ACC, NACD seek more involvement by US president in West Coast port labour negotiations
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) are among 238 national, state and local trade associations asking US President Joe Biden to take an active role in resolving a labour dispute between West Coast dockworkers and the ports.
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents the 22,000 dockworkers, and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the 29 ports, have been negotiating since the most recent contract expired on 1 July 2022.
The negotiators issued a joint statement in February noting that West Coast ports have continued to operate since the previous labour contract expired and that the parties have reached tentative agreements on key issues, including health benefits and remain committed to resolving remaining issues as expeditiously as possible.
In the letter to the US president from the trade groups, the signees said they feel it is “imperative that the administration works with the parties to quickly reach a new agreement and ensure there is no disruption to port operations and cargo fluidity”.
The letter talks about the significant flows of cargo that have shifted to the US Gulf and East Coast ports because of the uncertainty surrounding the negotiations.
“While there certainly are other issues impacting West Coast ports, many cargo interests have expressly stated that they shifted cargo as a result of the negotiations,” the letter said. “That cargo will not return to the West Coast until after a contract is final and approved by both parties. The longer there is no ratified contract only increases the probability that some portion of the freight will never return to the West Coast ports.”
US chemical companies rely on western coast ports to receive imports of specialty chemicals.
The San Pedro Bay complex, made up of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, accounts for 25% of US exports and 40% of containerised imports.
Additional reporting by Al Greenwood
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