Officials of Hanjin Shipping and the International Longshoremen’s Association tentatively agreed on a contract establishing personnel scales for a highly automated container terminal the carrier plans to open in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2013.
Charles Spencer, Jacksonville-based executive vice president of the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf District, said the agreement was reached earlier this month during union meetings in Hollywood, Fla.
He said the deal will be reviewed by attorneys for both sides and by a labor-management technology committee established by the ILA’s new coastwide master contract before being presented for ratification by Jacksonville ILA members. Spencer said he is optimistic the agreement will be approved. “We’re highly recommending it,” he said.
Progress on the Hanjin terminal has been closely watched as a test of how the ILA and waterfront management will work out labor arrangements allowing introduction of labor-saving automation at terminals. The level of automation at the planned Jacksonville terminal is said to be at least as high as at the one APM Terminals opened in 2007 in Portsmouth, Va.
Spencer would not discuss details of the tentative agreement in Jacksonville but said it provides for technicians who repair and maintain the new terminal’s cranes to be represented by the ILA. “These are new jobs that we haven’t had,” Spencer said. At other Jacksonville terminals, crane maintenance and repair is handled by non-ILA labor.
The Jacksonville Port Authority said last fall it would hold off on selecting a firm to design the terminal, which the port authority will lease to Hanjin, until labor arrangements can be worked out. Port officials said the delay isn’t expected to delay the terminal’s opening.
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