West Coast labour deal will ‘not be done this year’

West Coast labour deal will “not be done this year”

Bargaining negotiations on the US West Coast are likely to produce a deal by springtime next year, said Port of Los Angeles Chief Executive Gene Seroka.

Seroka has commented during a CNBC interview on the current state of the US supply chain, dwelling on plummeting cargo figures driving an exponential eastern growth.

Cargo at the Port of LA has gone down by 20 to 25 per cent over the past few months, registering its lowest figures last October.

After an earlier than normal peak season, importers have seemed to shift towards the East Coast – favouring the Port of New York and New Jersey instead – possibly to “avoid labour disruptions” said Seroka.

Ongoing contract talks between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) affect 22,000 staff members at 29 ports, including LA and Long Beach.

Seroka said parties are going towards the “far edge of negotiations” and will likely produce a deal in about February or March 2023, but it “won’t get done this year”.

The Port of LA boss remained optimistic in face of the two-year backup clearance at the Port of LA and LB.

In the meantime, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to avoid looming rail strike action threatening the country’s supply chain.

The bill imposes a labour agreement that was first approved by labour and management negotiators in September, providing a 24 per cent pay raise for rail workers over the five-year period from 2020 to 2024, alongside improved healthcare benefits.

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