ITF Urges Maersk to Address Los Angeles Automation Worries

Maersk containershipIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said it invited Danish shipping giant Maersk to work with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in addressing the financial and social impacts of the proposed automation at the Port of Los Angeles.

“Today the ITF delegation at the Maersk Annual General Meeting delivered an invitation to the company to create a constructive dialogue to ensure that the terminal at Pier 400 remains productive, competitive and profitable for the company as well the workforce and communities that it sustains,” Jacqueline Smith, ITF maritime coordinator, said.

A delegation of representatives from the ITF and affiliated unions, that addressed the AP Møller-Mærsk AGM in Copenhagen, acknowledged the constructive and continuing dialogue between Maersk and transport unions, but raised current challenges including automation plans at the Port of Los Angeles.

“Positive industrial relations do exist in many Maersk workplaces around the world. It is now vital that this applies to all regions and workplaces. ITF’s Maersk Network has identified current challenges across Maersk’s global operations, and today we have informed the company’s board and shareholders of a number of issues that need to be addressed,” Jacqueline Smith, ITF maritime coordinator, said.

ITF pointed Maersk shareholders and members of the board to a recent study by McKinsey & Company that found that automated ports are “generally less productive than their conventional counterparts” and that “while operating expenses decline, so does productivity, and the returns on invested capital are currently lower than the industry norm”.

ITF maritime coordinator, Jacqueline Smith, reiterated the full support of the global union federation with ILWU to retain the skilled workforce in the Port of Los Angeles.

“Today we urge all Maersk shareholders to join us in calling on the company to meet with the ITF, the ILWU and address the grave concerns surrounding automation plans at the Port of Los Angeles,” Smith concluded.

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