West Coast Port shutdown becomes catastrophic
There is a problem in trade logistics in North America. The problem lies in west coast ports whose container traffic represent 3.5% of US GDP.
The volume of trade with Asia, that basically has to arrive in a concentrated 3 or 4 major west coast ports, is such that relations between unions and ports have driven the costs up, and relations down, to such an extent that containers are backed up for several days. One indication in the articles referenced suggests container unloading ocurred in only 4 of the last 10 days. The ZeroHedge article following has some photos of the backlog.
US west coast ports face 4-day shutdown FT.com (registration required)
The slowdowns have caused considerable problems for both importers and exporters in the US. Japan’s Nissan and Toyota said they had been forced to airfreight parts for their US car manufacturing operations from Asia to circumvent the port hold-ups.
The congestion has pushed importers to use new routes, including routes via rail and the Canadian ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, to reach US consumers. However, Canadian Pacific, one of Canada’s two big railroads, announced on Tuesday that its drivers had given notice of their intention to strike from February 15 if pay negotiations were unsuccessful.
The PMA said its offer would boost terminal employees’ average annual pay from $147,000 to $162,000 over five years, increase workers’ maximum pensions and leave healthcare terms intact.
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