• 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 July 20

11:37 USCG responds to oil slick near Port Aransas, Texas
10:56 Wallem introduces cloud-based software for simpler workflows

2019 July 19

18:10 NYK holds fleet safety promotion conferences for shipowners and ship-management companies
18:04 Incat Tasmania exports new 111 metre ferry to Spain
17:49 World's largest air-cushioned landing craft takes part in Navy Day parade rehearsal in Baltiysk
17:25 Caspian Flotilla ship crews prepare for Naval Parade
17:03 FortisBC secures first export contract for Tilbury LNG facility
16:22 Project documentation for construction of Nizhny Novgorod hydroengineering facility completed - Victor Vovk
16:03 CMA CGM announces GRR from Asia to East and South Africa
15:50 East Mining Company to invest RUB 11.5 billion in development of its coal project in Sakhalin
15:33 Moby names Damen ASD Tug 2813 Vincenzino O. in Cagliari
15:12 Cargotec posts financial report for January–June 2019
14:47 Blagoveshchensk shipyard completed state trials of hydrographic survey vessel of Project 19910
14:33 NYK recognized for implementation of advanced navigation support tool
14:12 Global Ship Lease announces new charter agreement
13:51 150 graduates of Moscow State Water Transport Academy awarded with diplomas
13:30 RF Government includes NOVATEK’s LNG terminal project into area planning scheme
13:12 Port of Long Beach releases draft Master Plan update
13:07 Epic Gas Ltd. completes acquisition of two vessels of four LPG carriers
12:24 USCG finds federal fisheries violations aboard 5 recreational fishing vessels
12:11 IMO Council condemns tanker attacks in Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman
11:31 Naval Group reports order intake growth in H1 to 3.9bn euro
11:14 Ice-breaking LNG carrier for Yamal LNG Project named NIKOLAY URVANTSEV
10:58 Minister of Transport of Malaysia visits World Maritime University
10:26 Saudi Arabia accedes to two important IMO treaties
09:55 Bunker prices are slightly down at the port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:50 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, July 19
09:33 Brent Crude futures price is up 1.91% to $63.11, Light Sweet Crude – up 1.48% to $56.12
09:16 Baltic Dry Index is up to 2,130 points

2019 July 18

18:05 Future expectations for MPS Terminal 3 in the port in Tema outlined with Government delegation
17:24 PGNiG acquires interest in another gas field in the North Sea
17:18 DNV GL supports 2020 sulphur compliance with online Ship Implementation Plan
17:05 OOCL announces new Middle East / Indian Subcontinent – North Europe Service
16:35 Consortium including DEME and Jan De Nul explores pioneering high-wave offshore solar technology
16:07 Large maritime market players join hands to create high-wave offshore solar panels
15:52 State Duma makes it easier for foreign tourists to visit Russia’s Arctic
15:35 Incat Tasmania delivers new 111-metre ferry to Spain operator Naviera Armas
15:18 Hapag-Lloyd launches South-East India – Europe Express Service // IEX to start operations in October 2019
15:01 Operation ATALANTA welcomes ESPS CANARIAS
14:26 Bunker prices are slightly down at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
14:00 Diana Shipping announces time charter contract for m/v Selina with Ausca
13:44 PortNews Media Group's anniversary celebration photo release
13:22 Aleksey Khaidukov as President of Novoship
13:00 Global Ports Holding invites proposals for Duty Free and Travel Retail operations at Malaga, Zadar, Cagliari and Catania cruise ports
12:47 East Mining Company eyes arranging offshore transshipment of coal in Kamchatka under Tata project
12:09 Wärtsilä posts financial results for January-June 2019
11:53 Construction of LNG-powered icebreakers to be financed by NOVATEK – Vyacheslav Ruksha
11:31 RF Deputy PM Maksim Akimov set a task to begin dredging in the Gulf of Ob not later than on 1 August 2019
11:09 Port of Muuga strengthened with new ferry connection to Finland
10:48 Primorsky MRC terminal to offer fully closed transshipment of loose cargo
10:30 MAN Energy Solutions gets subsea compression FEED order from Chevron
10:09 Port of Lowestoft names new state-of-the-art pilot boat
09:56 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, July 18
09:50 APM Terminals Callao launches Peru’s first digital customer platform
09:34 Brent Crude futures price is up 0.17% to $63.77, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.02% to $56.79
09:16 Baltic Dry Index is up to 2,064 points

2019 July 17

18:13 USCG responds to boat collision, assists 4 injured
17:55 LNG vessels to protect environment and increase container turnover at the Port of Riga
17:32 YAMAL LNG obtains certification for the new ISO 45001:2018 and confirms compliance with ISO 14001:2015
17:03 Qatargas delivers 3000th LNG cargo to Japan