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362Fw: ILWU and PMSA OPED: Invest in local ports

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    Feb 3, 2009
      Though Southern California ports are stressed - the piece being published in the Long Beach Press Telegram - California Marine & Intermodal Transportation System Advisory Council  (CALMITSAC) acknowledges all California ports infrastructure needs upgrading to remain competitive.
      Regretfully ports are so strapped that many can not raise matching funds to obtain and utilize federal dollars for needed projects for efficiency and security. Council member Capt. Robert D. Dockendorff, USNR (Ret.) chairs the council and is definitely versed in the needs and potential funding.
      Contact me if you would like to discuss ports and their needs with Bob. Norman Fassler-Katz is also very knowledgeable on the subject.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 3:17 PM
      Subject: FW: ILWU and PMSA OPED
      "No one is exempt from the call to find common ground"
      Norman Fassler-Katz, Sr. Consultant
      Senate Transportation
      Sub-Committee on California Ports and Goods Movement
      Legislative Office Building-Room 554
      1020 N Street
      Sacramento, CA 95814
      916-651-1893 (direct)
      916-651-1894 (committee office)
      916-324-7081 (fax)
      916-708-9148 (cell)
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Patty Senecal [mailto:PSenecal@...]
      Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 2:23 PM
      Subject: ILWU and PMSA OPED
      Importance: High


      Below is an editorial piece published in the  Long Beach Press Telegram on Sunday 2-1-09. 

      This was signed by ILWU President and PMSA President. 

      Invest in local ports

      International trade at local ports is in a state of free-fall. Cargo volume continues to decrease. Car imports are piling up at the ports with no place to go. Exports are rapidly disappearing. Hundreds of container ships sit idle in foreign ports. One ocean carrier recently announced the layoffs of 1,000 people in their North America operations and the closing of their corporate office in Oakland, ending a presence in California that dates back to the Gold Rush era.

      It would be one thing if it were just the economy we were battling. Unfortunately, both our local and state governments have neglected to develop new infrastructure which would help make us more competitive on the global front. This lack of political will coupled with the ports' poor relationships with their customers and the constant threat of container fees is why Southern California ports are losing their competitive advantage. There has been a longstanding arrogance that international trade has to come through California's ports, which must end now. Because of these and other misconceptions and the lack of political courage, Southern California's ports are on the verge of becoming "boutique" ports - primarily serving the local economy and thus losing thousands of jobs.

      Unlike what has been taking place on the East Coast, Canada and Mexico, our ports have failed to focus on strategic investments needed to effectively move goods from the port to the consumer. Industry modernization is essential to improve both the efficiency of our ports and the environmental protection of our harbors. Both are suffering. Additionally, it is imperative that Environmental Impact Reviews (EIRs) be conducted within a reasonable time period to keep the momentum of improvement going. Reviews that take six-plus years - as has been the norm - are unacceptable.

      Despite the bleak outlook, opportunities for Southern California's ports to make critical investments still exist.

      One such project that merits a timely approval is the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge. Sadly outdated, unsafe and decrepit - complete with a diaper underneath to catch falling concrete- the bridge is a gateway for approximately 10 percent of the nation's cargo. This project will stimulate the local economy by creating hundreds of jobs in the area and will result in a well-deserved aesthetic structural contribution to the Long Beach skyline. The time for action is now.

      Joe Cortez, President, ILWU Local 13

      John McLaurin, President, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association




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