New Articles

SC Ports Completes Inland Port Greer Rail Expansion


SC Ports Completes Inland Port Greer Rail Expansion

South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) has celebrated the rail expansion at Inland Port Greer to support the supply chains of port-dependent businesses in the Upstate.

SC Ports’ employees, elected leaders and community partners gathered on 18 November to mark the event.

“Nine years into operations, we are thrilled to be expanding the cargo capacity and rail capabilities at Inland Port Greer to better serve our customers’ supply chains,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin.

“We are proud to play a role in supporting Upstate companies’ success. The growth of Inland Port Greer has truly been on the fast track.”

The first phase of expansion involved building an additional rail processing track and two rail storage tracks within the terminal.

The addition of 8,000 feet of new rail will meet cargo demands through 2040 according to SC Ports.

The next phase of expansion will involve expanding the container yard by 15 acres to the east and the west to handle 50 per cent more cargo.

The expansion also involves doubling the size of the existing chassis yard capacity and building new facilities for heavy lift maintenance and terminal operations.

The full project is slated for completion in winter 2024.

READ: SC Ports advances expansion plan at Inland Port Greer

The more than $30 million expansion is funded by both SC Ports’ revenues and a portion of a $25 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant.

The grant was awarded to the S.C. Department of Transportation for its Upstate Express Corridor Program.

“The expansion of Inland Port Greer adds more space for containers and trains to meet the capacity needs of our customers,” said Ed Stehmeyer, SC Ports’ general manager of projects and design.

“The goal of the terminal expansion is to bolster the Upstate intermodal infrastructure supply chain and further develop the inland terminal to handle more cargo for our customers.”

READ: SC Ports receives $550 million in critical port infrastructure projects

Inland Port Greer opened in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as the launch customer.

In fiscal year 2022, the terminal handled more than 150,000 rail lifts — with 150,000 containers moved on or off Norfolk Southern trains.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland with Norfolk Southern’s daily, overnight rail service, enabling import/export flow between Charleston and the Upstate.

SC Ports handled a record number of containers in October, marking its third busiest month in port history.

The port authority reported 9 per cent container growth year-over-year as 256,879 TEU moved through Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal, and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in October.


South Korea’s Truckers Rock Supply Chains with Strike Action

South Korea’s unionised truckers have gone on strike in a row with the government over minimum pay.

The indefinite strikes, which began local time 12.00 am 24 November, will see at least 20,000 truckers join the picket line, predicted the organiser Cargo Truckers Solidarity (CTS) union.

CTS is affiliated with the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU-TruckSol).

Truckers are calling on the government to extend and increase capabilities of a system which calculates minimum wage based on growing operating costs due to fuel prices soaring.

The system, dubbed ‘Safe Trucking Freight Rates’, applies a minimum freight fare so drivers are not forced to drive dangerously to make deliveries.

The rate currently applies just to container and bulk cement hauliers and is due to expire at the close of the year. Truckers are calling for the scheme to be made permanent and coverage to be expanded to all cargo and freight types, including oil tankers.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) affiliate KPTU-TruckSol called a halt to a strike in June after eight days when the government and industry agreed to continue and expand the Safe Rates programme.

Since then, KPTU-TruckSol argues government has caved to pressure from big business and done everything possible to block progress. In response, KPTU-TruckSol has called a new unlimited national strike.

“The government is backtracking on its promise to the determent of workers and public safety,” said Bongju Lee, KPTU-TruckSol President.

“We are prepared to strike until that changes. Legislation to make Safe Rates permanent and expand coverage must pass in the National Assembly. It’s as simple as that.”

At the Port of Busan, police officers and buses were seen lined up along key routes.

Container traffic at ports has dropped to 40 per cent compared to normal levels since the strike began, the transport ministry said on 24 November.

The eight-day strike by truckers in June over the same issue was estimated to have cost the South Korean economy $1.2 billion and sent shockwaves through global supply chains.

Strike action has plagued global supply chains throughout 2022.

In November in the UK, Peel Ports Group (PPG) and Unite the union members reached a deal after a months-long strikes at the Port of Liverpool.

In November the Port of Antwerp was hit by staff walkouts.

railroad union

US Railroad Strike Threatens to Inflict pain on Staggering Economy

A potential rail strike from US railroad workers in December could have dire impacts on an already unstable economy during the peak season, experts have forecasted.

Earlier this week one of the US’s largest railroad labor unions, The Transport Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD), voted against a tentative five-year collective bargaining agreement with the nation’s Class 1 railroads.

Voting concluded midnight Sunday 20 November for members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) as well as the SMART-TD on the proposed agreements.

SMART-TD train and engine service members have voted to reject the proposed contract, while SMART-TD yardmaster members voted to accept.

BLET members voted to accept a tentative agreement reached on 15 September, however have agreed to join the picket line should strikes go ahead.

A status quo agreement between SMART TD and management is in effect until 8 December.

Beginning 9 December, SMART-TD would be allowed to go on strike or the rail carriers would be permitted to lock out workers — unless national Congress intervenes.

BLET and SMART-TD are the two largest rail unions, accounting for half of the unionized workforce on the nation’s largest freight railroads.

Glenn Koepke, General Manager of Network Collaboration at supply chain data firm FourKites, said that the timing of rail unions returning to the negotiation table could have significant impacts on US supply chains at the tail end of the year.

Agriculture, automotive, chemical, packaging and industrial parts would be most severely impacted.

Many of these products are the lifeblood of the American economy and are often critical components for products that are manufactured for consumers, whether food stuffs or hard goods.

“The timing of rail unions coming back to the table to negotiate has two major implications. The first is peak holiday season and what could significantly impact sales in the final month of the calendar year. Second would be a major blow to the economy, which remains in extreme uncertainty,” Koepke said.

Koepke noted that this is “a very opportunistic time” for the rail strike to occur for those looking for changes to happen.

“This would shake the US economy to its core and magnify the spotlight on the national supply chain. Unlike a port disruption or a terminal strike, there are only seven major, Class 1 railroads in the US that link all of North America — shifting this much volume to another mode of transport isn’t feasible even with unlimited capital.

“Could a rail strike happen? Absolutely. But the federal government has a very close eye on the negotiations.”

The US trucking capacity “could never fully cover the amount of rail cargo moved on a daily basis,” Koepke noted, sending the trucking market into a frenzy and put the upper hand back on the carrier and 3PL side.

“It’s difficult to predict the future, but if I were to take a guess I’d say this will get settled without a major disruption – though continued threats and noise will loom.”


US Rail Union Votes Down Latest Labor Deal

One of the US’s largest railroad labour unions have voted against a tentative workforce agreement, opening the door to strike action next month.

Train and engine service members for The Transport Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) voted to reject a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the nation’s Class 1 railroads.

Voting concluded midnight Sunday 20 November for members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) as well as the SMART-TD on the proposed agreements.

SMART-TD train and engine service members have voted to reject the proposed contract, while SMART-TD yardmaster members voted to accept.

BLET members voted to accept a tentative agreement reached on September 15.

BLET and SMART-TD are the two largest rail unions, accounting for half of the unionised workforce on the nation’s largest freight railroads.

The five-year agreement ratified by BLET members and SMART TD yardmaster members addresses rates of pay, health & welfare, and other fringe benefits for approximately 24,000 locomotive engineers and other rail workers represented by the union who are employed by the nation’s Class I railroads.

A record number of eligible BLET members participated in the ratification vote with 53.5 per cent voting in favor and 46.5 per cent voting against.

Turnout among the more than 28,000 eligible SMART-TD members was a record high.

Some 50.87 per cent of train and engine service members represented by SMART-TD voted to reject the agreement, while 62.48 per cent of SMART-TD-represented yardmasters voted to ratify.

Representatives from SMART-TD will now head back to the bargaining table with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), which represents railroad management, to negotiate new terms for the affected train and engine service members.

“BLET is a membership-driven union. In September, our National Wage Committee and our General Chairmen who represent freight rail workers unanimously agreed that the time had come for the membership to have a say on their contract,” said BLET President Dennis Pierce.

“Since then, we have worked to ensure that all of our members fully understand the wins and losses in the Presidential Emergency Board recommendations and how those recommendations were improved upon leading to the tentative agreement sent out for their consideration.”

In October the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) membership voted against ratification of the tentative national agreement reached with the Class I freight railroads, sending the two sides back to the bargaining table and resetting the countdown to crippling staff walkouts.

“SMART-TD members with their votes have spoken, it’s now back to the bargaining table for our operating craft members,” said SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson.

“This can all be settled through negotiations and without a strike. A settlement would be in the best interests of the workers, the railroads, shippers and the American people.”

A status quo agreement between SMART TD and management is in effect until 8 December.

Beginning on 9 December, SMART-TD would be allowed to go on strike or the rail carriers would be permitted to lock out workers — unless national Congress intervenes.

“The ball is now in the railroads’ court. Let’s see what they do. They can settle this at the bargaining table,” said Ferguson.

“But, the railroad executives who constantly complain about government interference and regularly bad-mouth regulators and Congress now want Congress to do the bargaining for them.”

If there is a strike by SMART-TD or any of the other three rail unions that have rejected proposed contracts with the carriers, BLET and the other eight rail unions that have ratified agreements have pledged to honour the picket lines.

Ferguson said there was a “distinct possibility” that US Congress may pass legislation to resolve the dispute and/or impose an agreement prior to the expiration of the current cooling-off period.


New Intermodal Terminal Operator at Port of Gothenburg

One of the terminals at the Port of Gothenburg is getting a new operator.

Arken Intermodal Terminal at the Outer Ports will be operated from now on by the terminal company Gothenburg Roro Terminal.

The recently signed lease agreement comes into force on 11 December and is valid for three years.

The Arken Intermodal Terminal comprises an area of 65,000 square metres adjacent to the Port’s container and ro-ro terminals.

The terminal is used for the transshipment of containers or trailers between ships, trains and trucks, for onward transport into the Swedish hinterland or out into the world.

With its seven railway lines with a total track length of 3,360 metres, the terminal is focused primarily on handling rail traffic.

As of 11 December, operations will be taken over by an operator that is already well-established at the port, Gothenburg Roro Terminal.

The company has been running the port’s biggest ro-ro terminal since 2012, where the majority of the port’s total of about 600,000 ro-ro units per year are handled.

The terminal has 16 departures per week to the UK and many of the major freight hubs in Central Europe. The ro-ro terminal and the Arken Intermodal Terminal are immediately adjacent to each other.

READ: Port of Gothenburg surpasses 220,000 TEU in Q3

“There are many new opportunities that this will enable us to realise – not least when Arken’s link to intra-European ro-ro shipping becomes clearer,” said Maria Franksen, CEO of Gothenburg Roro Terminal.

“For example, we’ll be able to link up the terminal’s extensive rail traffic from Norrland to the upcoming green shipping corridor via Ghent, for onward transport to Turkey.”

The terminal is of the open access type, and with a total capacity of 90,000 units a year.

The Arken Intermodal Terminal is a relatively new addition to the Port of Gothenburg’s range of terminals.

It became operational at the turn of the year 2017/2018, when it replaced a previous terminal in central Gothenburg. This relocation brought major benefits in the form of higher capacity, a better geographical location in relation to industry and a better adapted road infrastructure to and from the terminal.

The move meant that around 100 trucks a day could be moved from the city centre, resulting in both shorter queues and lower emissions in the area.

Last month the Port of Gothenburg debuted its Circle K charging and hydrogen filling station.


Maersk, JCB Sign Logistics Agreement

Maersk has signed a new multi-year partnership with construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer JCB (one of the largest privately-owned companies in the UK) to provide logistics services across its entire supply chain.

Under the agreement, Maersk will become the new global Lead Logistics Provider (LLP) for JCB offering end-to-end supply chain management services and management of its appointed third-party warehousing provider.

Maersk will establish a global control tower in the United Kingdom, and three regional control towers in the United States, China and India to provide multimodal cargo services and oversee JCB’s end-to-end supply chain.

The carrier said it will also deliver consolidation and customs services for JCB across various locations and manage its UK warehouse provider on a LLP basis, Unipart Logistics.

“JCB recognises the great value that our integrator strategy offers for their supply chains,” said Gary Jeffreys, Maersk’s Area Managing Director UK & Ireland.

“JCB and Maersk are an excellent strategic fit. This partnership will deliver a more agile and sustainable global supply chain for JCB.

“Maersk’s experience and the collective strengths of both companies make it a great opportunity for us to deliver this vision.”

Maersk currently offers integrated logistics solutions in more than 550 warehouses with a total global space of around 9.5 million square metres.

Last month, Maersk signed new leases for three new low-emissions distribution centres in Doncaster and Dublin.


NYK Tokyo Container Terminal begins Ops of Cutting-edge Transfer Cranes August 17, 2022

Erenhot port, the largest land port on the China-Mongolia border, has logged over 1 million tons on China-Europe freight trains so far in 2022.

The figure came one month earlier compared with 2021, according to Erenhot Customs.

READ: China ports move 142 million TEU in H1 2022

As of 15 August 2022, the port handled a total of 750 inbound China-Europe freight trains – up approximately 12 per cent year-on-year – with 84,660 TEU of containers aboard.

The total value of the goods recorded during the period was around 3.1 billion yuan ($457 million), said the Erenhot Customs.

The imported goods were mainly sheet materials, paper pulp and kraft paper. Among them, over 800,000 tons were sheet materials, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the total.

Earlier this month, the port of Erenhot reached the 10,000-mark in China-Europe freight trains handled since the cross-border railway service launched.

The 10,000th train passing through the port left for Malaszewicze, Poland at 12:30 pm local time on 6 August, fully loaded with 50 40-foot containers.

About Port Technology International

Port Technology International is the premier media company for the ports and terminals sector.

Founded in 1995 the company has grown from publishing a world leading Journal to now producing events, webinars, and other multimedia content.

Our community is made up of over 35,000 senior executives and key decision makers across the ports and terminals industry.

Through our Journal, events and digital media offerings PTI covers the latest technologies and innovations being adopted across the industry including terminals, digitalization, automation, shipping, global trade, sustainability and the energy transition, among others.

Velocity 2019 MercuryGate User Conference

Billed as “the premier industry event for transportation and logistics professionals,” the conference includes the world’s leading shippers, logistics providers, industry experts and, of course, MercuryGate software experts.

The three-day conference will feature keynote speakers Adrian Gonzalez, president of Adelante SCM, and American Blockchain Council’s co-founder and executive director, Jack Shaw. The conference will take place at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas with topics of discussion focusing on blockchain, parcel shipping, TMS best practices, high velocity multimodal frieght, and much more.

This year’s event will kick-off the morning of May 5 with a full day of activities including an exciting escape room experience at Escapology, a Pink Jeep tour, and a supercar driving experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The day will conclude with an official Welcome Reception at the Madame Tussauds of Las Vegas.

Don’t miss out on this informative, fun, and unforgettable conference May 5-7 and RSVP your spot today.