To our importers & the shippers with incoming containers to the Long Beach / LA port
Dear Valued Customer,
11/04/14 advised by Trapac in Long Beach
The mix of container ships backed up off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is changing but the total count isn’t, suggesting the congestion crisis at the busiest U.S. port complex isn’t improving.
Eight container ships were anchored in the waters off the ports this morning, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The Hanjin Hamburg went to berth today and the Halifax Express arrived. Still waiting for berths this morning were the NYK Diana; August Kondor; Xin Ou Zhou; Ever Diamond; NYK Terra; NYK Aquarius; Dallas Express and Halifax Express.
On Saturday afternoon there were nine container ships at anchor, the highest number of container ships recorded last week, up from six on Friday afternoon.
Exchange Executive Director Kip Louttit told JOC.com last week that there are usually no wait times for container ships, and that the backups in San Pedro Bay are “very unusual.”
Container ship traffic and volume at the LA-Long Beach port complex has been relatively high, contributing to the terminals’ congestion. Other reasons for the gridlock include the increasing sizes of ships in the
trans-Pacific trade lane, which rquire longer times as berth, as well as a shortage of chassis and drayage drivers, and more recently, slowdowns by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
According to a recent survey by JOC.com, shippers expect congestion at the largest port complex in the Americas to worsen. Half of the slightly more than 100 shippers surveyed said their containers are sitting at LA-LB terminals between five and 10 days.
Thanks to Carotrans passing down this information to us.
Now according to the JOC source, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is engaging in work slowdown actions at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, waterfront employers say, raising fears that the tactics could spread to Los Angeles-Long Beach, the nation’s largest container gateway.
According to the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping lines and terminal operators in contract negotiations with the ILWU, the work slowdowns are directly related to the coastwide negotiations. The ILWU has been working without a contract since July 1.
PMA spokesman Wade Gates said that when the previous coastwide contract expired on July 1, both sides stated publicly that they would bargain in good faith and refrain from job actions or employer lockouts because of the economic impact work stoppages and slowdowns would have
on the national economy.
“Now, the ILWU has reneged on that agreement,” Gates said Monday.
The PMA issued a statement Monday saying the work slowdowns began Friday in Tacoma and spread to Seattle over the weekend. “The PMA has found that the slowdowns at these Pacific Northwest ports have resulted in terminal productivity being reduced by an average of 40 to 60
percent,” the employers’ organization stated.
Employers demanded that the ILWU workers return to normal workplace practices and productivity, and when those efforts failed, the terminals began sending workers home early, paying them only for the few hours worked on each shift.
The PMA is convinced these actions are orchestrated by the ILWU leadership. “We have been told that ILWU business agents sent the slowdown orders out late last week,” Gates said.
If the work slowdowns spread to Southern California, the impact could be devastating. Los Angeles and Long Beach have been reeling from severe congestion for weeks now, with vessels
waiting for hours at anchor for berths and truck delays mounting. The port complex accounts for more than 70 percent of container traffic on the West Coast.
The ILWU on Monday night said the charges were a “bold-faced lie.” The union accused the PMA of undertaking a “media blitz” aimed at besmirching the ILWU and deflecting blame for LA-LB congestion.
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