Trendwatch: LA Port director expects ‘real progress’ in West Coast labor talks this spring; U.S. plans to impose new sanctions on some 200 Russian individuals, entities; Finland’s port strike continues as talks breakdown and trade is halted

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LA Port director expects ‘real progress’ in West Coast labor talks this spring

  • The head of the Port of Los Angeles said Thursday he remains confident West Coast port employers and dockworkers will get closer to a contract agreement over the next few months as stalled negotiations continue to pressure cargo flow.
  • “It may not get done in February or March, but I’m still pretty confident that we’ll see some real progress here in the springtime,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said during a monthly press briefing.
  • West Coast dockworkers have been operating without a contract since last summer, and uncertainty over negotiations has pushed shippers to shift cargo to East and Gulf Coast ports. The Port of Los Angeles processed 726,014 TEUs in January, a 16% YoY decrease.

Supply Chain Dive


U.S. plans to impose new sanctions on some 200 Russian individuals, entities

The Biden administration is expected to impose fresh sanctions on about 200 Russian individuals and entities this week, according to people familiar with the matter, in a push to tighten the sanctions net around the country a year after its invasion of Ukraine.

The new tranche is part of a package of measures drafted by the administration that also includes the announcement earlier this week of $460 million in new military aid for Ukraine. The new sanctions come as Washington and its allies, particularly in Europe, look for new ways to cut off Moscow from access to critical materials aimed at bolstering its military and technology sectors.

The Wall Street Journal


Finland’s port strike continues as talks breakdown and trade is halted

Talks to settle strikes impacting Finland’s ports and trucker drivers broke off meaning that it is likely the strikes will stretch into a second week as foreign trade is largely stopped and industrial companies begin to fear disruptions to their production. The union has already widened the strike to include drivers that provide municipal services while reporting it could be extended as of March 1 to bus drivers, more parts of the trucking industry and its maintenance staff, and the oil products industry. Separate reports said postal employees have also staged a sympathy strike.

Union leaders reported that they were breaking off talks for the ports on Sunday saying that the employers’ representative had only offered a small increase in wages over the previous offer. They said that the offer still fails to keep pace with inflation which was running at over nine percent and did not address other issues related to working conditions. Efforts to find an agreement included involving Leo Suomaa, the retired Director General of the Department for Work and Gender Equality, who is currently serving as a mediator for the European Labour Authority.

The Maritime Executive


EPA, DOT to increase accountability, safety in wake of Ohio chemical train derailment

The federal government announced new measures on Tuesday to increase safety and accountability in the freight rail industry following the derailment earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio, of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern to “conduct all necessary actions associated with the cleanup from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.” As part of this legally binding order, the company will be required to pay all costs associated with the cleanup of the release of toxic chemicals, including reimbursing the EPA for any public funds spent.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) also announced steps to increase the safety of rail transportation of hazardous materials and asked Congress to go further. The DOT has committed to advancing a staffing rule to require at least two train crewmembers for most railroad operations, initiating new inspection programs for trains carrying hazardous materials, and deploying Bipartisan Infrastructure Law resources to modernize rail infrastructure. The agency also said it would “pursue further rulemaking” on high-hazard flammable trains (HHFT) and electronically controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP). The DOT also called on the rail industry and Congress to take additional measures to increase safety and accountability.



Maersk completes sale of logistics assets in Russia

A.P. Moller - Maersk has completed the sale of the last of its land-based assets in Russia as part of its commitment announced 11 months ago to end its business in the country. The shipping and logistics giant joined with many other western companies even before the imposition of many of the sanctions in committing to end its business interests in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.

In the latest transaction, Maersk has divested its logistics sites located in St. Petersburg and the inland port at Novorossiysk. The operation in St. Petersburg consisted of a single, 23,500 m2 chilled and frozen warehouse that had been established in 2020. The inland depot in Novorossiysk is a facility of 28,750 m2 with a capacity of 1,500 TEU. It specializes in handling commercial cargo such as grains from railway wagons to sea containers.

The Maritime Executive


Stemming the flow of Indonesia's plastic pollution

A curved boom, known as Interceptor 001, traps rubbish floating along a drainage canal in North Jakarta.

Discarded plastic bottles, food packaging and other debris are scooped up and moved along a conveyor belt into a boat. Once sorted, the plastics will be recycled.

The trial has been a success, triggering plans to deploy more Interceptors nationally.

The project is a partnership between the Indonesian and Dutch governments and Dutch non-profit the Ocean Cleanup.

It forms a small part of Indonesia’s mission, set in 2017, to reduce by 70% the amount of plastic entering the ocean from its coastline by 2025.

The Maritime Executive