West Coast Port Congestion & Labor Update
The congestion situation that has existed for many months on the US West Coast continues and has worsened since the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Delays are occurring in every aspect of the supply chain, covering both export and import transactions up and down the West Coast, including Seattle/Tacoma, Oakland/San Francisco, and Los Angeles/Long Beach. Ships are often at anchor for days awaiting berthing, unloading and loading the vessel is taking longer than ever, pick up of loaded boxes can often take weeks due to congestion, containers are being buried in closed areas, there is a lack of chassis in good order and a lack of qualified drivers, the rails are congested, etc.
On top of the structural problems that are already existing, the ongoing labor dispute between employers (PMA) and longshoremen (ILWU) has gotten worse, despite the mutual agreement to allow a mediator, appointed by the federal government, to intervene in an attempt to resolve the issues that have caused them to be working without a contract for the past seven months. The battle has intensified this week, with both sides accusing the other of causing the current situation: the PMA accuses the ILWU of deliberately slowing their work speed to a crawl, the ILWU accuses the PMA of reducing longshoremen’s hours in an attempt to break the union.
We will continue to keep you current with regular updates related to this ongoing situation which is causing unprecedented delays and financial burdens to all parties involved in ocean transportation via the US West Coast.
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