• 2017 September 25 17:31

    APM Terminals improves productivity, costs and flexibility with a win-win labor strategy

    Speaking at the annual JOC Container Trade Europe Conference in Hamburg, Germany, Ruud van der Wel, Head of APM Terminals Global Labor Relations outlined the company’s latest positions on port labor and the implications for Europe’s ports in the session “European Longshore Labor: A Growing Issue for Shippers,” the terminal operator said in a press release.

    Bunker prices were once the highest cost element for liner operators. But now, terminal costs are the largest cost for liner customers. With the advent of lower bunker prices, more fuel efficient ships and larger vessel alliances – there is now a tremendous focus on reducing terminal costs and improving container terminal efficiencies. “The pressure is on – our liner customers and landside customers expect port operators to deliver year-onyear cost reductions, higher productivity and show more flexibility in port operations. This impacts the way we organize the work at our Terminals and requires our employees to adjust to this new reality. We must work together with them and their representatives (unions, works councils) to meet this challenge,” said Mr. van der Wel.

    Continuous dialogue is an important aspect in APM Terminals labor relations strategy. The best approach is to work together in a constructive way. “When I compare trade unions of the port industry with other industries – we have a way to go before unions and companies are working on the basis of mutual trust, dialogue and collaboration and with a common long term strategy in mind. This is the best way forward to serve customers and sustain both the competitive success of the company and the unions’ desire for long term employment,” commented van der Wel.

    Nobody wins in labor disruptions. Labor disruptions in Gothenburg were a major flashpoint in European supply chains the past 16-18 months and the situation is unresolved despite two attempts by mediators. 50% of Sweden’s trade flows through APM Terminals Gothenburg which has experienced a 30% drop in volumes due to labor disruptions.

    APM Terminals Gothenburg has a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place that has been negotiated with the Swedish Transport Union (STU), but has an ongoing conflict with the Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) who are unwilling to compromise and expects the company to violate the Labor Law and the Swedish Labor System. “We will not agree to violating a legally valid CBA we have with the STU union. We respect the Swedish Labour System and will continue to operate within that context. If a company has a valid CBA in place, they should be protected. We expect the Government should protect the country’s economy and APM Terminals Gothenburg in this case.” added Mr. van der Wel.

    Should governments intervene in Labor conflicts to resolve them? Mr. van der Wel commented “We believe the direct relationship between employer and employee should be cherished. Nobody wants to see governments interfering too much in business, but in circumstances where the national interest of a country is at stake and businesses and economies are being damaged - then yes the Government should get involved.”

    Another important labor development is the European Union’s competition law creating friction in European terminal operations, notably in Spain where this will lead to the restructuring of the local port labor pool system which is viewed as monopolistic and triggered protests that slowed operations earlier this year. The Spanish Government issued a Royal Decree to comply with the EU legislation and this has been approved by the Spanish Parliament. “The new legislation is a fact and everyone has to adjust to this and get on board,” commented Mr. van der Wel.

    Changes to workplace productivity through technology is an ongoing process reshaping all industries. Automation as a means of increasing productivity has been met with some resistance by port labor in Europe, and elsewhere, citing the potential of job losses. Automated and semi-automated terminals, however, such as APM Terminals Rotterdam Maasvlakte II, are increasingly becoming a part of the terminal-operation environment.

    “Automation is never the only reason why we use technology in ports. We have a comprehensive decision-making process that looks at Safety, customer needs, vessel size, port volumes, the type of port, terminal specifications and useable space, market competitiveness and how to differentiate our offering to customers. In our company’s view, automation should not be viewed as -only- a threat to employment; both employers and employees and their representatives must take responsibility and together find solutions. The topic should be on the table to discuss openly and fairly and not kept in silence. We should not forget that there are many advantages to technological innovation, for instance in terms of Safety in operations and new types of work. There is a future for employees in more technology-driven ports”, stated Mr. van der Wel.




2017 October 22

15:47 Navantia and General Electric sign a license agreement
15:45 Maersk Line lands award for sustainability collaboration
15:43 Scorpio Bulkers announces the financing of a Kamsarmax vessel in Japan
15:42 Aker Solutions ASA posts results for Q3 2017
15:39 General Dynamics NASSCO christens USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams
15:36 Nb. 445 ‘Snow Crystal’ launched at the Westerbroek yard of Ferus Smit
15:34 Wärtsilä signs maintenance agreement with GasLog LNG Services for eight LNG carriers

2017 October 20

18:31 Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd joins the ITS Finland network
18:10 Kari Wihlman appointed as Director-General of Finnish Transport Agency with effect from 1 January 2018
17:47 Rosmorport appoints Oksana Masyuk as Deputy Director for Economics and Finance of its Arkhangelsk Branch (photo)
17:19 Russian Railways's loading of export freight from ports increases by almost by 6% in 3 quarters of 2017
16:56 Scandlines Helsingborg-Helsingör expands capacity
16:28 USPA announced tender for construction of berth 1-z in Port of Odessa
16:03 Wärtsilä's asset and lifecycle management agreement lets GasLog concentrate on its core business
16:00 Wilson Sons Shipyards delivers SST-Aruá to SAAM SMIT
15:31 In 9M’17, TransContainer transported 1.31 mln TEUs, up 17.7% Y-o-Y
15:03 Otto Energy starts drilling of the ST 224 #1 well
14:29 Opening ceremony of Russian-Indian international Indra-2017 exercise held in Vladivostok
14:02 d’Amico International Shipping launches the first three LR1 vessels
13:30 Sea transport of Sevastopol carried 660,400 passengers in September 2017, down 3.2%, Y-o-Y
13:02 ICTSI orders hybrid RTGs for Manila flagship
12:44 Draft procedure for investment port duty assessment is available at federal portal for legal information (document)
12:22 Aker Solutions wins order for world's largest umbilicals system
12:19 APL starts new Korea China Straits service
12:05 LNG reloading station of Klaipėdos nafta applies highest safety standards
11:37 Major ASW ship Vice Admiral Kulakov enters the port of Alexandria
11:08 Zvezda Shipbuilding complex, Rosnefteflot and Taimyrneftegaz agreed to build and operate 10 Arctic shuttle tankers
10:43 Conference “LNG Fleet and LNG Bunkering in Russia”: registration is underway
10:20 Brent Crude futures price up 0.24% to $57.37, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.33% to $51.46
09:59 Innovative passenger catamaran Grifon presented in Saint-Petersburg (photo)
09:32 Bunker prices are slightly up at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:14 Baltic Dry Index up to 1,582 points

2017 October 19

18:01 Record shipment marks ABP Ipswich and Glencore support of UK farmer
17:38 Arab Association for Women in the Maritime Sector launched in Egypt
17:15 Throughput of port Kaliningrad in Jan-Sep'17 grew by 17% to 10.17 mln t
16:50 Throughput of the port of Rotterdam up 2% to 351.5 mln t in 9M’17
16:39 Panama Maritime Authority holds a kick-off ceremony for the construction of the new Amador Cruise Port
16:21 Russian and Greek ships to participate in 190th Anniversary of the Battle of Navarino
15:59 Hartmann Group's AHTS fleet secures long-term investment
15:39 Throughput of port Vyborg up 15% to 1.09 mln t in 9M’17
15:13 Throughput of port Vysotsk up 3% to 12.91 mln t in 9M’17
14:44 Throughput of port Primorsk in 9M’17 down 8% Y-o-Y to 44.68 mln t
14:38 MABUX: Global bunker prices may continue upward evolution next week
14:17 Throughput of port Ust-Luga up 11% to 76.02 mln t in 9M’17
13:50 Bunker market in the Far East ports of Russia sees mixed price movements (graph)
13:25 Throughput of Big Port St. Petersburg up 10% to 39.48 mln t in 9M’17
13:02 TechnipFMC reaches an agreement to acquire Plexus’ exploration wellhead business
12:46 USC to transit to a new corporate management system
12:33 Knyaz Vladimir cruise liner ends 2017 navigation
12:31 Port of Fujairah and Dutch Port companies sign MOU
12:01 Prosafe updates operational results for Q3 2017
11:39 First vessel with coal shipped from Rosterminalugol to Portugal (photo)
11:20 Clean Marine receives a seven-system order from Inventor Chemical Tankers
11:08 Drydocks World recognized as the region’s best rig repair yard
10:54 Crude oil futures prices edge down 0.05% to $58,12 in London, in New York - 0.08% to $52,0 a barrel
10:41 Marine Institute CNIIMF to focus on LNG bunker market pricing at the Conference LNG Fleet & LNG Bunkering in Russia
10:08 Samsung Heavy Industries wins order to build LNG-FSRU
09:16 Baltic Dry Index edges up to 1566
09:08 Fincantieri starts dry dock works on Viking’s sixth ocean ship
08:16 Conductix-Wampfler’s LASSTEC Container Weighing System Earns OIML R51 Certification