Global Supply Chains could see even further disruption in the coming months, due in part to a potential disruption in Labor. The existing contract between West Coast longshore workers and shippers expires July 1st, and there aren’t many options remaining to shippers if those talks turn sour. To manage the potential disruptions ahead, some shippers are already moving some of their international holiday-season orders to get these products into domestic networks early, and many are diverting cargo normally routed through the West Coast to the Eastern and Gulf Ports instead.
Shippers and business-owners alike are finding this particularly concerning because the usually months long processes of negotiation have not been started, and have yet to be given a start date. The agreement represents 22,400 dockworkers in 29 ports across Washington State to Southern California. Western US Ports have seen delays because of labor negotiations as recently as 2015, when negotiations took a year to resolve.