Long Shore Worker (Episode 20)


A modern ocean freighter can carry
over 15,000 container loads of cargo. And getting them from the ship
to the truck or train to you is the responsibility of today’s career:
the long shore worker. You must be Glen. And you must be Brian. I am. Nice to meet you. A long shore worker does various jobs. Could be a crane operator. It could be a gantry operator. Drive machinery, like reach stackers and bomb carts. Load logs, load grain, work the rail. I specialize in driving cranes. That’s how I move the cargo. We’re going into the maintenance shop here, now. This is where all the equipment, including the cranes, the reach stackers, the bomb carts… Okay. …the forklifts. Anything at all is
maintained in this shop here. Sure. And now how does that work? Is the—, are these mechanics on-site or are these long shore workers repairing
and maintaining these vehicles? They’re actually mechanics,
electricians, welder fabricators that actually work at the long shore haul. Okay. So, they are long shore workers, but they do have their trade, as well. That’s right. I find out where I’m working
and who I’m working with. And the foreman gives me my list
of specific tasks that I have to do. And I relate to my checker:
This is the right bay. This is the right cargo.
This is the right container. They verify it with me and we get
that cargo in and out of here. Long shoring consists of, uh, three shifts. Shift one it’s eight o’clock till 4:30. Shift two is 4:30 till 1:00 a.m. in the morning. And shift three is 1:00 a.m.to 8:00 a.m. One crane operator is responsible
for loading how many? Well, in order to be an entry-level,
um, crane driver, driving these things, you have to do at least 20 an hour. 20 containers in one hour? In one hour. I grew up on the coast and always liked ships. And two connections of friends I know, and family. There was opportunities on
the waterfront on the west coast. So, I jumped a ride from the east coast
to the west coast and, uh, here I am. Never looked back. Right now, we’re heading up to the cab of the crane. Sounds good. I’m taking the elevator you’re taking the stairs. Glen! See you up there, Bri. You don’t need a high education, but you got to have common sense. Whew! It’s a long way down, Glen. This isn’t for everybody. No. it certainly isn’t for everybody. We’re 125 feet off the ground here. Wow. Now, this is the operator’s cab, right? This is the operator’s cab,
where you pick up the containers and load the containers
and discharge the containers. Oh, ha ha ha. Plexiglass floors, eh? I guess you got to be able to see
straight down and onto the dock. That’s your vision. So, this is where the operator sits for an eight-hour shift. You’re working both control knobs. You’re picking up, you’re moving it around,
you’re dropping them back off. You’ve got cameras up close. And this is the piece of machinery
we were looking at earlier. This is the spreader right beneath us. Yeah. Okay. Seeing you’re not the typical driver, I will take control of this crane. Sure. Sure. Right now, we’re in a twenty-foot mode. Yeah. We will go into the 40-foot mode. As you can see, our head is expanding. We have four flippers on each end that will help us guide us on to the can. Flippers are down,
and now we will latch onto the can. And now you’ve got to be able to pull
20 of these container units an hour? You’ve got to do at least 20 an hour. The way to get into it is to go
where, where the ships go. And that will be to any major
port on the west coast. Find out when the crew recruitment is happening
and get into the recruitment. For a new recruit, first of all you do a labouring job. And then when those openings come for training,
you apply for the training and then prove yourself that you can drive. Learn on a forklift first. Then you can learn on a bomb cart. Then you go on to reach stack. And then you go up to the dock gantry. It could take six to ten years to get
up to drive a dock gantry. You got to be able to communicate. Communication is a big thing. Because every day is a brand new ship. Brand new groups that you work with. So, you’re moving this whole cab and you’re moving the crane at the same time. You’re going up and down,
left and right… Plus, you have to look at all the
obstacles around you. Right now, I’ve landed on
the can with a spreader. Yeah. As you can see, I got a white light and a green light. White light and a green light, yeah. But I need a red light in order to lock. Then the flippers got to come up and we got two minutes to get this thing from here onto the ship and back and get another one. The perks in this industry that
people work towards… It’s probably the benefits and the pensions. I couldn’t take an office job. I like going out into the field. I like going into the weather
and doing a different job. So this whole thing, you’ve really
got to be good with your hands to have this kind of a position. You certainly have to be good with your hands. You have to have good hand-eye coordination. You got to be able to think ahead:
What are you doing, next? Because this thing moves too fast. It’s very unforgiving. And when you’re carrying 40 tons in the air, you can’t afford to make mistakes. It’s a very exciting job. It’s very flexible. And as long as you’re diligent, you can end up with a good, pretty good future. Once again, I’m Brian for Career Trek, reminding you that this career could be yours. See you next time.

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