Worker Shortage Eases At LA-Long Beach: A shortage of longshoremen at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach abated after the July 4 holiday weekend. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association exchanged proposals for adding hundreds of part-time or "casual" workers to help employers fill work gangs at the port. Employers said the labor shortage caught them by surprise when more longshoremen than expected took time off for the Father's Day weekend. The problems continued into the July 4 weekend, which coincided with the ILWU's Bloody Thursday holiday, commemorating the 1934 San Francisco strike that preceded the ILWU's formation. David Arian, president of ILWU Local 13 in Southern California, said employers should have anticipated the labor shortage. He said hundreds of casual workers had been promoted to registered status this year, reducing the casual ranks by about one-third.

ISPS Implementation Goes Smoothly: The Coast Guard said it denied entry to 42 foreign ships during the first week after implementation of the International Ship and Port Security code on July 1. The Coast Guard said there were 1,278 port calls by foreign vessels during the seven-day period. In addition to the ships denied entry - mostly bulk carriers and small vessels - 38 were detained in port. Inspectors made 382 compliance inspections at dockside and 12 at sea.

Shenzhen Container Traffic Up 32 Percent: Container traffic in China's southern port of Shenzhen grew more than 32 percent in the first six months from the corresponding period in 2003, according to the Shenzhen Municipal Port Authority. Volume through Shenzhen's three major container terminals - Yantian, Shekou and Chiwan - rose between 20 percent and 64 percent in the first half of the year, as overall traffic totaled 6.1 million TEUs from January to June. Shenzhen forecast 13 million TEUs for all of this year.

Hutchison To Expand Panama Terminal: Panama Ports Co., a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings Group, has received approval to invest $100 million in expansion of the container terminal at the Port of Balboa, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The expansion will add a 919-foot wharf with three container cranes capable of handling ships too large to transit the canal. Panama Ports also operates the Port of Cristobal, at the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal.

WCO Appoints Security Group: The World Customs Organization will form a "high-level strategic group" of prominent national customs administrators to lead development programs for trade facilitation and supply-chain security. The group's formation was announced at the end of the WCO council's annual meeting in Brussels. The strategic group will assess its progress at the WCO policy committee meeting in December and report to the WCO council next June.

CMA CGM Acquires French 3PL: CMA CGM Logistics, the supply-chain management subsidiary of France's CMA CGM Group, has acquired an 80 percent interest in Qualitair & Sea International. CMA CGM said the acquisition will strengthen its 3PL services, which operate primarily in Europe and Asia. Qualitair & Sea provides services in airfreight logistics, logistical and customs engineering and maritime forwarding.

HACTL Volume Increases: Hong Kong's main air-cargo handler, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd., said its volume during the first half of this year increased by 21.7 percent. HACTL, which is 25 percent owned by Jardine Matheson Holdings and 20 percent owned by Swire Pacific, said its increased volume has been fueled by strong exports, particularly to Europe.

EU Provides Loan For Rotterdam Terminal: The European Union's European Investment Bank is providing a $245 million loan for construction of a container terminal at the Port of Rotterdam. The loan will pay for construction of a quay wall and dredging for the EuroMax terminal, a joint venture between container line P&O Nedlloyd and ECT, the port's largest terminal operator. The companies will pay for construction and supply the terminal's equipment. Work will begin in the second half of 2005 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008. Initial capacity is listed as 2.4 million TEUs. Rotterdam handled 7.1 million TEUs last year.

Long Beach Foresees Higher Revenue: The Port of Long Beach said it expects robust container traffic to produce a 14 percent increase in revenue for its harbor department this year. Revenue from container tariffs and lease payments for land at the port is expected to increase to $275.4 million during the year. The port commission's fiscal 2005 budget projects net profit of $92.1 million, compared with an estimated $86.1 million in 2004 and $68.5 million in 2003.

Columbia Coastal Adds 912-TEU Barge: Columbia Coastal Transport has added a 912-TEU barge, the Columbia Boston, to its coastwise feeder service. The new barge is a sister to the Columbia Elizabeth, which entered service four years ago. Built by VT Halter Marine Inc. of Pascagoula, Miss., the new barge is 343 feet long and 94 feet wide, and can handle 20-, 40- and 45-foot containers.