Port Slowdown Risks Cargo Integrity

Feb 13, 2015

West Coast ports are near gridlock as offloading operations were suspended six days in February (including President’s Day weekend), as contentious contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) were delayed.

These slowdowns compromise business opportunities and contracts. Less obviously, they threaten cargo, exposing it to theft and damage from hurried or inexperienced handling.

For example, because the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have suspended nighttime operations, fewer people are about. Thieves can work with less danger of disturbance. Consequently, theft becomes more likely.

Fewer crane operators are working at those ports, too. If the remaining operators rush to clear the freight yard, they may inadvertently damage goods as they are transferred to intermodal carriers. Experienced, but uncertified, temporary crane operators, may pose a similar risk. Long Beach and Los Angles hired temporary operators until November, when the unions halted the practice, claiming safety issues.

Another concern is whether reefers containing temperature-sensitive cargo will plugged into shore power promptly in a congested freight yard and whether there will be enough reefer outlets (or reefers).

The ILWU/ PMA dispute is rattling the global supply chain. Adding impact, tilt, and temperature monitors to your cargo provides extra assurance that cargo is being handled properly, albeit slowly, during the disruption. And, if it’s not, it proves that, too.

Contact ShockWatch to learn how monitoring can help protect your cargo during this and other supply chain disruptions.