From New York/New Jersey to Vancouver, BC…from Virginia to Oakland…even Los Angeles/Long Beach…drivers are fed up with the slow operations and congestion at marine terminals. The reasons for the slowdowns are myriad. Inclement weather, new computer systems, terminal consolidations, increase in volumes, chassis shortages, labor shortages and equipment failures are the most common.
Motor carriers, port authorities and industry groups are clamoring for improvement and a return to productive operations. Letters have been written. Task forces have been created. But the slowdowns remain. We cannot keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome. Isn’t that a definition of insanity?
Ports America in Oakland is looking to stop the insanity. For the month of March, they are implementing a night gate each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6:00pm to 3:00am. They will accept empty containers in and empty and loaded containers out. It is a trial to gauge the usage and productivity improvements. Motor carriers’ past experience with off-hour gates has not been overly positive, and it will take substantial coordination on container availability both in and out as well as driver hours of service. Nevertheless, we applaud Ports America on making this significant investment in an effort to smooth operations. We will keep you posted on the progress and effectiveness of these night gates.
We are not talking about the container on barge service between the ports of Oakland and Stockton. We are talking about the mystery barge owned by Google. For months, there has been speculation surrounding what Google is doing on the barge docked at Treasure Island. What four-story structure are they building behind the screen? Is it a floating data center? Is is top-secret R&D facility? Google announced recently they are “exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.” Don’t really know what that means, but it stopped the questions.
The latest update has Google moving the barge to the Port of Stockton. According to the Treasure Island Development Authority, the barge will be making a move “as early as next week.”
The mystery continues….
With the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) set to expire on June 30, 2014, cargo owners shipping through US West Coast gateways are getting anxious. The first meeting between the two sides is scheduled to take place soon, and the union will be submitting their wish list. At the top of the list will be jurisdiction, automation and who will pay the tax levied by the Affordable Care Act on their “Cadillac” healthcare plan.
The general consensus among industry insiders is that while the contract will be renegotiated without major incident, the main issues will not be decided upon easily or quickly. A new contract will not likely be completed prior to the expiration of the current contract, and we will see a 90-day contract extension while negotiations continue. We will continue to keep you posted.
Forget Amazon’s plans to deliver packages via unmanned drones. Rolls-Royce is designing unmanned cargo ships. In their Alesund, Norway office, Rolls-Royce has set up a proto-type simulating a 360-degree view from a vessel’s bridge with the hopes that eventually captains on dry land will use this technology to control hundreds of crewless ships. According to Rolls-Royce, drone ships will be safer, cheaper and less polluting.
It might be the wave of the future, but there are hurdles to jump over first. Unmanned ships are currently illegal under international conventions that set minimum crew requirements. Additionally, the union representing the majority of the world’s seafarers, International Transport Workers’ Federation, is opposed to drone ships.
It is time to renew your Women in Logistics (WIL) membership. WIL is open to both men and women in the logistics industry and offers educational, networking, job bank and scholarship opportunities to members. Join today by filling out an on-line application here or download and mail your application here.
Attack on the Owner Operator
After the Port of Los Angeles’ defeat in the US Supreme Court of their employee mandate and other restrictions and requirements of their Clean Truck Program, the Teamsters are waging a new war on the owner operator. They are claiming 65% of the drivers serving the nation’s ports and rail yards are misclassified. They firmly believe these drivers should be classified as employees rather than as owner operators and are filing claims with the Employment Development Department, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and other governmental agencies.
As evidenced by Home Depot’s opening of a 1,000,000sqft e-commerce distribution center in Locust Grove, GA, e-commerce is where it’s at. This market segment is expected to double in the next five years and is driving up demand for industrial real estate, especially in places like Dallas, Southern California and Northern New Jersey.
Do you know what this part is? It is something used in intermodal or truck transportation. Play “Name That Part” by liking us on Facebook. Click here to go to our Facebook page and place your guess. Good luck!
PIERS recently published their list of “five extremely odd imports.” We just had to pass it along.
Opium – Raw Indian Opium seems to be a legal import. Who knew?!?!
Unicorns – well, unicorn pickles, that is.
Bacon-Flavored Jelly Beans
Cadavers – going to medical schools in the US.
Last month’s honoring of both Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day got us wondering what the International Longshore & Warehouse Union’s (ILWU) official holiday calendar looked like. Click here for the list of the sixteen holidays honored by the ILWU.