Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small Union Shuts Down LA Ports -- 40% of The Nation's Import Trade


December 7, 2012: after 2015, it's going to be more difficult for longshoremen at the LA Port / Long Beach Port to hold their employees hostage. Read the story at the link to see what this is all about:
Savannah’s rise was fueled by competitors’ misfortune when a 2002 West Coast dock strike -- more sweeping than the just- ended walkout at Los Angeles/Long Beach -- spurred customers to divert traffic to other eastern ports. Savannah’s volume surged 32 percent in 2003.
“Economists anticipated it would drop off after the West Coast reopened, but the next year it grew even more,” Siplon said. “Here was this sleepy little port, and shippers realized they got all their boxes through. It was a big testing point for Savannah and they passed and haven’t looked back.”
December 4, 2012: Seventeen ships have been diverted to other ports since the strike began. One port that loves the business: Ensenada, Mexico
The Southern California strike ended its first week Monday, with negotiations continuing but no signs of an immediate resolution.
The strike by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, which handles paperwork for incoming and outgoing ships, has crippled the nation's two busiest cargo ports.
The union won't accept a salary offer of $195,000, up from their current salary of $165,000.  Other unions have honored the strike.  Two words: Economic.Suicide.

Original Post

Link here to LA Times.

A judge ordered the union back to work but the union refused.

During the past several years there has been a move for shippers to find alternate ports. This could hasten those efforts. I haven't heard much about the huge new Mexican port lately.
"The danger here is that this could call into question the reliability of the San Pedro Harbor ports," O'Connell said. "The Wal-Marts and the Home Depots may be forced to think twice about relying on these ports as their primary gateway."
The San Pedro Harbor ports are the Los Angeles Port and the Long Beach Port.

From an old 2008 LA Times story:
Mexico's government is preparing to open bidding on the largest infrastructure project in the nation's history, a $4-billion seaport that could transform this farming village into a cargo hub to rival the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
If completed as planned by 2014, the port would be the linchpin of a new shipping route linking the Pacific Ocean to America's heartland. Vessels bearing shipping containers from Asia would offload them here on Mexico's Baja peninsula, about 150 miles south of Tijuana, where they would be whisked over newly constructed rail lines to the United States.
My hunch: the strike will not last long. 

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