Oakland Port January Volume Drops by Third

Cargo volume at California’s Port of Oakland declined 32% in January compared to the same period in 2014, as a result of an ongoing West Coast waterfront labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), the port authority says.

The port reported that containerized imports were down 39% from January 2014, while exports declined 26%.

Port operations at 29 West Coast ports have been affected by the impasse, now entering its ninth month.

”With a decline in productivity and a breakdown in vessel schedules at all U.S. West Coast ports, cargo volumes are far from normal,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.

The port said importers have begun diverting containerized cargo to gateways outside the U.S. West Coast. These include ports in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. East Coast.

It added that exporters have been challenged in shipping cargo to overseas markets because of vessel delays and diversions.

The U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez met with the representatives of the ILWU and the PMA in San Francisco on Tuesday, to urge the sides to settle the differences at the bargaining table. Perez will meet both parties again on Wednesday.

The 29 West Coast ports have resumed operations Tuesday, after the PMA suspended terminal operations across the U.S. West Coast for four days.

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