The ongoing labor issues at the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are causing significant disruptions in the supply chain, as rail shipments have been temporarily paused due to congestion issues. Union Pacific has shut down all of its inland ramps at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, leading shippers to find other ports for their goods to avoid extended periods of time in containers. This is especially critical for food and agriculture shipments, where products can spoil. The port of Los Angeles is the nation’s busiest port, processing $440 billion in cargo value per year. However, its market share has declined as more trade moves to the East Coast due to labor issues on the West Coast.
Negotiations between the ILWU longshoremen union and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are ongoing this week, with wages still being hammered out. The talks are under the cloud of slow port productivity. The ILWU and PMA are not commenting, citing a media blackout.
Truckers are experiencing a “snail’s pace of productivity” at the terminals, with delays being reported by various data providers. Logistics companies with truckers on the ground report slowdowns at most terminals in Los Angeles. The reduced labor means reduced capacity to work vessels and send them back to sea, causing vessels to fill up the anchorage and wait to head to the terminal to load/offload cargo, causing congestion at one of the largest ports in the United States.
The situation is not looking good for the Port of Oakland, with nearly double the vessels waiting at anchorage compared to March of this year. The port is a first-come, first-serve, meaning that vessels are put in a queue for priority depending on their arrival time. The congestion is impacting the supply chain, with containership MSC JEONGMIN still at the port, causing delays for fresh apples, lentils, frozen fish, poultry, and meat, among other products.
The West Coast port labor issues continue to disrupt the supply chain, causing delays and congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and impacting the nation’s agriculture industry. The negotiations between the ILWU longshoremen union and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) need to be resolved to decrease port productivity and avoid an increase of supply chain issues that will impact both consumers and businesses.