A tentative agreement to resolve the West Coast longshoremen’s work slowdown may be reached before meetings between the union leaders begin on Dec. 15, representatives of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle told the Washington Apple Commission.
News / Industry News
The heads of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach joined a group of stakeholders in asking President Obama to appoint a federal mediator to help employers and union dockworkers to reach an agreement on a new labor contract.
Crippling cargo backups at U.S. West Coast ports dragged on into a third month amid industry reports on Thursday of prolonged shipment delays for goods ranging from yoga apparel and rice to NBA bobblehead collectibles and frozen french fries.
The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.3 percent in October from September, rising for the fourth consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The October 2014 index level (121.8) was 28.8 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
The November Cass Freight Index showed a drop in total freight expenditures of 0.7 percent and a corresponding decline in shipment volumes of 0.2 percent. This was not unexpected given the fact that retailers stocked up early in anticipation of problems at the West Coast ports. While November is generally a slower month for freight movement, the last several years have shown dramatic drop-offs in November. So, in context, this slight downward shift is an encouraging improvement that is helping to cap off a good year for freight.
Most retail holiday import goods have already made it to store shelves, according to Port of Los Angeles spokesman Philip Sanfield, since many shippers sent peak season inventory early to avoid possible labor disruptions at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
With most holiday merchandise safely in the country despite significant congestion impacting West Coast ports, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to continue to slow down this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 321,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains were widespread, led by growth in professional and business services, retail trade, health care, and manufacturing.
When the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) convenes a caucus in San Francisco next week, contract negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association may finally draw to a close. According to labor/management analysts, a tentative agreement could be worked out by the 100 caucus members, and then presented to the union for approval.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November for the 18th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 66th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.