• 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.




2019 January 19

14:02 Deltamarin contracted to continue with Titanic II project
12:51 SGRE launches 10 MW offshore wind turbine
11:44 Algoma increases its interest in the ocean self-unloader Pool

2019 January 18

18:06 North Carolina Ports sets new record in 2018
17:47 Freight turnover of Neva-Metal (Saint-Petersburg) in 2018 climbed by 3% Y-o-Y to about 3.2 million tonnes
17:25 Okskaya Sudoverf obtains patent for state-of-the-art pontoons
17:06 Hamburg prepares for ‘Hard Brexit’
16:44 Throughput of port Primorsk in 2018 fell by 7% Y-o-Y to 53.48 million tonnes
16:23 GTT receives a new order from SHI to design the tanks of two LNG carriers on behalf of Gaslog
16:20 NOVATEK elects new Board of Directors
15:56 Throughput of port Vyborg in 2018 grew by 25% Y-o-Y to 1.93 million tonnes
15:33 Stena Line’s first new generation ferry ‘floats’ in China
15:21 Bunker sales at the port of Singapore in 2018 fell by 1.7% Y-o-Y to 49.8 million tonnes
15:03 Panama Direct service CMA CGM to resume weekly rotations
14:47 Throughput of port Vysotsk in 2018 climbed by 7% Y-o-Y to 18.79 million tonnes
14:33 GranIHC appointed contractor for Equinor’s Peregrino Phase II Project
14:19 Port of Ust-Luga handled 98.72 million tonnes in 2018, down 4% Y-o-Y
14:03 Algoma Central Corporation increases its interest in ocean self-unloader Pool
13:50 18 vessels escorted by icebreakers in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on January 17-18
13:35 Throughput of the Port of St. Petersburg in 2018 up 11% Y-o-Y to 59.32 million tonnes
13:18 CMA CGM unites its Containerships and MacAndrews brands
13:11 Vladimir Putin supports Government’s proposal on expanding Far East Ministry’s functions with Arctic issues
12:49 Throughput of port Kavkaz in 2018 grew by 11% Y-o-Y to 49.276 million tonnes
12:26 MV Werften purchases Neptun Ship Design
12:08 Sakaide shipyard holds naming ceremony for new LNG carrier jointly owned by NYK and JERA
11:38 PGNiG SA signs agreement for oil and gas exploration and production in UAE
11:14 Remote pilotage to be allowed in Finland
10:47 Free zone status is a crucial advantage for the future development of the Freeport of Riga
10:06 Ice restrictions at the port of Ust-Luga come into effect on January 31
09:42 Brent Crude futures price up 0.9% to $61.73, Light Sweet Crude – up 1.09% to $52.64
09:20 Baltic Dry Index is up to 1,077 points

2019 January 17

18:13 PORT OF KIEL presents annual results 2018
17:51 Ice restrictions at the port of Primorsk come into effect on January 25
17:28 Global Ports sets up a common service call centre
17:09 EFIP welcomes and supports the European Parliament position on the Connecting Europe Facility for 2021-2027
17:05 North Sea Port monitoring the Brexit closely
16:44 ABP invests £700K to boost storage at Port of Ipswich
16:27 Global fuel market: still many uncertainties in both demand and supply
16:22 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from ISC to North Europe and the Mediterranean
16:05 OCEAN Alliance extends duration of OCEAN Alliance to ten years
15:42 COSCO SHIPPING Ports signs agreement with PSA to add two new berths at the terminal in Boao, Hainan
15:31 Liebherr supports the 6th International Forum of Dredging Companies as its Sponsor
15:02 Ocean Yield ASA agrees to acquire a modern Suezmax tanker for a consideration of USD 56.0 mln
14:02 SEACOR Marine enters agreement to acquire three additional platform supply vessels from affiliates of COSCO Shipping Group
13:49 Throughput of Chinese ports grew by 4.2% to 9.22 billion tonnes in 2018
13:32 Jensen Maritime provides design for Shaver Transportation’s new tugboat
13:14 OOCL rolls out third phase of Ocean Alliance product refinements
12:50 Baltic Ports Organization’s schedule for 2019 is set
12:38 Port of Los Angeles breaks all-time cargo record in 2018
12:26 Qatar accedes to load lines convention
12:01 Sunseeker International and Rolls-Royce to present first production yacht with MTU hybrid power in 2020
11:51 Bunker prices continue going down at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
11:38 Port of Zeebrugge handled 40.1 million tonnes in 2018
11:25 Nor-Shipping reveals stellar line-up for Ocean Leadership Conference
10:52 10 vessels escorted by icebreakers in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on January 16-17
10:28 NOVATEK’s hydrocarbon production totaled 548.4 million boe in 2018, up 6.9% Y-o-Y
10:03 Brent Crude futures price down 0.34% to $61.11, Light Sweet Crude – down 0.54% to $52.03
09:39 Tallink and Taltech to collaborate on developing smart ship solutions
09:17 Baltic Dry Index is down to 1,055 points

2019 January 16

18:36 Kongsberg Gruppen enters into an agreement with Rome AS to divest Kongsberg Evotec