Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for the West Coast Congestion?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for the West Coast Congestion?

Standing on the shore looking out over the water, a person can spot multiple vessels and easily see the congestion that has plagued the West Coast ports over the past several months.

On Wednesday, January 28 it was reported that 17 container ships were at anchor awaiting berths in Los Angeles-Long Beach with Oakland reporting five more at anchor and Tacoma checking in with six.

It has been stated that this is the worst case of US congestion on record.  Some carriers are running what are referred to as “extra-loaders” to the East Coast ports in an effort to alleviate the congestion.

Multiple factors are behind this deadlock as stated in previous trade alerts although it is now being reported that there may finally be a breakthrough in negotiations. The Pacific Maritime Association confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached earlier this week on ILWU jurisdiction over container maintenance and repair – a contentious issue that had been holding up negotiations since the first of the year.  Other issues remain however such as wages, pensions and length of the new contract.

If an agreement is reached soon as is hoped by some, it will still take several weeks, even months for these terminals on the West Coast to return to their normal workflows and routines