On Good Friday, the transportation community was alerted to a work stoppage happening on the US West Coast as the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) put out a statement that union members of the International Longshore Workers Union had missed work the night before and still hadn’t shown up that morning. A strike, even by any other name, at the second busiest port complex in the nation is a drastic situation considering 40% of all US seaborn imports arrive via the San Pedro Bay.
Sometime later, the ILWU explained that their workers were at a membership meeting on Thursday, where a new president was being sworn in, and off work on Friday to observe the Good Friday holiday. It wasn’t a stoppage. This miscommunication is an excellent illustration of the turbulence happening on the West Coast.
Looking back, talks have been largely positive. Parties announced an agreement regarding health care benefits earlier last year, a topic many expected to be a sticking point throughout the negotiation. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to finalize an agreement, the better the chance something will go wrong.
The problem lies with the difficulty digesting that both sides are right. If negotiations break down, it’s going to be bad. This isn’t just about the Ports of LA and Long Beach. The ILWU and PMA represent both sides of all West Coast ports. Bringing those talks to a halt, however briefly, will send shockwaves straight across supply chains and do irreparable harm to the West Coast’s share of cargo.
For this reason, ITG will continue to follow and update this story and situation so our readership has all the facts as they become available. We keep our ear to the ground to keep our customers in the know. ITG works hard to have custom-tailored solutions ready to deploy immediately to assist our clients who are concerned about the problems on the West Coast.
Our central location allows us to bring expertise to the bigger national picture, arranging solutions all over the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. ITG can recommend alternative options on the West Coast for our clients to utilize until the dust settles and an agreement is reached. By offering reliable overland transport at all those locations, we can offset increased rail or long-haul trucking expenses by the time we save not having valuable cargo sitting at the port. If you want to step outside of the storm of uncertainty, contact your ITG representative today.