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

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.

By ·

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

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

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The Internet of Things and the Modern Supply Chain
Learn today how the internet of things is transforming supply chain operations.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
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...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...