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**The Gateway Specialty Imports team is monitoring the negotiations closely – staying informed and mitigating risks are top priority. We are working closely with our forwarder to make any immediate changes and helping our clients prepare for delays.**

With the contract negotiations still underway between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), shippers, carriers and businesses are feeling the heat and taking the necessary precautions to manage potential disruptions or in case of a strike.

  • Many importers moved up the arrival of their cargo causing a surge of activity at West Coast ports.
  • Some are bringing in products through East Coast ports.
  • Many are looking for alternative sourcing for products.
  • One carrier (APL) announced a “congestion surcharge” for any containers out of Asia to all US destinations (effective May 1, 2014). Other carriers may follow suit in the coming weeks.

Other activities are also making a major impact on the market:

  • Cargo entering the US on the West Coast through rail have also been delayed due to the backlog of containers at the terminal.
  • Picketing by unions at these terminals further adds to the delay. Some truckers are also refusing calls to pick up containers due to long wait times.
  • The New World and Grand alliances merged in 2012 to create the G6 Alliance, compromising numerous carriers.  The G6 Alliance includes 40 ports covered by 90 ships of up to 14,000 20-foot-equivalent units in the Asia-Europe trade lanes.

These issues could be further amplified if negotiations between ILWU and PMA are not favorable. The ILWU six-year contract with the PMA expired July 1, 2014.

How are you preparing for potential import/export disruptions?

 **image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.**

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