Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 8 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports continue to recover from a backlog of cargo that built up before a tentative new labor agreement was signed, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
News / Global Logistics
Roughly six weeks after the International Warehouse & Longshore Union and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) reached a tentative five-year labor agreement, following nine months of often acrimonious negotiations that led to myriad supply chain and logistics disruptions, the ILWU said late last week that steps are being taken to make the tentative agreement a done deal.
A union caucus representing dockworkers at West Coast ports voted to recommend to its members a labor contract deal reached over months of negotiations that led to major disruptions to trans-Pacific trade, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Friday.
Delegates for International Longshore and Warehouse Union members are recommending the full union ratify a proposed five-year contract with West Coast port businesses.
Top executives from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles held a kickoff meeting last week, starting to work together on cargo conveyance strategies that will enhance supply chain speed and efficiency, according to a City of Los Angeles statement.
Zurich Insurance and their head of Strategic Business Risk, Linda Conrad, are sharing some interesting insights into the longer-term financial implications of the prolonged West Coast port disruption for retailers across the country.
Not surprisingly, February volumes at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) were down on an annual basis in February, as the months-long labor dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, which impacted freight flows and port operations in the form of terminal congestion and related supply chain challenges, came to an end with the parties reaching a tentative five-year contract agreement on February 20.
Shipping lines collectively lost around $150 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 due to U.S. West Coast congestion, according to Drewry Maritime Research. In the most recent issue of Container Insight, researchers note that carriers experienced various levels of disruption from the port labor dispute, and attempted to quantify the losses by examining available data.
Zepol reports that total U.S. container imports are down over 5 percent this year, compared to January and February of 2014. Nearly the entire decline in imports was attributed to West Coast ports. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which make up a combined 40 percent of U.S. container imports, declined by 19 and 20 percent so far in 2015. East Coast ports have reaped the benefit, especially the port of New York/Newark, which increased container imports by 8 percent this year.
The Houston Ship Channel is still closed following a collision yesterday between two ships.
The ship channel is expected to remain closed until the U.S. Coast Guard has the situation under control. Officials at Morgan’s Point was lifted overnight.