West Coast ports disruption continues despite a recent agreement between port employers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILU), according to Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (ATC). Friedmann noted several specific cases of continuing problems in a recent email report to ATC members.
Some of the instances Friedmann cited are:
- The director of global supply chain for a major importer has 12 containers on board a ship that is stuck in the Port of Oakland congestion, is being charged $1,540 in demurrage for failing to return a container to the terminal within the contracted "free time." That importer has had truckers in line daily and has at this point only recovered five containers. In other words, the terminal is charging the importer for cargo that it cannot pickup.
- A California rice exporter said: "We (all Oakland stakeholders) are going to permanently lose customers and business, in addition to those already lost, not to mention wasted time and expense for truckers and others due to shut out and split/rolls due to stop receiving export loads. What are the issues and solutions? It seems like the local could care less about arbitrator rulings of illegal work stoppage. This seems to be personal? Please help!"
- A California almond exporter said: "I don't think agreeing on a contract made any difference to the ILWU. I'm not even sure ratifying a contract will make a difference."
Meanwhile, up in Portland, Ore., labor-management disputes resulted in permanent cessation of Hanjin service (which had carried 80 percent of the Port of Portland container traffic). The company hauling Oregon ag exports up to Ports of Tacoma/Seattle, is overwhelmed. Trucks cannot even get into the terminal to drop off cargo, so shipments are missing sailings.
ATC members are encouraged to go the Resources tab (or Member Only Portal) on www.agtrans.org and look at the ATC 15 action items to address West Coast port labor-management turmoil.