As your partner in domestic and worldwide transportation, we work hard to provide you with relevant and timely information about significant supply chain and distribution issues.
On June 30th, the current 6 year contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the dockworkers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will expire. All major West Coast ports from Seattle to San Diego are included in this contract.
There has not been a dock strike or service disruption on the West Coast since 2002. However, it currently appears that a 2014 strike may be a real possibility. We do know that the PMA and ILWU are still talking and trying to arrive at a new agreement, but industry insiders that we have spoken with recently are pessimistic.
While the final outcome is far from certain, we are here to assist you should you choose to move product ahead of the contract expiration date.
In the event of a work disruption, we will work with you to provide every possible routing and service option to minimize the disruption to your business.
Please note that in the event of a strike, it is reasonable to expect significant delays at all U.S. ports and not just the West Coast, as shippers divert cargo to other ports. In addition, most ocean lines have already preemptively filed a “Congestion Surcharge Fee” with the Federal Maritime Commission of $1,000-$1,200 per container. That fee will be assessed if a strike materializes.
In the event of a lockout, shippers should be aware that they will be responsible for any storage charges assessed by port while the containers are stuck in the container yard. Accordingly, every effort should be made to remove containers from the harbor prior to any strike.
If you would like to learn more, you can get additional information from the following link to the Journal of Commerce.
We will continue to keep you informed as this matter develops.