Containerization & Intermodal Institute to host first West Coast event

James McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, and Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, will be honored October 1 by the Containerization and Intermodal Institute (CII) at the first ever Connie Award event to be held on the West Coast.

Each recipient will be recognized for significant influence in containerization in world trade and transportation at an industry-wide dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, CA. The Port of Long Beach is a principal sponsor of the event.

CII, founded in 1960, has been presenting the Connie Award since 1972 and it has become the most coveted honor in the field of containerization and its ancillary industry. Among some 35 recipients are Malcom McLean, Thomas B. Crowley Sr., Bruce Seaton and Douglas Tilden.

McKenna’s organization, the PMA, negotiates and administers maritime labor agreements with McEllrath’s group, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). PMA member companies are ocean cargo carriers, terminal operators and stevedores that operate at West Coast ports, where overall cargo movement supports eight million US jobs. The union represents waterfront workers along the Pacific Coast and Hawaii.

The recipients were chosen following an industry poll and are being recognized for efforts in securing a six-year contract covering more than 25,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports. Both said it meets the needs of both workers and the industry. It allows West Coast ports to be competitive and provides the good jobs that workers and communities need.

In announcing the event and awardees, Allen Clifford, CII president and executive vice president of Mediterranean Shipping Company, said: “Industry representatives across the US have been drawn to the prestigious Connie Awards in the New York area. To meet the popular demand of this event, it is time that we bring this gala and prestigious award here so our West Coast business community can honor our recipients as well.” The annual Connie Award luncheon will take place December 7 in Newark, N.J.

As president of the San Francisco-based PMA, Jim McKenna directs the association’s principal business activity of negotiating and administering maritime labor agreements with the ILWU on the West Coast. He also oversees all operations, including the administration of payroll, benefits, and pension, and the training of the ILWU workforce and PMA staff. Prior to joining PMA in July 2003, McKenna was chief operating officer at Horizon Lines (formerly CSX). He has nearly 30 years of domestic and international maritime industry experience that includes vessel operations, procurement, terminal operations, and labor relations activities at Sea-Land Service and Horizon Lines.

A career-long dockworker, McEllrath was appointed in 1993 to finish the term of the Northwest Coast Committeeman through 1994. McEllrath won election to that position in 1997 before being elected international vice president for the Mainland in 2000. McEllrath has extensive contract negotiating experience, having served as the representative for five small ports in the Columbia River area on the Longshore Negotiating Committee for the 1993 and 1996 contracts. He served as co-chair of that negotiating committee for the 1999 contract and also co-chaired that committee during the lengthy and contentious 2002 West Coast longshore negotiations. He has also chaired the Negotiating Committee for the ILWU-PMA Shipboard Grain contract in 1999. He served as chair of the union’s Negotiating Committee for the Northwest Grain Handlers contract in 2000 and 2003. McEllrath is a second-generation longshore worker.

In addition to the awards, CII will present several scholarships to students studying logistics and scholarships and to maritime academy cadets. The mission of CII is to promote and support the business of international trade and the intermodal container transportation community.

CII, a non-profit or