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MarAd weighs social case versus efficiency plea in port automation ruling

THE US Maritime Administration (MarAd) having received petitions on automation of cargo handling in American harbours must weigh social costs against dockside efficiency, reports New York's FreightWeek

MarAd weighs social case versus efficiency plea in port automation ruling

THE US Maritime Administration (MarAd) having received petitions on automation of cargo handling in American harbours must weigh social costs against dockside efficiency, reports New York's FreightWeek

09 September 2019 - 19:00

THE US Maritime Administration (MarAd) having received petitions on automation of cargo handling in American harbours must weigh social costs against dockside efficiency, reports New York's FreightWeek.

'What is at stake is the future nature of work and how the benefits of the enormous productivity produced by automation is distributed between capital and labour,' say the dockers unions in a joint submission with eight other labour organisations.



'The automated technology industry and its proponents have a view of the future with robots manufacturing products, driverless trucks and unmanned ships transporting the products to Amazon-type warehouses managed by robots and the last-mile distribution of the product by drones,' said the brief.



Said Automated Terminal Systems (ATS) president Daniel Reiss: 'Already ports in Canada and Mexico are siphoning off cargo, adopt advanced automation and integrate intermodal rail.'



Mr Reiss said it was foolish to introduce gradually.



'Experience in the automotive and steel industry has demonstrated that such an approach is not only inefficient it is counterproductive,' Mr Reiss said.



'Those industries virtually died in the US. It was not until management 'bit the bullet' and implemented full automation systems that those sectors revived,' he said.


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