Labour deal to miss deadline, says West Coast port chief

Labour deal to miss deadline, says West Coast port chief

Port of Long Beach Executive Director, Mario Cordero, does not anticipate talks over new labour contracts to reach a solution before 1 July deadline.

Talks between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to produce new labour contracts for 22,000 West Coast dockworkers began on 10 May.

During an interview with Bloomberg on 20 May, Cordero revealed that he does not see parties reaching an agreement by 1 July; however, he foresees negotiations to produce a solution earlier than many believe.

“I have confidence that the two parties know what’s at stake here,” Cordero commented.

“They will resolve their differences within a reasonable time. It’s not going to be before 1 July. But I think we may be looking to a couple of months thereafter. On that front, I’m optimistic.”

The PMA has long fought to introduce automation at its terminals but has met with criticism from the ILWU.

Despite accepting the terminals’ drive towards to automation, the ILWU has argued that the move would destroy human jobs as increased container volume at automated terminals has been achieved at the expense of other terminals and resulted in loss of employment.

Earlier this month, the PMA released a study extolling the benefits of port automation ahead of the labour talks.

Cordero has also commented on the port’s expectations for ships arrivals in the upcoming months, saying that the port is expecting an uptick following the slowdown in lockdowns in Shanghai and China.

He did not comment on the extent of the turnaround, but Cordero remains optimistic on developments regarding vessel queues at the port.

The number of vessels waiting to berth has diminished from 109 to 32 since January, he said.

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