NEWS 

Deal reached to avert port strike for now

Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:06pm EST

(Reuters) - A union representing dockworkers on the U.S. East Coast and an alliance of shippers have reached a labor agreement that will avert a strike that threatened to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.

The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), which represents 14,500 workers at 15 container ports in the eastern United States, and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) of shippers, terminal operators and port authorities, have agreed to extend their current contract by 30 days to finalize details, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said in a statement on Friday.

Both sides have agreed "in principle" on the contentious issue of royalty payments for shipping containers, payments to ILA workers based on the tons of container cargo that move through a port.

The statement on Friday was light on details of the actual agreement, and the USMX declined to comment further. The ILA could not be reached for comment.

Read more:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/28/us-usa-ports-deal-idUSBRE8BR0ET20121228   

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An East Coast Port Strike Could Cost America A Billion Dollars A Day

As talks between the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance take place in a shroud of secrecy to avert a strike by 14,500 longshoremen members working at 14 major East Coast ports on December 30, one manufacturing association puts the cost of a potential strike at a billion dollars a day.

Robyn Boerstling, director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says manufacturers have been making preparations to reduce the impact on supply chains and avoid disruptions to production capabilities in anticipation of a strike.

"Manufacturers are trying to protect jobs and minimize the damage of potential supply chain disruptions from a costly strike, which could cost an estimated billion dollars a day," she told CNBC.



Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100342336#ixzz2GMLpdgIx

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Melting sea ice opens up faster freighter route

McClatchy Newspapers

Published Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012

WASHINGTON – In a twist to the debate over global warming, melting Arctic sea ice is making it easier to transport the fossil fuels that produce the planet-warming gases, which appear to be causing it to thaw in the first place.

As a result, a record number of tankers have gained access to an emerging shipping route, creating a potential industrial boon in the remote Arctic.

The increasingly ice-free route runs from Europe to Asian markets through the Bering Strait, which divides Alaska and Russia. It can be 40 percent shorter than the southern alternative of shipping through the Suez Canal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to turn it into one of the world's "key trade routes of international significance in scale," as Russia moves to export Arctic oil and gas to China and other hungry economies in the Far East.

Read more:  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/27/5077673/melting-sea-ice-opens-up-faster.html

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Dockworkers Strike Threatens to Close East Coast Ports

Published: December 26, 2012  By

  

                                              Librado Romero/Reuters

Anyone who has seen “On the Waterfront” knows East Coast longshoremen can be a tough bunch.

The dockworkers are flexing their muscles again, threatening a strike beginning Sunday that would shut seaports from Massachusetts to Texas. It would be the first such coastwide strike since a two-month walkout in 1977 paralyzed the flow of tens of billions of dollars of imports — and the nation’s retailers and other businesses fear a painful replay if the 14,500 dockworkers make good on their threats.

“Unless something miraculous happens, I think we’re looking at a strike,” said Kevin M. Burke, president of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which represents an industry that imports $72 billion in dresses, shoes and other goods each year through the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports facing a possible shutdown.        

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/business/dockworkers-strike-threatens-to-close-east-coast-ports.html   

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Hundreds of flights delayed, canceled as holiday storms travel across country

By NBC News staff and wire reports

Some 683 flights were canceled or delayed early Wednesday as storms across the U.S. continued to cause travel chaos for millions of travelers.

Before daybreak on Wednesday, the travel website flightsStats.com reported that 372 flights were canceled and 311 delayed. The disruptions come as many families will be trying to make their way home after the holiday celebrations.

Travel on the roads was also affected with icy conditions reported across the nation’s midsection.

The storms contributed to a 21-vehicle pile-up Tuesday that shut down a major highway in Oklahoma City, as well as tens of thousands of power outages.

Read more: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/26/16161514-hundreds-of-flights-delayed-canceled-as-holiday-storms-travel-across-country?lite

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US East Coast Ports Strike Expected

Shipping & Shipbuilding News - 23 December 2012 It looks increasingly likely that the USA will be plunged into another dockers strike as the International Longshoremen's Association's disagreement with the United States Maritime Alliance (port employers'group) shows no sign of being resolved. The union had already posted a strike preparation notice on its website last week, detailing precisely how the strike would be conducted, including rules on cargo handling and picketing. The row principally centres over Container handling royalties. These have been in place since the early days of containerisation in the sixties and were an agreed recompense for the rationalisation and reduction in man-hours that containerised cargo brought with it. The longeshoremen's union is adamant that the royalties should stay in place. They have offered a solution, which is that if the employers wish to end the royalties scheme (worth $4.85 for each ton of containerised cargo) then the union said they can do so...provided the containers are 'stuffed and stripped' by ILA members at the warehouses. The ports that will be affected are on the East and Gulf Coasts of the USA.

Read more: http://www.shippingtimes.co.uk/item_10436.html

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Potential December Strike for East Coast Ports

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have yet to reach an agreement regarding the ILA’s contract, which expires on December 30th at 12:01a.m.

A strike by the 14,500 members of the ILA would affect 15 major ports from Massachusetts to Texas – Boston, New York/New Jersey, Delaware River, Baltimore, Hampton Roads, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Port Everglades, Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans and Houston. 

Billions of dollars worth of imported goods arrive into the US through these ports, and more than 50% of ocean freight into and out of the US passes through the East or Gulf Coast ports.

A trickledown effect of this strike would be the thousands of other workers who handle the freight - truckers, railroad and warehouse workers - who would be temporarily out of work. In the event of a strike expect equipment challenges and rail disruptions.

It has been noted that a one-day strike could result in a 3-to-4 week delay at the ports.  If a strike lasts longer than one day it could result in a 6-to-8 week delay.  The delay time for shipments will increase for each day of the strike. 

It would be beneficial to prepare a contingency plan ahead of this potential strike to prevent disruptions, delays and backlogs.  Consider various routes, modes of transportation and earlier departure options.

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