The US Labor Secretary Tom Perez has been sent to California by the White House to help bring labor talks on a new contract between shipping companies and longshore workers at the West Coast to the right track.
The stalled nine-month contract talks have resulted in a four-day shutdown of the West Coast port operations further delaying loading and unloading of cargo.
The Pacific Maritime Authority (PMA) said it doesn’t intend to pay 50% premium over the said period while the productivity is ”severely diminished” and ”the backlog of cargo at West Coast ports grows.”
According to the White House, Perez will urge dockworkers and port operators to reach an agreement quickly at the bargaining table, Reuters reports.
“We welcome the administration’s attention to this important national and international economic and supply chain issue and hope it recommits the two sides to reaching a deal. The slowdowns, congestion and suspensions at the West Coast ports need to end now,” the National Retail Federation’s Vice President for Supply Chain Jonathan Gold commented on the decision.
Bottlenecks and growing congestion could result in billions of losses for retailers should the marathon talks continue at this pace.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: ILWU