Just How Much is Shipped Cargo Worth to America?

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    Jan 16, 2013
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You may or may not recall the 8-day strike at the Port of Long Beach in December 2012 that disrupted the flow of containers inland right smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. For many of us in the intermodal freight industry, this unwarranted strike had a huge trickle-down effect that impacted many freight and cargo operations all across the United States.

According to the New York Times article, there were some 600 clerical workers that were responsible for $650 million in idled trade each day of the strike. Because of the clerical worker’s demands, 10 of the 14 shipping container terminals at the two ports were closed down, and many of the union longshoremen did not dare to cross the picket lines.

This 8 day strike ended up costing our country’s already tenuous economy a lot of money as well as disrupting the flow of goods across our nation’s interstates. Currently, we now seem to be heading toward our version of a ‘fiscal cargo cliff’ on the East Coast that looks as if it could affect our business in all markets.

According to this week’s Journal of Commerce, contract talks about work rules and staffing between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) have broken down. The two sides were hoping to come to an agreement on these matters before the February 6 deadline date for a new contract with the ILA.

The talks broke down to a call for ‘revolutionary changes’ in work practices sought by the NYSA. For more than two years, according to the article, they planned to use the current negotiations to seek changes in the port’s work rules and practices, some of which predate containerization.

The effect of a strike by this group cannot be understated. Our Midwest trucking firm, Calhoun Truck Lines is already hearing from clients we currently work with that they are already making contingency plans or are making plans to cancel the loading of containers for export via New York and New Jersey ports from Detroit to Omaha. These cancellations will have a massive impact on trucking companies hauling containers throughout the country and more importantly, on the livelihoods of the drivers that haul all the freight.

We urge you to please get in touch with your state representatives or Congressional leaders to step up and get involved in these negotiations. We cannot let these discussions negatively impact the still fragile and ever so slightly growing U.S. economy spread across the country. We need your support to keep shipments moving and to keep America moving ahead. 

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Article Source: Calhoun Truck Lines

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