West Coast Waterfront Coalition calls for sanity
A major disruption in the San Pedro Bay ports would complicate a situation that is already very difficult to manage for exporters and importers and further threaten the fragile economic recovery underway, they say.
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Shippers comprising the Waterfront Coalition are among those stakeholders now urging a quick conclusion of negotiations on a contract for the Office and Clerical Unit in southern California. A major disruption in the San Pedro Bay ports would complicate a situation that is already very difficult to manage for exporters and importers and further threaten the fragile economic recovery underway, they say.
By way of background, the Waterfront Coalition represents manufacturers, retailers, product suppliers and exporters responsible for moving a large share of containerized commerce through marine terminals in southern California.
“The freight our members route through the region helps sustain the longshore labor workforce and employment in affiliated industries, said Robin Lanier, the coalition’s Executive Director. “We support these hard working men and women as they are vital to guarantee that our members’ cargo moves safely, efficiently and as environmentally responsible as possible.”
Yet the coalition maintains that over the past several months, shippers of all varieties are experiencing excessive cargo delays on freight transiting marine terminals in the region. These delays, that also impact intermodal freight moving to rail yards, are contributing to severe service delays resulting in lost delivery guarantees and sometimes lost sales for exporters reaching overseas markets and retailers fulfilling demand in domestic markets. These supply chain problems show no sign of improving and many shippers are considering alternative gateways to move discretionary cargo not destined for the local southern California region.
“A lengthy and contentious negotiation on a contract for the Office and Clerical Unit in southern California has the very real potential to further add to the urgency for shippers to consider alternative North American gateways for discretionary cargo,” said Lanier. “As we have learned from past congestion experiences, a significant share of this cargo never returns to the region.”
About the AuthorPatrick 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]
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Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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