Friday, 31 October 2014

Lloyd's Register: 24,000 teu ships on the way

The container industry is very interested in container ships in the size of 24,000 teu, classification company Lloyd's Register tells ShippingWatch.

The new container ships from CSCL (China Shipping Container Lines), which at 19,100 teu look set to surpass Maersk Line's Triple-E series, will not be the world's biggest container ships for long. The 22,000 teu container ships that industry rumors say are underway will also not be able to hold this position for long.
Because there even bigger ships on the way to the world seas, and these behemoths will be able to carry 24,000 teu, David Tozer, Container Segment Manager at Lloyd's Register, tells ShippingWatch.
"12 years ago researchers were looking at Malaccamaxes, 18,000 teu vessels named after the Malacca Strait. People thought that this was absolutely crazy. But since then things have developed to the extent that we'll soon see ships of 24,000 teu. The volumes are there, so it's going to happen," he tells ShippingWatch.

A source in one of the world's absolute biggest carriers tells ShippingWatch that the company, like its competitors, are looking into the 24,000 teu vessels. They are certainly a possibility for the major carriers, the source says.

Existing ultra-large vessels not an obstacle

And the ships are going to come, even though carriers such as Maersk Line, CSCL, Evergreen and CMA CGM have already invested in 17,000 to 19,000 teu ships.
"We're experiencing among our customers that the biggest carriers in front are working seriously with the giant ships and are looking into the future. They need to understand what the future is going to look like, and they need to take control and become part of it," says David Tozer.
The next new giant ships of course also bring certain challenges:
"Our job is to help people. We've studied the structural topics and we've looked into which problems these giant ships bring. First of all, there's an insurance and safety issue where the two things are tied together," he says.
And then there are the technical challenges. The ships can be built and function, but they could create problems in the port terminals. For instance, the massive ships would be able to transit the Suez Canal in terms of draft, but there is a bridge that spans the canal and the ships would likely have difficulties getting under this.

Draft problems

Several ports will experience problems related to draft, for instance in the Port of Hamburg where a process is underway to dredge the Elbe will make room for the new ultra-large vessels that are already sailing the world seas.

"Container ship design must be taken very seriously. We're not involved in all projects with the carriers, but we're going to put an emphasis on safety in terms of our customers. There's massive commercial pressure to put even more cargo on the ships," says David Tozer.
At the recent A.P. Moeller-Maersk Capital Markets Day, Maersk Line CEO Søren Skou downscaled the prospects of even bigger container ships - at least in the near future. According to Søren Skou, the ships could become so big that their size could seriously weaken their flexibility in terms of, especially, ports and call options, and that this could water down the potential unit cost reductions that could be gained from using bigger ships.

Transport minister visits A14 and Felixstowe Port

Transport minister John Hayes has visited Britain’s busiest container port and a vital road linking it to the heart of England.
The minister – who has responsibility for the strategic roads network and ports - visited new improvements on the A14 at the Girton to Histon pinch point scheme to see how the works will reduce congestion and transform journeys for thousands of road users.
The A14 links the port of Felixstowe to the West Midlands and Cambridge and carries 62,000 vehicles a day, including thousands of heavy goods vehicles from the port. The government has committed to a £1.5 billion scheme to improve the A14 through works including the removal of the existing viaduct and the creation of a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon.

The scheme at Girton and Histon includes the construction of an additional lane on both the east and westbound carriageways, improving the junction 31 westbound slip roads and extending street lighting.
After visiting the scheme the minister then drove to the port of Felixstowe, which welcomes more than 3,000 ships a year. The minister toured the facilities and visited the new UK-flagged container ship ‘Ever Lambent’.
John Hayes said:
As the minister responsible for our strategic roads, shipping and ports I am determined that we do all we can to improve the links between ports and our towns and cities to boost growth.
Britain has long been a nautical powerhouse, with the maritime sector generating well over £8 billion for the economy every year. Our ports have weathered the economic storm of recent years better than many parts of the economy and I fully appreciate the importance of Felixstowe in delivering long term growth.
With the busiest port in the UK at one end, improving the A14 is part of this government’s long term economic plan and is a priority infrastructure project.
This government has committed £24 billion to improve our motorways up to 2021 and as a frequent user of the A14 pinch point scheme myself I look forward to seeing the improvements when the work finishes early next year.

Find out what else the government is doing to support and grow the UK economy.

Automation: The terminal remedy

Uno Bryfors of ABB
ABB Video still

Uno Bryfors, Vice President of ABB Crane Systems, explains to PTI how vital automation is in the contemporary port and terminal arena. (This is a must see & share video!)

In this wide ranging and insightful interview, Bryfors informs us of the challenges facing terminals due to the increasing prevalence of mega-ships, and how port and terminal operators can ramp-up their productivity in order to deal successfully with the implicit higher volumes.
Bryfors is unequivocal in stating: “Automation is the basis for increasing efficiency at terminals… Container terminals have to optimise their operations – that’s the only way to stay competitive.”
However, automation offers far more than efficiency and productivity in the port arena, Bryfors also lists the multifaceted environmental, safety and functional benefits in automating a port or terminal.  
PTI is very proud to announce ABB as a preferred partner.
To visit ABB Crane Systems, click here 

Gaussin and BA Systèmes join forces in automation

Source; Gaussin (YouTube)
Source; Gaussin (YouTube)

Gaussin Manugistique and BA Systèmes have announced the launch of joint-venture ‘Gaussin BA Systemes’ which aims to respond to the growing world demand for automation in port terminals.

The partnership was officially introduced at the JDL Med 2014 trade fair in Marseille.
Port vehicle specialist Gaussin and automatic handling and storage specialist BA Systèmes have stated in a press release they are proposing “a comprehensive Plug and Play offer, including both driverless vehicles and navigation systems, to port terminal operatorsthroughout the world who want to automate their logistics.
“Automation is a key trend in port operations for reasons of productivity as well as safety. Gaussin BA Systemes is 60% owned by the Gaussin group and 40% by BA systemes."
A key focus for the newly formed joint-venture will be optimising Gaussin’s AIV (Automotive Intelligent Vehicle), the fully automated port vehicle from the French company’s ATT range.
The Gaussin AIV in action:

Labour saving revolution

29 Oct 2014
Concerns are currently being expressed by The International Transport Workers' Federation and the FNV Bondgenoten container terminal workers union about the potential loss of dockworker jobs in Rotterdam resulting from the introduction of two new highly automated container terminals and over-capacity.
FNV has called on the port authority and other companies in Rotterdam to initiate a serious dialogue on this subject. It has further criticised Rotterdam Gateway for not engaging with the union and moving to sign a collective bargaining agreement.
The increased role of automation in port operations in mature economies, where labour costs are high, is inevitable. In such a situation, labour is usually the highest component of operational cost and often it is only through seeking to reduce this that new terminal development is viable.
It is, therefore, a natural step to look to replace manpower with automation in key aspects of a container terminal operation – automated processes in container handling in the yard area for example.
In real terms, this is progress albeit that it is maybe as hard to accept as the ending of the UK’s National Dock Labour Scheme, which in October 1990 saw the size of the country’s port workforce reduced to 4,000 from a total of just over 9,000 in April 1989. No one can deny, however, that the ending of this scheme combined with the advent of port privatisation ushered in a new era of growth in the UK ports sector.
The underlying impression retained when hearing the aspirations of the worker representative bodies in Rotterdam is that they wish to resist or slow the impact of this essential change. A more appropriate approach may be to work with employers to ‘manage this change’ which could entail the introduction of re-training programmes and so on. Equally, it necessitates recognition of the fact that a good sized element of port worker activity is moving away from a blue to white collar requirement.
There is no doubt that there is what amounts to a mini-revolution taking place in labour terms in the modern high capacity container terminal operating in developed economies. Not only does this dictate the need for revised labour arrangements but to a significant extent a new profile of port worker where intelligence is the primary requirement over and above physical ability.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Eleonora Maersk disembarks 200 migrants in Italy

The mega container vessel Eleonora Maersk has respected the request of more than 200 migrants and took them to Italy.
Last Thursday, the Malta’s Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) received information for a fishing boat with over 200 people on board in distress. The signal came 285 miles southeast of Malta.
The nearest vessel to the scene, Eleonora Maersk, was headed to inspect the situation. Having considered the deteriorating weather conditions, the migrants were taken on board the container ship.
Initially, Eleonora Maersk headed towards Malta, but the migrants refused to disembark there and requested to be taken to Italy. Sources confirmed that the migrants have already been taken to Italy.
Eleonora Maersk (IMO number 9321500 and MMSI 220477000) was built in 2007 and is registered in Denmark. The 158,200-DWT vessel has a capacity of 11,000 TEU.
Eleonora Maersk (IMO number 9321500 and MMSI 220477000)
Image: Manuel Hernández Lafuente

Glut of Container Freight Can be a Blessing for Some and a Curse for Others

UK – US – Stories about ports from the two countries this week illustrate two completely different sides of the world of shipping. Whilst Teeside’s recent investments in ferry and container terminals have made a record week for freight throughput possible, Californian ports are still apparently in chaos, not from a lack of business but simply the inability to manage the volume of cargo they are witnessing.
Teesport, owned by PD Ports, expanded its two box handling facilities and ferry terminal in 2011/12 at a cost of £16.7 million, and this week had an exceptional week handling a record amount of unitised cargo, exceeding its previous record by handling over 12,000 TEU in a single week. The port’s total capacity is now 650,000 TEU making it the second largest container port in the North of England. Frans Calje, PD Ports Managing Director – Unitised and Portcentric Logistics, commented on the record week:
“This year we have seen a significant increase in container volumes being handled at Teesport following the introduction of two new shipping lines and the growing support of the existing and new portcentric customers that use the port on an ongoing basis. Last week we handled the highest amount of containers at the Port which was supported by additional sailings and peak season volumes. Our team at Teesport has performed exceptionally well with the uplift in volume and this week has shown what the Port is capable of.”
Meanwhile the situation described in our last article regarding congestion at the ports of Los Angelesand Long Beach looks set not to be resolved in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. Despite a plan to introduce thousands more chassis to convey the huge stockpiles of containers post clearance it seems the wheels are, quite literally, moving too slowly.
Importers report two to three week delays for transport after cargo has been passed by Customs and road haulage outfits are blaming the ports, rather than a lack of equipment, for the extreme delays. Hauliers say that the time taken to load the trailers and the amount of congestion are the main causes of the problems and that it is unlikely that many goods will now arrive and be released in time for the holidays.
Whilst the hauliers turn business away because of the backlog, describing the situation as ‘the worst ever seen’ some importers have been forced to air freight in emergency supplies whilst their goods languish somewhere in the docks, often in off-site car parks being used as makeshift storage, with added extra delays associated for longer recovery.

Port congestion keeps boxships sailing, but there’s no upswing in charter rates

By Mike Wackett
10.29.2014 · Posted in Loadstar postsSea FavoriteAdd to favorites
DSME 003
Chronic congestion at container terminals in Asia, the US and Europe has provided some overdue good news for boxship owners, with many smaller ships that would otherwise have been consigned to lay-up now finding employment.
According to the latest Alphaliner idle tonnage report, there were just 114 containerships laid-up as at 20 October – a four-year low, and especially surprising given the start of the winter slack season.
Port congestion aside, Alphaliner notes that ocean carriers are “adamant about keeping services open for the winter season”, and the suspension of one G6 Asia-US West Coast service and one Asia-US East Coast service from early next month remain the only formal announcements.
It said: “No other main carrier alliance will make ‘official’ service cuts, as shipping lines prefer to rely on skipped sailings to manage the next two months’ low-demand scenario.”
The analyst added that after the withdrawal of 12 Asia-Europe sailings in October, the alliances were planning “at least” 12 more blanked voyages in November/December, with all lines likely to cancel some sailings during this period.
However, managing capacity by blanking sailings has so far failed to address the decline of spot freight rates on Asia-Europe, which have plunged to below $700 per teu from $1,400 at the beginning of August, making the 1 November general rate increases critical.
Alphaliner said that the alliances’ capacity management efforts had not been helped by the Asia-North Europe inducement sailings operated by Zim Lines’ 10,062 teu Zim Tianjin, which, following the formal withdrawal of the Israeli carrier’s liner service on the trade, now offers approximate monthly ad-hoc sailings.
Unfortunately for containership owners, the strong demand for capacity has not been reflected in any significant hike in daily hire rates, and the charter market also has concerns about what is over the horizon.
A sustained period of significantly lower bunker prices could tempt operators to speed up ships – a threat to containership owners if that means fewer ships are required.
However, arguably a bigger threat comes from mega-alliances and carrier mergers. For example, 2M partners Maersk Line and MSC currently charter-in 44% and 58% respectively of their fleets, and given the size of their fleets are the most active players in the charter market.
Under the 2M alliance, both Maersk and MSC will look to off-hire as much surplus capacity as possible once the east-west services are fully integrated – Maersk’s previous strategy was to fix ships on a relatively short-term basis with options to extend.
Elsewhere, Hapag-Lloyd is making the final preparations for its takeover of CSAV’s container services.
The Latin-American specialist currently charters 62% of its fleet and Hapag-Lloyd will be looking to off-hire as much tonnage as possible in order to achieve the targeted $300m a year in cost savings.
Hamburg remains the nerve centre for containership chartering: next week’s annual Eisbeinessen festival negotiations will be a big challenge for owners.

Holiday shipments come to a halt at Long Beach

27 Oct 2014
It's a busy time of year for the Port of Long Beach berths, which are congested
It's a busy time of year for the Port of Long Beach berths, which are congested
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) has been battling congestion for the past few weeks, and things don’t seem to be improving with container ships waiting at anchor for a berth.
The cargo congestion comes at a busy time of year, with the holiday season just around the corner – something which has not helped matters, a spokesperson for the port told Port Strategy.
“We are in the midst of the peak shipping season, with imports heading across the country for the end-of-the-year holidays. Volumes are much higher than expected – very near the highest monthly totals ever.”
Last week saw seven container ships waiting at anchor because there were no open berths for them, the spokesperson explained. “Ordinarily it’s rare for container ships to wait an entire day at anchor. But some of these ships are waiting several days.”
However, it’s not the worst cargo pile-up the port’s ever seen. In 2004, “a dozen or more ships were backed up and at anchor many miles down the coast”, the spokesperson told PS.
A chassis shortage has been identified as one of the problems, so the port is working with chassis leasing companies to bring chassis to the region. But, it seems train and trucker shortages are also adding to the problem.
“There is greater demand throughout the economy and goods movement companies are racing to keep up. It seems almost inevitable now that some shipments may arrive in stores too late for this holiday season,” the spokesperson added.

Delays Increasing at Californian Twin Ports

Port of Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles
Worsening port congestion in Californian ports prompted by rising container volumes have forced rising number of vessels to anchor outside the neighboring ports, Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The idle vessels have clocked up to two-week delays offshore as port authorities cope with efforts to speed up movement of cargo off the docks, according to Reuters.
Retailers are rerouting goods to other ports, and some shoe and clothing companies have resorted to air transport, the Associated Press cited Nate Herman, vice president of international trade at the American Apparel & Footwear Assn as saying.
“The delays are increasing, they are not getting better,”said Herman.
The Port of Long Beach has convened a Congestion Relief Team to address congestion issues.
According to Dr. Noel Hacegaba, the Port’s Chief Operating Officer in addition to bigger ships bringing more cargo, “chassis imbalance is a big part of the congestion issue” .
Among the causes behind the congestion issue is also the failure to reach a new labour agreement between ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)
Matt Shay, President and CEO of the NRF said that the parties should at least extend the expired contract through November “in order to reinstate arbitration agreements, which are preventing many issues at the ports from being addressed.”
According to Shay, the U.S. retailers are currently going through ”the heaviest shipping season of the year,” preparing for the coming holidays, which is a ”make it or break it” time for retailers and merchants.
The delays, worst since 2004, are expected to be resolved mid-November.

Exclusive Photos: Inside The Superstructure Of World’s Largest Ship – Maersk Triple E

Photo by Antony Perkins 

Marine Insight brings you the exclusive, never-seen-before photos from inside the superstructure of the world’s largest ship – Maersk Triple-E container ship.
Triple-E, the largest ship in the world, has new standards in the container industry, not just for size, but also of energy efficiency and environmental performance.
The hull of the triple-E is more ‘boxy’ with a U-shape compared to the V-shape of Maersk’s E-class; this allows more containers to be stored at lower levels, so while the Triple-E is only 3 m wider and 4 m longer, it can carry 2,500 more containers, an increase of 16%.
The deckhouse is relatively further forward, whilst the engines are to the rear; similar to CMA CGM’s Explorer class of containerships, also built by Daewoo. The forward deckhouse allows containers to be stacked higher in front of the bridge (which further increases capacity) whilst still maintaining forward visibility good enough
The ship’s superstructure includes all the latest state-of-the facilities of the ship’s crew. Checkout some exclusive pics from inside the world’s largest ship.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Containerships Catch Fire After Colliding at Malaysia’s Port Klang

Photo credit: Star News via Twitter
Photo credit: Star News via Twitter
Two large containerships collided Tuesday night at Malaysia’s Port Klang, sparking fires in the forward container stacks of both vessels.
The containerships involved were the Marshall Islands-flagged MV San Felipe and the Maltese-flagged MV Al Riffa. A photo from the scene shows a large fire in the cargo area of the San Felipe and damage to some of the containers on deck.
A spokesman for the Port Klang Fire and Rescue Services Department said that they were notified of the incident at approximately 8 p.m. local time, according to reports. The spokesman added that a fire broke out onboard the Al Riffa and it was towed away from the scene to prevent the fire from spreading to the wharf.
No injuries have been reported.
Looking at the AIS data from both vessels, it appears the inbound MV San Felipestruck the moored Al Riffa.
Firefighting operations were expected to continue overnight.
The 13,500 TEU MV Al Riffa is part of the UASC fleet and was delivered in 2012.
Update: Full Statement below from Bernhard Schulte Ship Management, managers of the 8,700 TEU San Felipe is below:
Bernhard Schulte Ship Management report that at approximately 8pm local time this evening (October 28), its managed container vessel ‘San Felipe’ while approaching the berth, with a Pilot on board, at Port Kelang, Malaysia, came into contact with the container vessel ‘Al Riffa’, which was moored alongside the terminal. The contact resulted in a fire in a container stack on the forward sections of both vessels. The fire has been controlled on board the ‘San Felipe’, which moved to a safe anchorage to assess the damage.
There are no injuries to crew as a result of the incident. Tugs are standing by for further assistance, if necessary.
Immediately after the incident the local port authorities and all relevant parties were advised.
The exact cause of the incident is yet unknown. A full investigation will follow.
‘San Felipe’ is a 8700 TEU, Marshall Islands flagged container ship.

India's Largest Shipping Company Selects New UK Agent

DKT and Allseas Tie Up and Secure New Business 

UK – INDIA - DKT Allseas Shipping has been appointed as the UK liner agent and representative for the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Taking over the agency with effect from November 1, DKT Allseas Shipping will be based in Tilbury, Essex. DKT, otherwise known as the De Keyser Thornton Group, was founded in Antwerp in 1853, and has many years of experience in ship agency and freight forwarding activities and earlier this month seemingly tied up in the UK with the Nottingham based Allseas Group, with Allseas Global Logistics Managing Director Darren Wright also heading up the new company.

The new agency agreement is based on a longstanding relationship, DKT having been SCI's agent in Belgium since 2008. The UK venture will add an in-depth knowledge of the UK market to the services it currently offers. SCI, India's largest shipping company, operates two services a week into the UK, both calling at the Port of Felixstowe in a vessel-sharing agreement. Last year, SCI's services carried a total of 41,000 TEU in imports and exports into and out of the UK, and 25,000 TEU into and out of Antwerp. Philip Van Tilburg, CEO of DKT, commented:
"We hope that this collaboration opens the door for other ship agency opportunities in the near future."

Container Shipping Alliances Sail Onward as US Accepts Another Freight Carrying Arrangement

Sixteen of the World's Largest Carriers Now Bound Up in Vessel Sharing Deals 

US – WORLDWIDE – The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has cleared the recently announcedOcean Three alliance between freight carriers CMA CGMUASC andChina Shipping without the 45-day review period that both the 2M and the failed P3 networks had imposed on them. The reason given is that as the three container shipping lines would have a combined market share of under 30%, the new arrangement became legally eligible for exemption of the review period. The fast-tracking of Ocean Three has angered FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky, who, having been the lone dissenter by voting against 2M and P3, is now calling for an internal investigation into the handling of this Vessel Sharing Agreement.
Lindinsky’s main objection to the fast-track is the lack of communication between the FMC staff that finalised the decision and the FMC Commissioners, but Chairman Cordero has said he was satisfied that the staff did their jobs strictly in accordance with the applicable regulations. The FMC Chairman pointed out to Mr Lidinsky that sixty four similar alliances or amendments to existing alliance agreements had been similarly passed in the previous twelve months.
The FMC acceptance of the new arrangement authorises the parties to cooperate on routes between Asia and the US East, West, and Gulf Coasts through a combination of vessel sharing and slot exchange/charter arrangements. This means the arrangement can proceed whilst waiting to see how the outcome of any possible internal investigation would affect the network.

In other alliance news, the members of the CKYHE Alliance; COSCOK LineYang MingHanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line, have informed the FMC, the Chinese Ministry of Transport, and the European Commission, of plans to expand their cooperation to US trades.
On the US trades, CKYHE will follow the same pattern of cooperation that the alliance members have used in the Asia/Europe, Mediterranean trades during the past year, which they hope will provide the carriers with greater operational flexibility and will permit each of them to better serve its customers, offering wider port coverage, increased frequency of sailings and stable transit times.
If granted regulatory approval, the parties will discuss and agree their cooperation with a target implementation date of the spring 2015. The new worldwide alliances will see sixteen of the world’s largest container shipping lines tied up in the four vessel sharing deals, Ocean Three, 2M, G6 and CKYHE, assuming those waiting for Chinese and European approval (Ocean Three and 2M) are found to be acceptable by the relevant authorities.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Container Shipping Line Extends Short Sea Service

Shipping News Feature

UK – PORTUGAL – Last week WEC Lines announced today enhancement to its current Portugal - UK scheduled services with a second call at Leixões in Portugal, before calling at the Port of Tilbury as part of their ‘SPM2’ rotation. This schedule change to the ‘SPM2’ service began on Monday 27 October and will reduce the current eight day transit time by half, calling at the Ports of Tilbury, Antwerp, Vigo, Leixões, Sines and Lisbon, followed by a second loading call at Leixões, and further strengthening the carrier’s presence in the Portuguese markets.
WEC is a short sea specialist operator headquartered in the Netherlands, and commenting on this service extension, Robert Volker, Line Management, from WEC Lines, said:
“We are delighted to have this faster connection into Tilbury. We have added a second call at Leixões which is a load call only. It will reduce the transit time from eight to four days and in turn gives us a stronger position in the market. Tilbury is the best location for our cargo in the South East as its location, reach, and excellent supply chain ensures that the product reaches inland destinations quickly and efficiently.”
WEC utilises the London Container Terminal (LCT), which handles over half a million containers per year for both deep and short sea customers and Perry Glading, Chief Operating Officer of Forth Ports (owners of London Container Terminal) commented:
“We are very pleased that WEC Lines have chosen to grow their services from Portugal into Tilbury. As London’s major port, we have a sophisticated supply chain infrastructure and fast, reliable connections that WEC Lines require, as well as the right knowledge and experience to assist their growth through a first rate service.”

The proud wife of a docker..

It's way over due, I know. I have been thinking (and talking) of making the blog international. But with a full time job and two kids under the age of three (and living with a docker), I've been stuck at "Where the xxxx do I start?" and "How can I explain the situation as short as possible?" It seems like an impossible task and I have decided to introduce myself first, and give a brief explanation of what I do with my blog. I will continue blogging in Norwegian as the battle is ongoing, but I will post an English translation every now and then as well as summaries of the conflict(s) in order to keep you updated. There is a "google translate"-button in my blog - I know it sucks - but you'll get the essence of the content. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

I started blogging back in November '13 after port owners and employers started a smear campaign of the Norwegian dockers through the media. It started in April '13. The public of Norway where served with lies and condescending accusations. There are about 300 dockers in Norway and I felt that they never were heard or got the chance to defend their honour and rights. If they were lucky; the union got a couple of lines in the end of an article. 
Direct translation of my blog name is "A docker's wife". I'm not really a wife (no pressure, Roar), a partner for now. 
My intention with the blog was (and is) to refute claims and tell the truth as it is. The dockers are claimed to be inefficient and lazy. Overpaid; they don't work for their money. The smear campaign is leaded by the Port Authority of Oslo which is a municipal enterprise. They are the owner of the largest port in Norway. This is where "my" docker works. 
All in all it is pretty easy to see through the claims that their main goal is to use cheaper (underpaid) labour. I'll get back to this is later posts. Some of the accusations are so ridiculous I'll even guarantee you a good laugh. 

On the behalf of Norwegian dockers I take the liberty to thank all of you supporters out there! 

Follow my blog on Facebook: Bryggesjauerfrue
Follow Solidarity with the dockers on Facebook: Solidaritet med havnearbeiderne

Sincerely yours,
Damn proud to be a docker's wife


By guest blogger Guri Waalen Borch

In the globalized reality that we live in, where the goods we buy often travel around the world before reaching us, it is a paradox that many of those who handle them at the ports are not valued even with fair and stable working conditions. Not only do they find themselves in conflict in many countries, they are also smeared. If they decide to do something about their insecure, unfair and/or unstable conditions, they will easily be called "lazy" by common men and women.
I had not thought much about dockworkers until I spoke at the Welfare Conference here in Norway in October this year. The well known blogger Silje Kjosbakken (known as "BryggesjauerFrue- a docker's wife") was also one of the speakers there, she talked about the ongoing dockworker conflict. It goes on between Norwegian dockers and Holship, Nor Line and other employers who want to use workers without collective bargaining agreements.
Employers want to use their own workers, who stand without those rights, meaning that, on a continuum between labor rights and social dumping, we could be getting closer and closer to the latter. Who earns from this? 
Employers, terminal companies.
Which brings me to a conflict in Costa Rica that I came across by accident the other day. Out of curiosity, I started looking into it. In 2012, former president Laura Chinchilla gave harbor concession to the terminal company APM, affiliated with the (Danish) Maersk Group. I have read claims that the future billion dollar container terminal project is a risk to APM; that it is really doing Costa Rica a favor.
Is that true? The dockworkers in Limón, Costa Rica, do not think so. The 33 year concession has granted APM exclusive rights to handling container traffic.
I must mention, Limón has quite an interesting history. The United Fruit Co. opened for business there in 1899. Most of us know that this multinational company used brutal tactics, bought protection and suppressed union organization. Sounds familiar? United Fruit controlled the docks, the loading, shipping and marketing of the fruits, as described by Costa Rican resident Sarah Corbett Morgan here. The port was finally nationalized in 1966, after being operated by an oppressive multinational corporation.
It is also worth mentioning that in the port of Caldera, Costa Rica, which was privatized in 2006, at least two thirds of the workers lost their jobs, and the ones who kept them, lost two thirds of their salaries. According to the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Robert McEllrath, the precarious working conditions resulting from this privatization have caused 46 deaths at the docks.
The dockworkers' union, SINTRAJAP, went through severe abuses from former Costa Rican government when, in 2010, the government had the union's executive board replaced. This happened after the following statements in 2009: "The Government is declaring war to the trade unions of Limón and invites the private entrepreneurs to close ranks in order to allow the concession of the new Caribbean dock to a private company. In two or three weeks the Government will be putting a new dock in Limón out to tender." In the words of the Minister of Transport, "this will be the first shot in a battle that is going to last all year and one of whose aims is to get rid of the dockworkers' union in the Caribbean". According to the allegations in a complaint to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Minister met with representatives of the chamber of employers and told them in the harshest terms that it was a war in which no quarter would be shown. 
Later, the Costa Rican Supreme Court ordered the previous executive board to be reinstated. ILO also wrote: "The statements reported seem to have gone beyond the mere exercise of freedom of speech by explicitly urging members to resign from the union and by advocating a new trade union system." 
ILO also uttered the following:
"although the Government states that there is no anti-union campaign and that the steps it took had no such anti-union objective as putting aside the trade union, it does not deny the statements cited in the allegations which, in so far as they are liable to encourage workers to leave the union or have the effect of destroying the union, are contrary to the right of workers to join the union of their own choosing, in accordance with Article 2 of Convention No. 87. The Committee emphasizes the importance that the authorities' statements to the media should not seek to influence the right of workers to join organizations of their own choosing."
At the moment, dockworkers in Limón are receiving support from other trade unions, but many men and women in the street, as according to statements in social media, still think that these workers' problem is that they are lazy and that the executive board of SINTRAJAP is virtually eating money. It is a sort of rhetoric that is seen in Norway, Costa Rica and world wide, as dockworkers are concerned.
In my head, I can see a hard working docker standing next to the Maersk Group, a huge transnational company, looking to see if he will keep his job and if so, how much of his salary he will keep.

How Costa Rican politicians over the years have made this little man into a problem while finding it perfectly fine that, for 33 years, Maersk be in control of an important harbor area, involving as well possible environmental damage, tells me: People with power also have the power over how people see reality. Governments and powerful companies can transform realities in people's heads. That is why blogs like BryggesjauerFrue's, showing a different reality, are so important.

Guri Waalen Borch is 35 years old, she has a Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Tromsø, Norway and has a big social commitment.