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ESC – European Shippers’ Council

Congestion at U.S. ports at all-time high

The congestion in ports across the United States West Coast seem to be at an all-time high, European and American businesses argue.

The American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) call upon all parties involved to reach an agreement as soon as possible – for any more delays will cost European exporters and American importers millions of dollars.

Hundreds of long shore workers are suspending vessel loading and unloading operations at U.S. ports, beginning on January 13th, because employers said they wanted to clear cargo from congested yards. Ports accuse the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of creating work slowdowns at the ports by withholding skilled crane operators to gain leverage in contract talks. Business associations and members of congress have urged the parties to return to the negotiating table as the best way to end this crisis.

European manufacturers and trading companies experienced congestion in the Port of Rotterdam in the summer of 2014, but managed to fix this in due course. However, a solution in West Coast ports seems to be still far away. European and American companies experience huge cost increases due to longer transit times, rerouting via Houston or other east coast ports and a longer leg by road or rail. European businesses face additional cost of tens of millions of dollars per week and counting. And above all, the delays make U.S. ports uncompetitive in global trade. The delays also do not contribute to a reputation on sustainability for West Coast Ports.

This article was posted on February 17th, 2015 by ESC under News