WASHINGTON — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) joined supply chain stakeholders on Friday, March 24, in calling on the Biden Administration to resolve the ongoing West Coast port labor negotiations.
A letter sent to President Biden from 238 national, state and local trade associations details how the situation is creating economic uncertainty, affecting freight flows and causing shipments to be diverted away from West Coast, where import volumes recently fell to their lowest level since the 1980s.
“Given the turmoil of the past several years, what our supply chain needs to see right now is continuity. Unfortunately, these ongoing negotiations — seemingly with no end in sight — are adding yet another stress factor that is complicating our industry’s ability to keep goods moving in a reliable and timely fashion,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said. “For the sake of our country, it’s time to bring these negotiations to a close.”
The request came as cargo volumes have dropped off at West Coast ports since the pandemic’s record highs, in part because retailers and importers have sought to avoid potential disruption and delays because of the labor negotiations.
“As we have witnessed, significant cargo flows have shifted away from the West Coast ports because of the uncertainty related to the labor negotiations,” Spear wrote. “While there certainly are other issues impacting the West Coast ports, many cargo interests have expressly stated that they shifted cargo as a result of the negotiations. The cargo will not return to the West Coast until after a contract is final and approved by both parties.”
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