West Coast port labor disagreements could be dangerous, permanent

NAFB News Service

The lack of a West Coast labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association could be dangerous and permanent.

“Too many West Coast marine terminals are operating on reduced schedules, creating massive disruption,” said Peter Friedmann, Executive Director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.

Shippers are moving cargo from the West Coast to ports on the East Coast.

Friedmann said that could be a permanent move. West Coast ports are essential to the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exporters. U.S. agriculture’s largest international markets are in the Asia Pacific, and the most direct and fastest route is by truck or rail to the West Coast gateways.

U.S. ag faces extremely competitive global sourcing competition, so it must be faster and less expensive than other exporters.

“If the import cargo and the ships carrying it is trending to U.S. East Coast ports and away from the West Coast, exporters have fewer vessel sailings,” Friedmann added.

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