Top Pick w CntrThe good news: The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have announced they have reached a tentative agreement on healthcare benefits. The parties did not release the details of the bargain and stress it is subject to agreement on other issues still being negotiated. From the onset of negotiations, it was widely accepted healthcare and jurisdiction would be the most contested subjects. It’s progress.

More good news: The ILWU ratified a contract with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest. This agreement puts to rest two years of discord in the PNW. While the details have not been made public, we do know it covers wage increases and work rule changes. This agreement is not part of the coast-wide ILWU/PMA contract, however, it has been a distraction as the ILWU/PMA negotiations were put on hold while the union dealt with the grain handlers. Let’s hope we can gain traction in the coast-wide contract now that this matter is behind us.

The wildcard: The Port of Portland has given notice to the ILWU that the two disputed reefer jobs (plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers) are going back to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) due to continued, conscientious slowdowns by the ILWU. These two jobs have been in debate for two years and have involved the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), state governors and numerous arbitrations. In January 2014, the port allowed the ILWU to perform the tasks with the understanding productivity would improved, however, nine months later, productivity continues to suffer. The wildcard is whether or not this decision by Portland will negatively affect the coast-wide contract negotiations.


Rubber DuckOkay, the title may be a little misleading, but a giant duck did indeed make a visit to the San Pedro Bay. The duck coming in at 61′ tall, 85′ wide, 110′ long and 11 tons was in town to lead the procession of ships at the annual Festival of Tall Ships. The duck will continue to be on display through September 6th. It was designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and has been all around the world spreading joy.


Barge SinkingThe M580 “green” marine highway is dead, and it never stood a chance. It was neither operationally practical, environmentally beneficial nor economically sustainable. It was a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars that was forced upon the region by naive, close-minded and politically motivated bureaucrats within DOT and MarAd. Every industry insider knew it to be a white elephant, yet red flags were ignored by environmental do-gooders. Two legitimate barge operators, The Broe Group (in conjunction with Eco-Transport) and Savage Services, took a close look at its potential, and both flatly deemed it unworkable. Yet, the Port of Stockton, who had no experience in barge or container operations, forged ahead on its own…did they really think the project was viable? Or was it simply a money-grab? Since the feds were pushing TIGER funds so aggressively, maybe Stockton was the crafty one in this whole debacle, leaching two new mobile cranes and infrastructure improvements out of the feds.



stay-in-touchAn effort in the California legislature to postpone the inclusion of vehicle fuels in the Cap-and-Trade program was killed by Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg (D). Therefore, the program will go forward on January 1, 2015, as will our fuel prices.

Fuel refineries in the state (remember California has a unique blend of fuel that is only refined in California) will have to purchase carbon credits from the Cap-and-Trade market to offset their emissions. In turn, they will pass along this increased cost to the distributors, who will pass along to the retailers, who will pass along to the consumer.

It is estimated the initial increase will be $0.13-$0.18 per gallon. The cost in the short and long term will depend upon the cost of carbon credits.


Reno Warehouse Truck + Van 003 AWith Tesla’s decision regarding the location of their battery factory still undecided, Northern Nevada is moving forward with their growth plans. Ashima Devices just announced they will be “moving their company headquarters [from Pasadena, CA], and opening a research, testing and assembly facility in Reno, NV.”

Ashima Devices is a company on the forefront of the drone technology. As we know from Amazon’s interest in using drones for deliveries, these unmanned aerial vehicles are not just for the military anymore.


I-80 Sign Frame Installation Aug 2014Last month, we highlighted the construction on I-80 through Sacramento that will reduce traffic lanes for the next two years. This month, we will highlight the construction on this same roadway in the Bay Area.

There will be lane changes and nighttime freeway closures to allow the installation of overhead sign frames. These signs are part of a plan to improve traffic flow between the Bay Bridge and the Carquinez Bridge. The project “will enable operational improvements and implement intelligent transportation system (ITS) strategies…that will make the transportation systems operate more efficiently.”

For more information on this project, click here.


Russia Food Imports

As a rule, we generally stay away from politics in our newsletter, however, there are a couple of geo-political events that have disrupted people’s supply chains.

First was Russia’s retaliatory ban of US, Canada, Australia and EU shipments of agricultural products into Russia. These countries placed economic sanctions on Russia after their annexation of Crimea. The ban will be in place for one year and is wide-reaching. The chart above demonstrates the economic impact of these sanctions not just on the industries and countries affected but the Russian people as well.

Second was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ensuing port protests on the West Coast. In an effort to draw attention to plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, supporters protested the arrival of an Israeli-owned Zim vessel in Oakland. The protests closed vessel and terminal operations for three days at SSA before the vessel changed terminals in Oakland, discharged cargo and finally departed. Similar protests occurred in Tacoma and Seattle but with limited to no impact on operations.


Ship at World Trade CenterAmidst the debris and devastation of the World Trade Center, a ship dating back to 1773 was discovered.

Historians and scientist believe the ship was purposefully sunk in 1810 and used as landfill for the expansion of Manhattan.


Judy at Color Run Aug 2014 002When you call Devine Intermodal or walk in the front door, you are greeted by the friendly voice and face of Judy Romero. Judy donned a tutu and funny glasses to participate in a charity run benefiting “Girls on the Run” which is an organization inspiring health and confidence in girls through running.

Judy Romero, pictured far left