Fenix Marine Services Long Beach
Source: Fenix Marine Services

Disruption has continued at the US west coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with three terminals closed yesterday in the continuing  stand-off between labour and employers.

Operations at the twin-port complex as well as at Oakland, Seattle and Hueneme were disrupted on Friday as no-shows by workers forced container terminals to close and impacted operations at others.

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the terminal operators and ocean carriers, accused the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) of staging “concerted and disruptive work actions” in their dispute over contract terms.

But the union claimed its members had taken it upon themselves to express their displeasure with the stance of the PMA.

Against expectations of a return to normal after the weekend, two box terminals at Long Beach and one at Los Angeles did not open on Monday.

Long Beach informed customers that two of its facilities were closed due to “operational needs”, while Fenix Marine Services, one of three container facilities at LA shut down by Friday’s action, notified truckers yesterday morning that “due to unforeseen circumstances” it would have to cancel import appointments in certain areas.

Elsewhere along the coast, operations appeared to be back to normal. The port of Oakland said the labour shortages that had shut its container terminals on Friday had been resolved.

The PMA laid the blame for Monday’s disruptions squarely on the doorstep of the union. It said: “Over the weekend and continuing today, the ILWU has continued to stage concerted and disruptive work actions that have slowed operations at key marine terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and elsewhere on the west coast.

For its part, the ILWU stressed that contract negotiations, which started a year ago, are continuing. According to one report, the two sides have come to a “tentative agreement” on the controversial issue of automation, but remain wide apart on remuneration.

According to the PMA, the dispute risks the permanent loss of cargo to other gateways.

Some cargo owner bodies are getting nervous. The National Retail Federation (NRF) continues to press for the federal government to intervene.

David French, SVP of government relations, said: “Thousands of retailers and other businesses depend on smooth and efficient operations at the ports to deliver goods to consumers every day. It is imperative that the parties return to the negotiating table. We urge the administration to mediate to ensure the parties quickly finalise a new contract without additional disruptions.”

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.