“As predicted, the transportation ecosystem is finding itself in turmoil as freight shipments, particularly imports, climb in anticipation of a stronger holiday shopping season this year. The real story, however, is that the cargo is having trouble entering the country and moving quickly to final end users. Port congestion, especially on the West Coast, is causing trouble for retailers attempting to stock their shelves for the season kickoff on Black Friday. All of this contributed to domestic freight shipment activity dipping again in October, while total freight spending rose slightly.”
Strong cargo volumes continued into early November at the Port of Long Beach, resulting in delays due to a shortage of truck trailers, but underscoring this year’s rebound in international trade and pointing to an economic upswing.
On Thursday, November 6th, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) released a press release accusing the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) of now targeting the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The PMA indicates in their statement that since Monday November 3rd, the ILWU has been “refusing to dispatch hundreds of qualified, skilled workers for critically important positions transporting containers in terminal yards at the nations’s largest port complex.”
“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 214,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care.”
As contract negotiations resume today between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), a war of words and allegations has escalated in the trade press. In a statement released this morning, the ILWU said the PMA “dishonestly” accuses the union of breaking a spoken agreement that port operations would continue under the auspices of a temporary contract extension.
U.S. retailers appealed to PresidentBarack Obama to intervene in contract negotiations between West Coast dockworkers and maritime companies after a work slowdown spread to the nation’s largest container hub ahead of theholiday shopping season.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, asked Obama to step in and ensure that tensions between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines, don’t “escalate to a complete shutdown of West Coast ports.”
A work slowdown at the Pacific Northwest’s two largest ports Wednesday began affecting businesses as distant as Chicago as major port terminals stopped accepting export cargoes and cut the pace of imports by half. Fruit growers in Eastern Washington, retailers and exporters in the Midwest were among those who felt the effects Wednesday of the labor dispute between union longshore workers and their employers at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.
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”.
The U.S. government created the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934 as a way to motivate economic growth and development in the United States. What was a good idea then continues to offer advantages to importers and exporters today.