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Maersk hits union block

Maersk hits union block
Maersk Line?s threat to pull out of the Port of Charleston has run into stiff opposition from the International Longshoremen?s Association.

Maersk Line"s threat to pull out of the Port of Charleston has run into stiff opposition from the International Longshoremen"s Association.

Maersk Line"s threat to pull out of the Port of Charleston unless it can use non-unionised dockers to cut costs has run into stiff opposition from the International Longshoremen"s Association.

At an emergency meeting late last week, about 500 union members at Charleston, in South Carolina, voted down the proposal from the state port authority, saying that union labour costs at the port are ?competitive? with non-unionised workers and allowing Maersk Line to use the latter would cost dozens of unionised jobs.

As container cargo volumes have shrunk, Maersk Line has been paying ?shortfall fees? this year for failing to deliver its basic commitment of teu under its contract with the port authority, which runs to 2010.

In October, Maersk said it could not ?remain in Charleston if it means losing money, and therefore if a path which enables profitability cannot be found, we will have to depart?.

The authority came up with two alternatives in a bid to stave off this threatened defection. One would reduce Maersk"s space at its Wando Welch Terminal and repossessing some of the more than $8bn infrastructure that would then become surplus.

The other option is to shift Maersk to a ?common-use area? in the yard, where non-union SPA employees would handle its cargo.

Maersk has said it prefers the second option.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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