Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka expects labor negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) will produce a deal by early February next year. “We’ll get through it in the early part of 2023,” Seroka said in an interview.
“And then it’s a matter of how much cargo shifts back because folks had that supply chain working and oiled the right way, and how much we’ve really got to go rustle back,” he pointed out. Cargo at the Port of LA has gone down by 25% in October against a year ago, reaching the lowest level since mid-2020.
About 20% of cargo volume has shifted to other U.S. hubs as shippers sought to “avoid labor disruptions”.
Seroka said he “would not be surprised” if 5 percentage points of the 20% that’s moved doesn’t return to the West.
Nevertheless, 2022 looks set to be the second-busiest year in the port’s 115-year history despite the slowdown, Seroka pointed out.
The labor negotiations between the two parties affect 22,000 dockworkers at 29 ports, including LA and Long Beach.