West Coast Port Update 11/17/2014

Tensions at West Coast Ports Continue to Escalate
(November 14, 2014) The past few weeks have seen the level of posturing over congestion and labor at West Coast ports escalate with the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland all being impacted. Negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) continue, but tensions are high and the financial impacts of the situation are beginning to be felt. The following are highlights of the major events at the moment.

The PMA Calls on the ILWU to Accept Contract Extension
Citing concerns about the economy, the PMA issued a press release yesterday, November 13th, calling upon the ILWU to immediately agree to a temporary contract extension and a full return to work. Read the full press release.

Major Shipping Companies Begin Assessing Congestion Surcharges
According to the Journal of Commerce, Hanjin Shipping announced a congestion surcharge for the West Coast of $1000 per 40-foot container, effective November 17th, which will be applied to shipments into California, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Other shipping companies have begun to announce their surcharges as well, including Evergreen and USL. More surcharge announcements can be anticipated.

US Trade Groups Look for Government Intervention
According to Reuters, representatives from major US manufacturing and shipping groups met with White House officials this week to seek federal intervention in the situation. No comment or commitment to intervene was issued from the White House.

West Coast Senators Urge the ILWU and PMA to Reach Agreement
Six Senators from the West Coast issued a letter to the ILWU and PMA urging them to reach agreement stating, “this collective bargaining agreement is important for the health, safety and economic well-being of the 13,600 longshore, clerk, and foreman workers at 29 ports from California to Washington, as well as for companies large and small, agriculture producers, ports, and international buyers around the world.”

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