Monday, October 25, 2021
Friday, October 22, 2021
It's not my birthday, but we're at the lay berth in Brooklyn today, moored to a barge that is laid up (unmanned, shut down), and out of the way, and I don't have orders today. Amazingly, I have today free, and other than waiting for an electrician to show up (the compressor for our air receivers (tanks) is acting up), I can go out for a walk and pick up some fresh produce.
My plan today is to walk down Brooklyn Bridge Park, pick up the pedestrian bridge entrance in the Dumbo neighborhood, do a lap across the bridge to Manhattan and back, and stop at the grocery store.
7 miles all told.
Oh, the laid up barge was the one I rode in the Caribbean a few years ago. Good adventure, great barge.
Friday, October 15, 2021
I've been back aboard the floating HQ for a couple of watches now, and settled in. We're keeping pace with where we were a few weeks ago, which is to say steady but not crazy. We carry all 'clean' (low sulfur) fuels, and many ships are still in the process of installing exhaust gas scrubbers that enable them to burn cheaper, dirtier fuel. As such, demand for dirty fuel is increasing as ships visit shipyards only once every 5 years, and a shipyard period is required to install scrubber systems. So, so far so good.
I am content to carry cleaner fuels. The reduced sulfur content is easier on the eyes, lungs and person. Used to be that Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife could barely tolerate me at home with the stink of sulfur coming out of my pores, so I'd have to load up a massive belt of whisky and a screaming hot shower to sweat some of it out before even laying down in my own bed, and even with that, she'd change the sheets the next morning, and she was correct- after a couple of days home, I could catch a whiff of heavy fuel oil on the sheets. Brazilians are EXTREMELY fastidious people, and while I am used to their practice of twice-daily showers after all these years, I am happy I no longer am treated as a leper in my own home on crew change night.
I mean, when we first met, I stunk of fish from lobstering, so I am sympathetic to the plight of her nose.
So we're not running balls-out at the moment, which has been a welcome relief considering that in the last 12 months we've still serviced more ships than I had ever done before.
Funny thing, though, on Wednesday, Port Newark had at least 4 small container ships moored. We bunkered two of them.
Newark usually hosts large and ultralarge container ships. I suppose it's either a sign of small boat owners wanting a piece of the insane hire rates and willing to walk away from their normal trading patterns, or shippers looking desperately for anything to carry their glut of containers from A to B.
I still don't see a major traffic uptick in NY/NJ's secondary container ports like Howland Hook or Red Hook, though. I don't know how to interpret that, except that infrastructure and intermodal shifts don't appear magically out of the ether. It's not easy to get containers across the NYC area as it is, and last minute changes in shifting port destination for a given container is probably not easy or efficient to set up. Somewhere along the way truck or rail transport has to be involved, and I can't help but think that the sheer amount of boxes would make efficiency without careful planning possible. It may actually be cheaper to leave the ships at anchor rather than try to set up new links in the supply chain all willy-nilly.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
After the disaster that is the US supply chain performance these past 6 months, the Port of LA/Long Beach is going to start running 24/7, like every other port in the United States has been doing for years.
I knew about this from a while back. The largest seaport in the US doesn't have workers who will work nights. All other container ports in the US are 24/7/365. Except the largest one.
I guess someone finally noticed that the highest paid longshoremen IN THE WORLD don't work nights.
6 months of things getting steadily worse, and the powers that be finally realized that every container port in the US that isn't fucking the dog when it comes to job performance has one thing in common: they turn lights on and keep working after dark. Not LA/Long Beach, though. With a starting salary well over $100,000 a year that can easily be doubled with some overtime, I guess it was unreasonable of us to wonder why the fuck the ILWU had no interest in working more to help soften the impact of their laziness on the rest of us.
The ILWU: Fuck You, we're doing fine.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Monday, October 4, 2021
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Well, I guess the summer lull is over. Holy hell it's been a busy few weeks here on the HQ. Luckily, I'm going home tomorrow, God willing an' the crick don't rise. I noticed a mild uptick in the number of cargoes we were getting a few weeks ago, and then suddenly, boom.
My employers are offering crazy overtime for those who want to work in their time off, but they could offer me a judge's slot at a blowjob contest and I'd still say no. I just want to go home and see my family.