PROLONGED LABOR TALKS RAISE SPECTER OF PERMANENT CARGO LOSS FOR WEST COAST PORTS
The contract negotiations between the 22,000 port workers in the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and 70 employers on the US west coast, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are back on track.But there is rising concern that the long wait for a resolution will result in permanent loss of business for west coast ports.According to a report in the Journal of Commerce, citing sources close to the talks, the two sides have resumed negotiations after a lengthy hiatus caused by a dispute over a jurisdictional issue in Seattle. The port of Long Beach reported a 28.4% drop in boxes handled last month, from a year earlier, with imports slumping 32.3% and exports down 14.2%.
PORT OF LONG BEACH ‘OPTIMISTIC’ ABOUT REGAINING MARKET SHARE
There’s no doubt about it… The Port of Long Beach is seeing reduced cargo.
Softened consumer spending, increased prices driven by inflation and a shift in trade routes to West and East Coast ports contributed to a dip in cargo moving through the Port of Long Beach in January, the port said in releasing its January 2023 cargo update. Dockworkers and terminal operators there moved 573,772 TEUs in January, down 28.4% from January 2022, which was the ports busiest January on record. The Port of Long Beach said while economists indicate inflation is slowing for purchased goods and may offset rising prices for services, the shift back to goods from services largely depends on how the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates this year.
U.S. CONTAINER IMPORTS DIP BELOW PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS IN JANUARY
U.S. container imports dipped below pre-pandemic levels in January, but a rebound in Chinese imports and consecutive monthly gains points to a stronger than anticipated economic activity, according to Descartes Systems Group. Descartes’ report also shows west coast ports making some headway on regaining market share lost to East and Gulf Coast ports over this past year. The January U.S. container import data shows some stability, but a number of issues continue to point to challenging global supply chain performance in 2023.
ZIM TO EXPAND E-COMMERCE SERVICE AT PORT OF BALTIMORE
Ocean carrier ZIM is expanding its e-commerce service to the Port of Baltimore, increasing both the frequency of calls and size of ships heading to the facility. From Baltimore, the line goes to Norfolk, Virginia, New York City, Boston, the Suez Canal and Kaohsiung. Zim says the call at Kingston will enhance access to goods from Africa. The service expansion will enable Maryland businesses and the port to capture more mid-Atlantic market share, officials said. The increase in service comes as the port complex is receiving millions of dollars in public and private funding.