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June01, 2015

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24 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE TOP 100 IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS 2015 JUNE 1.2015 By Bill Mongelluzzo and one of the biggest steps will be to change the way that we negotiate and actually con- summate a contract," McKenna said. He further suggested that any solution encompass both the East and West coasts. "I think it has to be both coasts. If we do any- thing that's a significant change, we can't say the West Coast is one way and the East Coast is something else. It has to be a combined effort to do something that works for the industry and the country," he said. How viable the prospect is of putting the longshoremen under the Railway Labor Act is a subject of considerable debate. Some see it as a panacea, given the law's focus on industries such as railroads and airlines, which, like seaports, have national economic significance. Others say it's a waste of time. "The Railway Labor Act would require an act of Congress to expand the jurisdiction to include longshoremen," said Peter Fried- mann, the Washington-based executive director of the Agriculture Transporta- tion Coalition and a longtime participant in Washington policy debates regarding transportation issues. "Any amendment to the Railway Labor Act, whether it's regard- ing longshoremen or anyone else, is such an incendiary topic in the labor movement and with the labor movement's supporters on Capitol Hill, that I think it would be very difficult to take that battle forward and to actually achieve any change whatsoever." If there is a significant change in think- ing among members of Congress following the West Coast labor disruption, it concerns expectations of the Federal Maritime Com- mission to get more involved in protecting the interests of U.S. companies that ship goods internationally, Friedmann said. "There a re so ma ny members of Congress now who realize they have con- stituents who are not involved in providing maritime services, but rather they are con- stituents who are consumers of maritime services," he said. "Members of Congress are going to expect that the FMC sees its mission as protecting the consumers of maritime services just like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, just like the Federal Trade Commission." JOC Contact Peter Tirschwell at and follow him on Twitter: @petertirschwell. Surge Protection With big ships already arriving and a strong peak season on the way, Oakland is mapping ways to improve service OAKLAND PORT OFFICIALS are preparing for the beginning of the peak shipping season this summer, and will soon roll out opera- tional improvements to prepare for the next cargo surge. Changes include regular Saturday gates, express delivery of imports to an off-dock site and, possibly, an empty container receiv- ing yard in the Bay Area, all designed to ease problems for harbor truckers and improve port productivity. The measures are necessary because of the big ships now serving the Northern California port, Executive Director Christo - pher Lytle told The Journal of Commerce. Oakland, like all West Coast ports, suffered through more than four months of congestion due in large part to labor actions associated with contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers repre- sented by the Pacific Maritime Association. As long as there are no more snafus with contract voting, all of the ports must turn their attention to the peak-season container volumes that will begin to build in August and peak in October. More precisely, the ports must prepare for the cargo surges that will be generated by the big ships when they arrive fully loaded during the peak season. These ships, capable of carrying between 8,000 and 14,000 20-foot-equilvalent container units, spend as many as 45 hours in Oakland on a single call, compared with 35 to 39 hours for sma ller sh ips, Ly t le noted. Oakland handles 1,500 to 1,800 containers per ves- sel call, with some visits generating as many as 2,500 container moves. Terminals are working the big ships over two to three work shifts, usually with three cranes per vessel, Lytle said. The container surges from the big ships are forcing marine terminal operators to make a decision, said Larry Nye, who is in charge of port planning at engineering and "We used to think that labor costs would push us to automation, but we know now that it's the need to separate the waterside from the landside operations."

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