Well, I hate to say I told you so, but…
The very latest from the East Coast/Gulf Coast port strike scene is that the International Longshoremen’s Association has walked out of federal mediation talks. According to Joe Bonney of the Journal of Commerce, “ILA walked out of NY-NJ local contract talks today, objecting to proposed changes. Coastwide bargaining session still on for next week.”
In case you need a refresher, Big Labor is throwing a hissy fit over modernization efforts by industry to reform archaic work practices, corrupt waterfront rackets, and container fees — a 60s-era relic.
While many observers breathed a sigh of relief at the temporary “reprieve” from a crippling strike before the end of 2012, it was nothing more than a p.r move by the union.
Note this: A new report about the economic impact of the week-long West Coast port strike late last year shows that trade volume at the Port of Los Angeles was down 16 percent as a result of the union shutdown.
In the meantime, here’s a look at how just one sector — the meat industry — will be affected by a looming East Coast port shutdown:
USMEF data reveals that a potential ILA strike – the first such strike in 35 years – could wreak havoc in the domestic meat markets. Looking at U.S. beef exports, the greatest potential impact rests with the Port of Houston, which handled nearly 150,000 metric tons of outbound beef in the first three quarters of 2012 – or about 25% of all beef shipped out of the U.S. through an ocean port. Other East Coast and Gulf Coast ports handle smaller volumes of beef, but the cumulative impact would be very significant.
For pork, USMEF said the largest impacted outlet would be the Port of Norfolk, Va., which handled more than 90,000 mt from January through September. Other major outbound ports for U.S. pork that would be affected by a strike include New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Charleston, S.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Wilmington, N.C., Gulfport, Miss., and Savannah, Ga.
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