms providing cargo handling services to join and financially support SAGEPs.

Port operators can only hire “outside” workers if a SAGEP cannot provide sufficient labour or they are not suitable for the job.

The dockworker union has claimed the planned legislation will lead to between 6,000 and 8,000 job losses on the Spanish waterfront.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide more details once available.


Black Sea Freeze Hitting Major Ports and Affecting Grain Exports

The severe cold  across eastern Europe is raising concerns about grain-shipments  as icy conditions restrict navigation at some of the region’s most important ports, Bloomberg reports.

Severe freeze  is affecting  vessels at Bulgaria’s Varna port and navigation in the Hungarian part of the Danube river has been suspended. Romania’s major grain-exporting hub of Constanta was disrupted last week and also at least three ports in Ukraine’s Odessa region have limited ship movements due to ice.

As forecasters expect another cold spell next week in Ukraine, traders are concerned ports may close again and slow exports. The Black Sea region accounts for about a quarter of the world’s grain shipments and further disruptions may help boost wheat and corn prices.

In Bulgaria, ship movement is suspended in some parts at the port of Varna, while terminals at Burgas have reopened after closing on Tuesday.  There’s no information yet that grain exports will be impacted and shipments are taking place as normal, the Agriculture and Food Ministry said.

Ice-related restrictions mean ship loading may be slightly slower in Reni, Izmail and Ust-Dunaysk in Ukraine’s Odessa region, according to a spokesman for the nation’s Administration of Seaports, and the Infrastructure Ministry. Other ports in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Mykolayiv, and Oktyabrsk have taken similar measures.

In the Hungarian section of the Danube, ice breakers are in use near Gyor by the Austrian border and on the Tisza river close to Szeged near Serbia to clear way for ports, a spokeswoman for the National Water Authority said. Hungary is a large corn producer.

Traders are also closely watching weather conditions because severe cold can damage crops during winter dormancy.

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Explosion at port of Santos causes delays

Shippers using the port of Santos again dealing  with delays after an explosion last Thursday that closed the largest Brazil’s port according to the information provided by Journal of Commerce.

The company owners said the containers in Santos were full of acid and a disinfectant which came into contact with rainwater, causing a reaction.

The explosion occurred at 3 p.m. at the Vale Fertilizantes 2 industrial plant in Cubatao and closed the port until 7:30 p.m., when Santos and Sao Paulo firefighters got the blaze and toxic fumes under control. The facility’s location adjacent to the main Anchieta and Immigrantes Highways and the smaller BR 101 that connects Sao Paulo to the port of Santos led to highway closures that spawned congestion.

The plant is owned and operated by Vale, which also operates Log-In, Brazil’s last remaining container carrier. Police and environmental officials are investigating the explosion and Vale will likely face heavy fines.

This  is  the third time when the port of Santos got closed in the last three years.

Please follow RCL for more updates about the global port and international shipping


Carriers Announce Cancellation of Sailings After Chinese New Year

Container line alliances have announced a host of sailing cancellations in the post Chinese New Year period , the Journal of Commerce reports.

The Chinese New Year of the Rooster begins on January 28th in 2017. The 2M Alliance of Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co., and the G6 Alliance carriers APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Orient Overseas Container Line, are blanking several sailings on the major east-west trades.

The 2M Alliance will blank the following sailings.

Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean:

AE5 service, Margrethe Maersk westbound, Xingang, Jan. 30. Eastbound, Hamburg, March 12.
AE6 service, Maersk Evora westbound, Yokohama, Jan. 29. Eastbound, Antwerp, March 6.
AE2, service, cancelled sailing westbound, Xingang, Feb. 5. Eastbound, Felixstowe, March 13.
AE1, service, MSC Mirjam westbound, Ningbo, Feb. 12. Eastbound, Hamburg, March 20.
AE2, service, MSC Mirja westbound, Xingang, Feb. 12. Eastbound, Felixstowe, March 20.
AE5, service, MSC Sveva westbound, Xingang, Feb. 13. Eastbound, Hamburg, March 26.

Asia-US East Coast:

TP12 service, MSC Giselle eastbound Singapore, Jan. 30. Westbound, Norfolk, March 12.
TP10 service, Grasmere Maersk eastbound, Qingdao, Feb 9. Westbound, Savannah, March 14.

Asia-US West Coast:

TP8 service, Arthur Maersk northbound, Singapore, Jan. 28. Southbound, Long Beach, March. 25.
TP3 service, MSC Rania northbound, Nansha. Southbound, Long Beach, Feb. 24.
TP8 service, Maersk Santana northbound, Singapore. Southbound, Long Beach, March 4.
TP9 service, E.R.Los Angeles northbound, Nansha. Southbound, Prince Rupert, Feb. 28.
TP3 service, MSC Lisa northbound, Nansha. Southbound, Long Beach, Mar 3.
TP3 service, Kaethe P northbound, Nansha. Southbound, Long Beach, Mar 10.

The G6 Alliance will withdraw the following sailings.

Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean:

Loop 5, OOCL Berlin westbound, ETA Kwangyang, Feb. 3, Week 5. Eastbound, ETA, Le Havre, March 10, Week 10.

Loop 7, MOL Quasar westbound, ETA Qingdao, Feb. 6, Week 6. Eastbound, ETA Rotterdam, March 13, Week 11.

EUM service, Hyundai Victory westbound, ETA Pusan, Feb. 5, Week 6. Eastbound, ETA Genoa, March 8, Week 10.


South China 1 (SC1), ETA Xiamen, Feb. 1, Week 5 Eastbound, and ETA Los Angeles, Feb. 20, Week 8, westbound. Service resumes with APL Houston (AHS) 022E/W, ETA Xiamen, Feb. 8, Week 6, eastbound, and ETA Los Angeles, Feb 27, Week 9, westbound.

Central China 4 (CC4), ETA Shanghai, Feb. 10, Week 6, eastbound, and ETA Los Angeles, Feb. 26, Week 9, westbound. Service resumes with APL Minnesota (MIE) 053E/W, ETA Shanghai, Feb. 17, Week 7, eastbound, and ETA Los Angeles, March 5, Week 10, westbound.

Singapore Vietnam Express (SVS), ETA Hong Kong, Feb. 10, Week 6, eastbound, and ETA Norfolk, March 13, Week 11, westbound. Service resumes with ZIM Los Angeles (ZLG) 048E/W, ETA Hong Kong, Feb. 17, Week 7, eastbound, and ETA Norfolk, March 20, Week 12, westbound.

Please be guided accordingly. If you have any questions please contact RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

Santos Port Dredging Resumed as a Relief for Shippers

Dredging at Brazilian port Santos has unexpectedly started seven days earlier than expected, according to the Journal of Commerce.

The continuity of dredging in the port of Santos  will come as a great relief to the port users, and CEO of the Santos port authority Codesp hopes that “with the new depth  the port will be more efficient and provide a boost to the foreign trade”. The additional 1.8 meters (6 feet) of draft will allow ships calling the port to carry up to 180 extra 20-foot-equivalent units.

The draft at Santos  had fallen from 15 meters to 13.2 meters, leading to draft restrictions that limited the amount of containers ships could take from Santos and caused delays for shippers.

The restrictions have impacted all of the Santos container terminals, but Brasil Terminal Portuaria, a joint venture between APM Terminals and Terminal Investment Limited, has suffered the most.

For every 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) of extra draft the average container ship can carry an extra eight to 10 containers, according to the the Santos and Sao Paulo Shipagents Association. The average ship calling Santos ranges between 6,000 and 10,000 TEUs.

Follow our RCL Agencies blog to be informed of the latest  maritime news.


Swedish Dockers Strike in Port of Gothenburg

Dock workers at the largest port in Scandinavia,the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden,  went on strike on November 15, 2016 according to The Local SE.

The dock workers’ union announced on its Facebook page that no agreement had been reached with management and added that the strike began at 2pm on Tuesday.

Sveriges Hamnar, or Ports of Sweden – an industry and employers’ organization comprising 60 port companies and over 4,000 employees, heavily criticized the action, which will mean only one-third of the ports usual container traffic will be able to be handled. This is a large amount considering that half of all container traffic for Sweden passes through Gothenburg.

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


Damage to New Charleston Port Crane Could Cause Delays

A new $27 million post-Panamax container crane  was damaged during set-up at the Port of Charleston, the Post and Courier reported this week.

The damage  to a supersized crane which  capable of moving cargo on and off 14,000-TEU ships could cause delays at the largest port of Charleston terminal, port officials warn.

The crane is one of two brand new post-panamax ship-to-shore cranes being installed at the Wando Welch Terminal, as the port prepares for the arrival of ultra-large containerships traversing an expanded Panama Canal.

It is unclear what sort of delays, if any, this could mean for those ships and their massive cargo loads.

Neither crane is operational yet and the equipment wasn’t scheduled to go into operation until later in November and December. Moreover, the crane’s manufacturer, which still has custody of the cranes and is attempting repairs, does not know when the damaged crane will be fit for service.

“Fortunately, any delay associated with the one crane won’t impact operations of the other cranes,” according to Erin Dhand, a state port authority spokeswoman.

In preparation for the arrival of its first 14,000-TEU vessels, Charleston aim to deepen its harbor to 52 feet, giving it the deepest on the US East Coast upon completion in 2020. Construction is set to start next year.

In addition, as part of that plan, two additional ship-to-shore cranes have also been ordered for the Wando Welch Terminal which are expected to be delivered in December 2017.

Stay informed with RCL updates for the latest global ports and international shipping news.

US Ports Resume Operations After Hurricane Matthew

South Eastern US ports resumed operations last week after Hurricane Matthew caused the evacuation of over two million people.

Full operations are back  at the Port of Charleston SC, which did not suffer any significant damage despite major flooding. Vessels are berthed and cargo being handled, and truckers are able to access the port at the Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals.

Rail services have also been resumed across the states of Florida and South Carolina; the Port of Canaveral also, which was in the most vulnerable position geographically, suffered only minor damages.

 After ceasing operations and losing power, the Port of Savannah has also resumed activity at its terminals.

After causing more than 1,000 deaths in Haiti and severe damage as it swept through the Bahamas, Matthew raked the coasts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia, and was blamed for 22 deaths in the United States before heading out to sea.

Several ports from Miami to Norfolk halted operations in advance of the storm as the US Coast Guard restricted vessel movements.

Ports minimized damage by securing cranes, lowering container stacks, and taking other precautions as the storm approached. At Charleston, port workers moved BMW automobiles awaiting export from Charleston onto ships and rail cars, and covered gate kiosk equipment in plastic.

Follow RCL Agencies for the latest news about  global shipping and international ports.

Korean Ports are Disrupted with Three Strikes

Three simultaneous strikes by rail workers, truckers and bunker fuel tanker operators have severely disrupted operations at South Korea’s major ports, according to  Port Technology.

An ongoing rail strike, in which some 7,000 members of the rail union have stopped work across the country for the third week in a row, has halved the country’s rail capacity and severely impacted the ability for containers to move smoothly to and from Korea’s major ports.

In addition, the South Korean Cargo Transport Workers’ Federation launched a general strike on October 10th in opposition to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport’s cargo transport industry reform plan announced in August this year. According to the plan, the South Korean government is to stop controlling the number of small cargo trucks for business use so that the shortage of vehicles in the parcel delivery service market can be dealt with. The federation is calling for the government to repeal the plan.

A general strike launched by the Cargo Truckers Solidarity union has removed a third of container transport capacity at Busan alone, in addition to the problems already being experienced with rail freight.

Launched in response to government attempts to deregulate the number of small trucks used for making deliveries to homes, drivers want a standard rate to be introduced for the work they do, to protect their livelihoods.

To add to the misery for ports, fuel bunker operators at the ports of Busan, Ulsan, and Yeosu have gone on strike, demanding an increase in operating fees paid by refiners. More than 200 out of 680 bunker tankers across South Korea have been striking.

However today, the  barge owners have ended a week-long strike as they reached an agreement with oil refiner, the maritime ministry said on Monday.

The barge owners had called for a 40%-100% hike in operating fees, but accepted the compromise of a 10%-20% increase in fees. In return, oil refiners accepted a government’s proposal for research to be conducted by external specialists on the level of operating fees and other conditions for barge owners.

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