Shipbreaking is one of the most difficult problems for those with a concern about ESG. It touches all three areas.
Environmentally, in most shipbreaking operations in places like Bangladesh, ships are simply driven ashore, potentially dumping fuel and other waste into the water. Then, numerous local workers armed with acetylene torches climb all over them cutting up the steel, for which they are paid piecework, by the pound. The labor is very dangerous, but it’s the only source of work in those areas. And because ship owners are governed by the laws of the registry state, there is virtually no ability to enforce any rules on their behavior.
Developed countries are trying to come up with ways of shipbreaking with higher standards. In this article we see that the Dutch firm Circular Maritime Technologies International (CMT) is introducing a new automated way of shipbreaking.
This is an excellent response to a problem that has existed for years, but is just coming into public consciousness.
This interesting article dissects the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) monthly report. Truck job growth might be slowing, but warehouse jobs are declining. Is that due to increased automation? Or is it due to fewer people wanting the jobs, when the economy has so many others?
One good thing in this article is a discussion of the seasonally adjusted number in comparison to the absolute number. Economists consider the seasonally adjusted number more important for forecasting and for deducing the economics of the situation. However, we do what to know the absolute number of reports.
The BLS reports are always of some interest, and this article captures the facts nicely.
The labor strike at the port of Felixstowe in the UK is growing more acrimonious. German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven are also seeing industrial actions. The current negotiations on the US West coast are also not seeing results yet. And there are impending strikes at Liverpool and the East Coast US looming.
I think there are going to be more of these strikes and actions for more pay and better benefits for port workers.
From the union perspective, when is a better time to strike? When congestion is a problem, when everyone is complaining about missed or late delivery, that is clearly the time to get management to cough up more wages and benefits. And the ocean carriers and port terminal operators are clearly making big money from the high freight rates for containers. some ocean lines have made over 100% profit this past year.
And it’s also true that the recent spate of inflation is making even substantial proposed raises seem paltry. Inflation at 10% makes a single-digit percent raise going backward for workers.