Supply chains search for stability to limit holiday impact amid Gulf & East Coast Union contract issues

graph of Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles volume of TEUs from January 2018 to January 2024
  • The labor contract between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) is set to expire on September 30, 2024, which could disrupt major coastal ports on the Gulf & East Coast, including the Port of New York and New Jersey, Port of Charleston, Port of Savannah, and the Port of Houston. Inventory build-ups and redirect orders may push peak seasonal demand for industrial space forward by at least three months if agreement talks remain unresolved closer to September.
  • Increased activity out of the ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles is expected throughout 2024, as labor relations were resolved and stability is ensured for the near future. Many businesses currently shipping to Gulf & East Coast ports will consider the West Coast to tap into more direct routes from Asia. Additionally, the ports have seen increased traffic from container ships trying to avoid delays and fees out of the Panama and Suez Canal.
  • The ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles made a strong recovery in January 2024, moving 980,180 loaded import/export TEUs (twenty-foot units) throughout the month—the third highest total since September 2022. Consumer spending habits remaining at elevated levels and cargo owners replenishing inventories ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday contributed to this resurgence.
  • While container volume was trending downward in the latter part of 2023, the ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles saw a boost in volume in January 2024, up 6.2% from the prior month. Comparing it to the same time period in 2023, container volume was up 16.2%.

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