• 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 December 13

13:35 Transneft’s subsidiary updates ISO certification
13:30 Maersk Line announces new FAK rates from Far East to North Europe
13:06 Aker Solutions wins modifications contract from Maersk Drilling
12:23 Nobel Bros Shipyard begins drydocking of Shestaya Pyatiletka-class MS Olenegorsk
11:11 Work continues to combat illicit maritime activity
10:52 Bunker prices go up at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
10:28 Brent Crude futures price up 0.9% to $63.91, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.58% to $57.47
10:10 Transneft Baltic completed implementation of Sever project’s Phase 3
09:44 Russian Railways: Loading of Russia’s export cargo bound for domestic ports up 6.3% Y-o-Y to 266.8 mln t in 11M’17
09:26 Baltic Dry Index up to 1,743 points
08:07 Port of Long Beach surges past 2016 cargo volume
07:51 ABS partnership enhances safety in Ghana’s offshore industry

2017 December 12

18:34 Shipping Corporation of India participated in relief efforts targeted at fisherman affected by OCKHI under
18:07 Konecranes to deliver its first Waste-to-Energy cranes to India
17:54 Fourth Feadship yard taking shape in Amsterdam
17:50 Major Baltic Sea policies reviewed ahead of HELCOM Ministerial Meeting
17:48 Skangas signs Letter of Intent with National Grid Grain LNG
17:46 Boskalis completes successful Aasta Hansteen float-over installation
17:00 Nefteflot delivers lead oil tanker of Project RST11 (photo)
15:03 Russia will support Finland’s proposal to IMO on evaluation of legal framework for unmanned navigation (photo)
14:27 Russia and Finland to submit joint proposal to IMO for accepting ship’s documents in e-format (photo)
14:01 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from ISC to North Europe and Mediterranean
13:39 GlavGosEkspertiza approves the project on construction of a multi-purpose for oil products at port Novorossiysk (photo)
13:01 MOL with partners agree to start a demonstration test of blockchain technology in cross-border trade operations
12:31 Seaspan accepts delivery of fourth 11000 TEU SAVER containership
12:01 Classification contract for CMA CGM’s 22,000 TEU dual-fuel containerships was signed at Marintec in Shanghai
11:48 MGO prices are still high at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
11:22 Russia invites Finland to designate a common water area in the Gulf of Finland not subject to ballast water exchange (photo)
11:13 Jan De Nul enters in JV company agreement with the Payra Port Authority to proceed with EUR 550 million port dredging contract
11:00 Ville Haapasaari named new CEO of the Port of Helsinki
10:51 CMA CGM to upgrade MIDAS Loop 1 connecting South Africa with Indian Subcontinent and Middle East Gulf
10:31 Brent Crude futures price up 1% to $65.34, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.5% to $58.28
10:08 Russia and Finland to cooperate in icebreaker assistance during 2017-2018 winter navigation season (photo)
09:40 Klaipeda Seaport Authority expands its fleet with new oil response and diving support vessel
09:19 Baltic Dry Index up to 1,727 points

2017 December 11

18:27 APL expands coverage in the Trans-Atlantic with New North Atlantic Service
18:07 Keppel secures S$130 million in projects from repeat customers
18:01 NOVATEK: LNG sales under long-term contracts will commence in April 2018
17:39 LR and UMAS release ‘Zero Emission Vessels 2030’ study
17:38 Port of Riga introduces new and innovative dry bulk handling technology
17:33 Van Oord completes expansion of Taiwan's largest port
17:16 ABB’s first Azipod® D propulsion system now in operation
17:06 Damen Schelde Gears acquired by RENK
16:55 Private sector partners in the pursuit of low carbon shipping
16:55 Teekay LNG Partners secures long-term financing for Yamal ARC7 LNG carriers
16:51 IMO Assembly adopts vision and strategic directions
16:33 Port of Helsinki’s West Terminal 2 awarded recognition for accessibility
16:03 Essar Vizag Terminal to take week-long shutdown to commission 8,000 TPH ship loader
15:47 Throughput of Russian seaports in 11M’17 grew by 9% to 716.7 mln t (detalization)
15:33 ICTSI agree on Motukea port project framework
15:19 Navigation season is over in Volga-Don Basin of Russia’s IWW (photo)
15:03 Port of Antwerp to invest 1.4 million euros over the next three years in seven projects
14:33 Maersk Line completes the divestment of Mercosul Line
14:21 Average wholesale prices for М-100 HFO down to RUB 13,104 in RF spot market
14:03 Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam, UWT and Smith Holland to launch an Empty Transferium at Maasvlakte’s ECT Euromax terminal
13:37 Aker Solutions to provide subsea production system for Aker BP's Ærfugl
13:12 Russian seaports handled 716.75 mln t of cargo in 11M’17, up 9% Y-o-Y
12:50 ABP on course to become one of UK’s biggest corporate solar power producers
12:24 Gdansk, Poland to host Transport Week 2018 on March 6-8
12:01 JNPT records growth of 5.76% in container handling DPD share up at 34.73 per cent