On Monday, November 3rd, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) released a statement accusing the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) of “orchestrating slowdowns at the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma”.
News / Global Logistics
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has initiated orchestrated slowdowns at the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma, severely impacting many of the largest terminals during the peak holiday shipping season. The two ports handle an estimated 16% of containerized cargo on the West Coast.
The work actions come as the ILWU and its employer group counterpart, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), are in the sixth month of negotiations for a new contract covering nearly 13,600 workers at 29 ports along the West Coast, from California to Washington. Initially, the PMA and ILWU set a goal of reaching a new agreement in July.
Nine containerships were among the 13 vessels waiting at anchor outside the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Monday because of congestion in the harbour.
The highest number recorded by the Marine Exchange of Southern California since it started compiling congestion figures on October 16 was 14. That was on Sunday and included 11 containerships, with the number down by two yesterday.
Shipping containers are being delayed for up to three weeks, threatening timely holiday goods delivery to retailers, due to a dearth of transportation equipment and possible labor slowdowns at the the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The delays are affecting retailers including JC Penney Co, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, American Eagle, Ralph Lauren and Carter’s, according to three people with inside knowledge of the situation. Retail giant Wal-Mart recently diverted 300 TEUs to Oakland to avoid the bottlenecks, one source said. Wal-Mart declined to comment.
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The congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports has been going on for at least two months, but no one expected it to last this long, and no one anticipates an immediate fix – gridlocked docks possibly threatens holiday season. By Deborah Belgum
For nearly two weeks now, Ram Kundani has been waiting to receive seven cargo containers filled with tops, sweaters and dresses shipped from Bangladesh, China and Indonesia to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. But some 10 days after their arrival, the containers on Oct. 21 were still stacked on container vessels as gridlocked docks made it difficult to unload the big metal boxes.
Around this time last year, Aeromax Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sean Schipper could count on getting his toy products shipped from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to his Lake Barrington, Ill., business in seven to 10 days.
But because of recent congestion at the twin ports, it’s taking twice as long — or in some cases three times as long — to get merchandise delivered to the toy wholesaler, which does nearly $5 million in annual gross sales selling children’s costumes and toys.
Contract negotiations between shippers and 20,000 dockworkers at West Coast ports are progressing toward a tentative agreement in November, the head of the largest harbor said.
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said he speaks daily with negotiators for both sides on a new accord for ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington, which together handle almost half of all U.S. maritime trade.
Lines offering Asia to US services will further ramp up charges in the coming weeks by introducing new ‘intermodal door delivery charges’.
Most member lines of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement will start charging customers US$100 per FEU and USD$90 per TEU on all cargo moving under ‘intermodal store-door delivery through rates’ from Asia to the US.
Asia-U.S. container lines, still heavily reliant on intermodal service, have now been forced to respond with intermodal door delivery charges to recover those costs.
Congested U.S. port terminals, harbor and over-the-road truck and driver shortages, slower trains and longer rail terminal dwell times due to increased domestic rates have not only disrupted service but also driven intermodal rates and cargo handling costs up sharply.