Retail associations have responded to news that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has ratified a five-year labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), covering dockworkers at 29 ports on the West Coast.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates’ monthly Global Port Tracker, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is returning to normal levels as officials prepare to count votes on ratification of a new West Coast labor agreement that ended months of uncertainty.
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 8 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports continue to recover from a backlog of cargo that built up before a tentative new labor agreement was signed, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise an unusually high 16.9 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports begin to dig out from a backlog of cargo, which built up during the just-concluded contract negotiations with dockworkers.
Multiple sources report that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor contract, ending several months of back-ups and delays at 29 West Coast ports.
The deal was reached with the assistance of U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, following more than nine months of talks. As reported by Bloomberg News this past Friday, talks had broken down this month over a union demand that it be able to fire arbitrators in workplace grievances. The two sides had reached terms over salaries, benefits, the right of union members to maintain and repair truck chassis used to haul shipping containers, and health care. [Read more...]
Following news that terminal vessel operations at west coast ports have been suspended, the National Retail Federation (NRF) called on the White House to intervene.
“The slowdowns need to end,” says NRF Vice President for Supply Chain Jonathan Gold. “It’s time for the White House to immediately engage in this critically important economic priority and force the two sides to remain at the negotiating table until a deal is done.”
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports were expected to rise 10.1 percent this month over the same period last year, even as west coast ports came closer to a possible shutdown, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker released by the NRF and Hackett Associates.
Despite nine months of ongoing talks, the lack of a contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as other operational issues, has led to crisis-level congestion at the ports.
Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, is currently meeting with top shipping officials in Asia as labor negotiations at West Coast ports continue. Seroka is on-hand to discuss how partners can help ensure cargo reaches its destination; topics include how cargo is most efficiently stacked aboard outgoing ships.
In other updates, the Port of Los Angeles has pulled three chassis leasing companies together to create a chassis pool that will begin next February, and has offered up property adjacent to the terminals for near-dock facility use, such as cargo and chassis storage. The port is also having active discussions with rail companies to improve operations through cargo consolidation, and working with rail companies to speed up transportation of cargo.
The International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been engaged in labor negotiations since last May, but have yet to reach an agreement on their contract, which expired in July. Both sides are expected to meet and continue negotiations next Monday.
In a report released September 9 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, 1.47 million containers are expected to pass through U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report this month. September has averaged 1.42 million containers for the past five years.
Concerns grew among retailers as the West Coast longshoremen’s contract remained unsettled after its expiration on July 1, which prompted an early import of back-to-school and holiday goods in preparation for a potential disruption on the docks. August saw an all-time monthly record of 1.53 million containers because of these precautions. [Read more...]