West Coast Port Congestion Lingers Despite Agreement

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) reached a tentative agreement on February 20, putting an end to their nine month labor dispute. The lengthy negotiations hampered cargo movement at the nation’s 29 West Coast ports, as ships lined the Pacific coastline anchored with freight terminals closed or undermanned.

Experts predict port congestion may linger for up to three months to recover from the backlog. The congestion has slowed international lead times by 2-6 weeks and prompted freight increases up to $1,000 per container (roughly $0.30 to $0.60 per case). For glove suppliers, these delays are further compounded by the February Chinese New Year holiday, the longest production shutdown of the year.