Please take note that the contract between the ILWU (Los Angeles Longshoreman’s Union) and the PMA ( Pacific Maritime Association) which represents the ocean carriers, is set to expire July 1, 2014.
Issues in contention include ; healthcare; wages; pension language, jurisdiction, among others.
Discussions on a preliminary basis have begun, but won’t proceed in earnest until mid-April.
If they don’t come to an agreement, there is a good chance of at least a slowdown in the ports, if not stop-work actions , and maybe an LA / Long Beach dock strike for a period of time.
We are monitoring the situation very closely and will give you regular updates. But shippers are beginning to plan alternatives in dealing with the possible delays and interruption of service.
Alternatives include: Moving up deliveries of product from the origin factories and bolstering inventories; Book earlier than usual and allow more time for delays in the supply chain. Utilizing Vancouver for IPI (inland destined) cargo . But Vancouver / Prince Rupert ports will reach capacity quickly , so how what kind of alternative this will be as we get into early June is in question as the vessels / ports overload.
Utilize East Coast and Gulf ports for IPI / West Coast local cargo that normally move over LA and Long Beach Ports.
We will be reaching out to you shortly with further updates and as well to further exploring contingency strategies.