Automation divides US ports

News Story
- 4 Aug 2022 ( #1088 ) - United States
1 min read
APM Los Angeles
APM Los Angeles

Tensions between ports and harbour workers are rising in the United States as contract negotiations drag on.

Negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and employer group Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are strained, with automation of container-handling machinery emerging as a major stumbling block.

The PMA wants to expand the use of remotely controlled cranes, claiming that “increasing automation will enable the largest West Coast ports to remain competitive, facilitate both cargo and job growth, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to meet stringent local environmental standards”.

The ILWU disputes the conclusion, arguing that port automation eliminates jobs.

In its 2002 contract, the ILWU agreed to computerised process automation. In 2008, in exchange for a nearly USD900 million addition to its pension fund and other retirement benefits, the union agreed that operators, at their discretion, could implement machine automation.

According to media analysis, in 2016, the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles became the first US port to automate. Since then, a portion of the APM Terminal facility in Los Angeles has been semi-automated and the Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) is nearing full automation.  

The ILWU is asking operators to hold off on further automation in the San Pedro Bay ports. 

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Fact of the week

American Rock band name "Lynyrd Skynyrd" was a mocking tribute to high school P.E. teacher Leonard Skinner who was notorious for suspending students for having long hair. It also referred to the character "Leonard Skinner" in Allan Sherman's novelty song "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh".

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Xilin CPD20SR18
Netherlands
Denmark
Australia Victoria

Forklift Diaries

It’s personal: building connection and a positive safety culture at Koala Farms
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With farming one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia, working as a QA and WHS manager at Koala Farms in Queensland is not without its challenges. According to Christine Stiles, getting to know people on a personal level is key.