• 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 February 18

09:24 Hapag-Lloyd increases rates from Finland, Russia, Baltic States, Sweden, UK to East Asia (incl. Japan)
09:21 Preparing to define the Baltic Sea’s significant marine areas
09:19 Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates the Fourth Container Terminal of JNPT in Mumbai
09:14 Holland America Line to launch New EXC In-Depth Voyages

2018 February 16

18:06 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from the Indian Subcontinent to North Europe and the Mediterranean
17:54 Future Outlook Forum will take place on 20 March as part of Intermodal Asia 2018
17:36 Global Container Terminals orders 10 more Konecranes RTGs for its terminals in British Columbia
17:09 University of Kent partnership helps the Port of Dover cut queues and boost efficiency
17:06 Port of Oakland reports 2.1 percent increase in export volume in January 2017
16:58 Container throughput of port Hong Kong (China) up 9.2% to 1.81 million TEUs in January 2018
16:35 Royal Vopak expands Vopak tank terminal (JTT) in the Port of Jakarta - Indonesia
16:05 DP World signs agreement with government of Jammu and Kashmir at World Government Summit
15:53 Murmansk Sea Fishing Port handled 11,600 t of fish in January 2018, up 26.1% Y-o-Y (photo)
15:26 Cargo traffic through NSR in 2017 grew by 36% Y-o-Y to 9.9 mln t
15:25 PPR 5 agrees on the outline of IMO draft guidelines for implementation of the 2020 sulphur limit
15:01 NOVATEK to invest USD 1.5 billion in construction of LNG terminal at Kamchatka
14:37 Rosmorport announces tender for maintenance dredging at Volga-Caspian Canal
14:14 22 icebreaker escort operations performed in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on February 15-16
13:49 TransContainer’s net income in 2017 more than doubled Y-o-Y to RUB 5.42 million
13:25 Nuclear power plant of Vaygach icebreaker breaks Arktika’s record
12:30 Rosmorport appoints Irina Egorova as Chief Accountant of its Vanino Branch (photo)
11:56 BSM and Babcock International Group collaborate on innovative LNG Supply Vessel
11:23 EBRD supports efficient grain logistics in Ukraine
11:00 WFS, Marinvest, IINO, Mitsui, NYK to build four new ocean-going vessels capable of running on methanol
10:28 Research vessel Admiral Vladimirsky leaves Mumbai port, India
10:00 Port of Rotterdam container throughput up 12.3% in 2017
10:00 Brent Crude futures price up 0.51% to $64.66, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.54% to $61.67
09:39 New DNV GL class notations aim to improve stern tube bearing performance
09:34 Bunker prices continue going down at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:15 Baltic Dry Index down to 1,089 points

2018 February 15

18:27 Largest vessel to call at The Port of Philadelphia arrives from the West Coast of South America
18:06 Ampelmann gangway system installed succesfully on the Wagenborg Offshore's Walk to Work vessel
17:06 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from North Europe to China & Far East
16:57 Bunker market in anticipation of upward correction
16:38 Container throughput drives growth in Rotterdam
16:05 Caterpillar Marine announces upgrades to reman models in commercial and yachting applications
15:57 Kont to build 4 cruise terminals in the Leningrad Region
15:24 Number of maritime accidents in North Sea Canal Area down in 2017
15:04 LUKOIL's hydrocarbon production in 2017 up 2.4% Y-o-Y to 2.23 million boe per day
14:39 Peresvet and Oslyabya, ships of RF Navy’s Pacific Fleet, sail in training zone in Sea of Japan
14:16 UN Environment visits IMO
13:43 Jan De Nul to install wind turbine generators in Germany
13:12 Seaborne cargo throughput in Hamburg was stable Y-o-Y at 136.5 million tons
12:25 Railway infrastructure management issues of importance to Lithuania discussed with EU Transport Commissioner
12:01 ClassNK releases new PrimeShip-HULL (HCSR) software
11:44 Repair of tanker "President Heydar Aliyev" of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company completed
11:17 Fuel oil prices are going down at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
11:17 RIKON AS plans to launch manufacturing of mobile cranes in the Port of Riga
10:53 18 icebreaker escort operations performed in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on February 14-15
10:26 Posidonia 2018 to host international unveil of industry titans JV – International Maritime Industries
10:02 Brent Crude futures price up 0.81% to $64.88, Light Sweet Crude – up 1.14% to $61.28
09:40 Sailors of RF Navy’s Caspian Flotilla start training for Sea Cup 2018
09:18 Baltic Dry Index up to 1,095 points

2018 February 14

18:14 Tilbury2 examination process begins
17:51 PortXL selected port related start-ups and scale-ups for 2018
17:25 The Finnish Supreme Court did not grant the leave to appeal on the fairway dues dispute between Finnlines and the Finnish State
17:03 Documentation for maintenance dredging at Kavkaz and Taman ports obtains state environmental approval (photo)
16:44 PTP enforced FAS decision on the appeal of Baltic Sea Tug Agency
16:25 CMA CGM announces PSS from North Europe to Canada East Coast
15:52 Rosmorport target classroom opens at Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping