The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) issued an update on the continued slowdowns and work actions at major West Coast ports including Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The union actions are tied to ongoing negotiations for a new coast-wide labor contract. The negotiations, which started in May for a contract that expired July 1, have been ongoing for the past six months.
Since October 31, members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) have continued to work slowly in the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. Reports have indicated the dramatic impact these slowdowns are having for the local Washington State apples, Christmas trees and other perishable produce.
Recently, longshoremen on various shifts have walked off the job in Oakland, California. As a result, the terminals have been shut down for the remainder of the shift.
In the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the ILWU continues to short-shift crew by withholding qualified yard crane operators.
Earlier this year, carriers published suggested congestion surcharges in anticipation of the ILWU contract negotiations. Since the carriers published these surcharges well in advance of the implementation, importers and exporters have no recourse with the carriers to negotiate reductions or elimination based on lack of proper notice. Carriers are only required to provide 30 days advance notice of a general rate increase (GRI), or other surcharge implementation. Though Evergreen is the first to give this implementation notice, we can expect other carriers and NVO's to follow suit rapidly.