• DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.421
    -0.025
    -1.7%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.971
    -0.035
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.033
    -0.036
    -3.4%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.041
    -0.059
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.527
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
    -0.040
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
    -0.002
    -0.2%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
    -0.047
    -3%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.421
    -0.025
    -1.7%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.971
    -0.035
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.033
    -0.036
    -3.4%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.041
    -0.059
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.527
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
    -0.040
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
    -0.002
    -0.2%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
    -0.047
    -3%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
American ShipperShippingWarehouse

Port of Long Beach extends cap on dockage fees

ILWU leader makes pitch for more training and 24-hour operations at the congested California port.

   The Port of Long Beach will continue to cap the amount of dockage fees paid by ocean carriers due to lingering congestion at the California port.
   Port commissioners voted on Monday to extend a four-day cap on the amount of dockage shipowners will have to pay until June 30.
   A memo explaining the need for the extension of financial relief noted, “Historically, a container vessel would dock for an average of 3.5 to four days; however, the same vessel may now dock up to seven days due to the current congestion situation.” The extension has been in effect since Dec. 1, but would have expired at the end of March if not for the commission’s action.
   Long Beach estimates it waived $1.32 million in dockage between December 2014 and February, but said, “This dollar amount should decrease over the next three months as the port continues to work on clearing its current backlog and port operations begin to normalize.”
   Rich Dines, vice president of the port commission and a longshore clerk, called the extension a “simple band-aid” and said “moving forward we are going to focus on addressing long term congestion, so we see this port increase our capacity by double and triple and do it in an efficient manner and protect the good jobs the community depends on for its tax base.”
   At the commission meeting, Bobby Olvera, Jr., the president of Local 13 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, pledged the union’s cooperation, saying his members were going to do everything they could to get containers off of ships and out of terminals.
   Olvera thanked commissioners for their “neutral role” during the nearly 10-month negotiations between the ILWU and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association.
   He also renewed a pitch for more trained longshoremen and 24-hour operations though. “It has been over seven years since we hired, and we have lost close to 1,000 workers in the last seven years and we are trying to hire more and train more so we can be at the top of our game. Our crane training programs are ancient. The crane training program we have is ancient,” Olvera said, noting it is the same training program his father would have qualified for 35 years ago.
   Olvera asked for the commission and John Slangerup, the port’s executive director, to “help us in pushing the marine terminal operators to open up the gates 24 hours a day so we can move cargo around the clock.” He said ILWU locals in the region are committed to “fielding enough staff and labor to work 24 hours a day.”
   “We are not Stockton, California, we are not Portland, we are not Tacoma,” Olvera added. “We need to be working the Port of Long Beach 24 hours a day and put as many trucks on the road, and rail during those hours when families and commuters are home sleeping, rather than putting thousands of trucks on the road during peak hours.”
   There have been estimates it will take three months to reduce the number of ships waiting for berths because of congestion. On Tuesday morning, there were 25 ships, including 19 containerships, outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach because of congestion, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
   Dines said that after the 2002 West Coast port lockout, the ILWU was able to reduce the backlog of ships waiting for berths in two weeks.
    “We had a skilled, trained workforce then. We are short on skilled labor right now,” said Dines. “So I echo Bobby’s call on the employers: Train the workforce. This does not have to take three months to fix.” 
   “That will get us to normal,” Dines added. “But, the new norm is not where we need to be. We need to continue to work together where we have an optimized supply chain.”
   Slangerup said the ILWU “has to be at the table.”
   He told commissioners that senior staffs of the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles met Monday afternoon to discuss supply chain optimization, approximately one month after receiving permission from the Federal Maritime Commission to do so. Another meeting with stakeholders is planned for next month.

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Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.
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