West Coast Longshore Update, Potential Stoppage and Surcharges


As of today, there has been no agreement reached between the PMA and the ILWU in this year’s round of contract negotiations.

The PMA are the employers who own terminals at all West Coast ports, the ILWU are the longshore labor who load and unload the ships.

In the past, many of the disagreements have revolved around wages.  This year, the core topics are jurisdiction and health care costs.  The contract expires on June 30th, and all has been quiet until a few days ago.

PMA Study Released

The PMA released a study by Martin Associates they commissioned that highlighted the economic impact of a stoppage in work on the waterfront, and unsurprisingly, the effects on lost jobs and revenue and GDP are substantial.

Up until this point, both sides have refrained from negotiating through the press.  Discussions have been kept confidential and the only reports from either side were that negotiations were ongoing.

There hasn’t been a retaliatory statement to date from the ILWU, but it bears watching to see if they counter.

Carrier Surcharges Announced

Carriers see inclined to add insult to injury to the shipping community if work ceases by strike or lockout.  They have announced surcharges of:

  • $800.00/20′
  • $1000.00/40′
  • $1125.00/40’HC
  • $1265.00/45′

Contingency planning seems to be in high speed with importers and exporters.  There isn’t enough capacity through the Panama Canal, Mexico or Canada, so we are working with our clients to insure that their cargo is moved through and off the port as quickly as possible.  And unlike the trucker’s strike which affected Vancouver earlier this year but left on-dock rail unaffected, these are the people who unload and load the vessels, so it will impact everyone equally.

We are keeping all our clients and partners apprised of the situation as news warrants.

(Photo Credit: IMG_0936 by Salina Canizales, CC BY 2.0)


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