The word of the day is ambivalence. The title of the newsletter describes exactly how I feel about the West Coast port situation. Here is what we do know.
- We haven’t heard of a terminal shutting down through the first three days of this week. Yay!
- The PMA indicated that they will suspend vessel operations for four days during this holiday weekend. Boo!
- Thursday, 2/12 (Lincoln’s birthday – holiday)
- Saturday, 2/14 and Sunday, 2/15 (Weekend – similar to what happened last week)
- Monday, 2/16 (Washington’s birthday – holiday)
- The ILWU has claimed that the two sides are “this close” to an agreement. Yay!
- The PMA mentioned on Wednesday that the ILWU’s latest contract demands are ridiculous. Boo!
- Maersk has announced more vessel sailings to Oakland will be discontinued with containers stranded in Los Angeles. Importers will have to pay for moving the containers to Oakland from their own pocket. Boo!
- We have not seen other carriers follow Maersk’s lead on this yet. Yay!
I get the feeling that we are close to a port shut down and at the same time so close to a contract agreement. If there was certainty of a port shutdown or of a contract agreement in the coming week, importers and exporters would be better positioned to make decisions regarding how to act. However this uncertainty leaves the shipping community feeling paralyzed.
Even if a contract is agreed upon in the coming week, it is going to take months to reduce the congestion. The one thing we should continue to expect in the coming months is congestion.