Just in time for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, it seems some of those valuable gifts might have a difficult time making it to the stores. Currently, there is reported massive congestion at several US Ports, especially those ports located on the West Coast: Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma. These ports move 40% of the cargo that is transported to the US. The congestion is so bad, that there are shipping vessels that are just sitting at the ports. This is an embarrassment for ocean freight shipping. The delays are hurting America’s retailers, especially toy retailers. An alternative for transportation includes airfreight, but that can be extremely expensive.
Numerous factors are contributing to this seasonal congestion. There is increased cargo this time of the year. In addition, there is a shortage of trucks, trailers and chassis available for moving the cargo. The big reason for the slowdown stems from the dispute between the dockworkers, represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the ports, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association. The ports claim that the stevedores are intentionally being slow at the port because they want a new contract, which expired months ago. The union denied the slow claim. If the ports were to be closed during the holiday shopping season due to a strike, it is expected to drain $2 billion a day out of the US economy.
Freight forwarders and the entire shipping industry wants to see the conflict resolved immediately so that the transportation sector can do its part for improving the supply chains of businesses during the holiday shopping season.