Coalition seeks intervention in port strikes Ports Los Angeles/ Long Beach

Thursday, November 7, 2014

Coalition seeks intervention in port strikes Ports Los Angeles/ Long Beach

As stated in an FHK trade alert sent on October 9, 2014, congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are growing worse with no relief in sight as late peak-season container volumes descend on the largest U.S. port complex. 

The rising volume of containers and the congestion on the West Coast is causing a stir for importers in the Midwest amidst growing concerns that the slowdowns now have the potential to bring the ports to gridlock.

In a recent poll conducted by the Journal of Commerce, 97% of the shippers who responded stated that their companies have been negatively affected by recent congestion at the LA/LB ports.

A coalition of shippers and transportation providers that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the California Trucking Association and the Intermodal  Association of North America, among others, are now urging President Obama to send in a federal mediator to help reach a U.S. West Coast labor contract deal.

In a letter to the president, dated November 6 the coalition stated, “We believe immediate action is necessary and the federal government’s use of all of its available options would be helpful in heading off a shutdown and keeping the parties at the negotiation table.”

“We further believe that if a strike or lockout occurs, the consequences would be so serious as to warrant you exercising the extraordinary authority granted under the Taft-Hartley Act (29 U.S.C. §§ 176-180) that would likely result in requiring the parties to work with the FMCS,” the letter stated.

The coalition warned that a shutdown could be even more costly than the U.S. West Coast lockout in 2002.  The U.S. economy lost $1 billion for each day of the 10-day lockout and the port took a year to recover from the backlogged freight.