Port automation gets short shrift from US Gulf Coast, East Coast, union leader

Harold Daggett, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), has no time for proposed automation and efficiencies in US ports on the Gulf and East Coast.

He has called for a “global fight” against port and maritime automation

THE ILA, which is the east and Gulf coast dockers’ union, is calling for a trade union common front to oppose ocean carriers and marine terminal operators that seek to automate port operations.

Gaggett said that “it is time we put companies out of business that push automation. Someone must take the bull by the horns and that’s me – worldwide”.

He added that “I feel more strongly that we must lead an international maritime alliance to go on strike together. This global alliance will have one major purpose, and that is to stop further automation”.

Daggett was speaking as 1,600 union delegates convened to discuss their stance on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for 45,000 dockers stretching from Maine to Texas. During his address, Mr Daggett showed a video displaying automated straddle carriers operating at APM’s Pier 400 terminal in Los Angeles. The video claimed that such automation at Pier 400 and other terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach resulted in the loss of around 600 jobs.

Daggett also questioned the actions of foreign companies, criticizing their involvement in building fully automated terminals within the US. He argued that these projects led to job losses in the US, while the profits flowed to Europe.