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
eBook: Why Multi-Tier Supplier Collaboration is More Important Now
Explore the benefits of supplier collaboration including sharing demand forecasts, faster reactions to demand or capacity changes and well-coordinated product launches.
Download Today!
From the September 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
While Amazon’s recent bid to purchase Whole Foods made mainstream headlines, the e-commerce giant will still need to adhere to time-tested realities. Any way you slice it, the integrated U.S. cold chain requires optimized service from existing ports, 3PLs, cold storage warehousing, transportation providers and high-value vendors.
Improving 3PL Management: Glanbia Adds Muscle to Logistics
Why Retail Supply Chain Transformations Fail - and how to get it right
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
EDITORS' PICKS
26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...

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...