Port Terminals In Los Angeles And Long Beach Closed Due To Labour Concerns

On Thursday evening, four terminals at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach shut down due to labour shortage.

The closures persisted on Friday, according to port officials, trucking companies, shipping lines, and terminal operators. Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, said they anticipate normal operations tomorrow.

Labour Concerns
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The Port of Los Angeles mentioned that they are partnering with federal officials to help resolve the issue. The Pacific Maritime Association claimed that problems stemmed from a local union withholding some labour for Thursday’s evening shift.

The union’s action blocked the largest gateway for maritime trade in the US, according to the PMA. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union referred questions to ILWU Local 13 but declined further comment.

ILWU Local 13 informed Supply Chain Dive that labour at the ports was still operating, despite port closures ahead of Easter Sunday.

They attributed this action to the month-long union gathering on the Thursday night prior, with thousands of workers and vacationers in attendance. This was unusual since union meetings are usually scheduled during low-volume shifts.

Truckers were only given a couple of hours notice before this closure, raising suspicions among many. Ian Weiland, CEO of Junction Collaborative Transports, cautioned shippers in a LinkedIn post about likely delays and disruptions at San Pedro Bay ports.

He additionally addressed fees that may incur if empties have not yet been returned. Companies across logistics sent similar warnings to their customers, emphasizing the impacts of port closures.

Maersk recently revealed that the work measures taken had impacted four of their services: TP6 Maersk Eureka, TP8 Maersk Antares, WCCA Maersk Newcastle and TP2 MSC Livorno.

This was caused by ILWU Local 13 crane operators and top handler drivers who refused their job assignments for the evening shift at both Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals. Additionally, the Long Beach Container Terminal has declared that it will be closing its truck gates on Easter Sunday.

These challenges come when West Coast ports already face a decrease in market share as shippers prefer to move their goods elsewhere to avoid potential disruption from talks.

Although union officials and port employers have promised there won’t be any significant interruptions due to the lack of a contract, there have been minor conflicts and other issues within the past year.

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) believes these tactics are damaging the reputation of West Coast ports, which could prompt more shippers to choose the Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports instead.

Keeping West Coast Port’s market share afloat is critical for California’s economy, so reversing this decline is essential.

Reference: Supply Chain Dive, Reuters

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