Will there be a West Coast Port Strike?
We have experienced two years of disruptions to the global supply chain from pandemic lockdowns, labor and material shortages, and soaring fuel prices. A more recent disturbance brewing on the West Coast could dramatically impact the flow of goods into this country. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), representing all West Coast dock workers' contract, expires on 01 July. They are at the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The dock workers want pay increases, and the shippers want automation at the port.
The PMA is encouraging automation to help modernize the ports to enhance quicker recovery, while the ILWU argues that automation could potentially take away Union jobs.
Over 40% of all U.S. ocean imports transition through the West Coast ports, and more than 30% of containerized imports come through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
The last contract negotiation between the ILWU and PMA occurred between 2014-2015, when we experienced a series of slowdowns limiting the port's flow of goods and creating severe delays.
Without an agreement, sometime this month, the ILWU and its 22,000 dock workers could go on strike, creating further disruption to the supply chain.
Hopefully, we will not see a repeat of the labor disruption, which would create further disruptions in an already strained supply chain.
Both sides have indicated a willingness to avoid any port disruptions as long as the negotiations proceed well.
Head of Sales Operations & Strategy
NNR GLOBAL LOGISTICS USA - Charlotte