Severe US West Coast port delays are still with us in 2015
International shipping companies have long been yearning for a fresh start in the new year. After experiencing prolonged delays during the holidays, companies were looking forward to easing congestion and quicker turn around times at the ports. But without a contract between the ILWU & the PMA, ports are still unable to handle the shipping volume being thrown at them. Sad to say, west coast port congestion is here to stay for the beginning of 2015.
No contract for over 8 months
Since the previous contract had expired in July, unions haven’t been motivated to provide the labor and the hours needed for ocean carriers to operate efficiently. The PMA is claiming that union workers are causing intentional slowdowns and creating unofficial walk-offs which are putting ports and shippers on edge. On the other side, the ILWU is citing continuously growing shipping volumes as the culprit of the slowdowns.
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While neither the president or US congress are willing to get involved, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) is stepping up to the table. Started in 1947, the FMC was created for the sole purpose of mediating labor disputes in the US. They are known for mediating the 1971 ILWU strike, helping create a strike free contract between the ILA and the United States Maritime Alliance, and attempting to solve the previous conflict between the PMA & ILWU in 2002. For 2013, the FMCS has had a success rate of over 75% in settling contracts through mediation. Today they might just be the ones who can settle both parties down and help them draft up a fair contract.
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Current situation at the ports
With the US container terminals already known to be one of the least productive in the world, low chassis availability and a shortage of workers are certainly not helping. While ports are still catching up with bookings from December, current shipments are experiencing month long delays. During last week, the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach have had over a dozen ships waiting to be unloaded. Even after containers finally get to the port terminal, some are forced to sit for 2-3 weeks before they are unloaded. While car shipping overseas from the port of Oakland is not fairing as bad, we still expect delays of up to 2 weeks.
If you are experiencing delays in shipping cars overseas from Los Angeles, contact us and we will do our best to help.