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Jul 24, 2019

This is what the automation deal means for workers at Port of LA, particularly those at its largest terminal

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Automation will soon come to the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal, after months of pushback from the longshore union.

Details on the tentative deal between the longshore union and APM Terminals are still unclear, but both sides have acknowledged the agreement signals an acceptance of where the shipping industry as a whole is headed.

Ray Familathe, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, on Friday, July 19, described the deal — agreed to this week — as “bittersweet.”

The ILWU, for its part, agreed to stop protesting APM’s permit to bring zero-emission and near-zero-emission automated equipment to its terminal, on Pier 400.

In exchange, APM Terminals, owned by shipping-container giant Maersk, agreed to provide 900 workers with fully paid job training, Familathe said.

Maersk spokesman Tom Boyd did not respond to requests for comment Friday, but he confirmed the general outline of the deal on Thursday.

“This focus is on reskilling and upskilling” the workers, Boyd said at the time. “Everyone is quite excited about it.”

Familathe, for his part, said 450 mechanics at Pier 400 will receive the upskill training. That will consist of teaching the workers how to operate the new automated cargo-handling equipment.

Another 450 workers, including mechanics at other terminals and longshore personnel that work out of the union’s dispatch hall, will receive reskilling training. Familathe said it’s not yet clear what that reskill training will look like.

But generally, Familathe said, upskilling would give mechanics more complex training, so they can adeptly work with the automated equipment. Reskilling would train them for other jobs.

Familathe also said he didn’t yet have details on how long the training would last.

Those aspects of the plan, he added, will be decided after the deal is finalized, which will likely happen at the next Los Angeles City Council meeting in August.

“We will be working with the employer to establish a new training facility somewhere in the Port of Los Angeles,” Familathe said, “a permanent training facility where we could conduct our classes and have the necessary equipment for the students to work on.”

In the shorter term, Familathe said, six automated straddle carriers are expected to arrive at the port next week — the first handful of 130.

About 20 mechanics will go through immediate training to commission that equipment as soon as it shows up, Familathe said.

While Familathe said he’s glad so many workers will get help to remain competitive in the industry, he’s not convinced many jobs will be saved through the deal.

“Pier 400, now, is going to eliminate about 90% of our jobs out there,” he said. “So that’s the challenge. We see an opportunity with the upskilling and reskilling of our workforce, and the new automated technologies, but the jobs that will be available in the future won’t be equal to the jobs that we’re losing.”

Familathe said he expects the automation to mean a cut in about 500 jobs a day. It’s unclear for now, he said, if any new jobs will be created.

“Initially, we’re not going to be hiring one additional mechanic,” he said. “So we’re going to have to see, in the coming months, and as this project rolls out, about these opportunities that they claim will come.”

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators, declined to say anything more about the deal other than the statement it issued Thursday.

But that statement, in part, said the agreement “will help longshore workers prepare for the port jobs of the future.”

Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, was “pleased” with the deal, which he said benefits both ILWU and APM.

“If finalized,” Seroka said in a Thursday night statement, “this would be a major step forward in securing the future of work at the port complex for years to come.”

APM’s permit has been the focus of controversy and multiple protests in recent months, reaching such a boiling point that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stepped in to mediate the disagreement.

After the L.A. Board of Harbor Commissioners denied a union appeal against the permit last month, the City Council then sent the decision back to the Harbor Commission.

Then, last week, the harbor commission once again affirmed the permit.

The apparent end of the tussle, though, may just be the first chapter of automation at both the L.A. port and its twin, the Port of Long Beach.

In L.A., Councilman Joe Buscaino on Thursday urged the city to create a commission to study the future of automation and jobs. His office declined further comment on Friday.

But Mario Cordero, the Long Beach port’s executive director, said in a Friday phone interview that automation is becoming more and more common in shipping. Long Beach already has automation at one terminal.

“The global trend is automation,” he said, “so I think, in the future, you’ll see this discussion and implementation of various degrees at the ports throughout the world.”

But, as has been clear in the recent strife at the L.A. Port, Cordero said, balancing the efficiency that automation can offer with the need to maintain jobs will always be a part of the conversation.

“From a port’s perspective, our main metric is increased productivity,” he said. “So, at the end of the day, I think that’s the dynamic that’s at play.

“We’ll see,” he continued, “if automation does increase productivity.”

Editor’s Note: The Port of Long Beach has one terminal with automation. Because of a reporting error, the story had the incorrect number of terminals with automation. The story has been updated to reflect the correct information. 

Online Edition

Automation will soon come to the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal, after months of pushback from the longshore union.

Details on the tentative deal between the longshore union and APM Terminals are still unclear, but both sides have acknowledged the agreement signals an acceptance of where the shipping industry as a whole is headed.

Ray Familathe, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, on Friday, July 19, described the deal — agreed to this week — as “bittersweet.”

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Jul 31, 2019

Alleged Chinese scheme sought to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs using LA and Long Beach ports, Inland and OC warehouses

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LOS ANGELES — A Chinese billionaire has been charged in Los Angeles in a complex scheme to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs, that involved importing the metal through the ports of LA and Long Beach and storing it in Inland Empire and Orange County warehouses, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Zhongtian Liu, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, and the aluminum company he previously headed, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and international money laundering.

The charges come as the U.S. and China try to reach a trade agreement aimed at ending a tariff war.

Liu, 55, schemed to import aluminum in the shape of pallets, which would avoid 2011 customs duties up to 400% that were not imposed on finished merchandise, prosecutors said.

The pallets, however, were three to four times heavier than typical aluminum pallets, and were sold to U.S.-based companies controlled by Liu and stockpiled at Southern California warehouses.

The scheme created the false impression that demand was high for the company’s product and artificially inflated sales volume in annual reports, prosecutors said.

“This indictment outlines the unscrupulous and anti-competitive practices of a corrupt businessman who defrauded the United States out of $1.8 billion in tariffs due on Chinese imports,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. “Moreover, the bogus sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of aluminum artificially inflated the value of a publicly traded company, putting at risk investors around the world.”

The scheme largely took place from 2011 to 2014, though it is ongoing, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have sought to seize the warehouses where the aluminum was stored and more than 275,000 aluminum objects in the shape of pallets.

The defendants include four LLCs controlled by Liu that were established to purchase warehouses in Riverside, Ontario, Irvine and Fontana where the aluminum pallets were stockpiled, prosecutors said. The aluminum was imported through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Liu and two co-defendants charged in the scheme are not in custody and are believed to be out of the U.S., prosecutors said.

Neither Liu nor the company has an attorney that prosecutors are aware of, spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

Messages seeking comment from China Zhongwang, a publicly traded company based in Liaoyang, were not immediately returned.

 

 

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LOS ANGELES — A Chinese billionaire has been charged in Los Angeles in a complex scheme to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs, that involved importing the metal through the ports of LA and Long Beach and storing it in Inland Empire and Orange County warehouses, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Zhongtian Liu, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, and the aluminum company he previously headed, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and international money laundering.

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Jul 09, 2019

LA Port commissioners to revisit terminal automation vote

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The impassioned debate over jobs, automation and robots resumes again at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 11, when the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners revisits its earlier decision to allow a permit that would pave the way for modernization at the Port of L.A.’s largest terminal.

The new hearing, which follows a Los Angeles City Council vote vetoing the commission’s decision and directing the port to reconsider, is expected to bring another record crowd to the cruise terminal’s baggage dome, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., in San Pedro.

Supporters on both sides will weigh in, with a 22-page board staff report reiterating its findings that the permit — sought by APM Terminals, which shipping-container giant Maersk owns — is consistent with the Port Master Plan and the California Coastal Act.

Ray Familathe, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Local 13, said he expects commissioners to address issues raised by the City Council.

He said commissioners should be called on to “address the claims of noncompliance with the Port Master Plan (and) the safety concerns that have been presented.”

And, he added, they should discuss, “the anticipated negative economic impacts fully automated terminals will bring to our communities.”

Tom Boyd, a spokesman for Maersk, said the company is confident that harbor commissioners will stand by their earlier decision to uphold the permit.

“None of the facts have changed since the last time the board voted, and the permit is consistent with the Port Master Plan,” Boyd said Tuesday, June 9, in a written statement.

On Thursday, commissioners will take more testimony and then have the opportunity to change or reaffirm their 3-2 vote rejecting the union’s appeal — thus allowing the permit to remain in place.

A board report to be submitted with Thursday’s hearing found that the permit:

Is consistent with and advances Port Master Plan goals;

Does not pose any identifiable adverse environmental impacts;

Will not interfere with a nearby bird sanctuary; and

Is expected to advance clean environment goals and terminal efficiency.

Also now on record backing APM Terminals’ request is the Coalition for Responsible Transportation, which in a Monday, July 8, letter to the port called on commissioners to move forward with the permit for electric cargo handling equipment. The group said it’s an important step in improving the environment.

But with hundreds of dockworkers protesting the move to automation this year, lawmakers have begun demanding the port consider the bigger picture of how technology on the docks will affect jobs.

Assembly Bill 1321, for example, is currently making its way through Sacramento and would give the State Lands Commission authority to review terminal automation requests.

Thursday’s port hearing, meanwhile, comes after the City Council voted unanimously on June 28 to send the matter back to the commission, arguing the loss of jobs automation would cause needs to be weighed as a factor.

But denying the permit could make little difference.

Terminal operators have said that with or without the permit, they’ll proceed with automation. The permit, for Pier 400, would allow for zero-emissions technology to be implemented, but the terminal’s planned automated straddle carriers can also operate on diesel, which doesn’t require a permit.

The permit, considered routine, was granted by port administrators earlier this year, but then challenged by the powerful ILWU, which has turned out by the hundreds and thousands to protest

Since then, terminal operators and the union have been in talks on a deal to allow automation while preserving jobs.

The talks, facilitated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, have been ongoing for three months. Thursday’s meeting could include a status report on the ongoing closed-door meetings.

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Online Version

The impassioned debate over jobs, automation and robots resumes again at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 11, when the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners revisits its earlier decision to allow a permit that would pave the way for modernization at the Port of L.A.’s largest terminal.

The new hearing, which follows a Los Angeles City Council vote vetoing the commission’s decision and directing the port to reconsider, is expected to bring another record crowd to the cruise terminal’s baggage dome, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., in San Pedro.

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Apr 08, 2019

Cross-border truckers wait hours in grief

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OTAY MESA, Calif. — Truck driver Mauricio Rivera, who hauls recreational trailers and manufacturing parts back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border, said he waited five hours Friday in painfully slow gridlock.
“I’m dying of hunger,” he said as he finally jumped down from his cab in Otay Mesa and scurried to find a restroom. He emphasized it was time to say “Good afternoon,” rather than “Good morning,” by the time he got across the line he started in at 8 a.m. Friday.
“I never cross this late,” he said. “It’s taking way too much time.”
Rivera said that for those like himself, who try to make as many trips across the U.S.-Mexico border at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in any given day or week, the traffic slowdown was severely affecting business.
“Normally, I cross about six times a week, but this week, I could only cross three times because of the traffic,” he said. “It’s affecting us a lot.”
Truckers hauling goods across the Otay Mesa border are, inch by inch, crawling through up to six or seven hours of traffic, after a massive transfer of U.S. border agents reassigned to deal with an immigration surge.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Rivera, who has been crossing the border with goods and products for 10 years. Meanwhile, President Trump on Thursday backed off his threat to close parts or all of the U.S.-Mexico border — at least for now.
But the reshuffling of border agents to process the record number of migrant families entering the United States from Mexico has reduced Otay Mesa inspection lanes from 10 to eight, and reduced processing hours, slowing the flow of commercial traffic.
“It’s having a huge impact,” said Alejandra Mier y Teran, the executive director for the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
Mier y Teran said the industries most affected include auto, aerospace, medical devices, electronics and perishables, noting that it is currently berry season.
“When products are not delivered on time, the clients who purchase these goods will fine the manufacturer,” she said. “Someone will eventually be paying for that fine and, most likely, it will end up being the consumer.”
Inspections have squeezed the lanes as a result of a massive personnel shuffle at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to deal with record numbers of asylum-seeking families crossing the southwest border, the Customs and Border Protection agency said.
The agency has redeployed 750 officers from across the nation to help out in areas most affected by the surge — mainly in Texas.
“The indefinite reduction of processing lanes at the Otay Mesa commercial facility is due to this deployment,” Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.
Officials said the lane reduction, which began Monday, is “a temporary change in operations” but did not specify a time when things would return to normal.
The commercial traffic slowdown is spilling over into regular vehicle lanes and affecting other ports, such as San Ysidro, as people try to get around the long wait times.
“I think this is all because of the president, Donald Trump,” said Juan Carlos Valdez who regularly crosses the border. “I don’t think it’s going to resolve the problem, either.”
Carlos Valdez said he typically waits about an hour, but Friday, it took him 2 ½ hours to cross in the Ready Lane, an expedited processing lane for vehicle passengers who carry a special microchipped frequent traveler card.
“There is so much extra pollution given off into the air with so many cars waiting double the time there. It’s bad for the air and this community,” he said. Mier y Teran said about 30% of commercial trucks have not been able to cross in recent days because of the limited lanes and limited hours.
Usually, when commercial trucks get into the line at the Otay Mesa processing center, border agents will continue to work until all the trucks in line have been processed. In recent days, that has not been the case.
All commercial lanes have been closed at specific times, causing truckers to have to go back to their manufacturing plant, open up their truck and reinspect their product and reseal the product, at an extreme extra cost, said Mier y Teran.
Some drivers have been rescheduling their deliveries, said Braulio Bautista, who ferries electronic products from Tijuana. Bautista said he waited seven hours to cross with one load of TVs.
“The time I spend in the line is really bad. It’s really boring,” he said. “But the worst part is I can’t move as much product across the line because it’s taking me so long to cross.”
Fry writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Jan 15, 2019

SCOTUS rules against forced arbitration in port trucker case

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The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of a Southern California truck driver who claimed he was wrongly forced into an arbitration agreement with a major carrier.

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that independent driver Dominic Oliveira could not be compelled by New Prime Trucking to settle a dispute over back wages through forced arbitration. Oliveira filed a lawsuit in 2013 to have a dispute over unpaid wages decided in open court.

The decision could have lasting repercussions for the trucking industry at Southern California’s ports. Many companies hire workers who are independent contractors, not formal employees, and these workers are forced to settle disputes through arbitration.

The court’s opinion

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion of the court, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg adding a concurrent opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the vote.

The decision, which affirmed a ruling by First Circuit Court, means that Oliveira can pursue his case in open court and not be forced into arbitration that could not be subject to appeal. His lawsuit eventually became certified as a class action.

Labor groups and worker rights advocates are praising the court’s decision. In a joint statement, Justice for Port Drivers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters hailed it as “a great victory for all workers in the transportation industry.”

An issue of classification

Classification of thousands of truck drivers as contractors, and not employees, has been an issue at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for several years.

“Although we have consistently challenged employers’ attempts to compel private arbitration to avoid a public legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that employers cannot and should not require drivers to waive their right to their day in court,” the statement read.

Missouri-based New Prime’s argument was based on the Federal Arbitration Act, a 1926 law that established arbitration as a mostly binding agreement. However, as Gorsuch noted in his opinion, that law may not compel arbitration in disputes involving “contracts of employment” for certain transportation workers.

That term also led to a discussion by Gorsuch about a distinction that was rarely made 93 years ago. Did “contracts of employment” make a distinction between payroll employees and independent contractors?”

“At that time, the term ‘contract of employment’  usually meant nothing more than an agreement to perform work,” Gorsuch wrote. “The dictionaries of the era consistently afforded the word ’employment’ a broad construction, broader than may often be found in dictionaries today.”

The ruling could have a long-term effect on businesses, said Thomas Lenz, a partner with Cerritos-based law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.

“It’s potentially impactful because so many people are labeled as independent contractors these days,” said Lenz, who practices employment law and also teaches at USC’s Gould School of Law. “Many are misclassified, and the law could put them as employees, which could leave employers liable.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of a Southern California truck driver who claimed he was wrongly forced into an arbitration agreement with a major carrier.

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that independent driver Dominic Oliveira could not be compelled by New Prime Trucking to settle a dispute over back wages through forced arbitration. Oliveira filed a lawsuit in 2013 to have a dispute over unpaid wages decided in open court.

Jan 16, 2019

Cal Cartage’s Wilmington warehouse facility will close and take 800 jobs with it

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California Cartage, a trucking and warehouse company at the Port of Los Angeles, has announced it will close its Wilmington warehouse in July 2019 where 800 people are currently employed, and the company is blaming the Teamsters Union for the closure.

The company, which is owned by NFI Industries, was involved in lease negotiations with L.A.’s Harbor Commission for the past three months. The L.A. City Council unanimously revoked the company’s lease at the site in October and ordered the Harbor Commission to include provisions in the future lease that prevented labor disruptions.

According to a company press release, the Teamsters, who have been attempting to unionize workers at the warehouse since at least 2016, “prevented a negotiated lease despite Cal Cartage’s willingness to agree to allow the employees to once again vote on whether to unionize.”

A vote on whether to form a union in 2016 fell short of its goal, an outcome the Teamsters blamed on the company breaking “numerous laws” including “unlawfully threatening and intimidating workers,” a statement from the Teamsters read.

In a settlement that will be considered by the Harbor Commission at its meeting on Jan. 24, Cal Cartage will have six months from the time the agreement is signed to wind down its operations at the Wilmington warehouse facility.

It’s unclear yet whether the company will attempt to negotiate a separate lease for its two trucking subsidiaries, California Cartage Express and K&R Transportation, to remain on the property.

“This is a very sad day for Cal Cartage, our employees, our customers and the Wilmington community,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “We have been fighting, with the help of our employees, for the past four months to negotiate a deal to keep this facility open long-term. This is not the outcome we wanted. Because of the Teamsters’ efforts, we now have been left with no other option but to shut down the Wilmington operation.”

Teamsters Port Division Director Fred Potter said the company was wise to vacate the property to make room for a company that he says will follow the law.

“NFI should act responsibly and stop pointing fingers at the Teamsters when its NFI that has continuously and persistently broken the law,” Potter said in a statement.

There have been seven labor strikes in recent years among Cal Cartage workers. In November 2018, six trucker drivers for the company filed minimum wage violation claims.

In September 2018, the company was ordered  to pay $3.57 million to more than 1,400 workers after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation revealed it had failed to pay its workers a fair wage.

In May 2018, L.A. city leaders slammed the company for allegedly treating their workers badly.

In March 2016, Cal cartage was hit with a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board alleging that managers interrogated and threatened workers with retaliation for union organizing efforts.

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California Cartage, a trucking and warehouse company at the Port of Los Angeles, has announced it will close its Wilmington warehouse in July 2019 where 800 people are currently employed, and the company is blaming the Teamsters Union for the closure.

Jan 02, 2019

Who’s liable now? State warns distribution hubs to avoid working with truck fleets that owe back wages

The state agency that enforces workplace law has issued a warning to distribution facilities that they could be on the hook for future fines if they do business with trucking companies that violate wage laws.

The warning, issued Jan. 2 by the California Department of Industrial Relations and based on a law that went into effect the previous day, names 19 trucking companies that pick up containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These companies owe more than $1.7 million in back pay, fines and other charges related to employee compensation.

The warning, however, is for the trucking firms’ would-be customers. A retailer or distribution company that enters into a contract with these trucking companies would share in the blame – and the cost – if future violations are discovered.

“Companies are on notice that if they contract with a known wage thief, they will be held responsible for the exploitation of the drivers who carry their goods,” Julie Su, the California labor commissioner, said in a statement.

The outstanding judgments include unpaid wages, overtime pay, expenses and workers compensation payments. According to the state’s press release, some port trucking operators have misclassified employees as independent contractors to increase their profits.

Several truck fleet operators owe hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple, outstanding violations. Krisda Inc. of Long Beach owes about $392,000 for four violations. Pacgran Inc., with addresses listed in Diamond Bar and Long Beach, owes more than $352,000 from five cases.

HRT Trucking, one of two companies listed that are not from Southern California, owes about $175,000 for three violations. The company’s home address is Houston. Absolute Intermodal in Phoenix owes about $124,000.

Other violators cited, with approximate amounts, are:

  • Perez Brothers Transport of Compton ($141,000)
  • MSTL Inc. of Gardena ($80,000)
  • LHB Trucking of South Gate ($80,000)
  • DLS International Services of Carson ($72,000)
  • Sprint Transports of Hacienda Heights ($61,000)
  • Climan Motor Freight of Long Beach ($28,000)
  • Harbor Choice Express of Gardena ($27,000)
  • GTD of Santa Fe Springs ($26,000)
  • Accolade Management of Gardena ($25,000)
  • Expedited Freight Services of Paramount ($24,000)
  • JD & LA Trucking of Wilmington ($18,000)
  • Coastal Trucking & Distribution of Gardena ($13,000)
  • Excel Trucking Services of Burbank ($9.000)
  • Container Intermodal Transport of Wilmington ($8,000)
  • Golden Tranz of Burbank ($6,000)

The warning to warehouse operators that could be prospective contractors with these trucking firms is the result of a new labor law that went into effect Jan. 1, specifically drafted to help workers who drive trucks based at the ports, DIR spokesperson Jeanne-Mairie Duval said in an email.

According to the DIR statement, since 2011 more than 1,000 claims for unpaid wages have been filed, with 448 of them resulting in decisions favorable to the truck drivers, resulting in more than $50 million in wages owed.

The $1.7 million in fines cited in Wednesday’s announcement are based on cases that have already been decided by the courts but have not yet been settled by the offending companies.

The state agency that enforces workplace law has issued a warning to distribution facilities that they could be on the hook for future fines if they do business with trucking companies that violate wage laws.

The warning, issued Jan. 2 by the California Department of Industrial Relations and based on a law that went into effect the previous day, names 19 trucking companies that pick up containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These companies owe more than $1.7 million in back pay, fines and other charges related to employee compensation.

Dec 03, 2018

This Port of Long Beach project would shift more containers to rail, potentially cut down on truck trips and pollution – Press Telegram

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A Port of Long Beach rail project that’s now in the planning stages could potentially eliminate several hundred commercial truck trips to and from the port each day – cutting down traffic congestion and air pollution, port officials say.

The port’s Pier G and J Double Track Access Project aims to, among other things, decrease roadway congestion by shifting more containers to rail, which would reduce the need for container-hauling semis.

When complete, the project would expand on-dock rail usage by about 157,000 cargo containers each year, and reduce the need for 615 daily truck trips, according to the port.

The port received a $14 million grant for the project in November, with the money coming from the state’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which helps pay for improvements to freight corridors across California.

The track access project would add a new 9,000-foot departure track for trains serving four of Long Beach’s six container terminals. The total estimated cost is $25 million, with the port picking up the tab on the remaining $11 million.

The plan is to award a construction contract for the Pier G and J project next spring and begin construction in fall 2019, port spokesman Lee Peterson said. Construction is expected to conclude by mid-2021, according to the port.

Port Chief Executive Mario Cordero said the project would enhance both the port’s operations and environmental sustainability because moving goods by rail is four times as efficient as moving them by truck.

In a statement, Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Tracy Egoscue said that the project would help modernize the port and strengthen its ability to contribute to the regional and state economies.

The double track access project isn’t related to the ongoing $870 million Pier B On-Dock Rail Project, a massive effort to reconfigure and expand the port’s Pier B terminal by upgrading its rail facility. That project would allow trains up to 10,000-feet long to be loaded and unloaded at on-dock rail facilities at marine terminals.

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A Port of Long Beach rail project that’s now in the planning stages could potentially eliminate several hundred commercial truck trips to and from the port each day – cutting down traffic congestion and air pollution, port officials say.

The port’s Pier G and J Double Track Access Project aims to, among other things, decrease roadway congestion by shifting more containers to rail, which would reduce the need for container-hauling semis.

Nov 20, 2018

China's Cosco Puts Long Beach Container Terminal Up for Sale

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China's Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. is starting the process of selling its large container terminal in Long Beach, Calif., a major gateway for U.S. trade that is expected to bring bids of more than $1 billion from some of the world's biggest port operators, people involved in the matter said.

The sale is part of an agreement with U.S. regulators that gave Cosco the green light to buy Hong Kong-based container shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd. for $6.3 billion in July.

Orient Overseas operates the Long Beach Container Terminal under a long-term concession. Cosco agreed earlier this year with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to place it into a U.S-run trust and sell it within a year to allay national security concerns over a Chinese state entity running a major U.S. gateway.

Cfius has scuttled several international transactions in the past couple of years including Broadcom Ltd.'s $117 billion takeover of chip rival Qualcomm Inc. and the sale of MoneyGram International Inc. to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Ant Financial Services Group.

"Sale advisers are being hired and the expectation is for bids of more than $1 billion from global port operators and maybe pension funds and private equity," a person directly involved in the matter said. "The sale is being run by OOIL and should be completed by June at the latest."

The Long Beach terminal is one of the few in the U.S. with extensive automation and can handle some of the world's largest container vessels. The terminal is expanding to handle ships carrying more than 20,000 boxes each.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the biggest in the U.S., with more than 7.5 million containers moving in and out of the site last year, or about one fifth of U.S. trade volumes. Apart from OOIL, a number of foreign shipping operators have stakes in the port's terminals including Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company and Japan's K Line.

People involved in the case said bids are likely from APM Terminals, the port operating arm of Danish logistics giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, Japan's Ocean Network Express, Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings and South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine.

Seattle-based port operator SSA Terminals may also be in the running. DP World, one of the world's biggest container terminal operators, could offer a bid, but the Dubai-based company hasn't sought to own any U.S. properties since an effort to buy several American terminals in 2006 collapsed under political pressure and security concerns.

Cosco has minor investments in other U.S. ports, including another pier at Long Beach as well as at the ports of Los Angeles and Seattle.

Imports to U.S. seaports in the West Coast have been surging in recent months in an apparent push by retailers and manufacturers to pull orders forward ahead of a new round of tariffs set to hit U.S.-China trade in January.

Long Beach and the neighboring Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's top hub for container trade and the main destination for imports from China, handled a combined 849,908 containers in October, up 17.7% from the same month last year and 10.2% from September.

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China's Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. is starting the process of selling its large container terminal in Long Beach, Calif., a major gateway for U.S. trade that is expected to bring bids of more than $1 billion from some of the world's biggest port operators, people involved in the matter said.

The sale is part of an agreement with U.S. regulators that gave Cosco the green light to buy Hong Kong-based container shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd. for $6.3 billion in July.

Nov 30, 2018

LA, Long Beach ports poised to give up to $100,000 each to truck drivers for cleaner rigs

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The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.

Under what’s being called the Early Adopter Truck Incentive Program, a total of $14 million is being earmarked by the ports to give to goods-hauling drivers to help them pay for new lower emission, natural gas-powered trucks. Of that amount, $8 million is coming from grant program funds provided by the California Energy Commission, while the two ports and South Coast Air Quality Management District would each provide $2 million in funding.

Truckers successfully applying to the ports’ incentive program would receive $100,000 each toward the purchase of low-emission natural gas-powered trucks. To receive the funds, applicants would already have to be part of the ports’ truck registry, which lists what trucks are authorized to enter the port complex. Grant recipients would also have to agree to scrap their existing truck in order to receive money toward the purchase of a new one.

The average cost of the new, low-emissions trucks is $200,000, which is about $50,000 more than a standard container-hauling truck, according to the ports.

According to the ports, the program is designed to incentivize wide-scale deployment of low-emissions, heavy-duty freight-movement trucks throughout the area.

Matt Miyasato, SCAQMD’s deputy executive officer for science and technology advancement, said the newer trucks are 90 percent cleaner than the standard commercial trucks on the road today and emit near-zero emissions.

“We suffer from the worst air quality in the nation,” Miyasato said Nov. 15. “The only reasonable way for us to get attainment for healthy, clean air for the region is to replace, among other things, about 200,000 on-road heavy duty trucks. We think the port is a great place to start.”

The SCAQMD’s governing board approved the program during an October meeting, and the Port of Los Angeles’ Board of Harbor Commissioners did the same on Nov. 15. Next up is Long Beach’s harbor board, which is expected to ratify the agreement during its Nov. 26 business meeting.

Online Edition

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.