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What is the current state of US ports & logistics? - June 2023

There has been a lot of uncertainty and rising tensions over the past few weeks across the US ports, with wage negotiations and major disruptions. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the key updates in the shipping and logistics industry, so let’s take a look at a timeline of key events:


US ports & logistics


June 9th - Los Angeles and Long Beach ports loosen, but tankers heading to Southern California face challenge

June 9th marked a week since union members put a halt at many terminals across the US west coast due to the stalled, 13-month-long pay negotiations going on with employers at the Pacific Maritime Association. The ongoing conflict at this point had been predicted to worsen when results from a union vote north of the border establish whether a 72-hour strike will go ahead at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Vessel tracking teams are working overtime to provide their customers with as much information as possible about the ships bound for the North American west coast; an undeniably tough role to play with the coastline changing by the hour.

National Retail Federation vice president for supply chain and customs policy, Jonathan Gold, expressed concern over ongoing disruptions at the ports and said: “If labor and management can’t reach an agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to east coast and Gulf coast gateways. We continue to urge the [Biden] administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues in the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.” - splash247.com


June 12th - Tensions continue along the US West Coast - however productivity showed signs of recovery

The negotiations between employers and unions at ports along the US west coast continued over the weekend, with tensions still remaining. However, at key terminals such as Long Beach and Los Angeles there were signs of increased productivity after more than a week of disruption that has caused serious concern among shippers. 

“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. - splash247.com


June 15th - At last! A deal is finally made for new six-year labor contract along the US West Coast

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have finally reached a deal for a new six-year labor contract at 29 west coast ports, ending the 13-month long negotiations. The agreement covers 22,000 workers and 29 west coast ports, with the deal being reached with assistance from acting secretary of labor Julie Su.

“The next thing to monitor is whether this will lead to some cargo shifting back from the east to the west coast over the coming months. The problem with the low water level in the Panama Canal might act as a catalyst for such a reversal,” commented Lars Jensen, CEO of container consultancy Vespucci Maritime.

An update in Canada: unionized dockworkers have agreed to a 72-hour walkout at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, likely scheduled for the end of this month. - splash247.com


June 19th - Pay details are released for the new US West Coast contracts

The new six-year contract, which still has to be approved by union members and terminal operators, sees dockworkers winning a 32% pay increase through 2028, effective from July last year, with workers also sharing a one-time $70m “hero bonus” for working through the pandemic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal gives dock workers a raise of $4.62 an hour in the first year of the contract—the equivalent of a 10% wage increase—plus an additional $2 an hour in each subsequent year.

The new deal works out at an annual pay increase of 5.7%, far higher than most other job sectors in the US. HR consultants Mercer report that in 2023, pay increases in the US are the highest since 2008 at 3.8-4.1%.

Prior to this wage rise, 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. - splash247.com


Thanks to splash247.com for the information provided above; we are dedicated to locating and sharing the most accurate updates for port logistics - feel free to subscribe to our free key industry updates here.

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