In Washington – Insider – April 20, 2023

Ashley Howe Insider

West Coast Ports Slowed Amid Ongoing Contract Negotiations

ACMA members should continue to prepare for unplanned delays in shipments arriving via West Coast ports and consider shifting freight to East Coast ports. With labor negotiations continuing to drag on, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach shut down operations for 24 hours over Easter weekend due to a shortage of workers.   

While the union representing workers at the port, the ILWU, did not comment, the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents managers of 29 West Coast ports, blamed the shut down on the union.  In an April 7 statement, the PMA stated that “The largest ILWU local [Local 13] on the West Coast has taken a concerted action to withhold labor at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, resulting in wide-spread worker shortages.” 

The PMA and ILWU have been engaged in negotiations for a new labor contract since June of 2022.  ACMA has joined other associations in urging the sides to continue to work to quickly finalize a contract to avoid supply chain uncertainty.  

As the negotiations drag out, Importers continue to shift toward East Coast ports.  For the first time in two decades, the Port of New York/New Jersey was the busiest port in the country in 2022.   

To learn more, contact Dan Neumann, V.P. Government Relations.