West Coast Port Workers Have Contract, Backlog Will Take 2 Months To Clear

Image courtesy of Corey Templeton

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association have come to an agreement over a new five-year contract for port workers. This ends their nine-month dispute and a slowdown of traffic at ports that has affected everyone from auto workers in Ohio to fast food fans in Venezuela. The U.S. Secretary of Labor stepped in to help the two sides come to an agreement, and now everyone is working hard to clear the backlog.

A little less than half of all imports that come to the United States by sea enter the country through ports affected by this dispute, including the super-busy ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Now it’s like shipping companies have turned on a “firehose,” the CEO of the port of Long Beach told Bloomberg Business. Yet it will still take a while to put out the fire: he told CNBC that it will take about two months to catch up with the backlog, since unloading slowed since fall 2014.

There are more jobs than usual posted in union halls, and presumably plenty of overtime to go around as all parties try to clear the backlog. Ships full of toys and car parts are quite literally lined up off the coast.

West Coast Ports Face Several Months’ Backlog [Wall Street Journal]

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