U.S. shippers may opt for air cargo alternatives on West Coast

A sharp spike in air cargo demand has been evident ever since the ILWU and PMA began negotiating a new contract several months ago.

By ·

When it comes to assessing the current state of the U.S. West Coast dockside labor situation, air cargo providers may be contemplating this verity:  “it’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.”

A sharp spike in air cargo demand has been evident ever since the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) began negotiating a new contract several months ago.

According to Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association, some of that business may never return to the waterfront.

“Our shippers use all modes of transport in their operations,” he says, “but we are seeing a very significant shift back to air now…especially with components of the perishable market. The disruptions at the ports are too unstable…especially now that drayage has become part of the equation.”

As LM has reported, independent truckers and Teamster drivers have staged several demonstrations at Southern California terminals in recent days. While these are not sanctioned strikes, shippers may be unnerved by the potential consequences.

An on-again, off-again trucker actions at the Port of Vancouver also has shippers concerned.

“The air cargo industry suffered when the air controllers were fired in the 1980s,” observes Fried. “And 9/11 dealt a serious blow to this sector for a long time, too. But we’ve recovered from those setbacks and it appears that air carriers are poised to capture freight for a long time.”


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!

Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Details Key to Cross-border Ease
Ever-changing regulations are making it risky for U.S. companies engaged in cross-border trade...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo