NEWS 

10 Best Cities for Jobs in America

By David Oliver , Associate Editor, Social Media
Sept. 12, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.

If you're angling for a new job, you might want to thank a new report for narrowing down your list.

According to U.S. jobs website Glassdoor's latest jobs report, Pittsburgh is No. 1 among "25 Best Cities for Jobs in 2017," followed by Indianapolis and Kansas City, Missouri, in the report released late Tuesday.

The top 25 metro areas are scattered within the country, with San Jose, California, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Washington among those that made the list. Three Ohio cities made the top 10.

Glassdoor weighed three factors equally in its ranking methodology: job opportunity, the cost of living and job satisfaction.

Statistics for each metro area include the number of job openings, median base salary, median home value and "hot jobs" in the area.

For Pittsburgh, Glassdoor reported there were 95,399 job openings, the median base salary was $44,000, and civil engineer, project manager and registered nurse were some of the hot jobs in the area.

Technology and financial hubs such as San Francisco and New York did not end up on the list, but do have healthy job markets, Glassdoor noted in a statement accompanying the report.

"What this jobs report shows is that many mid sized cities stand out for offering a great mix of a thriving job market with plenty of opportunity, paired with home affordability and being regions where employees are more satisfied in their jobs too," Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain said in the statement.

A look at the top 10 metro areas is below, and you can check out the complete list here.

Rank Metro Area
1 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2 Indianapolis, Indiana
3 Kansas City, Missouri
4 Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
5 St. Louis, Missouri
6 Memphis, Tennessee
7 Columbus, Ohio
8 Cincinnati, Ohio
9 Cleveland, Ohio
10 Louisville, Kentucky

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-09-12/these-are-the-10-best-cities-for-jobs-in-america

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State Department issues travel alert for Europe

Key points:

·        In particular, the State Department said matches and events associated with the European soccer championship (UEFA Euro 2016), hosted by France from June 10 to July 10, could represent “potential targets for terrorists.” France has extended its state of emergency through July 26, a period which also includes the Tour de France cycling race.

·        The department also said the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, which is expected to draw 2.5 million people between July 26 and 31, could pose problems. Of particular concern is the expected strain on local infrastructure from the influx of millions of people.

https://www.balglobal.com/News/News/Details/tabid/1136/id/5212/language/en-US/UNITED-STATES-June-1-2016-State-Department-issues-travel-alert-for-Europe.aspx

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Delays expected due to blizzard

UNITED STATES (Jan. 25, 2016) – Delays expected due to blizzard

Following a record-breaking winter storm, many U.S. government agencies, foreign embassies, consulates and other offices remain closed in the Washington, D.C. area, and services have been impacted in states from New York to North Carolina.

All applicants should anticipate delays in immigration, visa and other services, as the aftermath of the storm is also disrupting mail delivery and transportation. FedEx and UPS are both reporting significant delays in package and mail services.

In addition, as the area digs out of the snow in the coming days, government and consular offices that reopen may be operating with reduced staff due to road conditions and transportation affecting personnel who commute to those offices.

Winter Storm Jonas began Friday and dumped more than two feet of snow on the East Coast over the weekend with some areas reporting more than 40 inches. Federal and local government offices in the D.C. area remained closed Monday as did public schools in several states. Local transportation is also running on restricted schedules. Airlines canceled approximately 12,000 flights since Friday.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Courtesy of https://www.balglobal.com/News/News/Details/tabid/1136/id/4941/language/en-US/UNITED-STATES-Jan-25-2016-Delays-expected-due-to-blizzard.aspx

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Despite West Coast ports' labor deal, normality not yet on horizon

Shaming of both sides seems to have helped bring about resolution in West Coast port labor dispute
Labor dispute at West Coast ports 'wrought havoc' on the soybean industry

West Coast ports are emerging from the most contentious labor dispute in more than a decade, but lingering resentment and structural problems may complicate a return to normality.

Activity picked up Saturday at Western harbors after the dockworkers union and employers reached a tentative agreement late Friday on a new five-year contract that will cover 20,000 workers at 29 ports.

The resolution followed months of difficult negotiations that contributed to an extended slowdown at the docks. Cargo was stranded, disrupting operations for Central Valley citrus growers, Midwest auto factories, McDonald's restaurants in Japan and many other businesses.

The ordeal darkened public perception of major trade portals such as the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, which together process 40% of the nation's incoming container cargo. Experts said that members of the Pacific Maritime Assn. — large shipping lines and port terminal operators — and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have a hard fight ahead to win back respect and lost customers.

"I think the parties have an understanding of the impact of this disruption," U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in an interview. "They understand that they not only have to restore service, they have to restore confidence."

Perez was dispatched by President Obama to meet with employers and the union last week and urge settlement on a new contract. A few months after the last contract expired in July, activity at the ports began to dramatically slow and each side blamed the other.

Shaming appears to have been among the tactics used to encourage a resolution.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the talks and told negotiators that they were wasting time with internal squabbles as competition loomed from ports in Mexico and the opening of a widened Panama Canal due next year.

Please continue www.latimes.com

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Vessels backing up at an alarming rate on the West Coast

 | Jan 28, 2015 9:21PM EST

Vessels are backing up at an alarming rate at West Coast ports due to congested marine terminals and work slowdowns by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The Marine Exchange of Southern California reported Wednesday that 17 container ships were at anchor and awaiting berths in Los Angeles-Long Beach. Oakland reported that five container ships were at anchor, and Tacoma reported six at anchor.

This is a dangerous condition because vessel backlogs upset the weekly scheduled sailings from Asia to the West Coast, and that has a cascading effect throughout the market. The Paris-based consultancy Alphaliner reported this week that vessels have been thrown off schedule by as many as three weeks, forcing carriers to add 36 additional ships to their trans-Pacific rotations to the West Coast. Furthermore, some carriers are running “extra-loaders” on all-water services to the East Coast. These unscheduled, single-voyage vessels carry cargo that would otherwise have moved through the West Coast.

Port congestion on the West Coast has been building since last summer, and Alphaliner said that it is now the “worst-ever case of U.S. port congestion on record,” an observation that’s hard to argue with.

Meanwhile, contract negotiations between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association are on-going and were continuing all day on Wednesday, said ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees. Negotiations began on May 12, 2014. The ILWU has been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired on July 1.

West Coast ports have struggled with mounting congestion since last summer. A number of factors contributed to the problem, including big ships operated by carrier alliances that generate huge container volumes in a single vessel call. In Los Angeles-Long Beach, the largest vessels generate as many as 10,000 container moves per call. Since the vessels carry containers from as many as six different carriers, the containers are spread out over multiple terminals, creating a logistical nightmare for truckers and equipment providers. Chassis shortages and dislocations and service issues on the transcontinental rail networks compounded the congestion problems.

Port congestion deteriorated rapidly at the end of October when the ILWU implemented work slowdowns in Seattle-Tacoma and Oakland. The PMA said the slowdowns were orchestrated by the union to exert leverage in the contract negotiations. In Los Angeles-Long Beach, the ILWU cut down the daily dispatch of skilled yard crane operators from 110 to 35, bringing the largest U.S. port complex to near gridlock, the PMA has stated.

The ILWU blames the gridlock and backlog of vessels at anchor on two issues -- pre-existing port congestion since last summer and a decision by employers late last year to suspend all night shifts at Seattle, Tacoma and Oakland, and to suspend vessel unloading (but not yard and gate operations) on the night shifts in Los Angeles-Long Beach.

The PMA said that since terminals in Southern California are operating at 95 to 97 percent of capacity, employers decided to suspend vessel unloading on the night shifts in order to clear out some of the container backlog in the yards to make room for containers to be discharged on the next morning when vessel unloading resumed.

Contract negotiations in San Francisco have been held under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service since Jan. 6. A possibly significant breakthrough was made on Monday when the PMA confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached on the issue of ILWU jurisdiction over container maintenance and repair. That issue had been holding up the negotiations since the beginning of the year.

However, other issues such as wages, pensions and the length of the new contract must still be resolved.

The congestion is also showing up in diversion of cargo to ports in Canada and on the U.S. East Coast. Container volume in Los Angeles-Long Beach declined 1 percent in December compared to December 2013, while East Coast gateways as well as Prince Rupert, Canada, were reporting double-digit growth.

Courtesy of www.joc.com


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UNITED STATES (Oct. 30, 2014) – Four states implement quarantines for certain travelers

Illinois, New York and New Jersey announced mandatory quarantine procedures last week for travelers arriving or returning to the United States from Ebola-stricken countries. California followed yesterday with quarantine protocols but stopped short of imposing a blanket rule.

The policies are in effect at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, O’Hare International Airport as well as all airports in California.

Anyone traveling from Guinea, Liberia or Seirra Leone who has had contact with someone confirmed to have Ebola – including health care workers and volunteers – are subject to a 21-day quarantine even if they exhibit no symptoms. The quarantine requires home isolation and providing temperature readings to state health officials. New York and New Jersey have made the quarantine mandatory. In Illinois, the quarantine is also mandatory, though officials carved out an exception for medical workers who followed appropriate protective measures. California, meantime, said it will consider quarantining on a case-by-case basis and only for those who have had contact with a person with a confirmed case of Ebola.

New York is also requiring that all individuals with a travel history to any of the three Ebola-stricken West African countries, regardless of whether they were in contact with an Ebola patient, be monitored by state officials, and if necessary, quarantined.

A nurse who was put under a mandatory 21-day quarantine by New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has criticized the isolation measures as having a chilling effect on health care workers. She has tested negative for Ebola and remains under quarantine. President Barack Obama has also spoken out against such quarantines that go beyond the federal response.

BAL Analysis: The four states are the first to announce quarantine protocols related to the Ebola outbreak. All travelers flying from the affected region should be prepared for the extra screening and quarantine measures.

Courtesy of www.balglobal.com

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UNITED STATES (Oct. 23, 2014) – US imposes 21-day monitoring of travelers from Ebola-affected countries

Travelers from three West African nations hit by the Ebola outbreak will be required to report their temperatures and other health conditions every day for a three-week period after arriving in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. The CDC program is designed to identify people with symptoms of Ebola to reduce chances that the virus will spread.

The CDC's move follows an announcement earlier this week that the Department of Homeland Security will require all travelers flying from any of the three countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to enter the U.S. only via one of five airports set up for enhanced health screening.

The CDC monitoring will cover everyone whose travels originate from the three West African countries, regardless of nationality.

The program will be launched Oct. 27 in six states that the CDC says receive 70 percent of the travelers in question – Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It will be rolled out soon in other states where travelers from the three countries are residing, the CDC said.

Travelers entering the U.S. from the three countries will be required to:

  • Provide telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses and other contact information so that officials can keep tabs on their whereabouts.

  • Report daily to state or local authorities on their temperature as well as the presence or absence of possible Ebola symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, among others.

  • Self-monitor using a CARE (Check And Report Ebola) kit they will be given to help them identify and log possible symptoms.

If travelers do not report their conditions as required, state or local officials will attempt to locate them to resume daily monitoring.

The monitoring will continue for 21 days following a traveler's arrival from one of the Ebola-affected countries. Twenty-one days is the longest it can take for a person infected with Ebola to begin showing symptoms.

"The bottom line here is that we have to keep up our guard against Ebola," said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a teleconference with reporters.

BAL Analysis: Travelers of all nationalities flying to the U.S. from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should prepare for daily post-travel monitoring upon arrival.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Courtesy of www.balglobal.com

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*Latest Update - Information Regarding Ongoing Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) Performance Issues and Steps Taken

Consular Consolidated Database: Updates on Operational Status.

  • We have made significant progress and issued most of the worldwide backlog of nonimmigrant visa cases.  We are working to bring the Consular Consolidated Database back to full operational capacity.
  • We continue to prioritize immigrant visas, adoption cases, and emergency nonimmigrant visa cases.  We are printing visas for these cases AND ALL CASES with very few delays.
  • Please check with the embassy or consulate where you will apply for additional information.   

Courtesy of US Department of State

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Information Regarding Ongoing Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) Performance Issues and Steps Taken

from US Passports & International Travel - US Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs

The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) is still performing below its normal operational capacity. However, to give you an idea of the progress we have made, since July 20, our embassies and consulates have printed close to 250,000 nonimmigrant visas globally. Based on our average production figures, we would have anticipated issuing closer to 480,000 nonimmigrant visas in that time period, indicating we have been able to print documents for just over half of all approved travelers.

It will take some weeks before we are back to normal turnaround times on issued visas.

We continue to prioritize immigrant visas, adoption cases, and emergency nonimmigrant visa cases. We are printing visas for these cases with very few delays.

Nearly all passports are being issued within our customer service standards, despite the system problems. We are issuing passports for emergency travel without delay.  

More details and FAQs

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Technical Glitch Clogs Up U.S. Visa System

By MIRIAM JORDAN And FELICIA SCHWARTZ CONNECT

A technical glitch has hampered the U.S.'s ability to issue visas around the globe, stranding thousands of foreign businesspeople, high-tech workers, performers and athletes trying to travel into the country.

The data-processing system experienced significant performance issues, including outages, between July 19 and July 23. The database was brought back online on July 23, but the system still isn't fully functional, according to the State Department. Experts estimate tens of thousands of visas are working their way through the pipeline.

More
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"This really is unprecedented," said Jonathan Ginsburg, a Fairfax, Va., immigration attorney. "Even one day's delay in visa issuances—especially on a systemic basis—creates an enormous backlog that, in turn, taxes the resources of each visa-issuing post because, of course, they're busy issuing visas every day." More than 200 U.S. consular posts world-wide issue a total of several thousand visas each day.

Mr. Ginsburg said he has clients waiting in Asia and Europe without any idea when they will be able to travel. Their passports are in the possession of U.S. consular authorities, he said.

Arek Nizamian, a Los Angeles attorney, said a Korean client approved for an investor visa had planned to be in California on Monday to close on the purchase of a business. Despite passing an interview at the consulate, he hadn't received his passport with the visa stamp.

"This is a disaster," said Mr. Nizamian. "The deal is in jeopardy." On Wednesday, he said, the client received an email saying that technical problems "are affecting operations globally" and that officials couldn't predict how long the delay will last.

The Consular Consolidated Database contains millions of visa files and photographs and links to other federal agency security databases, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation's fingerprint-identification system. The State Department also runs facial recognition and name checks through the system. In 2013, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued 9.1 million nonimmigrant visas and nearly 500,000 immigrant visas.

Continue www.wsj.com

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Port truck drivers picket harbor-area trucking companies

More than 120 truck drivers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports walked off the job Monday morning, organizers said, launching an indefinite protest against what they say are widespread workplace violations.

The picket lines are the largest demonstration yet against several regional truck companies that haul freight from the nation's largest port complex. Drivers argue they are improperly classified as independent contractors, leaving them with fewer workplace protections and lower pay than if they were company employees, protest organizers said.

Unlike previous protests, organizers haven't set an end date. Monday's picket lines, backed by Teamsters Local 848, target three harbor-area companies: Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation.

It is the fourth such protest in the last year. Drivers plan to picket at the firms' trucking yards and then follow the rigs to port terminals. The protests had not disrupted operations at the Port of Long Beach as of 8:30 a.m., a port spokesman said. At the Port of Los Angeles, operations were also unaffected as of 9 a.m., a spokesman said.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents employers, are negotiating a new agreement after a six-year deal at 29 West Coast ports expired July 1.

It wasn't immediately clear if dockworkers would honor Monday's picket lines. 

Full article latimes.com

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Labor talks for U.S. West Coast ports to continue despite end of deal

LOS ANGELES Tue Jul 1, 2014 11:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - Labor negotiations between operators of West Coast port terminals and the union representing nearly 20,000 dock workers will continue, even though a six-year labor agreement expired on Tuesday, both sides said.

Labor talks at West Coast ports typically extend beyond the contract expiration date, but retailers had expressed nervousness at the impending expiration of the contract.

Officials from both the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the port employers, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents dock workers, have said they do not anticipate labor disruptions.

"While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union," the two organizations said in a joint statement.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation in a recent report estimated a 10-day work stoppage at West Coast ports would cost the U.S. economy $2.1 billion a day and result in the loss of 169,000 jobs.

The talks involve 29 ports along the length of the U.S. West Coast, including major hubs in Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California and Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state.

Key issues in the talks have included rising healthcare costs and the use of outside contract labor.

Article from Reuters

 

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Labour Disruption At West Coast Ports, Retailers Worried as Economy On Stake

Canada’s biggest port was slowed to a crawl when truck drivers went on strike for 28 days in March and union spokesman Gavin McGarrigle said they are now having difficulties getting trucking companies to comply with measures in the resolution.

However it’s not just the Canadian ports facing the heat. A new study from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US by economists at the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland brought under the spotlight the economic harm that could result from a labour disruption at US ports.

The west coast ports are America’s gateway for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade with Asia and beyond and are also under the influence of labor unrest and even violence.

As negotiations continue for a new contract agreement covering 13,600 dockworkers at 30 ports stretching from San Diego, Calif., to Bellingham, Wash., the study shows the U.S. economy could lose as much as $2.5 billion a day if a prolonged West Coast port shutdown occurs.

The current labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Association Union (ILWU) and port operators along the U.S. West Coast is set to expire on June 30, 2014.

“A protracted dispute between the negotiating parties could lead to reduced or shuttered terminal operations for an extended period,” the study warned. “If such disruptions occur, the economic impact would be significant and widespread.”

Full article from Wall Street OTC

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Weather, Congestion Produce Chassis Shortages

per www.joc.com 

Winter weather has combined with congestion at terminals and backlogs for repairs to produce chassis shortages at the Port of New York and New Jersey and at Midwest rail terminals.

New York-New Jersey drayage drivers have complained for weeks about tight supplies of chassis at some terminals.

Truckers are reluctant to send drivers to congested terminals where they may spend several hours merely returning a chassis. Terminals also have a large backlog of chassis that have been “deadlined” for repairs by International Longshoremen’s Association mechanics.

“The fellows aren’t returning chassis. They’re holding onto them,” said Dick Jones, executive director of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers. “They’d rather the per-diem than send a driver back with an empty chassis and gamble on being able to find a good one.”

Another contributor to chassis shortages is extended free time for container usage that shippers often negotiate with ocean carriers. Many roadworthy chassis are sitting under containers waiting to be unloaded at distribution centers.

“It’s really affecting the flow of commerce,” said Eric Zeitouni, president of Blue Arrow Warehouse in Monroe, N.J. “It’s causing a frenzy in the entire market.”

Slow deliveries keep chassis out of system

Chassis shortages haven’t been limited to marine terminals. A series of winter storms have slowed deliveries at warehouses across the Midwest and slowed the return of intermodal equipment.

“It’s all due to the weather and the good chassis not being returned at the velocity the terminals need,” said Jason Hilsenbeck, owner of Load-Match and Drayage.com. “All the good chassis get sucked right out of the terminals, and you’re left with the ones that need repair.”

“I have emails from truckers in Chicago saying their parking lots are overflowing with containers that still need to be delivered. Those chassis probably are good, but they’re not available to take other containers,” he said.

“You can go from Minneapolis to Chicago to Detroit to Cleveland, over to Boston, down to New York and Norfolk, and come back through Cincinnati — that’s your path of congestion and severe chassis shortages,” Hilsenbeck said.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach complex in Southern California is also suffering from chassis “dislocations,” which are leading to long turn times for truckers at terminals. Problems there are linked to carriers’ sale of containers as they get out of the chassis provision business.

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Winter Weather Closes Southern US Ports

JOC Staff | Jan 28, 2014 10:22AM EST

Forecasts of freezing rain and icy roads and bridges have led to announcements of halts in service at ports from Virginia to Texas.

  • The Port of Virginia said its truck gates, empty container yards and rail operations would close from 5 p.m. today to 1 p.m. tomorrow, but that the schedule might be modified if conditions change.
  • Virginia’s Newport News Marine Terminal will close from 2 p.m. today until 8 a.m. The port authority said vessels on berth will work until 9 p.m., but most pier-side cargo operations are expected to be completed by 7 p.m. Vessel operations at Norfolk International Terminals and APM Terminals Portsmouth will resume at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
  • The port authority said weather is not forecast to have an impact on cargo operations at Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal, or the Port of Richmond.
  • The North Carolina State Ports Authority said its Wilmington and Morehead City terminals would be closed to port authority employees today but that tenants would have access.
  • The South Carolina Ports Authority said Charleston terminals would close from 3 p.m. today until 1 p.m. tomorrow but that the schedule might be altered if conditions changed.
  • The Port of Houston said its Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals and its Turning Basin breakbulk terminals would be closed all day today.
  • The Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Container Terminal is closed today, along with schools and most government offices in the area. Terminal operator Ports America said an update was expected this afternoon about tomorrow’s operations.
  • The Alabama Port Authority said its public seaport terminals were closed until further notice because worsening weather expected to bring freezing rain and ice, 20- to 30-knot winds, and 10-foot seas offshore. The port authority said vessel arrivals and departures wouldn’t be affected but that ice accumulations of up to three tenths of an inch would make roads and bridges hazardous.
  • The port authorities advised customers to check port websites for updates.

www.joc.com

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Once-in-a-generation winter storm descends on Deep South

A brutal winter freeze began to descend on the Deep South early Tuesday with a huge swath of the region in the crosshairs of a storm that forecasters called "potentially paralyzing."

The storm was still in its infancy at 3:30 a.m. ET but meteorologists at The Weather Channel said they already had reports of sleet and freezing rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Schools from the Lone Star State to Florida earlier announced that they would close Tuesday, and the storm is playing havoc with air travel. As of 6:45 a.m. ET, airlines had cancelled 2,665 flights across the country, with Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental airports bearing the brunt, according to FlightAware early Tuesday.

Winter storm alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service all the way from central Texas eastward through the Gulf Coast into Georgia, the Carolinas and far southeast Virginia.

Nearly 60 million people are affected by a cold weather warning or watch Monday night. By Friday, however, temperatures will rise above normal for much of the country. NBC News' Al Roker reports.

Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen described it as a "potentially paralyzing winter storm." And the forecaster’s winter weather expert, Tom Niziol, said the South was in for weather "that many parts have not seen in years" — perhaps the biggest winter weather event in a generation.

The nasty weather will reach so far south that Johnson Space Center, in Houston, said it would be closed.

The the biggest snow threat lay in eastern and central Texas, including Houston, and stretched to southeast Virginia. Eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia would have the greatest chance of getting more than six inches of snow, according to The Weather Channel.

More

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Longshoremen strike, shut down port operations

12:22 p.m. EDT, October 16, 2013

All cargo operations at the Port of Baltimore's public marine terminals ground to a halt Wednesday after a local longshoremen's union failed to ratify a contract agreement with port operators Tuesday night.

Crowds of International Longshoremen's Association Local 333 members stood outside entrances to Dundalk Marine Terminal holding signs saying, "No contract, no work," and "ILA Port of Baltimore on STRIKE!"

The port's 400-foot super post-Panamax cranes stood quiet and motionless in the distance at Seagirt Marine Terminal, where strikers also gathered. Only a few trucks passed through the normally busy gates.


Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-longshoremen-strike-20131016,0,248520.story#ixzz2hu9DVWkR

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Giant 40-ft rubber duckie designed by Dutch artist makes a splash in Pittsburgh

The first U.S. version of the 40-foot-tall rubber duckie that's made a splash in harbors from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo since 2007 will appear in Pittsburgh on Friday.

The giant yellow creature is pictured being towed up the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH -- The first U.S. version of the 40-foot-tall rubber duckie that's made a splash in harbors from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo since 2007 has appeared in Pittsburgh.

Each city builds its own duck from the plans of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and the whole project includes massive pontoons, crews to inflate and deflate the duck, and in this case, alerting organizations such as the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Hofman has said the duck has "healing properties" because it knows no frontiers, doesn't discriminate and doesn't have a political connotation.

The event marks the North American debut of Hofman's Rubber Duck Project, which has taken place in other cities in Asia, Europe, Australia and South America.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/giant-rubber-duckie-splash-pittsburgh-article-1.1470385#ixzz2glBixFkZ

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What a Partial US Government Shutdown Means for Shippers

Mark Szakonyi, Associate Editor | Sep 30, 2013 12:12PM EDT    

WASHINGTON — Shippers shouldn’t expect any delays in the clearance of cargo at ports of entry, nor will highway, road and bridge construction cease, if the federal government partially shuts down because of a fight over President Obama’s health care law.

But the potential shutdown, which would be the first in 17 years, would hurt economic growth, presenting new hurdles to shippers and transportation providers already grappling with a slow recovery since the 2008-09 recession. A shutdown lasting a few days could cost the U.S. economy 0.2 percent of annualized growth in the last three months of the year, while a shutdown lasting three to four weeks could take a 1.4 percentage point bite out of fourth quarter GDP, Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody Analytics, told CNN.

The larger risk is that investors’ nerves become more frazzled because of the shutdown, causing them to demand higher interest rates when the U.S. Treasury asks for $120 billion in loans on Oct. 17, according to The Washington Post. That would cause rates to jump, “leading to more expensive mortages, auto loans and credit card bills.” Ultimately, the impasse could reduce U.S. companies’ confidence to spend the cash they’ve been hoarding since the recession.

Aside from the potential negative economic impact of the shutdown, the effectiveness of the government will be severely restricted, Bruce Carlton, president and CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League, said in a statement. The potential shutdown and sequestration will force “federal managers to run multibillion dollar programs on consistently more constrained short run timetables,” he said.

“If you or your company were forced to procure essential products or services on an inconsistently applied and unpredictable one month or three month basis, what would be the impact on the price you paid?” Carlton said. “That’s the reality of ‘managing’ the federal budget on the mindless direction of continuing resolutions and across-the-board sequesters.”

In the short term, however, the impact on shippers will be minimal. Customs and Border Protection agents will continue to clear cargo, and air traffic controllers will keep manning the towers. Spending tied to trust funds — including the Highway Trust Fund, Inland Waterway Trust Fund and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund — will continue.

 Full article  

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Shutdown

  • By Rebecca Ballhaus

Here, we tell you what to expect from a partial temporary shutdown, drawing on government agencies’ plans and information from the last time the government shut down in 1995 and 1996.

We will update this list as more information becomes available.

How will travel and transportation be affected?

Air traffic control will continue, in addition to airport and airplane safety inspections. All Federal Highway Administration activities will also continue.

According to the Department of Transportation’s contingency plan released Friday, the agency will furlough 18,481 of its 55,468 employees.

Amtrak trains will continue to run.

In the 1995-96 shutdowns, about 20,000-30,000 foreign applications for visas went unprocessed every day, and 200,000 U.S. applications for passports weren’t processed, according to the Congressional Research Service report. These delays reportedly cost U.S. tourist industries and airlines millions of dollars.

Will I be able to get a passport?

Travelers will still be able to apply for passports, since consular operations will “remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations,” according to plans released Friday. Complications could arise if a passport agency is located in a government building closed by the shutdown, but the under secretary for management will treat those on a “case-by-case basis,” according to the plan.

Full Article:   http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/09/28/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-shutdown/

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CBP to Rollout New Arrival/Departure-Record Process for Foreign Visitors

(04/17/2013)Foreign visitors arriving in the U.S.—only via air or sea—who need to prove their legal-visitor status—to employers, schools/universities or government agencies—will be able to access their U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrival/departure record information online when the agency starts its records automation on April 30, 2013.

When the electronic rollout begins April 30, CBP will no longer require international non-immigrant visitors to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival to the U.S. by air or sea. The agency will gather travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. This automation will streamline the entry process for travelers, facilitate security and reduce federal costs. CBP anticipates that the automated process will save the agency an estimated $15.5 million a year.

Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

CBP will phase-in the Form I-94 automation at air and sea ports of entry through April and May. Foreign visitors will continue to receive the paper Form I-94 until the automated process arrives at their port of entry. Following automation, if travelers need the information from their Form I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number and other admission information will be available at CBP.gov/I94. ( CBP.gov/I94

Full Article

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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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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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