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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Possible Strike Raises Port Volume

Traffic at the Port of Los Angeles increased by nearly 14 percent in June compared to a year earlier as shippers moved up their cargo due to the possibility of a work stoppage at the nation’s busiest seaport. The port handled about 736,000 containers during the month, the highest number since September 2012. The volume of June’s imports rose nearly 17 percent, while exports increased by about 9 percent. The potential labor risk stems from ongoing contract talks between the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators and shippers, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said the pace of business has increased throughout the year, so it is difficult to assess how much of the increased volume is due to attempts to frontload shipments in advance of any labor strife and how much is due to the improving economy. “Our position is, retailers have options and if they’re frontloading and bringing in cargo to our port early, that’s better than going to another port,” Sanfield said. Outside of a brief disruption caused by a truckers’ strike on July 8, dockworkers have remained on the job in Los Angeles and Long Beach after their contract expired at the end of last month. The striking truckers are short-haul drivers who are demanding that three local trucking firms hire them as full-fledged employees instead of treating them as independent contractors. Sanfield said the strike did not cause a problem at the port. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti negotiated a cooling off period over the weekend.

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