Actually, shippers are fearing the worst about 29 ports on the West Coast that handle approximately 40% of U.S. imports. The members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been operating without a contract for 18 days.
The previous ILWU contract expired on July 1st with both sides singing Kumbaya, holding hands, and spouting rhetoric to ease our collective fears.
Why should carriers be interested in this unholy love fest?
Are you buying it?
I’m cautiously pessimistic – as are many shippers.
The SONAR chart below will give you an idea of how much faith the shippers have in these negotiations being resolved soon.
Maybe it’s a hangover or a lesson learned over the past few years, but the tide of imports is changing at a much greater pace than we have seen in the past.
The SONAR chart above tracks the U.S. Customs Maritime Import TEUs. Comparing the ports of Los Angeles, Houston, Savannah, and Elizabeth, we can see a dramatic increase in the shift of imports to East Coast ports.
With Los Angeles down 20% and Elizabeth, Savannah, and Houston at -2%, +40%, and +28% respectively, we can be confident in the lack of confidence.
It is certain that a shift in over the road and intermodal volumes from the West Coast to the East Coast is a result that will be felt by the shipping community.
With the investments in East Coast infrastructure underway and promised, the next question is how much tonnage will be lost forever to the East?
Drive safe, stay informed, and get paid.
Peace and love