While the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) did not reach agreement on a new contract by their July 1 deadline, the two parties issued a joint press release that evening stating, “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached.” The contract being negotiated covers 29 ports in California, Oregon and Washington. With the existing contract expiring at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on July 1, the announcement came as welcome news for industries that rely on West Coast port operations.
On July 7, ILWU and PMA issued another joint statement indicating they would take a 72-hour break from contract negotiations while the ILWU attended to an unrelated negotiation taking place in the Pacific Northwest. To accommodate this pause in negotiations, the parties agreed to extend the previous contract until 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, June 11. With negotiations now resuming, USMEF will continue to monitor the situation and report any new developments.
On a related note, a trucker strike that began July 7 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has not shut down port operations at these locations, but the degree to which the strike may increase congestion or cause delays at the ports is still unclear. Exporters utilizing these ports should monitor shipments carefully.