Truck Drivers, Warehouse Workers Plan Strike at Ports.

A group of truck drivers and warehouses workers set a date of June 19 for a strike at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The pending action has garnered the support of Teamsters union Local 848 and Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who represents the San Pedro area.

“The truck drivers are asking to be recognized as employees instead of independent contractors so that they can get the wages they rightly worked for and workplace protections,” Nick Weiner, a spokesman for the Teamsters Local 848 and campaign director of the Justice for Port Drivers Campaign said.

This is the 15th strike from the group in the last four years. They are not all the same workers from the same company, some previous strikers and companies have reached an agreement, Weiner said.

The announcement on Thursday follows a joint signed agreement by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. Both mayors pledged to continue fighting air pollution and global warming despite the recent move by President Trump who promised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, a pact focused on combatting climate change.

The mayors directed the ports to aim for the zero-emission goals in their Clean Air Action Plan. The nation’s first and second largest ports are to meet zero-emission cargo-handling equipment by 2030, and zero-emission trucks by 2035.

CAAP, which was first implemented in 2006, has greatly reduced air pollution at the ports over the last decade, but the ports remain the biggest air polluters in the region today. Sources of pollution at the ports include ships, trucks, trains and cargo-handling equipment.

Some independent contractors worry that the zero-emissions program will add costs to their operations.

“We think that’s a great idea, but there was no mention on how this would impact the drivers,” Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters union Local 848, said at the news conference Thursday morning. “Greedy corporations …continue to exploit hard-working men and women through abusive and often illegal contracting-out, misclassification, temporary staffing and wage theft schemes,” he said.

He added that when the ports enacted the Clean Trucks Program in 2008, which came out of the Clean Air Action Plan, to reduce diesel pollution, the drivers bore the bulk of the cost.



Ethics issues prompt Los Angeles, Long Beach port officials to dissolve rail agency committee

The boards overseeing the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports voted unanimously Monday night to dissolve a committee that plays a key role in maintaining Alameda Corridor rail tracks after regulators warned it violated ethical rules.

Earlier this year, the state Fair Political Practices Commission found that the four-member operating committee of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority — made up of top port officials and representatives from Union Pacific and BNSF Railway — was subject to conflict-of-interest rules. The committee had not been complying since it first met in 2007.

“The intent of why we are here today is to make sure that we comply with the law,” Antonio Gioiello, deputy executive director of development at the Port of Los Angeles, told the commission ahead of the vote.

Created decades ago, the authority maintains a 20-mile track of rail and is jointly run by the two cities, the ports, the county and independent staff. The public agency pays for capital improvements through a cargo fee but the two railroads pay for the maintenance costs.

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Source: Press Telegram

Shippers, truckers look to 2017 for PierPass flat fee

After more than a decade of telling PierPass Inc. that its congestion-pricing model that supports the extended gate program in Los Angeles-Long Beach is not working, beneficial cargo owners and truckers are hopeful that a new arrangement, which involves a much lower, flat fee will be adopted by terminal operators sometime next year.

There is still much work to be done, though, in order to develop a pricing model that BCOs consider to be equitable and the 13 terminal operators represented by PierPass are confident will cover the cost of operating night and weekend gates in the largest US port complex. John Cushing, president of PierPass Inc., said PierPass’ advisory committee will analyze all options, and another large meeting of stakeholders will be convened next May to discuss the details of any suggested plan that is developed. If further refinement is required, the process could continue for some months beyond that.

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New Jersey’s Ambitious Plan to Clean Up the Port Authority’s Mess

With Bridgegate and the now-fatal underfunding of New Jersey Transit dominating the headlines, it’s easy to forget about other botched infrastructure projects in the Garden State. Take the Port Authority’s incredibly mismanaged and ill-designed trucks replacement program, for example: Launched in 2009, it offered drivers grants to help pay for new, cleaner vehicles — up to $25,000 each. Most drivers make less than $30,000 a year; for many, especially those driving rigs with the older, dirtier-burning engines that the program meant to phase out, it was too good a deal to pass up. But the grant program was at best cosmetic. A new truck costs as much as $100,000; many drivers went into serious debt to cover the upfront capital, some ending up as much as $75,000 in the hole. To minimize the debt burden, the only alternative for many was to purchase trucks that were already years old, with unfamiliar emissions systems needing specialists to fix. Sometimes these replacements died on the side of the Jersey Turnpike.

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LA-LB’s multifaceted big ship strategy shows work ahead for other US ports

The more than decade-long comprehensive effort mounted by terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach to efficiently work the largest mega-ships shows other US ports have their work cut out for them, a Los Angeles port terminal operator said Monday.

There is no single strategy that can produce the level of efficiency demanded by beneficial cargo owners as volumes approach 50,000 laden import containers a week, according to Alan McCorkle, vice president of Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles.

“It has to be an all-of-the-above strategy,” McCorkle told the Footwear Trade Distribution and Customs conference Monday, in Huntington Beach, California.

Los Angeles-Long Beach terminals extended their gate hours, consolidated import loads into special stacks forfree-flow operations and welcomed new technology that gives truckers visibility into delays at the gates and in the yards. They also rolled out trucker appointment systems and joined supply-chain optimization teams formed by the port authorities.

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Hanjin in Talks to Sell Stake in Long Beach Terminal

Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. is in talks with Swiss shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Co. to sell its stake in the Long Beach Terminal as part of a plan to dispose most of its oversees assets after filing for bankruptcy protection in August, people involved in the matter said Friday.

The talks involve Hanjin’s 54% stake in Total Terminals International LLC, which runs Long Beach Terminal in California. MSC owns the remaining 46%.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Hanjin, has reached out to European shipping majors and Korean peer Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. to sell assets, including five, 13,000 container ships, as part of a restructuring plan that will see it emerge as a small, intra-Asia operator.

People involved in the process said Hyundai will be first in line to cherry-pick on Hanjin’s ships, which include five 13,000-container vessels. Both the Korean government and Hanjin’s main creditor, Korea Development Bank, have said they would back HMM in buying Hanjin assets, provided such a move would help it stay competitive. KDB is also HMM’s main creditor.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

Can your trucking firm repel cyberattacks?

Since it is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s as good a time as any to determine whether the security protocols protecting the digital ramparts of your trucking operation are adequate.

And if any of the recent surveys I’ve been reviewing provide a general guide, they probably aren’t.

Take the results from Nationwide’s second annual Small Business Indicator, a national survey of 502 U.S. small-business owners with fewer than 300 employees, for example.

That poll found most small-business owners (78%) still don’t have a cyberattack response plan, even though more than half (54%) were victim to at least one type of cyberattack – and don’t forget, about 80% of the trucking industry is made up of operations that can be considered “small businesses.”

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Source: FleetOwner

Port of Long Beach cargo volume down after Hanjin collapse

The collapse of Hanjin Shipping Co. in late August led to a significant decline in cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach in the month of September, port officials reported Wednesday.

Container volumes declined 16.6 percent year-over-year in September, according to statistics from the Port of Long Beach. Longshore workers moved 546,805 20-foot equivalent units, known as TEUs, last month. This figure included:

• 282,945 TEUs in imports, down 15 percent from September 2015 (which marked the end of the port’s best quarter ever reported).

• Exports dropped 4.2 percent, with 120,383 TEUs moved.

• The number of empty containers being shipped fell 27.2 percent, with 143,476 TEUs moved.

Port officials said the number of containers handled during September was impacted not only by reduced calls by Hanjin-operated ships, but also by the absence of Hanjin containers on vessels operated by fellow shipping alliance members. Hanjin Shipping containers account for approximately 12.3 percent of the port’s total containerized volume, officials said.

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Source: Press Telegram

NY-NJ port truckers ready to use GPS to measure turn times

The main trucker advocacy group at the Port of New York and New Jersey is preparing to launch a satellite-based system to compile data on truck turn times at the port’s five main terminals in an effort to prod terminals into reducing delays.

The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers in recent weeks has tested the system with information from 800 to 900 trucks fitted with global positioning system devices. The data are used to measure queue times outside gates and the time that vehicles spend inside terminals.

Association officials hope the data will highlight concerns about the difficulties their drivers endure when taking containers in and out of the nation’s third-busiest port. Sporadic bouts of congestion and delays in recent years have routinely increased queue and turn time at some terminals to well above an hour on the best days, and often to several hours.

“It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about improving efficiency,” said Lisa Yakomin, spokesperson for the association. “That’s all we are looking for. We are not looking to call people out … It’s a tool for our members.”

The initiative echoes those at other ports, in particular on the West Coast, where truckers enacted GPS-based systems three years ago and have found some terminal operators responsive to problems underscored by the data. Shippers have also paid to receive the data, finding it useful in planning their supply chain.

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Port of Oakland touts accessibility for agriculture

The Port of Oakland’s proximity to California growing areas will continue to benefit agricultural exporters, executive director Chris Lytle told members of the Council of Supply Chain Management of Professionals in late September.

“The Port of Oakland’s proximity to the Central Valley makes us a vital link in the global agricultural supply chain,” Lytle said in a news release. “For our customers, that means greater reliability and reduced travel times through Oakland.”

The port is betting importers will find Oakland’s location increasingly attractive as the economies of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California and even Nevada grow. More than 80% of the port’s inbound cargo volume goes to those regions.

The port, Lytle said, is the preferred outlet to Asia for Central Valley fruits and nuts, Salinas Valley greens, and wines from across Northern California.

The port is working on a 400,000-square-foot Cool Port cold storage facility for refrigerated export commodities. That’s expected to strengthen Oakland’s role in meat and poultry.

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