West Coast ports in the U.S. started negotiating a new labor contract just over a year ago. While working without a new contract in place isn’t unheard of, the contract has now been expired for over 10 months.
A report from the U.S. Meat Export Federation says the labor uncertainty is having an impact on red meat exports. “There’s a lot of questions and uncertainty surrounding the west coast ports,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Those ports are a vital starting point for a large number of our shipments to Asia.”
The Long Beach and LA ports shut down in mid-April and were followed by further disruptions later that month. He says USMEF is seeing a reduction in imports, and some discretionary cargo is getting diverted away to ports in the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast.
“This isn’t good news for the meat industry,” Halstrom says.