SUPREME COURT RULES IN NJ’S FAVOR OVER EXIT FROM PORT WATCHDOG AGENCY
New Jersey will be able to take over policing of longshore workers at its container facilities after the US Supreme Court ruled the state can exit a 70-year-old compact with New York that established a bistate police force to oversee labour at their jointly owned port. The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a unanimous opinion that New Jersey could withdraw from the Waterfront Commission Compact that was established with New York in 1953 to fight corruption in longshore hiring practices.
LA-LB DOCKWORKERS TARGET AUTOMATED TERMINALS AS JOB ACTIONS CONTINUE
Longshore workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have kept up a campaign of job actions over the past week, most recently
targeting automated marine terminals in the country’s largest gateway as contract talks with employers near the one-year mark with a
resolution seemingly nowhere in sight. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 13 in recent days have been “red-tagging” cargo-handling equipment at Los Angeles–Long Beach’s three automated terminals, which designates the equipment as unsafe and forces an inspection.
WEST COAST PORTS LOSING 1 MILLION TEUS PER YEAR TO EASTWARD IMPORT SHIFT
Over one million twenty-foot equivalent import containers per year have shifted away from U.S. West Coast ports, with Gulf Coast ports being the biggest beneficiary. Descartes analysed the shift in U.S. import volumes since 2021 when West Coast container ports began experiencing historic congestion amid the pandemic driven import surge. Now, growing uncertainty surrounding West Coast port labour negotiations is continuing to drive volumes east. Gulf Ports have seen an influx of goods such as electronics, furniture, and machinery, which are typically associated with Asian manufacturers. Descartes analysed U.S. container import volumes (TEUs) in the first three months of 2019 compared to the first three months of 2023 to gain insights into the shift away from West Coast ports. Overall, U.S. import container volumes are trending extremely close in the first three months of both years, allowing for a reasonable comparison.
PORT OF LOS ANGELES CONCLUDES ‘VERY SOFT’ FIRST QUARTER
The Port of Los Angeles reported handling 623,234 TEUs in March, closing out a very soft quarter to start 2023. In the first three months, the port handled 1,837,094 TEUs, down 32% compared to 2022’s record setting first quarter as the pandemic import surge continued in the first half of last year. On a positive note, March saw a 28% increase in volume compared to February.
PORT HOUSTON SEES STEADY CONTAINER EXPORT GROWTH
Port Houston’s container exports have increased significantly through March, with loaded container exports up by 26%. According to the port authorities, the total tonnage through the eight public terminals reached 12,850,330 short tons, up 4% year-to-date. The growth in exports is especially significant amidst the softening of imports nationwide. In March, Port Houston recorded the highest monthly volume for loaded exports in its history, with 349,964 TEUs year-to-date. This is an increase of 26% compared to the same period last year and up 10% compared to March 2022. Empty import volumes also increased by 111% compared to March 2022, as carriers reposition containers to Houston to meet the high demand for resin and petrochemical exports. As the nation’s number one port for resin exports, Port Houston boasted a 59% share of U.S. resins exports and a 73% share of U.S. PE exports in 2022. This year, the port is on track to hit 1 million TEUs earlier than ever before, with container volumes through Port Houston increasing by 3% compared to last year.