Date: Monday, June 12, 2023
Source: Splash 24/7
The war of words between employers and unions at ports along the US west coast continued over the weekend. However, at key terminals there were signs of greater productivity after more than a week of disruption that has caused serious concern among shippers.
The employers in the form of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) said the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) was to blame for the decision to close the port of Seattle on Saturday, something strongly denied by Willie Adams, the union’s president, who has been fighting for an improved pay contract for more than a year.
Elsewhere, there was a noticeable pick-up in port productivity over the weekend at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, key American maritime gateways.
On Saturday the Marine Exchange of Southern California thanked all containership carriers for adjusting their vessel speeds to largely not need to anchor or loiter in local waters, a further sign of the lessons learned during the covid pandemic.
“Except for Seattle, there is no abundantly obvious slow down in port operations over the weekend,” commented Andy Lane, a container expert at Singapore-based CTI Consultancy.
The largest US business group on Friday urged President Joe Biden to intervene immediately and appoint an independent mediator to address the labour dispute at ports along the US west coast.
US Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark in a letter to Biden cited “continued and potentially expanded service disruptions at these ports heading into peak shipping season.”
“Consumer discretionary products, particularly back-to-school items including children’s apparel, are particularly exposed from a seasonal perspective if a labour deal is not reached before the end of June,” new research published by S&P Global Market Intelligence stated.
The pay package of the dockworkers has been under the microscope during the past 10 days’ of labour strife. Analysts at Sea-Intelligence, looking at the PMA’s 2022 annual report, note that the average full-time port worker had an annual salary last year of $211,000, when benefits such as pensions and health care are included.
Splash is still waiting to find out the results from last week’s vote among ILWU Canada members on whether or not to push ahead with a 72-hour strike later this month at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.