Container ships are facing long delays and piling up at busy port terminals in Oakland Los Angeles, and Long Beach amid a labor dispute between dockworkers and port operators. The standoff is also wreaking havoc on parts of the national supply chain.
"Basically, every container vessel is having their schedule pushed back by about a day or two," said Richard Palmer of the Marine Exchange of Southern California. According to Plamer, the main source of the delays is a lack of longshoremen who secure the containers to ships.
This week has seen operations at many of the terminals at the California ports either slowed or completely closed as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents port operators, discuss new labor contracts.
Overall, the negotiations have been fairly quiet and the ports have mostly maintained uninterrupted operations. A few brief local flareups occurred, but did not drag out for an extended period of time and were contained. However, this week the talks began to stall and port operations began to slow.
"Before the last 48 hours, we were seeing a lot of progress," said Mario Cordero, a Port of Long Beach Executive.
"Obviously there is an issue there that has caused some pause in the discussions," he added.
While the decreased operations and closures have caused some issues with the supply chain, it is mostly limited to goods being imported from Asia and is nowhere near the extent of the problems that Covid was seen during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Cordero remains optimistic that a resolution will be reached soon, calling the stalled talks a "bump in the road" during the negotiating process that he believes will lead to new contracts soon.
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