Us West Coast Dockworkers Strike

Labor negotiations scheduled as port congestion increases

Everstream Team | May 10, 2022

Negotiations for a new five-year contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and West Coast employers are slated to begin on May 12 against the backdrop of record cargo volumes, congested terminals and inland supply chain struggles. The existing contract for 22,000 dockworkers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports expires on July 1. 

As three out of the four past negotiations have resulted in disruptions, some cargo owners have already begun to shift volumes to ports on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts to mitigate the risk of significant delays.  

While key congestion metrics have improved at Los Angeles-Long Beach, the biggest container gateway in North America, in recent months, congestion has grown at key U.S. ports on the Gulf and East Coast, particularly in Houston, Mobile, and Charleston 

Daily count of waiting cargo vessels outside major North American ports, 2022; Source: Everstream Analytics

Even though congestion issues have improved on the West Coast, it is critical to keep in mind that when the lockdown in Shanghai will be lifted, export shipments out of the Shanghai-Ningbo container gateway are expected to significantly increase, potentially causing another surge of vessels arriving in short succession at U.S. West Coast ports.  

Companies using smaller, less congested ports in contingency plans should anticipate that shorter waiting times could quickly increase due to limited capacity, particularly as customers prepare by booking shipments further in advance. Ports including New Orleans, Houston, and Miami are also at risk of being disrupted during the Atlantic hurricane season which begins June 1.  

Everstream customers are receiving detailed information about this disruption. 

Contact us to learn how we can give you a complete view of the risks affecting your end-to-end supply chain and what you can do to mitigate them.  

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