Posts Tagged “labor dispute”

Washington Apple Shipments Should Shatter Old Record

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DSCN4423Washington apple shipments for the 2014-15 season are expected to easily blow away the previous record set during the 2011-12 season.

The state’s apple growers harvested an estimated 150 million boxes this year, a little less than originally forecast.

So far, packers have shipped 35 million boxes, leaving 115 boxes currently in storage to fill the market throughout much of 2015.   A box of apples typically weighs between 40 and 42 pounds.

The final count came in 3 percent shy of the previous forecast of 155 million boxes because of a November freeze and a port slowdown that prompted many packing companies to divert more fresh fruit to processors.

A labor dispute between dockworkers and the companies that operate the shipping terminals in Seattle and Tacoma, as well as 27 other cities along the West Coast, has drastically slowed down exports and imports of everything from fruit and airplane parts to clothing and kitchen goods.

Washington leads the nation in apple production, while Yakima County is the highest-producing county in the country.

Refrigerated trucks for hauling Washington apples continues to be in short supply.

Freight on apples out of the state have been fluctuating by $400 to $500  per truck load to the same destinations, depending on the day of the week, availability of equipment, etc.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $4800 to Chicago; about $7200 to Pittsburgh.

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West Coast Port Delays Increases Trucker’s Chances for Produce Claims

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DSCN3254+1If you haul imported produce at ports ranging from Washington state to Long Beach on the West Coast, your chances of claims are increasing as delays in getting product out of the ports are increasing, due to a labor dispute.

Imported perishables coming through West Coast ports have been delayed two to three day late on average.

This is resulting in a domino effect through distribution procedures and with timely deliveries.   These delays effect overall shelf life of the imported fruit and in the end trickles down to less time for consumers to eat the product.

The Pacific Maritime Association said recently a slowdown by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., had spread to Los Angeles and Long Beach. The two California ports handle about 64 percent of containerized cargo on the West Coast.  The union has denied a slowdown is taking place in either state, blaming the problems on a business model that  interferes with on-time delivery of chassis systems.

 Congestion has been occurring since at least last September in Los Angeles and Long Beach, where management lays blame on a variety of causes including a shortage of chassis, rail cars, surging cargo volume and a shortage of truck drivers. Labor strife will aggravate that, they said.

“Although the existing congestion has had ripple effects throughout the supply chain, it is the ILWU slowdowns that now have the potential to bring the port complex to the brink of gridlock,” Pacific Maritime Association spokesman Wade Gates said in a news release.

 In Seattle and Tacoma terminals that typically move 25 to 35 containers hourly, were moving just 10 to 18, according to the Pacific Maritime Association.

The two sides have been in negotiations since July 1, when the last contract expired.



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