Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


West Coast seaports: PMSA concerned about “self-destructive behavior”

image

Pacific Merchant Shipping Association President John McLaurin speaking at last week’s annual meeting of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition in San Francisco

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
June 16, 2010

Just when the picture is brightening for U.S. West Coast ports, political pressure can kill the commercial recovery, said Pacific Merchant Shipping Association President John McLaurin. Speaking at last week’s annual meeting of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition in San Francisco, he noted that the revenues of Ports of LA/Long Beach are being siphoned by municipal governments, while the Port of Seattle is plagued by persistent labor issues.

“In the best of all worlds, especially now, all elements of the supply chain – including the ports - should be working in unison to attract more cargo,” said McLaurin. “Instead, we often find ourselves having to oppose port policies that are counterproductive to serving and attracting cargo. We have to fight the ports at harbor commission meetings, in the federal courts and the United States Congress.”

This “self-destructive behavior” by ports is not healthy or productive and threatens the dominance of West Coast ports, added McLaurin,  who noted that some ports have commissioners are out of touch with the international trade community and are not well informed about the ports’ core business or the competitive nature of the maritime industry.

“It is incredible to witness port commissions pushing political agendas that harm their own tenants and customers and which are contrary to their fiduciary responsibilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, both California and Washington are struggling to close massive budget deficits. California’s deficit is approximately $21 billion this year. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting budget deficits of more than $20 billion each year for the next five years. Not to be outdone, the State of Washington’s budget deficit was approximately $2.8 billion – which is proportionately larger than the budget deficit in California.

“In Los Angeles, instead of laying off thousands of city employees to balance the budget, the city has pushed unneeded city employees on to the port – along with the ongoing financial liability for their salaries, benefits and retirement,” said McLaurin. “Pacific Northwest ports are more fortunate given their independence from local cities. And the good news is that Seattle’s leftist mayor was voted out last fall.”

The bad news, said McLaurin, is the new mayor is to the left of the former leftist mayor – and he is trying to interject himself into port matters.

 

About the Author

image
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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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!

Recent Entries

Working with research partner, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed 1,023 global procurement executives from 41 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

U.S. Carloads were down 7.8 percent annually at 259,544, and intermodal volume was off 15.7 percent for the week ending February 21 at 213,617 containers and trailers.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Logistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in December 2014 was up 5.4 percent annually at $95.8 billion. This marks the 11th straight month of annual increases, according to BTS officials.

While the volume decline was steep, there was numerous reasons behind it, including terminal congestion, protracted contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and other supply chain-related issues, according to POLA officials.

Truckload rates for the month of January, which measures truckload linehaul rates paid during the month, saw a 7.9 percent annual hike, and intermodal rates dropped 0.3 percent compared to January 2014, which the report pointed out marks the first annual intermodal pricing decline since December 2013.

Article Topics

News · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA