West Coast ports are expected to reopen this morning after being shut down over the weekend. The Pacific Maritime Association closed operations at 29 locations, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma. The closures stemmed from stalled contract negotiations with The International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Vessels waiting to be unloaded and exported will be affected.
• Normal port schedules run Monday through Saturday with two shifts per day (totaling 12 shifts per week)
• During the port slowdown, employees are now working Monday through Friday for one shift per day totaling five per week
• This is over 50% fewer hours than normal
• Last week the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) decided that there will not be any unloading during the weekends until all issues have been resolved
• Vessels that arrived over this past weekend were given the exception because the above rule was just put into effect
• Unskilled crane operators take between four to six hours to unload; skilled crane operators may only take two hours
Ramifications of Port Slowdown and Potential Lockout
• Shortages of Chinese garlic, Chinese ginger, dragon fruit, mangoes, melons, watermelon, and other specialty items may become apparent as the week progresses
• Grape supplies may tighten due to unloading delays; green seedless grapes will exhibit more amber coloring due to extra storage time
• Pineapple stocks have not been affected
• Northwestern port congestion is delaying the export of apples and pears, as well as fresh, frozen, and dehydrated onions and potatoes
o Dockworkers are limiting manpower for loading and unloading containers; ports are experiencing increased congestion, delayed shipments, and closed terminals
o Truckers are avoiding Northwest ports as much as possible; the delays are making it difficult for Northwest apple, pear, onion, and potato growers to deliver product to the ports and then export to offshore customers
o The port slowdown will potentially affect domestic markets and could drive prices down as raw product supplies originally designated for export remain in storage sheds; excess storage product, typically designated for other categories, could be diverted to fresh domestic sales and cause high volume
o Northwest suppliers continue to divert containers to ports in Florida and Texas, pushing transportation rates up due to rising demand for trucks
Markon will update with new information as it becomes available.
Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.
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