West Coast conflict halts growth in US ports

The nine month conflict in 29 ports on the US West Coast has had a big impact on US container imports in the first months of the year, according to numbers from Zepol.

Photo: Ric Francis

The consequences of the protracted conflict between the union ILWU and the carriers and terminal operators in 29 ports on the US West Coast are now emerging. An analysis performed by US-based analyst agency Zepol shows that container imports in the US ports declined five percent this year compared to January and February last year.

Virtually all of the decline is caused by the West Coast ports, according to Zepol. For instance, imports in the major ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle around 40 percent of all US container imports, have so far decreased by 19 and 20 percent, respectively. On the other hand, ports on the East Coast have benefited from the conflict, especially New York/Newark, which increased eight percent in the first months of the year.

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