Trendwatch: Labor tensions rise in stalled West Coast port contract talks; European ports brace for cybersecurity regulation; Heathrow security to strike for 10 days including Easter

Labor tensions rise in stalled West Coast port contract talks

Tensions in long-running contract talks at West Coast ports are worsening, with employers accusing unionized dockworkers of slowing cargo handling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest gateway for imported consumer goods.

The sharp rhetoric marks a shift from a longstanding agreement to maintain public silence on issues around the negotiations, which began last spring. The two sides appear to be no closer to bridging the gap on their disagreements, pointing to the possibility of deeper disruptions to U.S. trade flows.

The Wall Street Journal


European ports brace for cybersecurity regulation

European ports are preparing for a major regulatory change next year in how the hundreds of companies in their global supply chains address cybersecurity as ports have become a target for criminal hacker groups and state-sponsored attacks.

Cybersecurity rules approved by the European Union for pharmaceuticals, transportation, energy and other critical infrastructure companies are set to take effect in 2024 and will require hundreds of firms that operate out of Europe’s big ports to use basic security measures and report hacks to cybersecurity authorities. The regulation will be the first such cybersecurity requirements for many companies that provide services to critical sectors. Violators face fines of up to 10 million euros, equivalent to roughly $10.7 million, or up to 2% of global revenue, whichever is higher.

The Wall Street Journal


Heathrow security to strike for 10 days including Easter

Security guards at Heathrow Airport's Terminal Five are to strike for 10 days from March 31 in a dispute over pay. The Unite union says more than 1,400 of its members employed by Heathrow will walk out in a period which covers the school Easter holidays.

Workers at T5, which is used by British Airways, and those who check cargo entering the airport, will take part in the action, ending on Easter Sunday, April 9.

Supply Chain Brain


India to splurge $12 billion on airports as travel rebounds

India will spend about 980 billion rupees ($12 billion) over the next two years on airports, with airline orders for hundreds of new planes to meet resurgent travel demand putting pressure on existing infrastructure.

The world’s fastest-growing aviation market aims to boost the number of airports to 220 by 2025 from the current 148, for which private builders will invest about $9 billion and state-run Airports Authority of India will bring the rest. It involves greenfield projects, new terminals and the renovation of existing facilities, including former military airfields left over from colonial times.



Biden to stunt growth in China for chipmakers getting US funds

The Biden administration is set to unveil tight restrictions on new operations in China by semiconductor manufacturers that get federal funds to build in the US.

The $50 billion CHIPS and Science Act will bar firms that win grants from expanding output by 5% for advanced chips and 10% for older technology, according to officials at the Commerce Department, which will disburse the funds.



SC Ports offers access to booming Southeast market

South Carolina Ports sees stronger-than-typical February for container volumes at the Port of Charleston as South Carolina continues to attract new business.

Thus far in fiscal year 2023, SC Ports has handled nearly 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and 978,374 pier containers, which account for containers of any size. TEUs are down 5% from the same time a year prior.

SC Ports and the maritime community handled 201,418 TEUs and 111,118 pier containers in February, which is down about 13% year-over-year.



How the Ocean Twilight Zone could store vast amounts of carbon

Deep below the ocean surface, the light fades into a twilight zone where whales and fish migrate and dead algae and zooplankton rain down from above. This is the heart of the ocean’s carbon pump, part of the natural ocean processes that capture about a third of all human-produced carbon dioxide and sink it into the deep sea, where it remains for hundreds of years.

There may be ways to enhance these processes so the ocean pulls more carbon out of the atmosphere to help slow climate change. Yet little is known about the consequences.

The Maritime Executive