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

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

Empty Hanjin Containers Pile Up, Causing Headaches at Southern California’s Ports

As Hanjin Shipping Co. vessels drop off containers after weeks stranded at sea following the company’s bankruptcy, ports are dealing with a new problem: what to do with the empty boxes they leave behind.

Since the South Korean ocean carrier filed for bankruptcy five weeks ago, roughly 15,000 Hanjin containers have trickled in through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, often weeks after they were due to arrive. Now emptied of their goods, many are cluttering warehouse yards and parking lots across Southern California. With Hanjin’s ships no longer making the trans-Pacific trip, the company’s containers aren’t needed to carry goods back and forth.

While the stranded containers themselves are a nuisance, logistics companies say the bigger issue is that many are still attached to the wheeled trailers that trucks used to get them off the docks. These pieces of equipment, known as chassis, are vital to port operations, and putting thousands out of commission can delay the container deliveries for all shipping companies—not just Hanjin—people in the industry say.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

PMA and ILWU set to discuss contract extensions in November

Following respective statements made in August proposing talks on contract extensions, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) said this week they are ready to get the ball rolling.

The organizations said in a joint statement that talks have been tentatively scheduled for November 1-2. The current contract between the parties runs through June 30, 2019.

In August, the PMA, whom represents shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 West Coast ports, said that earlier this year “in an effort to provide stability on the West Coast waterfront,” it proposed talks on a contract extension with the ILWU.

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Source: Logistics Management

Uber sets its sights on long-haul trucking

For shippers, carriers, brokerages and really all other industry stakeholders that have not given much thought to the possibility of Uber becoming a truckload carrier, it appears it may be time to change that mindset.

That is due to a couple of different reasons. One is the ride sharing service’s recent acquisition of self-driving truck startup company Otto for roughly $680 million. Upon completion of this deal in August, an Otto blog posting noted that “with Uber, we will create the future of commercial transportation: first, self-driving trucks that provide drivers unprecedented levels of safety; and second, a platform that matches truck drivers with the right load wherever they are,” en route to building the backbone of what it called the “rapidly-approaching self-driving freight system.”

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Port of Long Beach selects Duane Kenagy as interim CEO

Less than two weeks after the CEO of the Port of Long Beach announced his resignation, harbor commissioners have moved swiftly to appoint an interim replacement.

Duane Kenagy, who currently heads the port’s nearly $4.5 billion capital projects, was named to the position Wednesday. He will assume his duties next week, succeeding Jon Slangerup.

Kenagy told the board during a special meeting he was humbled and pledged to fill in while the harbor commission conducts a search for a new CEO. “I am an engineer so I usually try to stay in the background,” he said.

Before arriving at the port in 2014, Kenagy, worked for Moffatt & Nichol, an engineering consulting firm and played a crucial role in the $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor project that connects the ports of Los Angles and Long Beach to the national railroad systems close to downtown Los Angeles.

A bid to find a recruitment firm already has gone out.

The port is undergoing a massive infrastructure project as well as dealing with a shipping industry in financial turmoil.

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Heavy haul trucking companies combine, expand US network

Two US specialists in heavy freight hauling and rigging merged Tuesday to create a specialized trucking and logistics business with an expanded service area in North America.

EZE Truck Holdings, the parent of several flatbed and heavy-haul trucking firms, merged with Farran International, a global transportation and rigging business in Randolph, New Jersey.

The EZE-Farran transaction is the latest in a series of acquisitions and mergers rippling across the transportation landscape in 2016, from the largest operators, such as FedEx and TNT Express, to small companies such as Kottke Trucking and Walbon & Company.

The deal creates a specialized trucking operation with several subsidiaries, including EZE Trucking, Patterson Motor Freight, Rig Runners at EZE and H.W. Farren, Fastway Trucking, and NTL at Farren International. It also expands the business nationwide.

There’s plenty of room for consolidation in the highly fragmented heavy-haul business. Companies in this trucking sector handle over-dimensional and extremely heavy loads such as aerospace parts, wind turbines and blades, building materials, and oil and gas drilling equipment — not your average truckload or even flatbed shipment.

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Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy leaves cargo ships stranded along SoCal coast

he bankruptcy of the Hanjin shipping line has thrown ports and retailers around the world into confusion, with giant container ships marooned and merchants worrying whether tons of goods will reach their shelves.

The South Korean giant filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday and stopped accepting new cargo. With its assets being frozen, ships from China to Canada found themselves refused permission to offload or take aboard containers because there were no guarantees that tugboat pilots or stevedores would be paid.

“Hanjin called us and said: ‘We’re going bankrupt and we can’t pay any bills — so don’t bother asking,’ ” said J. Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which provides traffic control for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest port complex.

Three Hanjin container ships, ranging from about 700 feet to 1,100 feet (213 meters to 304 meters) long, were either drifting offshore or anchored away from terminals on Thursday. A fourth vessel that was supposed to leave Long Beach on Thursday morning remained anchored inside the breakwater.

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Source: FOX LA

Port of Los Angeles Issues $35.2 Million in ‘Green’ Bonds

The Port of Los Angeles has expanded its commitment to sustainability by issuing $35.2 million in green bonds as part of a larger debt refinancing successfully completed this week. The move marks the first time a U.S. port has entered the growing sustainability bond market where investors support projects and companies making positive social and environmental change.

“Running a competitive and environmentally responsible port permeates every facet of our operations,’’ said Marla Bleavins, the Port’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. “This bond offering and the unprecedented savings it yields speak volumes about the value of this approach.”

The green bonds are part of an overall $201.6 million bond issue that will net the Port a record present value savings of $32.5 million, an average of $1.9 million annually through 2040. During the process, all three top credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s Investor Services and Fitch Ratings – reaffirmed the Port’s “AA” and “Aa2” investment rankings, the highest ratings given to a port without taxing authority.

The Port’s top credit ratings reflect its strong market position, resilient revenue stream, strong financial management, superior infrastructure, cash reserves and manageable debt.

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Source: Business Wire