West Coast port delays will hurt Black Friday

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Port of Long Beach

  • Retailers are praying that the West Coast port congestion won’t impact their holiday sales. This would include everything from Black Friday sales to Christmas day  itself. Major U.S. retailers expect to have their shelves stocked for Black Friday but are nervous about the shopping days that follow. Wil the rail shortage andthe  driver shortages retailers are growing concerned over the uncertainty regarding the transportation of their goods to the retail stores.

 The ports on the West Coast have been suffering from crippling congestion and have been since August of this year. Today four more carriers joined Mediterranean  shipping Co in announcing congestion surcharges on cargo heading from Asia to the United States West Coast ports. There are more than 20 loaded container          ships docked and idling at seven out of the eight terminals in the Port of LA and three of the six ports in Long Beach terminals. This is after 70 union workers went  on strike from their union and refused to cross their picket line.

 California port truckers and the Port of Long Beach began another work strike, protesting what they’ve said are retaliatory actions by their carriers. It seems the  basis for the strike is described as misclassification as independent contractors.

A couple of these companies are on their fourth strike this year alone. The Pacific Maritime Association said the West Coast port congestion was part of union slowdowns and work actions.

The organization of terminal operators and shipping companies have been negotiating a new contract with International Longshore and Warehouse Union since May. The Union’s contract expired July 1st and affects over 13,000 dock, clerical and foreman workers at 29 different Pacific Coast ports.

The association states ILWU workers slowed pace this month while withholding qualified yard crane operators at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Several steamship lines imposed significant port congestion surcharges November 17th stating labor problems and a major upswing in port congestion. These two ports in southern California serve about 15,000 trucks a day and several thousand carriers.