As your International Logistics Partner, it is our job to warn you about possible future strikes.  Yes, they are unfortunate, bring uncertainty and really screw up our supply chain plans, but the one thing we can be certain about is that they will continue to happen.

An article by Jon Ross in the American Shipper suggests that the West Coast dock employers of the Port of Long Beach may not reach an agreement on a new contract by June 30.  Ken Uriu, the marketing manager for the port states, “The contract will probably not be signed on June 30 because if you are a labor person, you have to go back to your management and say you’re fighting the fight.”  Uriu predicted that major issues in the negotiations will include pension costs and ILWU jurisdiction over repair and maintenance of chassis.  He noted the Federal Maritime Commission has allowed Long Beach and Los Angeles to have a discussion agreement about creation of a chassis pool.


What does this mean for shippers or importers?

The West Coast ports will still be a viable option during the negotiations, but come time for contract expiration, shippers need a contingency plan.  No one wants a repeat of the strike in 2002, when other ports backed up from terminal shutdowns on the West Coast.  The terminals were shut down for 10 days.

Although not practical for everyone, Uriu suggests to move everything through Southern California.  Scarbrough has other options for your own convenience and contingency plans.

1.) Plan ahead or create a contingency plan. Practice it!

2.) If your inventory schedule allows, add to your current orders and bring in a little more product right now.

3.) Route your cargo through other West Coasts Ports like Tacoma or Oakland, for example.

4.) If your shipment is small enough and urgent enough, think about air freight.

5.) Talk to our professionals on staff to get the expertise you need.

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Read more on the possible ILWU Strike