Port strike could stagger U.S. exporters

President George W. Bush had to invoke Taft-Hartley ten years ago to get the parties back to the negotiating table, but by then much of the damage to U.S. shippers had already been done.

By ·

The long term implications of a strike at U.S. ports – no matter how short-lived – can be severe. As we reported in today’s news, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition is reminding ag and forest products exporters to recall when the closure of U.S. West Coast was caused by a failure to negotiate a new labor/management contract ten years ago.

President George W. Bush had to invoke Taft-Hartley, to get the parties back to the negotiating table, but by then much of the damage to U.S. shippers had already been done.

The AgTC observes that cargoes had to be destroyed as refrigerated ocean containers sat at the docks. Meanwhile, financing instruments expired before the cargo could begin transit, as supply chains for ag exports backed up all the way to heartland states. Dairy, beef, pork, and grain production were disrupted and shut down.

Even when that labor dispute was settled, it took months for the supply chain to be fully restored, said the AgTC.

“The injury has been felt for years since,” it said.

For example, when confectioners in Japan could not get the superior California nuts and raisins, they were forced to work with growers in Turkey and elsewhere in the world. Some of that business never returned.

East Coast shippers may face the same situation with their commodities, said the AgTC. The threat this poses to our economic recover is real and needs to be addressed.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Ocean Cargo · Ocean Freight · Trade · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Private Fleet vs. Dedicated: Which one is right for you?
Having the right fleet for your business can give you an advantage over the competition and lower transportation costs.
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
While adoption rates have remained relatively flat, yard management systems (YMS) are helping logistics operations turn that important space between the loading dock and the gate into a vital link in the supply chain.
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
2017 Air Cargo Roundtable: Positive Outlook Driven by New Demand
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...