AGTC’s Friedmann says lack of ILWU-PMA contract could be “dangerous, permanent.”

AGTC’s Friedmann says lack of ILWU-PMA contract could be “dangerous, permanent.”

Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AGTC) Executive Director Peter Friedmann has again warned that the lack of a West Coast labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) could be “dangerous” and “permanent.”

Friedmann provided AJOT with an update sent to AGTC members on the dangers created by the lack of an ILWU-PMA contract: “Currently, too many West Coast marine terminals are operating on reduced schedules, some are open only four days a week, creating massive disruption and trucking, storage expense for agriculture exporters. Terminals are closing because they lack sufficient volume of import containers to justify hiring the longshore labor to keep them open. So, both the terminal operators and the longshore labor are losers.”

On the trend of cargo being shifted from the West Coast ports to East Coast ports, Friedmann explained why cargo losses could be permanent:

“The uncertainty that accompanies marine terminal operations without a labor contract, creates a disincentive to invest in additional facilities through which cargo will transit West Coast gateway ports. For example, transload facilities that might have been built to serve a West Coast gateway are being built to serve cargo through East Coast gateways. The same for warehouses, cold storage facilities, etc. Once those are built, the millions of dollars spent will not be abandoned – the cargo will continue to move through those facilities for years, even decades, to come. This makes it even more challenging for the West Coast gateways to claw back lost import container market share.”


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