West Coast Labor Update: Countdown to Contract Expiration

June 17, 2014
By Rich Roche

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With two weeks left to the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) contract renewal deadline, there is still little to no news about the negotiations.

There have been no work slowdowns or stoppages reported, and no saber rattling in the public eye, but what is happening behind the scenes?

We are seeing heavily booked vessels to the East Coast, and conversely, light volume to the West Coast.

Industry experts predicted early on that instead of ratifying the contract by July 1, labor and management were more likely to agree on an extension to the existing contract for a few weeks into July. It’s possible that this is exactly what is transpiring.

In the meantime, should the talks sour, airlines are poised and ready to take on more cargo and offer a quick fix at a much higher price to get the goods to market. This may be the last contingency available should the we get bad news on the renewal results.

Rich Roche is Vice President of International Transportation at Mohawk Global Logistics.

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