West Coast Port Strike is Over: Congestion Remains

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“Last night, the owners of 29 West coast shipping terminals and the union of dockworkers that staff them reached a tentative deal for a new contract, after nine months of negotiations that culminated in four days of meetings with two cabinet secretaries. The ports can now resume normal operations — or at least start working on the backlog of stalled goods that have been waiting to move in and out” – Lydia DePillis February 21, 2015

This is the good news we received in February. After months of animosity, the West Coast Dock workers came to a tentative agreement with the Shipping Terminal Owners. Everyone at Trinity Lighting and I am sure all companies that import goods from overseas, breathed a sigh of relief.

Although that was good news, we are not through the proverbial woods yet. Trinity Lighting was proactive in managing the port slow down. As soon as we realized troubles were on the horizon, we started running our containers through the Port of Vancouver. We were able to mitigate most but not all of the delays associated with the slowdown because of this.

We continue to stay in daily contact with our expediting company about the conditions of this backlog. They tell us that the Port of Long Beach is still dealing with enormous delays and expect the port to struggle with this back log through Mid-July. This in turn, places severe strain on other viable port options because their volume has increased dramatically. Most of these ports were not set up to handle this type of volume.

This even places strain on Chinese ports. They are dealing with a container shortage because so many containers are waiting to be offloaded in the US. They are also dealing with congestion in their loading yards. We typically ship out of the Port of Yantian in China. In the past, it typically took one to two days for a loaded container to travel from our factory and be loaded on the ship. Now it is taking an average of 10 days for our product to make this same journey.

Rest assured, Trinity Lighting will remain vigilant in dealing with these delays. In the rare circumstance that there is a delay, we will do anything we can to mitigate the problem. Most importantly, we intend to provide you continuous communication on the status of your product. Lastly, until the West Coast is performing normally again, it would be wise to add a little extra time into your requested delivery schedule.