Biden Labor Secretary Julie Hsu engages in tense West Coast port talks

Biden Labor Secretary Julie Hsu engages in tense West Coast port talks

Julie Hsu testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Work and Pensions Committee hearing on her nomination for Secretary of Labor at the Capitol in Washington, USA, April 20, 2023.

Amanda Andrade Rose | Reuters

President Biden’s Acting Labor Secretary Julie Hsu is currently in contact with representatives of labor and port administrators to help broker a deal amid heightened tensions at ports up and down the West Coast.

Su, who served as Commissioner of the California Labor and Workforce Development Authority until 2021, has a long-standing relationship with both sides, maintaining communication at the negotiating table and signing the final contract between the International Ports and Warehouses Union and Pacific Maritime. Supporting movement towards Association.

The Labor Department confirmed Sue’s involvement, but declined to comment further.

On February 28, President Biden named Sue as Acting Secretary of Labor to succeed Marty Walsh, who resigned in March. Su has the support of many trade unions, including United Miners, NABTU, LiUNA, IBEW and AFL-CIO. Received support from business leadersThat includes a group of 250 executives and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce who sent letters to the Senate supporting her nomination. She had previously been confirmed by the Senate to become Deputy Labor Secretary on July 13, 2021.

From the National Retail Federation to the National Manufacturers Association to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are growing calls for the Biden administration to intervene in the West Coast port situation. The Chamber of Commerce expressed concern over the “serious port problem” in a statement last Friday. “Work stoppages” at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could cost the U.S. economy nearly $500 million a day. A larger strike along the West Coast could cost about $1 billion a day, he said.

In a letter to President Biden, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark said, “The best outcome is for the negotiating parties to come to an agreement voluntarily. “I’m concerned that the deadlock over wages and benefits will not be resolved.” .

Concerns about supply chains are growing Truck transportation to railroad tracks and ocean forwarders.billions of dollars Cargo is stuck outside the port, container congestion and delays resulted in longer services and longer travel times. Logistics companies’ contingency plans have become more complex. Landslide vote by ILWU Canadian officials Authorizing a strike on Canada’s west coast ports and lower water levels in the Panama Canal have made it more difficult for ports on both the west and east coasts to choose alternative trade routes.

The Biden administration’s involvement is welcome news for logistics managers trying to navigate increasing port congestion, but the situation on the ground at ports remains tense, with potential economic consequences such as delay penalties. said to be on the rise.

“We’re not getting an efficient rotation of the drivers,” said Paul Brasher, vice president of drayage and intermodal at ITS Logistics. “Even if your device says it’s working, but it’s very slow, you could still be charged late fees.”

The Pacific Maritime Association said in a statement issued on June 10 that the ILWU continued to slow down “intentionally”.

ILWU declined to comment.

Negotiations between the PMA and ILWU are said to have stalled over issues such as wages and automation. Both parties claimed to have made great progress during the spring, but recent actions have been “expressed discontent” by rank and file trade unionists, ILWU said.

In a recent statement, ILWU International President Willie Adams said: “We will not compromise on an economic package that does not recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of ILWU personnel who have propelled the shipping industry to record profits.” Stated.

According to the PMA’s 2022 report, the average salary for a full-time ILWU employee was $211,000. His ILWU foreman’s income overseeing coast workers made him just over $300,000.

The ILWU says shipping and terminal operators have made $500 billion in profits over the past two years, but profit levels have fallen as supply chain prices have fallen.

Seattle Port Tops West Coast Port Congestion List

Ports above and below the West Coast are having problems, including California’s largest ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, but the Port of Seattle tops the congestion list. The SSA terminal was working late last Monday through Friday, sending workers home for lunch. Saturday, Entire port shut down After unfulfilled labor pains.

The operation of container ships has been delayed due to the lack of manpower to move containers in and out of the ships while they are moored at the wharf of Seattle Port. Maersk Cairo has been docked since 3 June. APL La Havre entered port on 5 June, and Maersk Cardiff and Etoile both entered port on 8 June.

Marine Traffic said six container ships were docked as of Monday afternoon, four of which had entered the port by sea and are expected to arrive within seven to nine days. All terminals are berthed with ships and have no new space.

“Seattle has been hit the hardest,” said Captain Adil Ashik, Marine Traffic North America Director. According to MarineTraffic, the average journey time for Seattle containerships has been up to 2.5 days in the past few months, nearly four times the average, with Asik saying, “We’re waiting to unload and get where we need to be.” It poses a serious threat to imported vessels that are be able to “

The Port of Tacoma, which makes up the other half of the Northwest Seaports, faces a similar backlog. Nine ships will enter the port by sea and five will arrive in her next four days. Two ships are still at anchor, one of which is the YM Totality, which has been at anchor since 8 June. The container terminal at the Port of Tacoma continues to operate, but at 50 percent capacity utilization.

“We are concerned about the piling up of ships and ocean carriers skipping ports,” Brasher said. “We have customers who want to book for the East Coast and the Gulf instead of the West Coast.In the next four to six weeks, we are going to see a lot of cargo pile up in the Panama Canal.”

Vessel backup continues at Ports of Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles, with four vessels waiting 70 nautical miles offshore from Oakland Port and a total of nine vessels en route to Oakland by sea. .

The Port of Long Beach currently has 19 container ships entering the port from the sea, four of which are expected to arrive within the next two days. A larger wave of five vessels is expected to arrive simultaneously on June 19, according to Marine Traffic. There are currently 37 container ships heading to the Port of Los Angeles, seven of which will arrive near anchorages within the next 12 hours, and eight of which will arrive by sea within the next five days.

“Vessels that arrived four days ago are still at anchor, indicating that recent events are affecting vessel schedules,” Asik said. He pointed to the Maersk Antares, which arrived eight days earlier and spent nearly double the average time at anchor.

Captain J. Kipling (Kip) Lutit, executive director of the Southern California Marine Exchange, reported the schedule delay for the first time in months. “The YM uniform was scheduled to depart at 4am today, but was delayed by 48 hours and departed at 4am on Wednesday, June 14. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available,” he wrote in an email. Late Monday, he sent a further update on the delay of three more ships. “I’m not sure why,” he said.

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