• 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.




2018 August 16

12:16 Damen Shipyards Galati celebrates 125 years
12:09 Okskaya Sudoverf Shipyard launches 6th serial barge of Project ROB20
12:03 Boskalis presents half-year results and terminates loss-making low-end transport activities
11:59 Port of Oakland container volume up 3.6 percent in July 2018
11:45 Rolls-Royce launches new battery system for ships
10:58 DP World revenue up 14.4% in H1 2018
10:57 VARD secures contract for one autonomous and electric-driven container vessel for YARA
09:39 EU NAVFOR mission operation commander visits Spanish MPRA in Djibouti
09:21 Baltic Dry Index gains to 1725 points

2018 August 15

18:33 Equinor extends partnership with The Arctic Race of Norway
17:56 Port Kavkaz seven-month volumes soar 30% Y/Y to 25.21 million tonnes
17:36 Russian Gov't to allocate RUB 500 million in subsidies to support small-tonnage fishing ships construction, Rosrybolovstvo says
17:34 Maersk Line to rise rates from Far East to East Coast South America
17:30 Yang Ming orders ten 2,800 TEU containerships
17:19 Nor-Shipping 2019 takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, Norway, from 04 to 07 June 2019
16:05 New Times Shipbuilding announces delivery of oil tanker
15:04 Rosrybolovstvo looks into building a series of three RVs as from 2020
15:04 Concordia Maritime AB announces interim report for H1 2018
14:12 Multipurpose Reloading Complex spends over RUB 600,000 on employee benefits and rewards programme
13:20 Konecranes to deliver more electric RTGs to Luka Koper in Slovenia
13:02 Join Marinet Conference at SMM 2018, Hamburg
12:32 Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives green light to NLR construction project
12:01 WW Ocean presents new-look trade maps resembling public transit maps
11:15 Port of Vancouver posts H1 2018 results
10:41 Aker Solutions wins orders for Liuhua power umbilical systems in China
10:21 Nor-Shipping 2019 devotes entire hall to new focus on Blue Economy
10:05 Crude oil futures drop 0.22% to $72.3 in London and 0.48% to $66.72 in New York
09:29 Bunker prices at Port of St. Petersburg show mixed movements

2018 August 14

18:30 Hapag-Lloyd annonces General Rate Increase from East Asia to USA and Canada
18:12 FE Railways' loaded freight in Jan-Jul up 2% to 28.2 million tonnes
18:07 Hapag-Lloyd changes terminals at Genoa on its MPS service
17:47 British Ports Association launch Sustainable Development Resolution
17:45 Euro Tank Terminal extends jetty at the port of Rotterdam
17:31 MEYER WERFT holds float out procedure for cruise ship for AIDA Cruises
17:29 APM Terminals launches online customer platform in Bahrain
17:27 MED MARINE delivers a 24m ASD Tug from Turkey to Estonia
16:24 Offshore installation vessel starts work on Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm
15:44 Logistec Corporation declares quarterly drvidends on shares
15:21 Vessel Performance Optimisation Forum Singapore initial speakers announced
15:02 Danaos Corporation announces closing of comprehensive debt refinancing
14:16 Sea Port St. Petersburg earmarked over $337,000 for bonus and social responsibility programmes
14:13 TTS Group ASA secures new contracts for access equipment and cranes for two reefer vessels
14:06 Ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga support green shipping, to implement incentives for LNG-powered ships as from August 15, 2018
13:39 Bunker prices in Far East seaports edge down
13:14 ExxonMobil is first to supply via an independently accredited MFMS in ARA
13:10 Port of Brisbane announce a successful bid for funding of Heavy Vehicle Safety Around Ports project
12:13 HHLA posts operating result for H1 2018
11:29 Rosterminalugol’s seven-month coal throughput hits the 13-million tonne mark
11:11 Crude oil futures price rises to $73.28 (London) and $67.81 (New York)
11:01 Diana Shipping announces continuation of time charter contract for m/v Protefs and a new time charter contract for m/v Nirefs with Hudson
10:58 GeoSea has taken delivery of self-propelled DP2 jack-up vessel ‘Apollo’
10:09 Safe Bulkers announces acquisition of a Capesize class dry-bulk vessel
09:30 Consolidated Marine Management selects ABS Advanced Solutions Enterprise Asset Management
09:14 Baltic Dry Index gains 18 points edging up to 1800pts mark
09:00 ABP to develop new technologies with Rolls Royce and Svitzer

2018 August 13

18:41 Port of Helsinki seven-month volume grows 10% to 8.88 million tonnes
18:27 Russian Gov’t to lend a helping hand to BAM and Transsib modernization project
18:23 HII awarded advance planning contract for CVN 74 RCOH
17:54 Nord Stream 2 submits application and EIA for an alternative route in Denmark
17:47 Board of Harbor Commissioners promotes Casey Hehr as Port of Long Beach Security Director