Watch West Coast Shipping Friday

This video covers the schedules, contracts, issues, and probability of a Rail Strike in the USA; along with the possibility of a West Coast Port strike at the same time.

To say either of these could be a huge mess is an understatement. To have both together would be catastrophic. I suspect the Feds will issue some kind of “back to work cooling off” order, but at best that kicks the can down the road a few weeks. I think it would be very hard for them to make it 2 months and past the election, but I think they will try.

In any case, the issues will not go away and, at best, will return just in time for Christmas…

Main points:

Dock workers are upset about automation and are without a contract now, so have already pushed things out a long ways. Rail unions are very upset about trains growing from 1/2 mile long to 2 miles (and with good reason as they become ever more uncontrollable with that length) while crews have reduced from 4 to 2 (oh, and crew schedules are 100% unpredictable and set at whim of management, leading to a zero home life situation…)

My best guess is that rail will strike. Even if they don’t, shippers are reducing shipments right now to avoid their products being stuck on a siding during a strike. Similarly, shippers have shifted to east coast and gulf cost ports for the same reason. So we have disruption already starting even without a present strike.

Also note that one offer was a 25% wage increase over a few years. Shipping costs are going to skyrocket in any case…

Be prepared for shipping disruption, stock up before Friday. Bulk shipping will be hardest hit (as it doesn’t have much alternative to bulk ships and bulk trains) so I don’t expect an immediate outage of things like TP & bread; but eventually lack of bulk wheat shipping will hit the grain mills… Just sayin’ that the duration of any strike will matter. The longer it goes the worse things will get.

Any company that depends on bulk shipping / rail / Western Ports will take a hit in the short run, and then face significant increase in costs longer term. Invest accordingly…

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/explainer-rail-strike-impact-consumers-businesses-89903953

Commuters, food producers, refineries and others could all be affected if there is a nationwide rail strike at the end of this week.

Members of one union rejected a tentative agreement that their leaders had negotiated with the biggest freight railroads, and three other unions were still at the bargaining table on Wednesday. Two other rail unions. unions ratified deals.

Yes, it’s “socialists”, but they are often in touch with labor unions…

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/08/31/dock-a31.html

Tensions mount at West Coast ports as dockworkers enter third month without contract
Rafael Azul
30 August 2022

Thursday will mark the beginning of the third month since the expiration of the contract for 22,000 West Coast dockworkers. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) bureaucracy has kept workers on the job without a contract, in collusion with both the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the Biden administration, which is determined to avoid disruptions in the supply chain at all costs. However, there are growing signs that contract talks, which have taken place under conditions of near-total secrecy, have stalled, and frustration is mounting among dockworkers.

Contract negotiations at West Coast ports have a history of slowdowns, strikes and lockouts, and government intervention. In 2002, negotiations deteriorated to the point where the PMA carried out a 10-day lockout that prompted the George W. Bush administration to intervene. In 2014 and 2015, the Obama administration also got involved to end a series of slowdowns and suppress local strikes.

Ideal time to “slow down” or walk out? When rail is on strike and you can claim you are just not crossing their picket lines…

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Posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Emergency Preparation and Risks, News Related, World Economics | 12 Comments

W.O.O.D. – 11 September 2022

Intro

This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)

Immediate prior one here:

https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2022/08/15/w-o-o-d-14-august-2022/
and remains open for threads running there (at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).

Canonical list of old ones here:
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/w-o-o-d/

“Me” News

I’ve got the first 20 foot box load of “stuff” from California moved out here. The house is starting to feel like our home. Familiar dining room, familiar plates & cups. Familiar wall hangings. LOTS of books (now I need to decide on “new bookcases” or haul out the old ones… likely going for new ;-)

Still a couple of loads to go, but lower priority stuff and largely not harmed by heat in storage. ( I moved my seed archive and photos this trip too )

Figure about a week from now I’ll likely be going again, maybe.

News & Events

The Queen is dead. Long live the King. Things will change. The world morns. She was an anchor holding the values of The Greatest Generation in modernity. The world is now more free to spin out of whack…

The NATO Proxy War with Russia continues. I’m hesitant to call it the Ukrainian war since Ukraine is just providing the bodies and the money laundry for the west. Europe writ large is trying to cope with the significant inflation, energy starvation, and recession their choices have brought. Good luck with that. Really, I hope you pull it off. But it won’t be easy…

The USA continues to thrash about under President Brainless. FWIW, on The CW network I watched “Braindead” the series. Liked it rather a lot. From before the Trump presidency, but with lots of jabs about Trump & Hillary, the basic plot line is that alien Bugs From Space eat selected parts of the brains of The Political Class in DC, and nobody really notices ;-) It’s a rehash of a plot line we saw before in Star Trek TNG, but with a comedy twist. If you like political spoofs and / or B SciFi, it’s worth it. Much of it seems to apply more now than it did when first shot…

It is the anniversary of 9-11. Nuff Said.

All in all I’m finding escapism more attractive than The News.

Oh, and China is going dark, Covid Crap and more is continuing to mess up logistics globally, China’s $Trillion of debt for High Speed Rail is running into issues as fares are so expensive that ridership is not making a profit, so cutting back service; because, you know, reduced service and higher prices are the way to attract more customers… /sarc;

Monkey Pox seems to be in the process of leaving the news due to the intense laughter mixed with No F-ing Way response to the marketing of it.

The EU is in recession. The USA is in recession. China is lying about being at 4/10th growth to avoid admitting they are in recession. I think the UK & Australia are in recession too (and likely Canada). Global economics not looking too hot.

Figure about 2024 we have a shot of getting out of recession as they usually last about 1 to 1.5 years. Unless it is a Great Depression due to massive ongoing money printing and interest rate hikes… Oh Dear…

WatchMaga

This will continue to be DIY for a while still.

https://rumble.com/user/WatchMaga

For more recent events, see:

Bongino Report:

https://bonginoreport.com/

Or Whatfinger:

https://generaldispatch.whatfinger.com/

I’ve also gotten addicted to the Top Ten Memes of the week from WatchMAGA here:

https://rumble.com/c/c-285381

They have interesting “bite” to them, along with a tendency to highlight the news of the week in memes, so good as a social attitude pointer too. Plus they are “way fun” ;-)

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Posted in W.O.O.D. | Tagged | 253 Comments

China Drought Issues & News

Interesting drought happening in China.

Note in particular at 9:40 (showing halted wind turbines too ;-) where they cover the loss of power generation, 12:00 or so where they talk about Apple devices and others likely to suffer shutdown of assembly, and 12:40 where they talk about lithium and lithium batteries. The Lithium Salt refining issue causing a shortage of Lithium Batteries. That’s gonna hurt.. Crop shortages / losses along with industrial closures from too little water. .

This also, oddly enough, increases the risk of China invading Taiwan. Why? Well, one of the big issues with the 3 Gorges Dam is that IF it were blown up, a massive flood would take out just about everything to the sea AND cut off the major troop concentration (inland) from transport, that’s on the other side of the area that would be flooded. That risk / danger is gone now what with the reservoir approaching Dead Pool…

15 minutes:

71 years ago is 1951, a time of cooling into the “New Ice Age Scare” of the late 1960s into early 1970s.

Yangtze river in worse condition (17 minutes):

157 years ago is 1865, also a cold time. So my take on this is that entering a cooling period, a drought band shows up that covers the South West of the USA, and also the middle of China. I don’t know if it is just a movement of the rain band or a global reduction of precipitation. (Dig Here!)

Sichuan has shut off exterior lighting, street lights, A/C and more.

So looks like a lot more “supply chain” issues are going to show up.

China is clearly “having issues”…

My guess on what is going on is that overall lower ocean heating leads to less water evaporation. Less water in the air and less rain causes land temperatures to go up and show “heating”, but the reality is global cooling mostly in the oceans.

That’s my theory anyway. Needs some data and proving up… Also need to check for “just a move of the rain band” by looking for a band of flooding just north or south of the drought bands.

In any case, look for China to be buying up food stocks in the global market. Smithfield is the biggest pork producer in the USA and is owned by China, so look for them to export pigs to China and for your bacon and pork prices to rise as a result. Also might be a good time to put that SPAM and Rice Bag in your larder.

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Posted in AGW and Weather News Events, Emergency Preparation and Risks, News Related, Political Current Events, World Economics | 27 Comments

European Energy Shortage – France Restarting Reactors

This is a general thread for discussing Energy Issues, with emphasis on the EU / UK, but other regions are fair game as well.

Initially I’m going to focus on just one story: France is restarting all their nuclear reactors. You know, the ones with corrosion problems? It will be interesting to see if they are going to fix them all on the double quick, or just going to say “good enough for one winter” and fire them back up.

https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/04/frances-edf-plans-to-restart-nations-entire-nuclear-fleet-by-early-next-year

France’s EDF plans to restart nation’s entire nuclear fleet by early next year

By Joao Vitor Da Silva Marques with AFP • Updated: 04/09/2022 – 22:51

(Note that the date is in Euro format, so that “9” in the middle is September. USA mode it would be written 9/4/2022. That’s why I use “4 Sept 2022” as it is unambiguous.)

France plans to restart the nation’s entire nuclear fleet by early next year. One of the largest producers of nuclear power in the world, state-owned EDF is trying to avoid disruption to its energy supply over the winter at all costs.

The minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said the company was on board with the schedule.

“As you know, 32 reactors are shut down, some for stress corrosion and others for routine maintenance,” said Pannier-Runacher. “EDF has undertaken to restart all the reactors this winter.
We are monitoring the situation closely with weekly updates and we are being especially vigilant to ensure that this schedule is kept.”

Ambitious timetable

According to EDF’s projections, 27 nuclear reactors must restart by the end of December, followed by 5 others between early January and mid-February 2023.

However, many question the company’s ability to do it, especially for the 12 reactors stopped for stress corrosion. Repairing them requires long and complex operations. The President of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Bernard Doroszczuk, warned that other problems could also be detected, leading to the new closures.

Sounds like somebody is worried about a long cold winter in the dark.

Perhaps this would be a good time for a bit of a re-think about that whole “shut down gas, coal, oil, and nuclear power” Gang Green Screwed Deal, eh?

https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/uk-energy-bills-skyrocketing-happening-88833260

UK energy bills are skyrocketing. Why is it happening?
A cost-of-living crisis in Britain is about to get worse

By SYLVIA HUI Associated Press
August 26, 2022, 2:55 AM

UK energy bills are skyrocketing. Why is it happening?

A cost-of-living crisis in Britain is about to get worse

BySYLVIA HUI Associated Press
August 26, 2022, 2:55 AM

On Location: September 5, 2022

LONDON — A cost-of-living crisis in Britain is about to get worse, with millions of people paying about 80% more a year on their household energy bills starting in October.

The U.K. energy regulator on Friday announced the latest price cap, which is the maximum amount that gas suppliers can charge customers per unit of energy. It means people will pay 3,549 pounds ($4,188) a year for heating and electricity.

Scores are already struggling to make ends meet as inflation soared to 10.1% last month — the highest in 40 years — and the rapidly spiraling costs of energy and food are certain to hit the poorest the hardest.

So maybe it would have been a good idea to NOT blow up those coal fired power plants and shut down the nukes, eh?

Chickens, home, roosting.

How about the future? Anything looking better further on after “whatever” gets done to fix this?

Under the revised price cap announced Friday, average household energy bills will jump to 3,549 pounds a year starting Oct. 1. They will go still higher when the price cap is updated again in January, expected to exceed 4,000 pounds.

U.S. bank Citi forecast that the huge energy cost increases could drive U.K. inflation to 18% next year. The Bank of England predicts a recession starting later this year.

Um, nope. Well, just think of it as a Sample Run for the Net Zero crash… /snark;

Germany has put the brakes on shutting down reliable power, at least a little bit:

(I was only going to quote a little, but they put up a few nags about “make an account” to get one more free article; so there’s a high probability that in the future folks can’t “hit the link” to see what I was pointing at. So instead I’ll be quoting very heavily.)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-05/germany-to-keep-nuclear-plants-in-reserve-to-ease-energy-crisis

Politics
Germany Keeps Its Nuclear Plants Alive as EU Seeks Crisis Fixes
Germany will keep two plants available in policy shift
EU is working on measures to cap prices, improve liquidity
ByArne Delfs, Ania Nussbaum, and Rachel Morison
September 5, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDTUpdated onSeptember 5, 2022 at 1:15 PM EDT

Germany moved to keep two nuclear plants available this winter in a policy reversal, as European leaders scrambled for emergency fixes to the deepening energy crisis.

Moscow’s move to switch off its main gas pipeline to Europe sent gas and power prices surging on Monday, adding urgency to politicians’ efforts to stem a crisis that risks turning into an economic, social and financial disaster too.

In a hastily arranged call, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron made an energy pact to help each other through the winter,
as they forged a united front ahead of EU negotiations later this week on crisis-fighting tools.

So, OK, France is panicked enough to be doing a mad dash restart of reactors, and Germany is halting the shut down of 2 of them. Both are in trouble. So they promise to share their lack of power? Um… how’s that work again?

Were it up to me and I was in charge in Europe, I’d just ask “Why can’t we drop the sanctions WE imposed and just start up Nordstream 2? Call off the crisis??” But it would seem I’m not a very good politician (since I think crisis is something to fix, not something to exploit…)

European Union energy ministers are set to meet on Friday, and the proposals on the table so far include power-demand curbs, measures to boost liquidity in the sector as collateral demands skyrocket and a price cap on gas. In a measure of how the bloc is ready to rip up long-hallowed policies, there’s even a draft proposal to make it cheaper to pollute to reduce the cost of electricity.

Germany’s move to keep two nuclear plants in reserve also marked a policy shift that was a difficult move for Scholz’s coalition government. Economy Minister Robert Habeck insisted that the nuclear exit enacted in the wake of the Fukushima disaster was still in place but two plants will be kept in reserve in case they’re needed — for this winter only.

“I will do everything to ensure Germany’s energy security,” Habeck said. “This way, we can act if worst comes to worst.”

Hours earlier, officials and executives predicted that Germany will struggle to meet its targets of filling up gas storage with Nord Stream shut.

With Germany short of gas and France short of electricity as its once mighty nuclear fleet has been hit by a series of issues, the two countries agreed to back each other up through the winter.

France will complete works in the coming weeks to be able to export gas to Germany “each time it’s needed” this winter, Macron said. At the same time, Germany will boost power output to be able to export more electricity to France when demand peaks.

Um, isn’t a lot of their electricity made by burning gas? So if gas is in short supply, how will Germany be able to export more electricity to France? And if the French reactors are not making enough electricity how will France be able to export gas that would be needed in peaking gas turbines?

Somehow this all seems a bit long on “show” and short on “how to”…

I suspect the “power curbs” will be the big “fix”…

Power Mix
Europe gets about a fifth of its electricity from gas

French power prices for the start of next year are about 30% higher than in Germany as Electricite de France SA struggles with its nuclear plants. Usually, a major exporter of power at peak times, France is demanding imports this year
— one of the reasons European prices are so high.

As Macron called on French citizens to cut their demand by 10%, Habeck said more measures would be needed. Both countries back an EU-wide windfall tax on energy profits, Macron said. Macron also called for oversight of “speculation” on energy prices, and backs calls to sever the link between gas prices and those of power.

Why does this look like a giant FUBAR with everyone promising to borrow from the next one in the circle to make more power? Sort of a “We can all borrow 100 GW from our neighbor and since there are 10 of us, that makes 1000 GW of new power!”…

Or maybe, to quote the Microsoft support site about a bug I was researching “This behaviour is by design”… i.e. someone want’s it broken.

(Also playing the limited “free” articles game:)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellynch/2022/08/31/germanys-energy-crisis-dispels-several-myths/?sh=176abf6125e9

Germany’s Energy Crisis Dispels Several Myths
Michael LynchSenior Contributor

Germany is undergoing an energy crisis now as severely reduced gas flows from Russia threaten to leave it with a cold, dark winter. Much of its problem is self-inflicted and demonstrates the perils of populist but irrational energy policy.

Many eyebrows were raised when Greenpeace announced that, given the seriousness of the current situation, they would not oppose more coal fired power being brought on-line, although they insisted that hard coal, not lignite, be used. (Greenhouse gas emissions are slightly higher for anthracite, but other pollutants, including sulfur, tend to be much lower.) This serves as an important lesson about climate change policy and public attitudes towards higher-cost but cleaner energy supply.

Oh God! Greenpeace is so stupid they can’t understand that soft coal (AKA Thermal Coal) is better for running a power plant? Or that plants have scrubbers to remove things like sulphur?

The rest of the article is also a bit daft. Not horribly so, just not worth wasting time reading it.

Whatever…

It looks to me like this has the potential to be a great Learning Experience for Europe (and the rest of us). Go ahead, close those nuclear plants. Don’t replace the missing gas. Keep those coal plants closed. This is the goal of the Net Zero and Green Broken Deal, after all.

Just think of it as a small preview of things to come under Green Global Warming absurd policies…

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Posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Emergency Preparation and Risks, Energy, Global Warming General, Human Interest, News Related, Nukes | 69 Comments