Posts Tagged “West Coast ports”
It will take several months for West Coast ports to return to normal and catch up on a backlog that has piled following a nine-month labor dispute. The two sides reached tentative agreement February 20 on a new five-year contract.
All kinds of agricultural commodities, including produce, were affected by the dispute, which began after the last contract expired July 1. Though the terms of that contract were extended and there was never an official strike, there were many disruptions caused by work slowdowns or the closing of the ports by the terminal operators.
Ag groups and other experts say the dispute cost the U.S. economy more than $7 billion. No numbers on the cost to the trucking industry was given. While $7 billion is a significant number, it pales in comparison to the estimated $2.1 billion that would have been lost each day if the ports would have been closed by a strike or a lockout.
The Chilean produce industry, which exports fruits and vegetables to the United States to ports on both coasts, report the west coast port problems cost its industry $50 million. The port work slowdown had delayed the unloading of ships from a two-day average to 7 days and was expected to get even worse before the agreement was reached.
It was reported last week there are approximately 1.8 million boxes of fruit from Chile at the ports. If the dispute had not been resolved, the situation would have become dramatically worse. In mid March, 5 ships are scheduled to the ports with a combined total of 2.5 million boxes of fruit.
Southern California fruit – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.
If 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.