Shipping Disruptions Grow at West Coast Ports; Canadian Dockworkers Approve Strike

Washington, D.C. (June 13, 2023): The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshoreman & Warehouse Union (ILWU) remain deadlocked in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement for 22,000 workers at 29 west coast ports. The Union has been working without a contract since last July and until recently west coast ports were operating at full capacity.

Over the weekend, service disruptions at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, and Takoma were reported by the terminal operators. In L.A. and Long Beach, workers did not show up to secure outgoing cargo. This follows previous disruptions at the Ports due to not staggering meals, effectively shutting down ports for lunch and dinner breaks, and taking key cargo handling equipment out of service due to safety concerns. The PMA reported the Port of Seattle was shut down over the weekend, the ILWU has denied there was a shutdown.

Both the PMA and the ILWU released statements regarding the negotiations pointing fingers at the other side for misinformation and failing to reach an agreement. The Chamber of Commerce added to the chorus of business interests requesting the Department of Labor intervene to ensure there are no avoidable disruptions at west coast ports during negotiations. SFIA has joined the business community on similar letters to the President.

Shippers have moved some cargo through Canadian ports to limit exposure to the volatile U.S. West Coast Ports. Vancouver is Canada’s biggest Port and a popular alternate shipping destination to avoid labor shutdowns at West Coast Ports. The Canadian port option may be ending soon, as Canadian dockworkers voted to strike as early as June 24th.

SFIA will continue to press for a resolution to the West Coast Port Labor negotiations to avoid unnecessary disruptions in the supply chain.

For more information or for questions, please contact Bill Sells, SVP, Government & Public Affairs, at [email protected].

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